Book Bits: 2 July 2022

The Illusion of Control: Why Financial Crises Happen, and What We Can (and Can’t) Do About It
Jon Danielsson
Review via Foreign Affairs
“Not another book about financial crises!” one is tempted to exclaim. Fortunately, this is an exceptionally provocative and original addition to an ample literature. Drawing on the historical record, Danielsson explains why regulators have not been more successful at limiting financial instability. They tend to focus excessively on exogenous risks (shocks coming from outside the financial system) while neglecting endogenous risks—the destabilizing responses of the participants in financial markets to those same exogenous shocks and, no less, to regulatory action. Having been encouraged in the wake of past crises to develop numerical measures of financial risks, regulators tend to place excessive confidence in the accuracy of those numbers, which are better at predicting the last crisis than the next one, given the ever-changing nature of the financial system.

How Big-Tech Barons Smash Innovation―and How to Strike Back
Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice E. Stucke
Review via Financial Times
There is no shortage of competition when it comes to books tackling the issue of Big Tech monopolies. How Big-Tech Barons Smash Innovation — and How to Strike Back is another one, yes, but one that finds its niche in taking aim at one of the core defences of Silicon Valley, that regulation — or the “wrong” regulation, as the companies would have it — would stifle American innovation. (And if you do that, China wins.)
Ezrachi and Stucke — two acclaimed academics, one on each side of the Atlantic — make the case that the Tech Barons have for years offered up an irresistible “ideological platter” to legislators that allows them to justify not taking a harder stance against monopolisation in tech.

The Future of Business Journalism: Why It Matters for Wall Street and Main Street
Chris Roush
Q&A with author via Quill
Business journalism has become dominated by publications that are so expensive that only big companies and their executives can afford them. As a result, consumers and small business owners are locked out of the news they need to make important business and financial decisions.
But Roush isn’t ready to see business journalism as yet another dead body. His latest book, “The Future of Business Journalism: Why it Matters for Wall Street and Main Street,” not only breaks down the forces that have led to business journalism’s decline but also offers a plan for saving it – a plan that includes embracing technology, improving business-journalism training, refocusing on consumers, changing the business-publication model and more.

The Missing Cryptoqueen: The Billion Dollar Cryptocurrency Con and the Woman Who Got Away with It
Jamie Bartlett
Review via Tatler
Thank Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey for our new obsession with the ‘female scammer’. The popularity of shows such as The Dropout and Inventing Anna – vicious portrayals of the rise and fall of these women – feed our desire for tales of rags to riches to rags again.
Now comes the story of Ruja Ignatova, the Bulgarian-born ‘Cryptoqueen’: an Oxford graduate who made billions by extorting normal people seduced by her cryptocurrency OneCoin. It is a tale of ‘greed and folly’ perhaps even more scandalous than Holmes’ billion-dollar Theranos bust-up. And it certainly makes Delvey’s hotel thefts and unpaid credit card debt look like small fry.

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