Book Bits | 25 April 2020

The Technologized Investor: Innovation through Reorientation
Ashby Monk and Dane Rook
Summary via publisher (Stanford U. Press)
Institutional Investors underpin our capitalist world, and could play a major role in addressing some of the greatest challenges to society such as climate change, the ballooning wealth gap, declining infrastructure, aging populations, and the need for stable funding for the sciences and arts. Advanced technology can help institutional Investors deliver the funds needed to tackle these grave challenges. The Technologized Investor is a practical guide showing how institutional Investors can gain the capabilities for deep innovation by reorienting their strategies and organizations around advanced technology. It dissects why technology has historically failed institutional Investors and recommends realistic changes that they can make to unlock technological superpowers. Grounded in the actual experiences of institutional Investors from around the globe, it’s a unique reference manual for practitioners on how to reboot their organizations for long-term performance.

Active Investing in the Age of Disruption
Evan L. Jones
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Outperforming the market—or “alpha creation” as it’s sometimes called—is very possible with the proper investment discipline and methodologies. But the market-beating strategies that will work today are not the same as those that worked in the past. Central bank intervention and the accelerated pace of technology have caused an increase in the disruption of traditional business models across many industries. These industry paradigm shifts combined with macro-driven financial markets have created one of the toughest environments for active investment managers in history. Active Investing in the Age of Disruption details the disruptive forces in the market today and how to navigate them to outperform.

Risk Factors and Contagion in Commodity Markets and Stocks Markets
Edited by Stéphane Goutte and Khaled Guesmi
Summary via publisher (World Scientific)
The link between commodities prices and the business cycle, including variables such as real GDP, industrial production, unemployment, inflation, and market uncertainty, has often been debated in the macroeconomic literature. To quantify the impact of commodities on the economy, one can distinguish different modeling approaches. First, commodities can be represented as the pinnacle of cross-sectional financial asset prices. Second, price fluctuations due to seasonal variations, dramatic market changes, political and regulatory decisions, or technological shocks may adversely impact producers who use commodities as input. This latter effect creates the so-called “commodities risk”. Additionally, commodities price fluctuations may spread to other sectors in the economy, via contagion effects. Besides, stronger investor interest in commodities may create closer integration with conventional asset markets; as a result, the financialization process also enhances the correlation between commodity markets and financial markets.

Rivers of Power: How a Natural Force Raised Kingdoms, Destroyed Civilizations, and Shapes Our World
Laurence C. Smith
Summary via publisher (Little Brown Spark/Hachette)
In Rivers of Power, geographer Laurence C. Smith explores the timeless yet underappreciated relationship between rivers and civilization as we know it. Rivers are of course important in many practical ways (water supply, transportation, sanitation, etc). But the full breadth of their influence on the way we live is less obvious. Rivers define and transcend international borders, forcing cooperation between nations. Huge volumes of river water are used to produce energy, raw commodities, and food. Wars, politics, and demography are transformed by their devastating floods. The territorial claims of nations, their cultural and economic ties to each other, and the migrations and histories of their peoples trace back to rivers, river valleys, and the topographic divides they carve upon the world. And as climate change, technology, and cities transform our relationship with nature, new opportunities are arising to protect the waters that sustain us.

The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare
Christian Brose
Summary via publisher (Hachette)
For generations of Americans, our country has been the world’s dominant military power. How the US military fights, and the systems and weapons that it fights with, have been uncontested. That old reality, however, is rapidly deteriorating. America’s traditional sources of power are eroding amid the emergence of new technologies and the growing military threat posed by rivals such as China. America is at grave risk of losing a future war.

Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly
Evy Poumpouras
Review via Publishers Weekly
In this illuminating debut, former Secret Service agent Poumpouras lays out a road map for ensuring one’s personal safety in any situation. Her advice is hard-won, garnered from stints in the New York Police Department and working in the security details of former presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Poumpouras proves she’s adept at self-protection as she counsels that fear (“and its crazy cousin, panic”) can paralyze even the most confident—and that facing it head-on is the key to becoming “bulletproof.”

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