● Shadow Networks: Financial Disorder and the System that Caused Crisis
By Francisco Louçã and Michael Ash
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
The 2007-08 financial crisis surprised many economists and the public. But how did the crisis come about, why was it so deep, and why has the clean-up been so slow and painful? Many accounts of the crisis focus on renegade activity in marginal financial sectors. Shadow Networks challenges this pervading view and sets out to demonstrate that, far from a dissident branch, the shadow finance that initiated the crisis is tightly networked with, and highly profitable for, bank-based finance. The collapse was not an accident, but baked into the system of finance from the start. Shadow Networks traces the complex web of power that caused crisis and gives vivid descriptions of the actors in the quarter century leading up to 2007 to explain how the now decade-long crisis took shape.
● Market Rules: Bankers, Presidents, and the Origins of the Great Recession
By Mark H. Rose
Summary via publisher (University of Pennsylvania Press)
Although most Americans attribute shifting practices in the financial industry to the invisible hand of the market, Mark H. Rose reveals the degree to which presidents, legislators, regulators, and even bankers themselves have long taken an active interest in regulating the industry. Rose explains the history of the financial industry as a story of individuals—some well-known, like Presidents Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton; Treasury Secretaries Donald Regan and Timothy Geithner; and JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon; and some less so, though equally influential, such as Kennedy’s Comptroller of the Currency James J. Saxon, Citicorp CEO Walter Wriston, and Bank of America CEOs Hugh McColl and Kenneth Lewis. Rose traces the evolution of supermarket banks from the early days of the Kennedy administration, through the financial crisis of 2008, and up to the Trump administration’s attempts to modify bank rules. Deeply researched and accessibly written, Market Rules demystifies the major trends in the banking industry and brings financial policy to life.
● The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age
By Tim Wu
Review via The New York Times
These are fraught times, and while you may be scared, Tim Wu suggests that you may not be scared enough. Like Michael Lewis’s “The Fifth Risk,” a recent book that shows how something most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about — government bureaucracy — is consequential (and potentially terrifying), Wu’s “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age” is a surprisingly rousing treatment of another presumably boring subject: mergers and acquisitions.
● Gone Goose: The Remaking of an American Town in the Age of Climate Change
By Braden T. Leap
Summary via publisher (Temple University Press)
Sumner, MO, pop. 102, near the Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, proclaims itself “The Wild Goose Capital of the World.” It even displays Maxie, the World’s largest goose: a 40-foot tall fiberglass statue with a wingspan stretching more than 60 feet. But while the 200,000 Canada geese that spent their falls and winters at Swan Lake helped generate millions of dollars for the local economy—with hunting and the annual Goose Festival—climate change, as well as environmental and land use issues, have caused the birds to disappear. The economic loss of the geese and the activities they inspired served as key building blocks in the rural identities residents had developed and treasured.
● Master Your Mind: Counterintuitive Strategies to Refocus and Re-Energize Your Runaway Brain
By Roger Seip and Robb Zbierski
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Master Your Mind offers a bit of perspective and a lot of insight for anyone seeking long-term success. Success in business is spelled M-O-R-E: better results, faster growth, more revenue, greater efficiency. Do more. Make more. Achieve more. And do it now. Eventually, ambition turns to stress, then to frenzy, then to emptiness as once-ambitious workers endlessly trudge the hamster wheel chasing the next promotion. While top-level performance is the holy grail of business at all levels, there is another, much better way to achieve it: slow down. Yes, you read that right—S-L-O-W. This is your permission to jump off of the hamster wheel. Slowing down is not a luxury, it is a necessity. A frenetic brain simply doesn’t perform at optimal levels. By maintaining a snail’s pace, you actually achieve better results—at rocket speed—because you’re firing on all cylinders. You’ll think of new things, approach old problems from new perspectives, and breathe a breath of fresh air into everything you do. This book shows you how to achieve this state of steady, sustainable fire, and how to get further by crawling than you ever did while attempting to fly.