Book Bits | 21 February 2015

Buy, Hold, and Sell!: The Investment Strategy That Could Save You From the Next Market Crash
By Ken Moraif
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Protect your retirement from the next big crash with a New Twist on the Old Investment Strategy. For years, advisors have recommended that investors take a “buy and hold” approach to the market, but people over fifty can’t afford to rely on this strategy. Buy, Hold, & SELL! uncovers the myth of the “buy and hold” investment philosophy, and explains why it’s dangerously incomplete. Written by Ken Moraif, one of Barron’s top 100 Financial Advisors in the United States three years a row and who called the 2008 market crash in November of 2007, this book outlines an alternative strategy that better serves investors who are at retirement age. Written in easy-to-understand language and buoyed by Ken’s trademark humor, this guide shoots down the myths that keep investors in risky markets, and arms readers with the knowledge, motivation, and strategies that may help them survive-and even thrive-during the inevitable next bear market.

The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power
By Steve Fraser
Review via The LA Times
Remember Occupy Wall Street? Steve Fraser does — he opens his book on our current state of popular political paralysis by recalling the “millions of ‘occupiers’ in a thousand cities” who in fall 2011 chanted “We are the 99 percent.” His question is not what Occupy wanted or why it disappeared so completely after its brief flowering; instead he asks why it didn’t start sooner — why it came three years after the Great Recession of October 2008, why popular resistance to Wall Street’s “greed and arrogance,” “incompetence and larceny” took so long to develop.

Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains
By Susan Greenfield
Review via The Washington Post
In “Mind Change,” neuroscientist, entrepreneur and British politician Susan Greenfield argues that our technologies are not only addictive — they are an existential threat. The brain, she writes, has an “evolutionary mandate to adapt to its environment,” and the digital world is changing at too rapid a pace for individuals or government regulations to keep up. Lives are destroyed. The extreme is the Korean couple whose compulsive video gaming led to the starvation of their newborn. But the warnings are no less ominous among billions of moderate users: a dramatic loss of empathy over the past decade and a precipitous decline in outdoor activity among children.

Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security
By Laurence J. Kotlikoff, et al.
Q&A with a co-author via
Q: Do you think it’s a valid concern to worry about Social Security running out by the time we’re that age?
A: It is a valid concern. The last time Social Security was significantly altered was in 1983. The changes in 1983 created a really good outlook for the system going forward. But we’ve known almost since then that we would need to get in and fix the system, meaning restoring its long-term financial stability. Right now, by the year 2033 the current projections are that if we don’t do anything, Social Security’s trust funds will run out of dollars and the program will only be able to pay 77 cents for every benefit dollar it owes.

Renewing the Search for a Monetary Constitution: Reforming Government’s Role in the Monetary System
Edited by Lawrence White, et al.
Summary via publisher (Cato Institute)
Over 50 years ago, In Search of a Monetary Constitution, which focused on the need for constraints on the creation of money by the government, was published. Although overlooked at the time, the work’s analysis has proven to be remarkably prescient. This new collection of essays, Renewing the Search for a Monetary Constitution: Reforming Government’s Role in the Monetary System, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first edition by revisiting and re-energizing the original intent. Since the publication of the original book, central banks have delivered neither sound money nor real growth; instead, chronic inflation and a series of booms and busts have prevailed. In this new collection, scholars call for monetary reform centered on the debate over creating constitutional provisions that empower government versus provisions that prohibit government interference with money. The aim of Renewing the Search for a Monetary Constitution is to revitalize public discussion of constitutional monetary reform.