Book Bits: 18 June 2022

Money, Magic, and How to Dismantle a Financial Bomb: Quantum Economics for the Real World
David Orrell
Review via Irish Tech News
David Orrell argues that the emerging discipline of quantum economics, of which he is at the forefront, is the key to shattering the illusions that prevent us from understanding money’s true nature. In this colourful tour of the history, philosophy and mathematics of money, Orrell demonstrates how everything makes much more sense when we replace our classical economic models with ones based on quantum probability – and reveals the explosive reality of what is left once the illusions are stripped away.

The End of the World Is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization
Peter Zeihan
Summary via publisher (Harper Business)
In The End of the World is Just the Beginning, author and geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan maps out the next world: a world where countries or regions will have no choice but to make their own goods, grow their own food, secure their own energy, fight their own battles, and do it all with populations that are both shrinking and aging. The list of countries that make it all work is smaller than you think. Which means everything about our interconnected world – from how we manufacture products, to how we grow food, to how we keep the lights on, to how we shuttle stuff about, to how we pay for it all – is about to change.

The Meddlers: Sovereignty, Empire, and the Birth of Global Economic Governance
Jamie Martin
Summary via publisher (Harvard U. Press)
A pioneering history traces the origins of global economic governance—and the political conflicts it generates—to the aftermath of World War I. International economic institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank exert incredible influence over the domestic policies of many states. These institutions date from the end of World War II and amassed power during the neoliberal era of the late twentieth century. But as Jamie Martin shows, if we want to understand their deeper origins and the ideas and dynamics that shaped their controversial powers, we must turn back to the explosive political struggles that attended the birth of global economic governance in the early twentieth century.

Two and Twenty: How the Masters of Private Equity Always Win
Sachin Khajuria
Summary via publisher (Currency/Penguin Random House)
Private equity was once an investment niche. Today, the wealth controlled by its leading firms surpasses the GDP of some nations. Private equity has overtaken investment banking—and well-known names like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley—as the premier destination for ambitious financial talent, as well as the investment dollars of some of the world’s largest pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and endowments. At the industry’s pinnacle are the firms’ partners, happy to earn “two and twenty”—that is, a flat yearly fee of 2 percent of a fund’s capital, on top of 20 percent of the investment spoils.

Warp Speed: Inside the Operation That Beat COVID, the Critics, and the Odds
Paul Mango and Tom Cotton
Review via Fierce Pharma
Political zealotry aside, it’s hard to deny that Operation Warp Speed—the Trump administration project to develop and deliver vaccines to Americans to counter COVID-19—was anything less than a success.
But if there’s one aspect of Warp Speed that came up short, it was in the initial production of vaccines. After setting a highly ambitious goal of producing 300 million doses in 2020, the effort produced barely 100 million.
In his book, Warp Speed: Inside the Operation that Beat COVID, the Critics, and the Odds, Paul Mango discusses—with some interesting revelations—the manufacturing constraints that the operation faced and why the pledge proved unrealistic. Mango, the former deputy chief of staff at HHS, followed the agency’s chief Alex Azar when he took a major role with Warp Speed.

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