Book Bits: 3 April 2021

Investing with Keynes: How the World’s Greatest Economist Overturned Conventional Wisdom and Made a Fortune on the Stock Market
Justyn Walsh
Review via The Wall Street Journal
When Keynes died in 1946, his net assets totaled some $30 million in today’s money. While his books had sold well, he had made the bulk of his fortune by investing smartly, often from his bed in the mornings after digesting the news. During his 25 years running the King’s College endowment, he generated an annual return of 16%, adapting his investment style to flourish even during the Great Depression and World War II.
Mr. Walsh, a former investment banker and the chief executive of an asset-management firm, explains how.

Adapting to Climate Change: Markets and the Management of an Uncertain Future
Matthew E. Kahn
Summary via publisher (Yale U. Press)
It is all but certain that the next century will be hotter than any we’ve experienced before. Even if we get serious about fighting climate change, it’s clear that we will need to adapt to the changes already underway in our environment. This book considers how individual economic choices in response to climate change will transform the larger economy.
Using the tools of microeconomics, Matthew E. Kahn explores how decisions about where we live, how our food is grown, and where new business ventures choose to locate are impacted by climate change.

The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans–and How We Can Fix It
Dorothy A. Brown
Excerpt via
The wealth gap isn’t growing only because of the dispro­portionate percentage of black Americans in poverty. It’s growing because whiteness has consistently and continually played a serious role in wealth building. Think a college edu­cation is an equalizer? Research shows that black households headed by a college graduate have less wealth ($23,400) than white households headed by a high school dropout ($34,700). Think all high school dropouts struggle? A white high school dropout has more than twenty times the wealth of a black high school dropout ($1,500). White families with an em­ployed head of household have ten times the wealth of black families who do.

Fighting the First Wave: Why the Coronavirus Was Tackled So Differently Across the Globe
Peter Baldwin
Summary via publisher (Cambridge U. Press)
COVID-19 is the biggest public health and economic disaster of our time. It has posed the same threat across the globe, yet countries have responded very differently and some have clearly fared much better than others. Peter Baldwin uncovers the reasons why in this definitive account of the global politics of pandemic.

Iconoclasm: A Survival Guide in the Post-Pandemic Economy
Tony Zorc
Press release via publisher (Forbes Books)
Beginning with an examination of the early market impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iconoclasm seeks to diagnose the underlying societal problems that contributed to a collective panic and ultimately a once-in-a-generation economic shift – one that will likely be felt for years to come.
While there were a number of contributing factors to the initial dysfunction of America’s pandemic response, in Zorc’s view, they merely exacerbated the real problem: a lack of independent thought. At all levels of leadership across the country, people were scared, looking for answers from others, and stayed reactive amid their own uncertainty. But, according to Zorc, there is a better way

Beautiful Economics: A Guide to Gentle World Domination
Howard Collinge
Summary via publisher (powerHouse Books)
What if we could all become rich in Life Dollars , a currency that gives value to all the things that make life rich, sustainable and worth living. What if our economy measured success in terms of Gentle World Domination (GWD) instead of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), where clear blue skies, social harmony and spiritual and mental well-being were the measures of a nation’s true wealth. In Beautiful Economics: A guide to Gentle World Domination , author Howard Collinge challenges conventional economic theory while championing a new kind of cross-disciplinary economics that brings together anthropology, spirituality, science, philosophy, letter-writing, creativity and most importantly, the art of storytelling.

Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere
Tsedal Neeley
Q&A with author via Harvard Business School
When the pandemic forced employees to flee offices and work from home in droves last year, many business leaders worried that productivity might take a dive. Would remote workers be too tempted by the lures of Netflix or too distracted by laundry to get much work done? As it turns out, the opposite occurred.
“As the decades of research on virtual work would have predicted, productivity has gone up for many organizations,” says Tsedal Neeley, the Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, who has researched and advised companies on virtual and global work for nearly two decades.

Be Data Literate: The Data Literacy Skills Everyone Needs To Succeed
Jordan Morrow
Summary via publisher (Kogan Page)
It is not enough for a business to have the best data if those using it don’t understand the right questions to ask or how to use the information generated to make decisions. Be Data Literate is the essential guide to developing the curiosity, creativity and critical thinking necessary to make anyone data literate, without retraining as a data scientist or statistician.

What Really Counts: The Case for a Sustainable and Equitable Economy
Ronald Colman
Summary via publisher (Columbia U. Press)
Politicians and economists fixate on “growing the economy”—measured by a country’s gross domestic product. But this yardstick counts harmful activities such as greenhouse gas emissions, plastic waste, and cigarette sales as gains, and it ignores environmental protection, voluntary community work, and other benefits. What we measure is a choice, and what is and isn’t counted determines what sorts of policies are enacted. How can we shift the focus to well-being and quality of life?

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