Book Bits: 31 October 2020

China’s Trump Card: Cryptocurrency and its Game-Changing Role in Sino-US Trade
Raymond Yeung
Review via South China Morning Post
The US dollar will cease to be the de facto world currency as globalization retreats, so China and the United States should work together to create a globally used cryptocurrency – a strategy that would weaken the dollar, encourage American exports and help balance trade between the two superpowers.
These are the main takeaways from China’s Trump Card: Cryptocurrency and Its Game-Changing Role in Sino-US Trade, by Raymond Yeung, the chief Greater China economist at ANZ Bank. Yeung offers a novel, and somewhat wishful, proposal to one of the world’s most complicated and significant problems – the economic rivalry between the US and China.

Investing for Growth: How to make money by only buying the best companies in the world – An anthology of investment writing, 2010–20
Terry Smith
Summary via publisher (Harriman House)
Buy good companies. Don’t overpay. Do nothing. Some people love to make successful investing seem more complicated than it really is. In this anthology of essays and letters written between 2010–20, leading fund manager Terry Smith delights in debunking the many myths of investing – and making the case for simply buying the best companies in the world. These are businesses that generate serious amounts of cash and know what to do with it. The result is a powerful compounding of returns that is almost impossible to beat.

The VIX Trader’s Handbook: The history, patterns, and strategies every volatility trader needs to know
Russell Rhoads
Summary via publisher (Harriman House)
Russell Rhoads is one of America’s leading experts on VIX, the Volatility Index. In The VIX Trader’s Handbook he takes a deep dive into all things associated with volatility indexes and related trading vehicles. The handbook begins with an explanation of what VIX is, how it is calculated, and why it behaves the way it does in various market environments. It also explains the various methods of getting exposure to volatility through listed markets.

New Laws of Robotics: Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI
Frank Pasquale
Q&A with author via Commonweal
Q: Why is AI’s simulation of humans so worrisome?
A: Let’s start with an example we can all relate to—a classroom. Some robots can be great for kids. For example, a “Dragonbot” incorporates a cell-phone screen and sound in a plush dragon toy. In some ways, it’s like a talking doll, but it’s connected to databases so it can say much more. To the extent the child understands the Dragonbot as a toy or a tool, they’re developing an accurate understanding of technology, and the distinction between things and people. You can stuff the Dragonbot in your closet for a few days, perhaps never use it again, no problem. You can take out its “brain” (the cell phone that animates it), and that’s fine, too.

The Coming Cyber War: What Executives, the Board, and You Should Know
Marc Crudginton
Summary via Amazon
In 1982, a mysterious explosion happened in the far reaches of the Siberian tundra. The incident, a first of its kind, a nation state cyber-attack on a pipeline that caused catastrophic damage. Since that time, escalations of cyber warfare have escalated between many countries and their sponsored actors that have included major cybersecurity incidents such as Stuxnet and many attacks against corporations. But it hasn’t stopped with nation state attacks. Cybercriminals have emerged from far corners of the globe to create havoc on individuals, corporations, and government entities. Cyber-crime and cyber-attacks seem to be a never-ending exploitation of technology weaknesses that are causing billions of dollars in losses and beginning to impact life or death situations. Cyberspace is a vast ecosystem of intertwined technologies that brings about noble causes, but hidden in dark corners of cyberspace is a criminal element, and at times in plain sight are military operations. The Coming Cyber War provides insight on the nuances of cyberspace, what executives, boards, and individuals can do to prepare, and what to expect next.

Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich: How the Bourgeois Deal Enriched the World
Deirdre Nansen McCloskey and Art Carden
Summary via publisher (U. of Chicago Press)
Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich draws in entertaining fashion on history, economics, literature, philosophy, and popular culture, from growth theory to the Simpsons. It is the perfect introduction for a broad audience to McCloskey’s influential explanation of how we got rich. At a time when confidence in the economic system is under challenge, the book mounts an optimistic and persuasive defense of liberal innovism, and of the modern world it has wrought.

Fusion Capitalism: A Clean Energy Vision For Conservatives
Steve Melink
Review via Lassen County Times
A Pew Research Center survey shows most Americans think the federal government isn’t doing enough to combat climate change, and that a vast majority of Democrats think the U.S. should prioritize alternative energy development over expanding fossil fuels. But about half of conservative Republicans, who represent that party’s majority, advocate increasing the production of fossil fuels oil, coal and natural gas.
Steve Melink, author of “Fusion Capitalism: A Clean Energy Vision For Conservatives,” is a lifelong conservative who says that the science and urgency of climate change calls for resistant Republicans to rethink their position.

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