Book Bits | 29 August 2015

Making Sense of Markets: An Investor’s Guide to Profiting Amidst the Gloom
By Kevin Gardiner
Summary via publisher (Palgrave Macmillan)
Making Sense of Markets argues that received wisdom is still far too pessimistic, and that investment opportunities have been missed as a result. It suggests that the great panic of 2008 had its roots in finance, not a flawed global economy, and it tackles some popular concerns – debt, demography, Western decadence for example – head-on, showing succinctly why they have been overdone. The book will then explain how investors can take advantage of these insights in building a long-term investment portfolio. It pays particular attention to behavioral influences such as the interaction of media and markets. It suggests that the conventional view of investing as a search for an optimal portfolio – as opposed to a satisfactory one – is misplaced. It argues that conventional financial analysis, not investors’ living standards, may be the long-term casualty of the latest seizure in capital markets.

Plunder and Deceit: Big Government’s Exploitation of Young People and the Future
By Mark Levin
Review via The Washington Times
In his latest book, “Plunder and Deceit,” Mr. Levin predicts a grim future for today’s 18- to 35-year-olds if current political, economic and social trends continue. Bluntly and honestly, Mr. Levin expresses doubts that these young people can look forward to a future as bright as the one their parents and grandparents enjoyed. At his best, Mr. Levin is part philosopher, part oracle, seamlessly moving from Madison’s “Federalist Papers” (particularly Federalist No. 51, “The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments”) to Edmund Burke and Montesquieu. He shines a light on a republic in decline and visualizes the long-term impact of today’s mass dependence on unfunded government entitlements.

The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa’s Economic Miracle
By Ashish J. Thakkar
Summary via publisher (St. Martin’s Press)
Three little known facts: Africa is now the world’s fastest growing continent, with average GDP growth of 5.5% the past 10 years. Malaria deaths have declined by 30% and HIV infections by 74%. Nigeria produces more movies than America does. The Lion Awakes is the true story of today’s Africa, one often overshadowed by the dire headlines. Traveling from his ancestral home in Uganda, East Africa, to the booming economy and (if chaotic) new democracies of West Africa, and down to the “Silicon Savannahs” of Kenya and Rwanda, Ashish J. Thakkar shows us an Africa that few Westerners are aware exists. Far from being a place in need of our pity and aid, we see a continent undergoing a remarkable transformation and economic development.

Time Series Econometrics: A Concise Introduction (Palgrave Texts in Econometrics)
By Terence C. Mills
Summary via publisher (Palgrave Macmillan)
This book provides an introductory treatment of time series econometrics, a subject that is of key importance to both students and practitioners of economics. It contains material that any serious student of economics and finance should be acquainted with if they are seeking to gain an understanding of a real functioning economy rather than just having a working knowledge of a set of academically constructed models of some abstract aspects of an artificial economy.