Book Bits | 20 February 2016

Adaptive Asset Allocation:
Dynamic Global Portfolios to Profit in Good Times–and Bad

By Adam Butler, et al.
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Adaptive Asset Allocation is a no-nonsense how-to guide for dynamic portfolio management. Written by the team behind, this book walks you through a uniquely objective and unbiased investment philosophy and provides clear guidelines for execution. From foundational concepts and timing to forecasting and portfolio optimization, this book shares insightful perspective on portfolio adaptation that can improve any investment strategy. Accessible explanations of both classical and contemporary research support the methodologies presented, bolstered by the authors’ own capstone case study showing the direct impact of this approach on the individual investor.

Investment: A History
By Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing
Summary via publisher (Columbia University Press)
Investing—the commitment of resources to achieve a return—affects individuals, families, companies, and nations, and has done so throughout history. Yet until the sixteenth century, investing was a privilege of only the elite classes. The story behind the democratization of investing is bound up with some of history’s most epic events. It is also a tale rich with lessons for professional and everyday investors who hope to make wiser choices.

Risk Parity Fundamentals
By Ed Qian
Summary via publisher (CRC Press)
Despite recent progress in the theoretical analysis and practical applications of risk parity, many important fundamental questions still need to be answered. Risk Parity Fundamentals uses fundamental, quantitative, and historical analysis to address these issues, such as:
* What are the macroeconomic dimensions of risk in risk parity portfolios?
* What are the appropriate risk premiums in a risk parity portfolio?
* What are market environments in which risk parity might thrive or struggle?
* What is the role of leverage in a risk parity portfolio?
An experienced researcher and portfolio manager who coined the term “risk parity,” the author provides investors with a practical understanding of the risk parity investment approach. Investors will gain insight into the merit of risk parity as well as the practical and underlying aspects of risk parity investing.

The Engine of Enterprise: Credit in America
By Rowena Olegario
Summary via publisher (Harvard University Press)
American households, businesses, and governments have always used intensive amounts of credit. The Engine of Enterprise traces the story of credit from colonial times to the present, highlighting its productive role in building national prosperity. Rowena Olegario probes enduring questions that have divided Americans: Who should have access to credit? How should creditors assess borrowers’ creditworthiness? How can people accommodate to, rather than just eliminate, the risks of a credit-dependent economy? In the 1790s Alexander Hamilton saw credit as “the invigorating principle” that would spur the growth of America’s young economy. His great rival, Thomas Jefferson, deemed it a grave risk, inviting burdens of debt that would amount to national self-enslavement. Even today, credit lies at the heart of longstanding debates about opportunity, democracy, individual responsibility, and government’s reach. Olegario goes beyond these timeless debates to explain how the institutions and legal frameworks of borrowing and lending evolved and how attitudes about credit both reflected and drove those changes.

Renminbi Rising: A New Global Monetary System Emerges
By William H. Overholt, et al.
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Renminbi Rising charts the emergence of China’s internationalizing currency and provides an in-depth analysis of the global repercussions. Written by a team of renown economics researchers, this book describes the pressures that enabled the emergence of a new global monetary system and why China’s Renminbi (RMB) became the default ‘second in line’ as the U.S. receded from leadership. Policy makers and regulators will appreciate the examination of the motivations behind those driving the shift, and financial professionals will find valuable guidance in the discussion surrounding business opportunities that the RMB brings to the table. Coverage includes the emergence of new Chinese-sponsored financial institutions, the scale of various RMB businesses and the coming transformation of the global financial system.

The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure
By Henry Petroski
Review via Nature
In The Road Taken, engineer and historian Henry Petroski surveys the state of US bridges, roads and tunnels — the legacy of two centuries of technological development — and finds them crumbling. Echoing Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’, Petroski reflects on both physical highways and the choices that contributed to their current state. As Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.” Petroski compellingly shows that only by closely investigating the figurative roads down which the country has travelled, and the decisions made at their forks, can the past be used to shape the future.