Book Bits: 24 April 2021

The Power of Creative Destruction: Economic Upheaval and the Wealth of Nations
Philippe Aghion, et al.
Review via The Economist
Joseph schumpeter thought capitalism was doomed. Incumbent firms would grow too powerful, leading to corruption and, eventually, socialism. His mid-20th-century pessimism has become fashionable today, as societies grapple with inequality, climate change and tech giants. Yet some of Schumpeter’s professional heirs are optimists. In “The Power of Creative Destruction” Philippe Aghion, Céline Antonin and Simon Bunel, three economists, apply his most powerful idea to contemporary debates in their discipline. The result is sweeping, authoritative and—for the times—strikingly upbeat.

The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions​
Chuck Collins
Interview with author via Jefferson Public Radio
It’s no secret that people with lots of money make some effort to shield their money from taxes. In the United States, there are many loopholes to the tax codes, with the result that some very wealthy people pay lower effective tax rates than their middle-class employees. Chuck Collins, heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune and an expert on inequality, shows just how extensive tax avoidance is in his book The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions. Collins gives an overview of just how much work the “one percent” goes through to shield its money from taxation.

Richer, Wiser, Happier: How the World’s Greatest Investors Win in Markets and Life
William Green
Review via The New York Times
In fact, the idea of learning investing secrets of the pros has been around so long that when I worked at Forbes and Business Week in the 1980s, my colleagues and I joked that the typical Fortune cover was “How Bill Gates Made a Billion Dollars, and You Can, Too.”
But to his credit, Mr. Green manages to make the book worth your while, whether you pick your own stocks and buy actively managed mutual funds or are looking for confirmation that index funds are the way to go.

Challenging China: Smart Strategies for Dealing with China in the Xi Jinping Era
Sam Kaplan
Summary via publisher (Tuttle Publishing)
This book provides a fascinating insider’s look at how China is changing rapidly today, how these changes pose grave risks to the rest of the world, and how the U.S. and its allies can best address these challenges. Trade wars and U.S. presidents may come and go, but the fundamental dynamics of the U.S.-China relationship will remain in place for years to come.

Why You Won’t Get Rich: How Capitalism Broke its Contract with Hard Work
Robert Verkaik
Summary via publisher (Simon & Schuster)
Soaring rents, unfair taxation and a growing gig economy have brought about unprecedented economic shame: Amazon warehouse workers living in tents, nurses turning to foodbanks, London firemen commuting hundreds of miles to work. Even those higher up the ladder are losing their grip on the life they were promised. Barristers take home less than the minimum wage and doctors are starting out with £100,000 student debts on salaries lower than the national average. We’re all facing a new economic phenomenon – in-work poverty. At the same time a generation of young professionals is coming to terms with never being able to own even the cheapest home in their area. The only way to reverse the damage is by giving everyone a financial stake in society.

Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States
Jonathan Levy
Summary via publisher (Penguin Random House)
Today, in the midst of a new economic crisis and severe political discord, the nature of capitalism in United States is at a crossroads. Since the market crash and Great Recession of 2008, historian Jonathan Levy has been teaching a course to help his students understand everything that had happened to reach that disaster and the current state of the economy, but in doing so he discovered something more fundamental about American history. Now, in an ambitious single-volume history of the United States, he reveals how, from the beginning of U.S. history to the present, capitalism in America has evolved through four distinct ages and how the country’s economic evolution is inseparable from the nature of American life itself.

Trend Following Mindset: The Genius of Legendary Trader Tom Basso
Michael Covel
Summary via publisher (Harriman House)
Trend Following Mindset brings to life the timeless conversations between Tom Basso and Michael Covel originally featured on Michael’s renowned Trend Following podcast. In these profound and enlightening exchanges, Tom shares with Michael his deep wisdom on trading, business, life, and the how and why of his mindset. Tom Basso, dubbed Mr. Serenity by Jack Schwager, is one of the most experienced and
knowledgeable trend-following traders in the world today—a trading legend who lives life to the fullest.

Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet – And How We Fight Back
Kate Aronoff
Summary via publisher (Bold Type Books)
It has become impossible to deny that the planet is warming, and that governments must act. But a new denialism is taking root in the halls of power, shaped by decades of neoliberal policies and centuries of anti-democratic thinking. Since the 1980s, Democrats and Republicans have each granted enormous concessions to industries hell bent on maintaining business as usual. What’s worse, policymakers have given oil and gas executives a seat at the table designing policies that should euthanize their business model. This approach, journalist Kate Aronoff makes clear, will only drive the planet further into emergency.

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