● Cracking the Emerging Markets Enigma
By G. Andrew Karolyi
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Forward-thinking investors are constantly looking for the next BRIC–what foreign market is on the brink of expansive growth? Will these investments payoff, or are the potential risks too great? Investing in these emerging markets requires a careful analysis of potential risks and benefits which vary greatly from country to country and even from day to day. Emerging markets expert Andrew Karolyi outlines a practical strategy for evaluating the opportunities and-more importantly-the risks of investing in emerging markets. Karolyi’s proposed system evaluates multiple dimensions of the potential risks faced by prospective investors. These categories of risk reflect the uneven quality or fragility of the various institutions designed to assure integrity in capital markets-political stability, corporate opacity, limits placed on foreign investors, and more. By distilling these analyses into a numerical scoring system, Karolyi has devised a way to assess with ease emerging markets by different dimensions of risk and across all dimensions together.
● The Aspirational Investor: Taming the Markets to Achieve Your Life’s Goals
By Ashvin B. Chhabra
Summary via publisher (HarperBusiness)
The Chief Investment Officer of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management explains why goals, not markets, should be the primary focus of your investment strategy—and offers a practical, innovative framework for making smarter choices about aligning your goals to your investment strategy. Today all of us bear the burden of investing wisely, but too many of us are preoccupied with the wrong priorities—increasing returns at all costs, finding the next star fund manager, or beating “the market.” Unfortunately conventional portfolio theory and the grand debates in finance have offered investors only incomplete solutions. What is needed, argues Ashvin B. Chhabra, is a framework that shifts the focus of investment strategy from portfolios and markets to individuals and the objectives that really matter: things like protecting against unexpected financial crises, paying for education or retirement, and financing philanthropy and entrepreneurship.
● Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies
By Cesar Hidalgo
Summary via publisher (Basic Books)
At first glance, the universe seems hostile to order. Thermodynamics dictates that over time, order—or information—disappears. Whispers vanish in the wind just like the beauty of swirling cigarette smoke collapses into disorderly clouds. But thermodynamics also has loopholes that promote the growth of information in pockets. Although cities are all pockets where information grows, they are not all the same. For every Silicon Valley, Tokyo, and Paris, there are dozens of places with economies that accomplish little more than pulling rocks out of the ground. So, why does the US economy outstrip Brazil’s, and Brazil’s that of Chad? Why did the technology corridor along Boston’s Route 128 languish while Silicon Valley blossomed? In each case, the key is how people, firms, and the networks they form make use of information.
● The Environmental Capitalist: Making Billions by Saving the Planet
By Carl Hall
Summary via pubilsher (Lid Publishing)
In this controversial but inspiring book, Hall argues that capitalism is a system that can optimize anything we tell it to optimize, be it the most efficient refinery or the lowest-cost windmill. For companies that are serious about addressing the challenges the world is facing, there are great opportunities to turn bold actions into profits. As Hall says, “Sustainability is the biggest business opportunity in the history of the world!”
● Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age
By Edward T. O’Donnell
Summary via publisher (Columbia University Press)
The remarkable explosion of American industrial output and national wealth at the end of the nineteenth century was matched by a troubling rise in poverty and worker unrest. As politicians and intellectuals fought over who to blame for this crisis, Henry George (1839-1897) published Progress and Poverty (1879), a radical critique of laissez-faire capitalism and its threat to the nation’s republican traditions. His book, which became a surprise best-seller, offered a popular, provocative solution: a single-tax on land values. George’s writings and years of social activism almost won him the mayor’s seat in New York City in 1886. Though he lost the election, his ideas proved instrumental to shaping a progressivism that remains essential to tackling inequality today.