Book Bits | 7.21.2012

Moods and Markets: A New Way to Invest in Good Times and in Bad (Minyanville Media)
By Peter Atwater
Summary via publisher, FT Press
Leading consultant and Minyanville contributor Peter Atwater has helped institutional investors, corporations and policymakers map changing social moods to emerging market shifts, and use that knowledge to identify huge new market opportunities. Now, Atwater shows you how to use the same powerful Horizon PreferenceTM approach to select your own high-performance investments. Utilizing what is often in plain sight, but overlooked and underestimated, Horizon Preference helps you understand how we narrow our physical, time and relationship horizons to the “local” in bad times, and widen them to the “global” in better times — and then translate that knowledge into better investment decisions. Atwater’s Moods and Markets offers powerful new insights into everything from market bubbles to the real challenges of making mergers work… why “farm to table” and “locavore” movements are booming now, and what’s likely to happen next… why Americans now want to rent homes even though it’s become far more affordable to buy them… why the “Arab Spring” is bullish, and higher education is in deep trouble… which businesses prosper in a downturn, which prosper most in an upturn — and why.

Bloomberg Financial Series Visual Guide to Financial Markets
By David Wilson
Summary via publisher, Wiley/Bloomberg Financial
Financial markets are supposed to be complicated. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be as much money to go around and individual investors wouldn’t need to pay brokers and financial advisers as much to manage their nest eggs. The Bloomberg Financial Series Visual Guide to Financial Markets makes them easier to understand. This essential guide provides key information about the forces underlying market structure, instruments, and dynamics and the ways to capitalize on them. Written by Bloomberg Reporter-at-Large David Wilson, the book covers the three basic types of investments and the markets tied to them directly and indirectly.
The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs
Edited by Brendan MiniterAuthor
Reference via the Associated Press
Former President George W. Bush said he wants his institute, which Tuesday released a book featuring experts weighing in on ways for the U.S. to jumpstart the economy toward 4 percent gross domestic product growth, to be an “action-oriented” place. “We’re very much involved in action-oriented programs,” Bush told the about 200 people gathered for the release event for the George W. Bush Institute’s first book. Bush’s brief speech was followed by a panel discussion with several of those who contributed to “The 4 Percent Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs.” “We believe that we can do better in growing our economy,” said Bush, who wrote the book’s foreword.He added, “My view is that we’ll never fix the deficit without growing the private sector.”… James K. Glassman, executive director of the Bush Institute, has said that the book — which includes entries by five Nobel Prize winners — is part of “The 4 Percent Growth Project” launched last year with a goal to “change the conversation in America so that it focuses on the goal of sustainable, strong growth. We think that the way to solve the economic problems that America faces can be summed up in 4 percent growth. Right now we’re growing about at 2 percent. We’ve grown an average of about 3 percent since the end of World War II,” said Glassman, who wrote the book’s introduction.
The Rise of the Quants: Marschak, Sharpe, Black, Scholes and Merton
By Colin Read
Summary via publisher, Macmillan
The third book in the Great Minds in Finance series examines the pricing of securities and the risk/reward trade off through the legends, contribution, and legacies of Jacob Marschak, William Sharpe, Fischer Black and Myron Scholes, and Robert Merton, influencing both theory and practice, enabling the question of how do we measure risk?
Investing in the High Yield Municipal Market: How to Profit from the Current Municipal Credit Crisis and Earn Attractive Tax-Exempt Interest Income
By Triet Nguyen
Summary via publisher, Wiley/Bloomberg Financial
This unique guide to the high yield municipal bond market sheds some much-needed light on this esoteric but profitable corner of the fixed-income world. It fills the void between the general reference handbooks on municipal bonds and the superficial treatment of do-it-yourself bond guides, with an emphasis on practical trading applications. Having witnessed the beginning of the modern high yield tax-exempt institutional market, author Triet Nguyen documents its historical evolution, outlines a conceptual framework for high yield tax-free investing, one that takes into account both interest rate and credit cycles, and reviews the latest historical data on municipal defaults, including for the first time the non-rated sector.
The Money Trap: Escaping the Grip of Global Finance
By Robert Pringle
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
Why have the efforts of governments and central banks to revive economic growth and solve the problems left by the global financial crisis met with such limited success? Why have markets been periodically paralysed by fear and uncertainty? This book argues that governments have been using the wrong policy weapons. They have relied on the traditional tools of low interest rates and monetary ease, plus tighter bank regulation and new macro-prudential toolkits. The Money Trap discusses how governments have failed to understand the roots of the rolling crisis and recession of 2007-12 and argue that these roots lie in the interaction of an elastic credit supply, dysfunctional banking systems and an unreformed international monetary system. Historically, the advanced countries enjoyed long periods of economic growth with stable money and without systemic banking crises – and minimal bank supervision. We can learn from the historical experience, and from the teaching of great economists. They point to a clear conclusion.