Book Bits | 16 June 2018

Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments
By Michael Batnick
Review via The Wall Street Journal
If I had to write one sentence that is true always and everywhere, it would be this: Smart investors did stupid things again today.
A new book, “Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments,” by Michael Batnick, director of research at Ritholtz Wealth Management in New York, is the latest proof of that. It’s also a reminder that making mistakes with your money is normal, human and hard to avoid.

The Infinite Desire for Growth
By Daniel Cohen
Review via IMF
Wealth does not bring happiness, according to the Easterlin Paradox. Rapid economic growth allows people to think this might be so, but when growth turns weak and wealth decreases for many, the illusion is shattered. The Infinite Desire for Growth, by renowned French economist Daniel Cohen, aims to offer an alternative to this outcome… The most innovative and thought-provoking segment of the book is its middle. Titled “The Future, the Future!” it presents a coherent argument for weak growth in the future. Starting from an overview of forthcoming technological advances, it raises the possibility of perpetual growth. Yet a cloud hangs over this paradise: the possible elimination of middle-class jobs.

The Republic of Beliefs: A New Approach to Law and Economics
By Kaushik Basu
Summary via publisher (Princeton University Press)
In The Republic of Beliefs, Kaushik Basu, one of the world’s leading economists, argues that the traditional economic analysis of the law has significant flaws and has failed to answer certain critical questions satisfactorily. Why are good laws drafted but never implemented? When laws are unenforced, is it a failure of the law or the enforcers? And, most important, considering that laws are simply words on paper, why are they effective? Basu offers a provocative alternative to how the relationship between economics and real-world law enforcement should be understood.

The Geometry of Wealth: How To Shape A Life Of Money And Meaning
By Brian Portnoy
Q&A with author via Nasdaq Reads
Q: What motivated you to write the book?
A: A combination of work and personal issues drove me to dig deeper on some questions related to money, happiness, and financial planning. Professionally, I speak with many financial advisors and their clients (people like you and me) about the psychology of money-related decisions. In many cases, I see the cart put before the horse – many technical, detailed ‘in the weeds’ conversations about markets and investing with at best a vague connection to the more important questions about what it means to lead a life well-lived.

Diminishing Returns at Work: The Consequences of Long Working Hours
By John H. Pencavel
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
The relationship between the number of hours worked and productivity has long fascinated economists and management. It is a central component of the production function that translates inputs to outputs. While increasing the number of hours someone works may increase output, this incisive book demonstrates that there are diminishing returns to long working hours.

Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work
By Sarah Kessler
Q&A with author via Fast Company
In the era of the side hustle, more and more people are relying on freelance work as a piece of their overall income. For some, that means consulting, for others it means driving for Uber. But for all gig economy workers, this new labor dynamic conjures big questions about the future of work and how social benefits, like health insurance and paid time off, should evolve… We sat down with Kessler to discuss how the gig economy has evolved since she first started covering it, and what the future of work looks like.

Confronting Dystopia: The New Technological Revolution and the Future of Work
Edited by Eva Paus
Summary via publisher (Cornell University Press)
In Confronting Dystopia, a distinguished group of scholars analyze the implications of the ongoing technological revolution for jobs, working conditions, and income. Focusing on the economic and political implications of AI, digital connectivity, and robotics for both the Global North and the Global South, they move beyond diagnostics to seek solutions that offer better lives for all. Their analyses of the challenges of technology are placed against the backdrop of three decades of rapid economic globalization. The two in tandem are producing the daunting challenges that analysts and policymakers must now confront.

Financial Planning & Analysis and Performance Management
By Jack Alexander
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Financial Planning & Analysis and Performance Management is the essential desk reference for CFOs, FP&A professionals, investment banking professionals, and equity research analysts. With thought-provoking discussion and refreshing perspective, this book provides insightful reference for critical areas that directly impact an organization’s effectiveness. From budgeting and forecasting, analysis, and performance management, to financial communication, metrics, and benchmarking, these insights delve into the cornerstones of business and value drivers. Dashboards, graphs, and other visual aids illustrate complex concepts and provide reference at a glance, while the author’s experience as a CFO, educator, and general manager leads to comprehensive and practical analytical techniques for real world application.