Book Bits: 7 October 2023

Economics in America: An Immigrant Economist Explores the Land of Inequality
Angus Deaton
Review via NPR
Deaton (and Case) argue that the alarming rise in deaths of despair amongst non-college-educated Americans — which accounts for almost two-thirds of the adult population — is intimately related to their fading economic prospects. Deaton writes that “the decline of good jobs” is a crucial driver of despair. “This decline, in response to globalization and, more importantly, technical change (robots), is made much worse in the United States than elsewhere by the grotesquely exorbitant cost of healthcare,” Deaton writes. “Beyond that, when bad things happen and people need help, the safety net in the United States is fragmentary compared with those in other rich countries.”

Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon
Michael Lewis
Interview with author via The Globe and Mail
When he learned he would gain unprecedented access to Sam Bankman-Fried, then CEO of crypto exchange FTX, author Michael Lewis went in, as he always does, with an open mind.
But there was much Lewis (Moneyball, The Big Short, The Blind Side, et al.) couldn’t have anticipated. Like that the twentysomething’s multibillion-dollar empire would come crashing down right in the midst of their sessions together, leaving Lewis to wander the abandoned marble halls of Bankman-Fried’s new-built Bahamian compound alone. Or that the book that resulted from all the meetings and research would publish on the very same day that Bankman-Fried’s trial for conspiracy and fraud began.

Economists in the Cold War: How a Handful of Economists Fought the Battle of Ideas
Alan Bollard
Summary via publisher (Oxford U. Press)
Economists in the Cold War is an account of the economic drivers and outcomes of the Cold War, told through the stories of seven international economists, who were all closely involved in theory and policy in the period 1945-73. For them, the Cold War was a battle of economic ideas, a fight between central planning and market allocation, exploring economic thinking derived from the battle between Marxist and Capitalist ideologies, a fundamental difference but with many intricacies. The book recounts how economic theory advanced, how new economic tools were developed, and how policies were tested.

Close Your Wealth Gap: Financial Lessons to Upgrade Your Life
Rob Luna
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
In Close Your Wealth Gap: Financial Lessons to Upgrade Your Life, veteran wealth manager Rob Luna delivers a collection of actionable lessons you can implement immediately to ensure you make the most of the money you make and retire comfortably. You’ll learn everything you need to know about generating personal wealth, from how to understand balance sheets and cash flow statements to constructing a personal portfolio that effectively balances risk and potential reward. The author explains the basics of maximizing your income with side hustles and passive income while, at the same time, increasing the impact of every dollar you earn.

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