Book Bits: 28 November 2020

The Money Plot: A History of Currency’s Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate
Frederick Kaufman
Summary via publisher (Other Press)
Half fable, half manifesto, this brilliant new take on the ancient concept of cash lays bare its unparalleled capacity to empower and enthrall us.
Frederick Kaufman tackles the complex history of money, beginning with the earliest myths and wrapping up with Wall Street’s byzantine present-day doings. Along the way, he exposes a set of allegorical plots, stock characters, and stereotypical metaphors that have long been linked with money and commercial culture, from Melanesian trading rituals to the dogma of Medieval churchmen faced with global commerce, the rationales of Mercantilism and colonial expansion, and the U.S. dollar’s 1971 unpinning from gold.

Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity
Scott Galloway
Q&A with author via GeekWire
Q: Where do you see Amazon going long term in healthcare? And is this a good thing for our economic and personal health?
A: I’ve been saying Amazon was going to be the fastest-growing healthcare company in the world for the last two years. And for me, it’s a pretty basic, or pretty easy prediction. Basically every CEO has to be able to convince investors their stock price has a good chance of doubling in five years. Otherwise, people go buy Zoom or Peloton or someone else. For Amazon to do that, even if they get operational leverage, they’re running into the law of big numbers, which means they probably have to add somewhere between $150 billion or a quarter of a trillion dollars in top-line revenue — add that — in the next five years. That helps us predict what businesses they are going into.

Normalized Financial Wrongdoing: How Re-regulating Markets Created Risks and Fostered Inequality
Harland Prechel
Summary via publisher (Stanford U. Press)
In Normalized Financial Wrongdoing, Harland Prechel examines how social structural arrangements that extended corporate property rights and increased managerial control opened the door for misconduct and, ultimately, the 2008 financial crisis. Beginning his analysis with the financialization of the home-mortgage market in the 1930s, Prechel shows how pervasive these arrangements had become by the end of the century, when the bank and energy sectors developed political strategies to participate in financial markets.

Rentier Capitalism: Who Owns the Economy, and Who Pays for It?
Brett Christophers
Essay by author via The Guardian
The main problems with rentier capitalism are twofold. First, rentiers are inclined to sit on and sweat their income-generating assets, rather than innovate; it is a recipe for economic stagnation. And second, because incomes accrue disproportionately to the asset-owning elite, it is an engine for growing inequalities of both income and wealth. You only have to look at the London housing market to see that process in action.

The Coffeehouse Investor’s Ground Rules: Save, Invest, and Plan for a Life of Wealth and Happiness
Bill Schultheis
Excerpt via book’s website
If you embrace the major theme of low-cost, low-turnover funds with market efficiencies and tax efficiencies, it doesn’t matter how you build your portfolio; whether you use DFA, Vanguard, Charles Schwab, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, Avantis, or Capital Group funds.
What does matter is that you stay the course with what you embrace, especially when the portfolio you embrace doesn’t seem to be the strategy that is working at the moment.

The Smart Money Method: How to pick stocks like a hedge fund pro
Stephen Clapham
Summary via publisher (Harriman House)
In The Smart Money Method, the stock-picking techniques used by top industry professionals are laid bare for investors. This is the inside track on how top hedge funds pick stocks and build portfolios to make outsize returns. Stephen Clapham is a retired hedge fund partner who now trains stock analysts at some of the world’s largest and most successful institutional investors. He explains step-by-step his research process for picking stocks and testing their market-beating potential.

Valuation, DCF Model Download: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies (6th ed.)
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Tim Koller, et al.
McKinsey & Company’s #1 best-selling guide to corporate valuation, now in its sixth edition. Valuation is the single best guide of its kind, helping financial professionals worldwide excel at measuring, managing, and maximizing shareholder and company value. This new sixth edition provides insights on the strategic advantages of value-based management, complete detailed instruction, and nuances managers should know about valuation and valuation techniques as applied to different industries, emerging markets, and other special situations. The accompanying DCF model download allows you to complete computations automatically for error-free analysis and valuation of real companies.

In Defense of Populism: Protest and American Democracy
Donald F. Critchlow
Summary via publisher (U. of Pennsylvania Press)
Contrary to warnings about the dangers of populism, Donald F. Critchlow argues that grassroots activism is essential to party renewal within a democratic system.
Grassroots activism, presenting a cacophony of voices calling for reform of various sorts without programmatic coherence, is often derided as populist and distrusted by both political parties and voters. But according to Donald T. Critchlow, grassroots movements are actually responsible for political party transformation, both Democratic and Republic, into instruments of reform that reflect the interests, concerns, and anxieties of the electorate.

Please note that the links to books above are affiliate links with and James Picerno (a.k.a. The Capital Spectator) earns money if you buy one of the titles listed. Also note that you will not pay extra for a book even though it generates revenue for The Capital Spectator. By purchasing books through this site, you provide support for The Capital Spectator’s free content. Thank you!