Book Bits | 5.19.2012

The 7 Most Important Equations for Your Retirement: The Fascinating People and Ideas Behind Planning Your Retirement Income
By Moshe Milevsky
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Biology; every field has its intellectual giants who made breakthrough discoveries that changed the course of history. What about the topic of retirement planning? Is it a science? Or is retirement income planning just a collection of rules-of-thumb, financial products and sales pitches? In The 7 Most Important Equations for Your Retirement…And the Stories Behind Them Moshe Milevsky argues that twenty first century retirement income planning is indeed a science and has its foundations in the work of great sages who made conceptual and controversial breakthroughs over the last eight centuries. In the book Milevsky highlights the work of seven scholars—summarized by seven equations—who shaped all modern retirement calculations. He tells the stories of Leonardo Fibonnaci the Italian businessman; Benjamin Gompertz the gentleman actuary; Edmund Halley the astronomer; Irving Fisher the stock jock; Paul Samuelson the economic guru; Solomon Heubner the insurance and marketing visionary, and Andrey Kolmogorov the Russian mathematical genius—all giants in their respective fields who collectively laid the foundations for modern retirement income planning.

Hedge Fund Market Wizards
By Jack Schwager
Excerpt via publisher, Wiley
When I asked Colm O’Shea to recall mistakes that were learning experiences, he struggled to come up with an example. At last, the best he was able to do was describe a trade that was a missed profit opportunity. It is not that O’Shea doesn’t make mistakes. He makes lots of them. As he freely acknowledges, he is wrong on at least 50 percent of his trades. However, he never lets a mistake get remotely close to the point where it would provide a good story. Large trading losses are simply incompatible with his methodology.
China’s Remarkable Economic Growth
By John Knight and Sai Ding
Summary via publisher, Oxford University Press
How has the Chinese economy managed to grow at such a remarkable rate–no less than ten per cent per annum–for over three decades? This well-integrated book combines economic theory, empirical estimation, and institutional analysis to address one of the most important questions facing contemporary economists. A common thread that runs throughout the book is the underlying political economy: why China became a “developmental state,” and how it has maintained itself as a “developmental state”.
Climate Wars: What People Will Be Killed For in the 21st Century
By Harald Welzer
Review via The Irish Times
Harald Welzer’s new book, translated from German, considers the issue of climate change from the perspective of a social scientist. Welzer is profoundly concerned with the potential for violence and for the breakdown of world order inherent in the pressures that climate change will generate. He sees Sudan as the first case of a war-torn country where climate change is unquestionably one cause of violence and civil war. Over the past 40 years, the desert in northern Sudan has moved 100km towards the once-fertile south. The causes are, on the one hand, steadily decreasing rainfall linked with global climate change and, on the other, the overgrazing of grassland, deforestation and ensuing soil erosion that makes the land infertile.
The New Economics of Sovereign Wealth Funds
By Massimiliano Castelli and Fabio Scacciavillani
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) aren’t new, but they are often misunderstood. As they’ve attracted more attention over the last decade and grown greatly in size, the need for a new and thorough resource on SWFs has never been greater. These funds will only grow more important over the coming years. In this book, expert authors who work in the industry present a comprehensive look at SWFs from the perspective of western investors.
The Eskimo and The Oil Man: The Battle at the Top of the World for America’s Future
By Bob Reiss
Review via Publishers Weekly
Despite the slightly deceptive title, Reiss offers a nuanced evaluation of the necessity of offshore drilling and ecological preservation. Tracing almost a year in the lives of Edward Itta, the Eskimo mayor of the North Slope of Alaska, and Pete Slaiby, a powerful Shell executive, the engrossing narrative depicts the struggle to reach a drilling decision that will benefit Shell while protecting the native Iñupiat community’s way of life. In light of the 2010 BP oil spill, the North Slope community is especially wary of the detriments of offshore drilling. Meanwhile, Shell spends billions on leases and equipment only to find itself unable to drill year after year. Striking a balance that benefits both the community and the corporation requires outreach, education, understanding, and trust, as well as careful navigation of native culture to arrive at a sensitive medium.
Handbook of Volatility Models and Their Applications
Edited by Luc Bauwens, Christian Hafner, and Sebastien Laurent
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Volatility has become a hot topic in this era of instant communications, spawning a great deal of research in empirical finance and time series econometrics. Providing an overview of the most recent advances, Handbook of Volatility Models and Their Applications explores key concepts and topics essential for modeling the volatility of financial time series, both univariate and multivariate, parametric and non-parametric, high-frequency and low-frequency.