Book Bits: 5 December 2020

Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World
Jason Hickel
Review via Commonweal Magazine
In his recent book, Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World, the anthropologist Jason Hickel attempts to translate the main arguments of degrowthers into an accessible manifesto. He insists both that continued global expansion is incompatible with human and ecological flourishing, and that a future beyond growth need not be an austere one. Abundance can persist long after growth ends.

What Would Nature Do?: A Guide for Our Uncertain Times
Ruth DeFries
Q&A with author via State of the Planet
In a new book, environmental geographer and Earth Institute professor Ruth DeFries argues that we can survive by adopting the strategies of the nonhuman world: Communications networks, public health and agriculture might benefit if we observe how plants distribute nutrients; how bees deal with diseased individuals; or how forests persist by periodically going up in flames. The book is called What Would Nature Do? A Guide for Our Uncertain Times. I recently spoke with DeFries about the book, what led her to write it, and where she thinks we are going.

Everything You Need To Know About Saving For Retirement
Ben Carlson
Blog post by author via A Wealth Of Common Sense
The book is only 115 pages and that includes a cartoon drawn specifically for each chapter. The goal was to make an accessible book, written in plain English that could help people get the big things right when it comes to their finances.
I love paying attention to the markets and figuring out certain ways to optimize my finances but not everyone is as interested in this stuff as I am.
This book was written for those people that would like to improve their financial station in life but don’t want to spend every waking minute obsessing about money.

Banking on a Revolution: Why Financial Technology Won’t Save a Broken System
Terri Friedline
Summary via publisher (Oxford U. Press)
Technological advancements are poised to completely transform the financial system, and soon it will be unrecognizable. Banks are increasingly using financial technologies (“fintech”) to deliver products and services and maximize their profits. Technology enthusiasts and consumer advocates laude the field for its potential to expand access to banking and finance. However, if history is any indication, fintech stands to reinforce digital forms of redlining and enable banks’ continued racialized exploitation of Black and Brown communities.

Advising the Ultra-Wealthy: A Guide for Practitioners
Gregory Curtis
Summary via publisher (Palgrave Macmillan)
This book, designed to be a guide for practitioners who wish to advise ultra-wealthy families, focuses on the difference between the ultra-wealthy and the ‘merely’ wealthy. With this in mind, the chapters devote little time to issues on which most financial advisors spend most of their time—retirement planning, IRA accounts, home mortgages, planning for college tuition, or financial planning in general. Practitioners working with the ultra-wealthy will instead need to grapple with complex tax issues, matters associated with the ever-changing world of trusts, the special world of the family office, money managers that are not available to anyone who is not an accredited investor or who enforce very high minimum account sizes, the family dynamics and human capital issues that destroy both families and wealth, and so on, all of which will be covered on a global scale in this book.

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