Book Bits | 23 January 2016

The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse
By Mohamed El-Erian
Review via The Economist
Mohamed El-Erian, a former IMF economist and executive at the Pimco fund management group, is the latest to sound the alarm. While central banks “averted tremendous human suffering”, he argues that they have failed to generate what the Western world really needs—“the combination of high, durable and inclusive growth together with genuine financial stability”.

Worse still, politicians have come to rely on central bankers to provide the main source of economic stimulus. As a result, Mr El-Erian asserts, they have failed to force through reforms that were badly needed. The long period of easy monetary policy has pushed up asset prices and thus wealth inequality. It has also meant that the appetite for financial risks (market speculation, in other words) is greater than the willingness of businesses to take economic risks by increasing investment.

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
By Jane Mayer
Review via The Wall Street Journal
Jane Mayer, a New Yorker magazine staff writer and former Washington reporter for this newspaper, introduces “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” by comparing current-day America to the Gilded Age of the 1890s and bemoaning the ways in which rich people today are trying to “remake America” to advance their interests. Inevitably, she quotes New York Times columnist Paul Krugman: “We are on the road not to just a highly unequal society but a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth.”

Digital Wealth: An Automatic Way to Invest Successfully
By Simon Moore
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Digital Wealth: An Automatic Way to Invest Successfully reveals core investment strategies that you can leverage to build long-term wealth. More than a simple review of traditional investment strategies, this innovative text proffers digital investment techniques that are driven not by people but by algorithms. Supported by asset allocation research, the secrets shared in this forward-thinking book have underpinned cutting-edge investment firms as they integrate algorithm-based strategies. In addition to presenting key concepts, this groundbreaking resource explains how these concepts can give you an edge over the professionals on Wall Street through details regarding achieving financial security and meeting financial goals rooted in a firm foundation in behavioral finance, portfolio tilts, and modern portfolio theory.

Money Mindset: Formulating a Wealth Strategy in the 21st Century
By Jacob Gold
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
The speed at which the world is evolving is compounding exponentially each day, leaving individual investors wondering how to appropriately plan for their financial future. The financial norms that helped prior generations retire with grace are quickly evaporating or have already been replaced with new difficult realities. Money Mindset is an expert-led guide to growing your wealth, protecting your wealth, and transferring your wealth to future generations. Written by a third generation financial planner who is also an adjunct finance professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, Money Mindset helps readers understand important financial concepts and theories of the 21st century.

The Financial Crisis Reconsidered: The Mercantilist Origin of Secular Stagnation and Boom-Bust Cycles
By Daniel Aronoff
Summary via Amazon
In The Financial Crisis Reconsidered, Aronoff challenges the conventional view that reckless credit produced the US housing boom and the financial crisis, explaining how the large current account deficit, and its mercantilist origin, was a more fundamental cause. He also demonstrates that the decision to provide relief for bank creditors rather than underwater homeowners was responsible for the prolonged recession that followed the crisis.