● The Power of Passive Investing: More Wealth with Less Work
By Richard A. Ferri
Video of author discussing book, and a summary via publisher, John Wiley & Sons.
Time and again, individual investors discover, all too late, that actively picking stocks is a loser’s game. The alternative lies with index funds. This passive form of investing allows you to participate in the markets relatively cheaply while prospering all the more because the money saved on investment expenses stays in your pocket.
In his latest book, investment expert Richard Ferri shows you how easy and accessible index investing is. Along the way, he highlights how successful you can be by using this passive approach to allocate funds to stocks, bonds, and other prudent asset classes.
● Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
By Robert Z. Aliber
Summary via publisher, Stanford University Press
Your Money and Your Life is more than your average guide to financial planning and retirement. Acclaimed author and speaker Robert Z. Aliber helps readers to make efficient and effective financial decisions at key moments throughout their lives, such as where to go to college; if and when to buy a home; how much insurance, if any, to buy; how to manage savings and retirement; when the time is right to approach a professional advisor; and how to proceed with estate planning. With an eye toward the issues that are most pressing in today’s economy, Aliber clearly explains the sophisticated concepts that underpin everyday money management—with the goal of making this guide the go-to reference in your financial planning library, regardless of your age or wealth. Readers of this book will come away with the sense that Aliber is their own financial planner, offering strategies that will help to guide them toward security in the present and the future. Your Money and Your Life is filled with examples to which readers will be able to relate, as well as checklists of “actionables” to help make their plans realities. Robert Z. Aliber is Professor Emeritus of International Economics and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
● Living Richly: Seizing the Potential of Inherited Wealth
By Myra Salzer with Greg I. Hamilton
Review via Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog
Living Richly provides guidance to any person coming into a large amount of wealth, emphasizing the idea that personal potential is more important than financial net worth. Salzer discusses how the financial aspects of managing an inheritance are easy; the hard part is the one-of-a-kind challenge faced by each of us, inheritor or not, to achieve our maximum potential. An excerpt from chapter 1 is below:
Much of my professional journey has turned out to be a very personal one. In assisting my inheritor clients through the stages of wealth and working with them toward a position of empowerment, I’ve almost always found myself caught up in the personal dynamics of life, family, passion, history, and vision.
Working with inheritors is not just about the material aspects of money or the mechanical details of a portfolio, a life spending plan, or even a legacy that will outlast a lifespan. On the contrary, it is a surprisingly complex and sometimes agonizingly introspective process. I say “agonizing” with the sort of affection normally reserved for the freakish masochistic set. That’s because, in my life, soul searching is such a painfully beautiful process that it makes me want to burst. Sort of like the enigmatic Ricky Fitts in American Beauty when he said: “Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.”
● The Economics of Ego Surplus: A Novel of Economic Terrorism
By Paul McDonnold
Interview with author via MV=PQ: A Resource for Economic Educators
I learned from teaching that economics is one of those subjects where a subset of the population likes it very, very much, while outside of that group many view it with confusion, suspicion or even hostility. In trying to make problem sets more palatable to my principles students, I incorporated a fictional scenario involving a terrorist attack on the U.S. economy. The reaction I got was very positive, and writing was already a big hobby of mine, so I thought a full-out novel teaching economics would be a great thing to attempt.
● The Powers That Be: Global Energy for the Twenty-first Century and Beyond
By Scott L. Montgomery
Excerpt via publisher, University of Chicago Press
The basic concept of limits is a healthy one. It teaches modesty, control of appetite, evaluation of actual need—old-time virtues with a stoic but sensible appeal. The idea also lies at the heart of a sustainable society, one able to use its Earth-born resources with intelligent self-interest, in a manner that encourages progress without degrading the planet, and allowing future generations to do the same. Feeling there are inevitable constraints on growth seems like common sense; no society, under any scenario, can expand indefinitely unless it takes into account the finitude of commodities.
Clear enough. But then again, perhaps not. Not everyone, it turns out, agrees. In fact, there are two fundamental worldviews at issue here, deeply opposed in their longstanding contribution to Western self-analysis. One sees growth as bearing the seeds both of advance and destruction; the other sees only progress, unmitigated. Neo-Malthusian is the title sometimes given the first position, after the nineteenth-century British philosopher Thomas Malthus, whose followers have often proclaimed coming exhaustion and deep decay of la condition humain. On the other side are the Cornucopians, who find in the last 200 years an unbroken rise in abundance and benefit, such that, in the words of a most ardent proponent, Julian Simon, “the more [resources] we use, the better off we become—and there’s no practical limit to improving our lot forever.” Here is good news indeed, if we choose to believe it. And, until recently, the facts, viewed from an appropriate altitude, seemed to bear it out, if we ignore such wrinkles as world wars, genocides, religious fundamentalism, and the like. Of course, the tale is not yet fully told. Human history hasn’t yet ended, despite a few rumors to the contrary.
The battle between Neo-Malthusian and Cornucopian beliefs is thus a war of faith, fear, and perception, and since the Great Depression, Western nations have shifted between dilute versions of these two positions. In the postwar era, the 1950s seemed to many the opening of an “endless frontier,” impelled by science, but by the 1960s and ‘70s, this came to look naïve in the wake of environmental damage and oil crises. Beginning in the 1980s, pro-growth and laissez-faire attitudes once again took over and ruled for a generation, but climate change, a new oil shock, and global economic crisis have, in the late 2000s, brought a shift back toward worries over limits. There are again deep doubts about where humanity is headed and how long its resources may last. In the lands of energy, this notion has found a specific embodiment in the idea of “peak oil”—and its lieutenant, “peak gas”—defined as the moment in history when global production reaches a halfway point, having used up 50% of all the recoverable resource, and then begins to fall. According to this hypothesis, no matter how many new wells may be drilled, no matter what techniques or new technologies are applied, production will decline; not enough new oil can be found to replace what is being consumed. At this moment, therefore, terminal depletion begins, and the era of “cheap oil,” on which so much depends, is over. But before we talk about the peak concept itself, a bit of background is very much in order.