Practical analysis for investment professionals

Book Reviews


Book Review: Winning the Loser’s Game

This book’s greatest value to investment professionals is its analysis of the organizational dynamics of institutional investing.

Top Five Articles from September: The Value Factor, Non-Retirement, Finance and Civilization

A defense of modern portfolio theory (MPT) by Nathan Erickson, CFA, CAIA, and Richard Stott; Nicolas Rabener's analysis of the value of factor investing; and an examination of the non-retirement phenomenon by Barbara Stewart, CFA, were among the leading posts from last month.

Book Review: The Power of a Single Number

Gross domestic product has become the comparative benchmark for the wealth and growth rates of nations. The author provides a concise history of GDP, which offers fertile ground for the consideration of future changes to its use and to the use of other inputs in the valuation of stocks and stock markets.

Book Review: Economics for Independent Thinkers

Economics for Independent Thinkers is useful to practitioners who make economic forecasts. Investment strategist Daniel Nevins, CFA, recounts becoming a skeptic about the application of quantitative methods to economics and about standard prediction methods, such as the lagging nature of consumer confidence surveys. He especially disdains economists who strive to make reality fit their models.

Book Review: Empire of the Fund

William Birdthistle provides a witty description of mutual fund design and categorizes its imperfections entertainingly, offering more palatable alternatives. This slender volume is a welcome addition to the library of the professional and retail investor alike.

Book Review: Exchange-Traded Funds and the New Dynamics of Investing

This comprehensive study of the structure, price dynamics, and valuation of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) addresses their current uses in various investment settings. It attributes the rapid growth of ETFs to factor-based investing and the rise of robo-advisers. The book is a fascinating deep dive into all categories of ETFs, including equity, fixed income, foreign currencies, and alternative investments, with a particular focus on issues of tracking and liquidity.

Book Review: A Man for All Markets

A Man for All Markets is the autobiography of a man regarded by many as the father of quantitative finance. His story is one of a mathematician who moved from solving such casino games as blackjack to applying his skills to option pricing and statistical arbitrage. As he recounts his journey, he provides insights for all money managers on how to generate an edge and beat the markets through deep research.

Book Review: The Econometric Analysis of Recurrent Events in Macroeconomics and Finance

Leading econometricians address the issue of statistically identifying and measuring business cycle regimes and turning points. They provide a framework for modeling and predicting cyclical shifts. This work is relevant for investment managers interested in matching business cycle analysis with asset allocation decisions.

Book Review: High Yield Debt

High Yield Debt succeeds as a concise and thorough primer on the speculative-grade debt market, including not only high-yield bonds but also leveraged loans and other related asset types. The author, who manages a credit hedge fund, presents sound conclusions on such controversial topics as the impact of exchange-traded funds on market volatility. The book is an invaluable resource for its target market of institutional decision makers.

Book Review: Household Finance

Household finance was once the investment and planning wallflower, but this is no longer the case. Stacked vertically, these three tomes, numbering about 1,000 pages each, could well serve as a footstool. And just as a footstool provides access to something otherwise out of reach, this extensive collection affords readers access to a rich chronology of developments in this field hitherto dispersed in academic journals.



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