Book Bits | 20 April 2019

The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation
By Gerald C. Kane, et al.
Q&A with authors via publisher (MIT Press)
Q: The data you collected over a period of four years required surveying over 16,000 people who have experienced and responded to digital disruption. What did you learn about why some organizations are struggling to respond effectively to it?
A: We asked survey respondents to identify the biggest barriers to digital transformation facing their organization. The most common response was that organizations were their own worst enemy. Internal issues such as lack of agility, complacency, and inflexible culture were reported as the biggest barriers. This finding aligns with the key thesis of our book that technology is not the most important nor the most difficult part of digital transformation. Instead, the more pressing issue is how an organization adapts its culture, strategy, leadership, and talent to operate effectively in a digital world.

Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count
By Phil Buchanan
Summary via publisher (Public Affairs)
A majority of American households give to charity in some form or another–from local donations to food banks, religious organizations, or schools, to contributions to prevent disease or protect basic freedoms. Whether you’re in a position to give $1 or $1 million, every giver needs to answer the same question: How do I channel my giving effectively to make the greatest difference
In Giving Done Right, Phil Buchanan, the president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, arms donors with what it takes to do more good more quickly and to avoid predictable errors that lead too many astray. This crucial book will reveal the secrets and lessons learned from some of the biggest givers, busting commonly held myths and challenging the idea that “business thinking” holds the answer to effective philanthropy. And it offers the intellectual frameworks, data-driven insights, tools, and practical examples to allow readers to understand exactly what it takes to make a difference.

Artificial Intelligence in Practice: How 50 Successful Companies Used AI and Machine Learning to Solve Problems
By Bernard Marr with Matt Ward
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Artificial Intelligence in Practice is a fascinating look into how companies use AI and machine learning to solve problems. Presenting 50 case studies of actual situations, this book demonstrates practical applications to issues faced by businesses around the globe. The rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence has expanded beyond research labs and computer science departments and made its way into the mainstream business environment. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are cited as the most important modern business trends to drive success. It is used in areas ranging from banking and finance to social media and marketing. This technology continues to provide innovative solutions to businesses of all sizes, sectors and industries. This engaging and topical book explores a wide range of cases illustrating how businesses use AI to boost performance, drive efficiency, analyse market preferences and many others.

Governance in the Digital Age: A Guide for the Modern Corporate Board Director
By Brian Stafford and Dottie Schindlinger
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
This book seeks to chart the technology-fueled changes taking place in the field of corporate governance and describes the impact these changes are having on boards and the enterprises they govern. It also describes what the future could look like once companies truly embrace the power of technology to change governance. Additionally, this book will provide a set of “suggested action steps” for companies and their boards focused on ways they can leverage technology tools to enhance governance immediately. Through a review of the latest governance research, interviews with key thought leaders, and case studies of enterprises that have embraced governance technology, readers will be armed with new insights and approaches they can take to enhance the work of their boards and senior leaders to reach new levels of performance.

Achieving Investment Excellence: A Practical Guide for Trustees of Pension Funds, Endowments and Foundations
By Kees Koedijk, et al.
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Achieving Investment Excellence offers trustees and asset managers a comprehensive handbook for improving the quality of their investments. With a stated goal of substantially and sustainably improving annual returns, this book clarifies and demystifies important concepts surrounding trustee duties and responsibilities, investment strategies, analysis, evaluation and much more. Low interest rates are making the high cost of future pension payouts fraught with tension, even as the time and knowledge required to manage these funds appropriately increases — it is no wonder that pensions are increasingly seen as a financial liability. Now more than ever, it is critical that trustees understand exactly what contributes to investment success — and what detracts from it. This book details the roles, the tools and the strategies that make pension funds pay off.

Way of the Trader: A complete guide to the art of financial trading
By Ian Murphy
Summary via publisher (Harriman House)
Way of the Trader offers a fresh perspective on a mysterious art – trading the financial markets. Over 15 compelling chapters, Ian Murphy unpacks the world of a private trader, providing a wealth of practical tools for those wishing to make a living from the markets. In Part A he examines the job of a trader and their relationship with the market – and how to survive where so many others have failed. In Part B he reveals the habits of serious professionals. These include essential procedures such as the Eight Checks and the Nine Filters which should be employed by all traders before a single penny is placed in the market. Most important of all, Ian explains how the Five Limits of Risk allow us to embrace the dangers at the heart of trading, so we can face the market with confidence and clarity.

A Short History of Brexit
By Kevin O’Rourke
Review via The Guardian
O’Rourke is all too aware that, as titles go, A Short History of Brexit is problematic. For one thing, as the defeat of the withdrawal agreement has confirmed, this tale, however it turns out, will not be short. For another, the story is rapidly unfolding: the proofs of the book sent out to reviewers had empty space at the end for last-minute updates – the finished book takes events up to Christmas. It might indeed be questioned whether such a project is worth doing while the outcome is so uncertain. But O’Rourke’s book provides a bracing and absorbing answer. As he puts it towards the end, Brexit has already been “a hugely informative, if costly, civics lesson for the people of Britain, Ireland, and the rest of Europe” and he is superbly well fitted to draw out that lesson for the general reader.

Detecting Accounting Fraud Before It’s Too Late
By Oriol Amat
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Accounting fraud is the deliberate manipulation of accounting records in order to make a company’s financial performance seem better or worse than it actually is. Accounting scandals often have catastrophic consequences for shareholders and employees. Thus, analysts and auditors must be equipped to detect accounting fraud. This book is a comprehensive guide to detecting accounting fraud for auditors investigating accounting fraud and analysts/managers seeking to prevent it. A wide variety of warning signs are described, as are several techniques for detecting and addressing fraud.

Financial Econometrics: Models and Methods
By Oliver Linton
Summary via publisher (Cambridge University Press)
This is a thorough exploration of the models and methods of financial econometrics by one of the world’s leading financial econometricians and is for students in economics, finance, statistics, mathematics, and engineering who are interested in financial applications. Based on courses taught around the world, the up-to-date content covers developments in econometrics and finance over the last twenty years while ensuring a solid grounding in the fundamental principles of the field. Care has been taken to link theory and application to provide real-world context for students. Worked exercises and empirical examples have also been included to make sure complicated concepts are solidly explained and understood.