Book Bits: 9 January 2021

Driven: The Race to Create the Autonomous Car
Alex Davies
Review via Berkeleyside
It may be a stretch to call Davies’ new book The Right Stuff for the Age of the Autonomous Vehicle, but it shares some of Tom Wolfe’s narrative exuberance, pioneer spirit and eye for the telling detail. Davies chronicles the tech industry’s fascination with self-driving vehicles, from their origins in three “Grand Challenges” sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to the attempts by Google, Uber and the city of Detroit to exploit the innovative technology for the auto-buying public.

China and the WTO: Why Multilateralism Still Matters
Petros C. Mavroidis and Andre Sapir
Summary via publisher (Princeton U. Press)
China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 was rightly hailed as a huge step forward in international cooperation. However, China’s participation in the WTO has been anything but smooth, with China alienating some of its trading partners, particularly the United States. The mismatch between the WTO framework and China’s economic model has undermined the WTO’s ability to mitigate tensions arising from China’s size and rapid growth. What has to change? China and the WTO demonstrates that unilateral pressure, by the United States and others, is not the answer. Instead, Petros Mavroidis and André Sapir show that if the WTO enacts judicious reforms, it could induce China’s cooperation, leading to a renewed confidence in the WTO system.
Alternative Data: Capturing the Predictive Power of Big Data for Investment Success
Mani Mahjouri
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Alternative Data opens a gateway to the future of investing, using Open Halo technology to provide real-time performance analysis and breathtaking data visualization. Once solely available to the elites, this technology utilizes observational and transactional data covering vast numbers of stocks to analyze and forecast a company’s performance, often months ahead of any official announcement. This book shows you how to leverage this capability to make smarter investment decisions and predict market moves based on much more than conjecture.
Crypto Asset Investing in the Age of Autonomy: The Complete Handbook to Building Wealth in the Next Digital Revolution
Jake Ryan
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Crypto is the mechanism that will accrue value from being the infrastructure for the next digital financial revolution. Crypto Asset Investing lays out a case that we’ve begun a new technological revolution similar to the Internet Age of the 1990’s. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics and cryptocurrency are converging to deliver on a new age, what I call the Age of Autonomy. Understanding the transformation that’s taken place before anyone else can yield enormous investment opportunity. In this book, you’ll learn how and why to invest in crypto assets.
Buffett’s Tips: A Guide to Financial Literacy and Life
John M. Longo
Q&A with author via Newswise
Q: How can a person move from financially ignorant to financially literate?
A: Living within your means is the most important step to building long-term wealth. We have all read about multi-millionaire athletes and celebrities who eventually went bankrupt, so it is not just about having a high income. Building wealth involves avoiding high interest rate credit cards, obtaining a good credit rating and investing for the long-term. For most people, owning stock is a great way to build wealth over the long-term, but you have to stick with it and not be shaken out during the inevitable market gyrations.
Work Disrupted: Opportunity, Resilience, and Growth in the Accelerated Future of Work
Jeff Schwartz
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
The future of work swept in sooner than expected, accelerated by Covid-19, creating an urgent need for new maps, new mindsets, new strategies– and most importantly, a trusted guide to take us on this journey. That guide is Jeff Schwartz. A founding partner of Deloitte Consulting’s Future of Work practice, Schwartz brings clarity, humor, wisdom, and practical advice to the future of work, a topic surrounded by misinformation, fear, and confusion. With a fundamental belief in the power of human innovation and creativity, Schwartz presents the key issues, critical choices, and potential pitfalls that must be on everyone’s radar.
Exotic Alternative Investments: Standalone Characteristics, Unique Risks and Portfolio Effects
Kevin R. Mirabile
Summary via publisher (Anthem Press)
This book evaluates new opportunities such as life settlements, litigation funding, farmlands, royalties, weather derivatives, collectables and other unique asset classes. It provides an in-depth analysis of the returns, risks, opportunities and portfolio effects for investors, advisors and academics and anyone who wants to expand their investment horizons.
Consequences of Capitalism: Manufacturing Discontent and Resistance
Summary via publisher (Haymarket Books)
Noam Chomsky and Marv Waterstone
Is our “common sense” understanding of the world a reflection of the ruling class’s demands of the larger society? If we are to challenge the capitalist structures that now threaten all life on the planet, Chomsky and Waterstone forcefully argue that we must look closely at the everyday tools we use to interpret the world. Consequences of Capitalism make the deep, often unseen connections between common sense and power. In making these linkages we see how the current hegemony keep social justice movements divided and marginalized. More importantly, we see how we overcome these divisions.
Capitalism and the Sea: The Maritime Factor in the Making of the Modern World
Liam Campling
Summary via publisher (Verso Books)
The global ocean has through the centuries served as a trade route, strategic space, fish bank and supply chain for the modern capitalist economy. While sea beds are drilled for their fossil fuels and minerals, and coastlines developed for real estate and leisure, the oceans continue to absorb the toxic discharges of our carbon civilisation—warming, expanding, and acidifying the blue water part of the planet in ways that will bring unpredictable but irreversible consequences for the rest of the biosphere.

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