Book Bits | 9.21.13

Investing in Frontier Markets: Opportunity, Risk and Role in an Investment Portfolio
By Gavin Graham and Al Emid
Summary via publisher, Wiley
This book makes a compelling case that, just as today’s well-rounded portfolio includes emerging market funds, tomorrow’s well-rounded portfolio will include frontier market funds. More importantly, it alerts you to the vast opportunities and potential pitfalls of investing in frontier markets while providing expert advice and guidance on how to research and invest in the most promising frontier growth markets. Widely considered to be the next emerging markets, frontier markets, such as those of certain sub-Saharan African, Eastern European, Asian, and Central and South American countries, are showing strong signs of reaching economic critical mass.

Myths, Politicians and Money: The Truth Behind the Free Market
By Bryan Gould
Review via The London School of Economics and Political Science
Gould begins the 243-page Myths, Politicians and Money with a discussion of the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama’s famous proclamation that we had — via the defeat of Fascism at the end of the Second World War and the end of the Cold War some 40 years later — reached the end-state of human political, economic and social development in the form of the liberal democratic nation state. Gould argues that Fukuyama’s analysis didn’t take account of the extent to which democratic institutions can be undermined by the free markets he saw as a necessary element of their effective functioning.
The Art of Retirement
By Gary Williams
Summary via Bookmasters
What is your definition of a fulfilling life and how does an enjoyable retirement fit into that vision? Life is short; we have a limited time to choose our path, reach or dreams and goals and make our lives gratifying and our legacy everlasting. I wrote The Art of Retirement to serve as a guide; a book to help you with your life’s journey by educating and inspiring you to make the most of your time on this planet or as Ronnie Lott would say, “Exhaust life.” Retirement planning is much more than making sure you have enough money. Of course this is important and thoroughly discussed; certainly the security and lifestyle that money provides is a key part of your life. However, the financial aspect of planning your retirement is just part of the picture.
The Downfall of Money: Germany’s Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class
By Frederick Taylor
Review via Publishers Weekly
British historian Taylor (Dresden) adds to a solid body of work on 20th-century Germany with this chilling account of the human face of hyperinflation in the 1920s Weimar Republic. Many blame the collapse of the German mark on the reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, yet Taylor argues that it was the Second Empire’s decision to finance WWI primarily by borrowing that led to the economic catastrophe. Postwar uprisings on the left and right further destabilized the country’s fragile, young government and diminished confidence in its already-shaky currency. The mark’s value began to tumble, and once the fall gained momentum, “the only way now was down.” Prices rose 50% a month. Hyperinflation made Germany a “paradise for anyone who owed money”; citizens at all levels of society discovered that their fiscal prudence had been for naught. The result was a “war of all against all” and a society of “starving billionaires,” where a doorman received a million-mark tip, a life’s savings bought a subway ticket, and a girl’s virginity was something to barter.
Invest Like an Institution: Professional Strategies for Funding a Successful Retirement
By Michael Schlachter
Summary via publisher, Apress/Springer
All too often, when investors go in search of investment advice, they are met with television personalities and so-called investment “gurus” who do little more than push the latest and greatest scheme to retire rich. Your retirement funds—in the form of IRAs, 401(k)s, SEP or Simple IRAs, and other plans you can direct to some degree—are, however, far too precious to bet on the latest scheme, trend, or tip you heard at a party. In Invest Like an Institution: Professional Strategies for Funding a Successful Retirement, Michael Schlachter provides individual investors with the tools they need to build a portfolio that not only protects their wealth but helps it grow for the long term. Result? A comfortable retirement in which you can pursue your dreams and check “bucket list” items off at your leisure. As an advisor to large pension funds and endowments, Michael Schlachter counts among his clients the elite. Institutional investors like the retirement systems of states and major companies, as well as the largest university endowments, are among the few that consistently outperform the market.