Book Bits | 2.22.14

Panic, Prosperity, and Progress: Five Centuries of History and the Markets
By Timothy Knight
Summary via publisher, Wiley
With the financial markets seemingly careening from one crisis to another, it’s vital for today’s investors and traders to have an historical perspective on market performance during times of great turmoil. In this book, Tim Knight provides an exhaustive analysis of financial market behavior prior, during, and following tumultuous events since 1600. Making copious use of charts and basic technical analysis, Knight demonstrates how external shocks tend to create extreme reactions in the financial markets and how these predictable reactions provide opportunities for investors and traders to profit. Knight traverses five centuries of financial market history, from Tulipmania in the 1600s to the contemporary sovereign debt crisis.

Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits
By Kevin Roose
Review via Bloomberg BusinessWeek
Starting in 2009, Roose, a reporter at the New York Times and then New York magazine, persuaded eight new hires at the nation’s biggest banks to let him into their lives as they learned the ABCs of finance and Wall Street culture. Between the nondisclosure agreements that bankers sign and the hypervigilance that PR and compliance squads wage against leaks, this was akin to eight powder kegs befriending a butane torch. But it’s easy to see why these young souls trusted him to keep their participation a secret. Roose views them as people and not types, riding shotgun as they drink, party, puke, box, eat ’shrooms, and stifle bonus rage (sums that seemed magic-beanstalk-high to a college senior are suddenly insults). And he’s adept at understanding how working in finance changes them.

All That is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster
By Danny Dorling
Review via The Guardian
Somewhere in among the avalanche of graphs, statistics and stories of housing misery that make up Danny Dorling’s All That Is Solid, the author acknowledges that he is in good company: the state of housing has formed the basis for recent studies and diatribes authored by everyone from “revolutionaries” to bankers and economists. It arrives soon after a notable essay in the London Review of Books by James Meek on the housing crisis, and chimes well with the more elliptical analyses of housing in film-maker Patrick Keiller’s book of essays The View from the Train. Both Meek and Keiller give a great deal of attention to undersupply, with consequences ranging from the densification of London to the overvaluing of an ageing, dilapidated housing stock; they make a variety of counter-proposals, ranging from new council housing to inexpensive self-builds as a way of breaking the national obsession with wildly expensive private property. What is striking is how little effect these suggestions have on mainstream opinion.

Data Analytics for Corporate Debt Markets: Using Data for Investing, Trading, Capital Markets, and Portfolio Management
By Robert S. Kricheff
Summary via publisher, FT Press
Use state-of-the-art data analytics to optimize your evaluation and selection of corporate debt investments. Data Analytics for Corporate Debt Markets introduces the most valuable data analytics tools, methods, and applications for today’s corporate debt market. Robert Kricheff shows how data analytics can improve and accelerate the process of proper investment selection, and guides market participants in focusing their credit work. Kricheff demonstrates how to use analytics to position yourself for the future; to assess how your current portfolio or trading desk is currently positioned relative to the marketplace; and to pinpoint which part of your holdings impacted past performance. He outlines how analytics can be used to compare markets, develop investment themes, and select debt issues that fit (or do not fit) those themes.

The Efficient Practice: Transform and Optimize Your Financial Advisory Practice for Greater Profits
By David L. Lawrence
Summary via publisher, Wiley
An essential guide to tools and techniques for achieving efficiency, productivity, and profitability in financial advisory firms. As a profession, financial advisors have been very well educated on how to be a financial advisor, but the industry does a poor job of preparing financial advisors to be great business owners. This book presents the Profit-Driven Architecture, a visual way of viewing the operational structure of a financial practice.

Can China Lead?: Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth
By Regina M. Abrami, et al.
Summary via publisher, Harvard Business Press
In this thought-provoking book, noted China experts from Harvard Business School and the Wharton School assert that while China has experienced remarkable economic growth in recent decades (nearly 10 percent for more than thirty years), it now faces major challenges–tests that could shift the country’s political and economic trajectory. A lack of accountability, transparency, and ease of operating in China–combined with growing evidence of high-level corruption–has made domestic and foreign businesspeople increasingly wary of the “China model.”