Book Bits | 3.23.13

Investing in the Age of Sovereign Defaults: How to Preserve your Wealth in the Coming Crisis
By Peter Treadway
Q&A with author via publisher, Wiley
Q: What is the principal theme of your book?
A: The governments of the major Western democracies are broke. Including Japan. They already have huge debts. And now they are facing a huge increase in health and retirement entitlements to be honored. They will default on these one way or the other and/or on their sovereign debt outstanding. They will target investors and the private sector in general – the so-called rich- for confiscatory taxes. The book tries to offer ways for investors to survive in this environment.

The 17.6 Year Stock Market Cycle: Connecting the Panics of 1929, 1987, 2000 and 2007
By: Kerry Balenthiran
Summary via publisher, Harriman House
How do we know where we are in the current stock market cycle? Are we in the midst of a new long term bull market or a market rally within an ongoing bear market? The answers to the above questions are critical to forming an appropriate investment strategy to plan for the future. The difference between anticipating the end of a secular (or cyclical) bull market and reacting to the significant crash that follows will have a big impact on anyone’s investment returns and retirement plans…. Kerry Balenthiran has studied stock market data going back 100 years and discovered a regular 17.6 year stock market cycle consisting of increments of 2.2 years. He has also extrapolated the cycle forwards to provide investors with a market roadmap stretching out to 2053. He describes this in detail and outlines the changing character of the stock market through the different phases of the 17.6 year stock market cycle.
Behavioral Finance: Understanding the Social, Cognitive, and Economic Debates
By Edwin Burton and Sunit Shah
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Behavioral finance applies systematic analysis to ideas that have long floated around the world of trading and investing. Yet it is important to realize that we are still at a very early stage of research into this discipline and have much to learn…. Topics addressed include noise trader theory and models, research into psychological behavior pioneered by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, and serial correlation patterns in stock price data. Along the way, Burton shares his own views on behavioral finance in order to shed some much-needed light on the subject.
Freedom to Harm: The Lasting Legacy of the Laissez Faire Revival
By Thomas O. McGarity
Summary via publisher, Yale University Press
This book tells the story of how the business community, and the trade associations and think tanks that it created, launched three powerful assaults during the last quarter of the twentieth century on the federal regulatory system and the state civil justice system to accomplish a revival of the laissez faire political economy that dominated Gilded Age America. Although the consequences of these assaults became painfully apparent in a confluence of crises during the early twenty-first century, the patch-and-repair fixes that Congress and the Obama administration put into place did little to change the underlying laissez faire ideology and practice that continues to dominate the American political economy.
What’s Right With Macroeconomics?
Edited by.Robert Solow and Jean-Philippe Touffut
Summary via the Cournot Centre
Global crises are very rare events. After the Great Depression and the Great Stagflation, new macroeconomic paradigms associated with a new policy regime emerged. This book addresses how some macroeconomic ideas have failed and examines which theories researchers should preserve and develop. It questions how the field of economics – still reeling from the global financial crisis initiated in the summer of 2007 – will respond. The contributors, nine highly-renowned macroeconomists, highlight the virtues of eclectic macroeconomics over an authoritarian normative approach. They illustrate that macroeconomic reasoning can still be a useful tool for carrying out practical policy analysis.
Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data
By Charles Wheelan
Review via The Economist
Data are everywhere these days; the problem is making sense of them. That is the role of statistics, the university course that so many people dodge or forget. Charles Wheelan, a professor at Dartmouth College (and a former Chicago correspondent for The Economist), does something unique here: he makes statistics interesting and fun. His book strips the subject of its complexity to expose the sexy stuff underneath.
Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data
By Phil Simon
Excerpt via
Much like the baseball revolution pioneered by Billy Beane, car insurance today is undergoing a fundamental transformation. Just ask Joseph Tucci. As the CEO at data storage behemoth EMC Corporation, he knows a thing or 30 about data. On October 3, 2012, Tucci spoke with Cory Johnson of Bloomberg Television at an Intel Capital event in Huntington Beach, California. Tucci talked about the state of technology, specifically the impact of Big Data and cloud computing on his company–and others. At one point during the interview, Tucci talked about advances in GPS, mapping, mobile technologies, and telemetry, the net result of which is revolutionizing many businesses, including car insurance. No longer are rates based upon a small, primitive set of independent variables. Car insurance companies can now get much more granular in their pricing.