Book Bits For Saturday: 5.28.2011

I Am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Inspired by Ayn Rand’s characters in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, penetrating profiles of both the innovators who move our world forward and those who seek to destroy the achievement of others. John Galt, the fictional character from Ayn Rand’s bestselling novel, Atlas Shrugged, has come to embody the individualist capitalist who acts in his own enlightened self interest, and in doing so lifts the world around him. Some of today’s most successful CEOs, journalists, sports figures, actors, and thinkers have led their lives according to Galt’s (i.e., Rand’s) philosophy. Now, in I Am John Galt, these inspiring stories are gathered with the keen insight and analysis of well-known market commentator Donald Luskin and business writer Andrew Greta. Filled with exclusive interviews, profiles, and analyses of leading financial, business, and artistic stars who have based their lives, and careers, on the philosophy of the perennially popular Ayn Rand, this book both inspires and enlightens. On the other side are Rand’s arch villains the power-seekers, parasites, and lunatics who would destroy that which the creators and builders make. Who are today’s anti-heroes, fighting the creativity of the innovators?

Aftermath: A New Global Economic Order? (Possible Futures)
Edited By Craig Calhoun and Georgi Derluguian
Summary via publisher, NYU Press
The global financial crisis showed deep problems with mainstream economic predictions. At the same time, it showed the vulnerability of the world’s richest countries and the enormous potential of some poorer ones. China, India, Brazil and other countries are growing faster than Europe or America and they have weathered the crisis better. Will they be new world leaders? And is their growth due to following conventional economic guidelines or instead to strong state leadership and sometimes protectionism? These issues are basic not only to the question of which countries will grow in coming decades but to likely conflicts over global trade policy, currency standards, and economic cooperation.
Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present
By Jeff Madrick
Review via Publishers Weekly
A number of books are clear about the causes of the recession, none more so than The Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present, in which author and journalist Jeffrey Madrick argues that today’s economic problems, including a high concentration of wealth, have been building for 40 years. Madrick begins with one-time Citicorp head Walter Wriston’s successful deregulation fight and examines the actions of some of the most powerful economic players of the times, including Milton Friedman, Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, Jack Welch, and Alan Greenspan. Delving into the underlying causes of the 2008 financial crisis is at the heart of Brendan Moynihan’s Financial Origami: How the Wall Street Model Broke. Using the Japanese paper art as a metaphor, Moynihan shows how Wall Street’s financial engineering models morphed from effective tools during stable times to the cause of financial destruction when times turned tougher.
What’s Next?: Unconventional Wisdom on the Future of the World Economy
Edited by David Hale and Lyric Hughes Hale
Summary via publisher, Yale University Press
The world spins in economic turmoil, and who can tell what will happen next? Cold numbers and simple statistical projections don’t take into account social, financial, or political factors that can dramatically alter the economic course of a nation or a region. In this unique book, more than twenty leading economists and experts render thorough, rigorously researched prognoses for the world’s major economies over the next five years. Factoring in such varied issues as the price of oil, the strength of the U.S. dollar, geopolitics, tax policies, and new developments in investment decision making, the contributors ground their predictions in the realities of current events, political conditions, and the health of financial institutions in each national economy.
What You Need to Know about Economics
By George Buckley and Sumeet Desai
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Economics Matters. But with confusing things like GDP and interest rates, it’s often hard to get you head around. So What do you really need to know about economics? Find out:
•What economic growth is and why it matters
•How inflation happens
•How jobs are created and lost
•How the property market works
•What central banks do and how it affects the rest of us
•The impact of government spending on the economy
What You Need to Know About Economics cuts through the theory to help you to do your job and understand the world around you better.