Book Bits: 14 November 2020

Beyond Diversification: What Every Investor Needs to Know About Asset Allocation
Sebastien Page
Summary via publisher (McGraw-Hill)
Asset allocation is the key to investing performance. Unfortunately, no single approach works perfectly—developing the right balance requires a clear-eyed look at the many models available to you, various investing methodologies, and your or your client’s level of risk tolerance. And that’s where this important guide comes in. Written by a leading allocation expert from T. Rowe Price, Beyond Diversification provides the knowledge, insights, and approaches you need to make the best allocation decisions for your goals. This deep dive into the how’s and why’s of asset allocation is organized by the three decisive components of a successfully allocated portfolio.

American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law from Smallpox to COVID-19
John Fabian Witt
Review via The Wall Street Journal
Americans have grappled with public-health emergencies from the beginning. Gen. George Washington’s aggressive action to tamp down smallpox among American troops may have saved the revolution; two decades later, President Washington and Congress were nearly driven from Philadelphia by yellow fever, raising constitutional questions of government continuity. Since then, pandemics have continued to influence the development of American government, as John Fabian Witt relates in “American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law From Smallpox to Covid-19.” In this brief and readable account, Mr. Witt describes the history of American efforts to prevent pandemics from breaking out and to grapple with them once they do. “New germs help make new laws and institutions,” he writes, “yet old ways of doing things shape the course of epidemics and the ways in which we respond to them.”

The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?
Michael J. Sandel
Review via The Economist
For true egalitarians, who want fairer outcomes, a uniform starting line has always seemed a fudge. To some rugged conservatives, promising equal opportunity is necessary lip-service to unmeetable popular demands. Mr Sandel, a political philosopher, ends up on the fence. He is not an out-and-out egalitarian, but nor does he dismiss hopes for some degree of genuine civic equality.

Crucial Decisions
Ryan Sitton
Summary via publisher (J. Westin Books)
As the world becomes more complex, the decisions we make are becoming more challenging. From the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown to running massive refineries, the decisions made in these complex situations have a lasting impact on society. They must be driven by one thing: data. Crucial Decisions will help leaders shift to a crucial decision-making mindset that integrates data analysis with expertise. Whether you are a corporate executive or a baseball coach, employing decision-making methods from Crucial Decisions will help you achieve the most reliable results during challenging circumstances.

Critical Encounters: Capitalism, Democracy, Ideas
Wolfgang Streeck
Summary via publisher (Verso Books)
From the acclaimed author of How Will Capitalism End? comes an omnibus of long-form critical essays engaging with leading economists and thinkers. Critical Encounters draws on Wolfgang Streeck’s inimitable writing for the London Review of Books and New Left Review, among other publications. It opens with treatments of two contrasting historical eras—factory capitalism and financialization—and three of the world’s major economies: the United States, France and Germany. A middle section surveys the hollowing out of Western democracies and reviews Yanis Varoufakis’s “strange but indispensable” memoir of the eurozone crisis.

Humans Are Not Robots: Why We All Need Work Flexibility and What Company Leaders Can Do About It
Robert Hawkins
Review via Publishers Weekly
The way people work today isn’t working, argues consultant Hawkins in this persuasive study that examines why and how to change it. The modern office, he argues, enforces rigid schedules and rules in a way that might be well-suited for robots, but is a disaster for humans’ mental and physical health. “It’s not right to feel terrible and exhausted on a daily basis, to crave weekends, and to turn a desperate shade of blue every time Sunday night arrives,” Hawkins writes. The author believes most industries, beyond certain obvious exceptions such as ER physicians, can and should embrace flexibility of working schedules and of location

The Universal Tactics of Successful Trend Trading: Finding Opportunity in Uncertainty
Brent Penfold
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
The Universal Tactics of Successful Trend Trading: Finding Opportunity in Uncertainty delivers powerful and practical advice for the serious trend trader. Using the principles identified in The Universal Principles of Successful Trading, author Brent Penfold shows curious investors how to become a long-term winner with tried-and-true trend trading methodologies.

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