Book Bits For Saturday: 10.22.2011

The Vigilant Investor: A Former SEC Enforcer Reveals How to Fraud-Proof Your Investments
By Pat Huddleston
Interview with author via Financial Impact Factor Radio
Today on the Financial Impact Factor Radio we had Pat Huddleston, author of “The Vigilant Investor: A Former SEC Enforcer Reveals How to Fraud-Proof Your Investments“, lawyer and CEO of Investors Watchdog LLC. As a former SEC Enforcer, he has seen more scams than you could imagine. With his new book, he takes those stories and the effect it has had on the victims and gives us the ultimate tell-all on how to spot what the people we may trust are actually doing – often right under our noses.

Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry
By Rich Trzupek
Review via Climate Realists
This book could not have been published at a more propitious time. As the economy falters, it seems that every critic of this administration cites the role of regulation in strangling American business and industry–thereby preventing them from hiring new workers. Rich Trzupek, a chemist and environmental consultant for twenty five years, provides much needed chapter and verse, focusing on the devastation wrought by what has become the most abusive agency in the government alphabet soup–the EPA.
The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity
By Jeffrey Sachs
Review and author interview via NPR
Sachs explores the result of the widening income gap in his new book, The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity. The book’s title was inspired by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who once said, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” Sachs says middle-class growth suffered in the 1980s when taxes were reduced and programs like energy research were scaled back — programs that he says would have made the United States more competitive in the face of globalization. And he says current government policies, including President Obama’s jobs plan, are short-term fixes that still leave the country vulnerable.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
By Daniel Kahneman
Excerpt via The New York Times
Although professionals are able to extract a considerable amount of wealth from amateurs, few stock pickers, if any, have the skill needed to beat the market consistently, year after year. The diagnostic for the existence of any skill is the consistency of individual differences in achievement. The logic is simple: if individual differences in any one year are due entirely to luck, the ranking of investors and funds will vary erratically and the year-to-year correlation will be zero. Where there is skill, however, the rankings will be more stable. The persistence of individual differences is the measure by which we confirm the existence of skill among golfers, orthodontists or speedy toll collectors on the turnpike.
The Global Minotaur: America, The True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy
By Yanis Varoufakis
Summary via publisher, Zed Books
In this remarkable and provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis explodes the myth that financialisation, ineffectual regulation of banks, greed and globalisation were the root causes of the global economic crisis. Rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise which can be traced all the way back to the Great Crash of 1929, then on through to the 1970s: the time when a ‘Global Minotaur’ was born. Just as the Athenians maintained a steady flow of tributes to the Cretan beast, so the ‘rest of the world’ began sending incredible amounts of capital to America and Wall Street. Thus, the Global Minotaur became the ‘engine’ that pulled the world economy from the early 1980s to 2008.
Can Economic Growth Be Sustained?: The Collected Papers of Vernon W. Ruttan and Yujiro Hayami
Edited by Keijiro Otsuka and C. Ford Runge
Summary via publisher, Oxford University Press
This collection of essays by Ruttan and Hayami spans their long career in the economics of technical and institutional change. At both a theoretical and empirical level, their analysis of induced innovation provides a solid foundation for understanding how and why technologies and institutions evolve in response to factors that constrain them. Can Economic Growth Be Sustained? provides a sweeping explanation of this process.