● From Financial Crisis to Global Recovery
By Padma Desai
Summary via publisher, Columbia University Press
Using the same presentation and detail that has earned her such wide-ranging acclaim for her previous books, Padma Desai explains in a course-friendly way the complexities of economic policy and financial reform. She merges a compelling narrative with scholarly research to teach and to engage the reader. Paul Krugman described Desai’s 2003 volume, Financial Crisis, Contagion, and Containment: From Asia to Argentina, as the “best book yet on financial crises.” Her most recent work on Russian reform was a “pick of 2006” by the Financial Times. Desai begins with a systematic breakdown of the factors leading to America’s recent recession, describing the monetary policy, tax practices, subprime mortgage scandals, and lax regulation that contributed to crisis. She discusses the Treasury-Fed rescue deals that saved several financial institutions and the involvement of Congress in passing restorative policies.
● Out of the Box and onto Wall Street: Unorthodox Insights on Investments and the Economy
By Mark Grant
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Part memoir, part investment strategy guide, Out of the Box and onto Wall Street presents a revolutionary, alternative look at the world of finance. Revealing the essential rules for preserving capital and making long-term profits, the book provides timely observations on the current and future state of the world economy and investment markets, which are sure to be of interest to anyone considering alternative and time proven ways of making money.
● The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
By Charles Fishman
Review via NPR
In The Big Thirst, Fishman examines different areas of the world already grappling with water shortages. He profiles parts of Delhi, India, where people line up twice a day with buckets for clean water, and Las Vegas — which, despite having all forms of water entertainment for visitors, is currently dealing with one of the biggest water shortages in the nation… In the next 30 years, Fishman predicts, private companies will develop the technology to make water utility plants more efficient. But, he cautions, it’s important to make sure water remains a public resource. “You don’t want to let companies end up in control of the resource itself,” he says. “We need to be careful not to cede those rights … while we also take advantage of the innovations. That’s a question of making sure that we understand the economics and policies on a community-by-community basis. There’s nothing wrong with companies innovating [solutions for] water as long as the water remains a public resource. And that’s really important.”
● Wealth Management: The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Investing and Managing Client Assets
By Harold Evensky, Stephen M. Horan, Thomas Robinson, and Roger Ibbotson
Summary via publisher, Wiley
For over a decade, The New Wealth Management: The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Managing and Investing Client Assets has provided financial planners with detailed, step-by-step guidance on developing an optimal asset allocation policy for their clients. And, it did so without resorting to simplistic model portfolios, such as lifecycle models or black box solutions. Today, while The New Wealth Management still provides a thorough background on investment theories, and includes many ready to use client presentations and questionnaires, the guide is newly updated to meet twenty-first century investment challenges.
● The WSJ Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter: From Big Macs to “Zombie Banks,” the Indicators Smart Investors Watch to Beat the Market
By Simon Constable and Robert E. Wright
Summary via publisher, Harper Collins
The Wall Street Journal Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators that Really Matter is a must-have guide for investors. Dow Jones columnist Simon Constable and respected financial historian Robert E. Wright offer valuable tips and insight to help investors forecast and exploit sea changes in the global macroeconomic climate. Unlike other investment handbooks, Constable and Wright’s guide explores the not widely known economic indicators that the smartest investors watch closely in order to beat the stock market—from “Big Macs” to “Zombie Banks.” Not only valuable and informative, The Wall Street Journal Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators that Really Matter is also wonderfully irreverent and endlessly entertaining, making it the most fun to read investors’ guide on the market.
● Corporate Governance Failures: The Role of Institutional Investors in the Global Financial Crisis
Edited by James P. Hawley, Shyam J. Kamath, and Andrew T. Williams
Summary via publisher, University of Pennsylvania Press
Corporate governance, the internal policies and leadership that guide the actions of corporations, played a major part in the recent global financial crisis. While much blame has been targeted at compensation arrangements that rewarded extreme risk-taking but did not punish failure, the performance of large, supposedly sophisticated institutional investors in this crisis has gone for the most part unexamined. Shareholding organizations, such as pension funds and mutual funds, hold considerable sway over the financial industry from Wall Street to the City of London. Corporate Governance Failures: The Role of Institutional Investors in the Global Financial Crisis exposes the misdeeds and lapses of these institutional investors leading up to the recent economic meltdown. In this collection of original essays, edited by pioneers in the field of fiduciary capitalism, top legal and financial practitioners and researchers discuss detrimental actions and inaction of institutional investors. Corporate Governance Failures reveals how these organizations exposed themselves and their clientele to extremely complex financial instruments, such as credit default swaps, through investments in hedge and private equity funds as well as more traditional equity investments in large financial institutions. The book’s contributors critique fund executives for tolerating the “pursuit of alpha” culture that led managers to pursue risky financial strategies in hopes of outperforming the market. The volume also points out how and why institutional investors failed to effectively monitor such volatile investments, ignoring relatively well-established corporate governance principles and best practices.
● The Constitution of Liberty: The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek)
By F. A. Hayek (edited by Ronald Hamowy)
Review via The New York Times Book Review
In an age when many on the right are worried that the Obama administration’s reform of health care is leading us toward socialism, Hayek’s warnings from the mid-20th century about society’s slide toward despotism, and his principled defense of a minimal state, have found strong political resonance. The new edition of “The Constitution of Liberty,” which was first published in 1960, differs from the original primarily insofar as the extensive endnotes in the original edition have now been placed at the bottom of the page and heavily annotated by the editor, Ronald Hamowy…Hayek’s skepticism about the effects of “big government” are rooted in an epistemological observation summarized in a 1945 article called “The Uses of Knowledge in Society.” There he argued that most of the knowledge in a modern economy was local in nature, and hence unavailable to central planners. The brilliance of a market economy was that it allocated resources through the decentralized decisions of a myriad of buyers and sellers who interacted on the basis of their own particular knowledge. The market was a form of “spontaneous order,” which was far superior to planned societies based on the hubris of Cartesian rationalism.