Book Bits | 28 October 2017

Unfinished Business: The Unexplored Causes of the Financial Crisis and the Lessons Yet to be Learned
By Tamim Bayoumi
Summary via publisher (Yale University Press)
There have been numerous books examining the 2008 financial crisis from either a U.S. or European perspective. Tamim Bayoumi, deputy director in the strategy, policy, and review department at the IMF, is the first to explain how the Euro crisis and U.S. housing crash were, in fact, parasitically intertwined. Starting in the 1980s, Bayoumi outlines the cumulative policy errors that undermined the stability of both the European and U.S. financial sectors, highlighting the catalytic role played by European mega banks that exploited lax regulation to expand into the U.S. market and financed unsustainable bubbles on both continents.

Factor Investing: From Traditional to Alternative Risk Premia
Edited by Emmanuel Jurczenko
Summary via publisher (ISTE Press – Elsevier)
This new edited volume consists of a collection of original articles written by leading industry experts in the area of factor investing. The chapters introduce readers to some of the latest research developments in the area of equity and alternative investment strategies. Each chapter deals with new methods for constructing and harvesting traditional and alternative risk premia, building strategic and tactical multifactor portfolios, and assessing related systematic investment performances. This volume will be of help to portfolio managers, asset owners and consultants, as well as academics and students who want to improve their knowledge and understanding of systematic risk factor investing.

Economics for the Common Good
By Jean Tirole
Summary via publisher (Princeton University Press)
When Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics, he suddenly found himself being stopped in the street by complete strangers and asked to comment on issues of the day, no matter how distant from his own areas of research. His transformation from academic economist to public intellectual prompted him to reflect further on the role economists and their discipline play in society. The result is Economics for the Common Good, a passionate manifesto for a world in which economics, far from being a “dismal science,” is a positive force for the common good.

The Weaponization of Trade: The Great Unbalancing of Politics and Economics
By Rebecca Harding
Summary via publisher (London Publishing Partnership)
Trade is being weaponized – and this isn’t good. As politicians on both sides of the Atlantic raise the stakes, trade is increasingly a tool of coercion to achieve strategic influence. This book looks at the risks for us all as trade becomes an instrument of foreign policy, and shows how politicians could turn things around.

Leveraging Your Financial Intelligence: At the Intersection of Money, Health, and Happiness
By Douglas Lennick, et al.
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Are you one of the 90% of people who are stressed about money? If so, you know it can take its toll on every part of your life. Financial health, physical health and happiness are profoundly interconnected. It’s almost impossible to enjoy any one of these without the help of the other two. The authors describe this phenomenon as the intersection of money, health, and happiness. Leveraging Your Financial Intelligence will teach you a powerful values-based approach to achieving your most important life goals. As you take steps to improve your financial well-being, you’ll discover that leveraging your financial intelligence will also fuel your physical and emotional well-being.

The Social Life of Financial Derivatives: Markets, Risk, and Time
By Edward LiPuma
Excerpt via publisher (Duke University Press)
The financial crisis of 2008 inspired this book. It is thus, on that account, about derivatives. For derivatives not only motivated the 2008 crisis, they are instrumental in transforming the character of crisis itself. More in a moment about the dimensions of contemporary crises: for now simply note that the crisis speaks that finance is replacing production as the dynamic of capitalism. Not everyone thinks so, either that derivatives animated the crisis or that crisis itself represents something new owing to the ascension of circulatory capitalism. That is, capitalism with derivatives as ushering in a turning in the character of capital itself which, as it makes this truth our reality, tells us that we need to construct a better theory of financial capital.

The Smart Financial Advisor: How financial advisors can thrive by embracing fintech and goals-based investing
By Bill Martin
Summary via publisher (Harriman House)
Financial advisors stand at a crossroads. One path is grounded in traditional investing. Advisors who remain on this route face numerous hazards that impair their clients’ long-term wealth and endanger advisory viability. The other path requires practitioners to adapt by embracing technology and goals-based solutions. Choosing the right road is vital for sustaining and growing advisory businesses in the years ahead.Industry veteran and financial technology expert, Bill Martin, CFA, creatively explains how financial advisors can sidestep the seven major hazards their clients face in conventional investing by choosing the smarter path of goals-based investing

Honours versus Money: The Economics of Awards
By Bruno S. Frey and Jana Gallus
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Honours fulfil one of the most fundamental desires of human beings, namely, to be recognised and held in esteem by others. There are thousands of awards in all areas of society: the state, arts and media, sports, religion, the voluntary sector, academia, and business. Awards are well visible, can raise the recipients’ intrinsic motivation and creativity, and establish a bond of loyalty to the giver. They have distinct advantages over money and other rewards. Presenting empirical evidence using modern statistical techniques Honours versus Money argues that awards can significantly raise performance in different contexts even if they are purely symbolic, recommending how this can be used in practice. It makes the case for reorienting our focus- away from the monetary or material dimensions of work and private life, and towards the symbolic dimensions to celebrate and shine a light on merit and achievement.

A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism:
Understanding the Political Economy of What We Eat

By Eric Holt-Giménez
Summary via publisher (Monthly Review Press)
Capitalism drives our global food system. Everyone who wants to end hunger, who wants to eat good, clean, healthy food, needs to understand capitalism. This book will help do that. In his latest book, Eric Holt-Giménez takes on the social, environmental, and economic crises of the capitalist mode of food production. Drawing from classical and modern analyses, A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism introduces the reader to the history of our food system and to the basics of capitalism. In straightforward prose, Holt-Giménez explains the political economics of why—even as local, organic, and gourmet food have spread around the world—billions go hungry in the midst of abundance; why obesity is a global epidemic; and why land-grabbing, global warming, and environmental pollution are increasing.