book reviews

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Book Review: Wall Street Wars

Wall Street Wars

In its extensive recounting of financial misdeeds prior to the 1929 stock market crash, this fine work of popular financial history notes the parallels between recent events and the debates in the early 1930s over securities regulation and the subsequent enactment of landmark securities laws. Amid talk of the need to restore trust in the financial industry, the incidents recounted in the book suggest that restoration should apply only to firms that are worthy of trust and must come about through commitment to ethical practices, rather than public relations campaigns. Read more

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Book Review: Uncertainty, Expectations, and Financial Instability

Uncertainty, Expectations, and Financial Instability

This book presents insights into the formation of expectations and the causes of market instability by updating and applying the forgotten theories of Nobel Prize–winning economist Maurice Allais. Focusing on alternatives to the rational expectations theory, the author shows how memory and strength of signal influence the way investors form their views of the market. He applies these “old” concepts on expectation formation to recent market events to explain how alternative expectation formulations can lead to market instability. Read more

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Book Review: Geopolitics for Investors

Geopolitics for Investors

A consultant on foreign affairs and national security issues, the author has written a succinct, nuanced, and thoughtful compendium of geopolitics — for both the less experienced investor and the seasoned professional desiring a brief refresher — that provides a helpful impetus for further discussion and research. Read more

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Book Review: Heroes and Villains of Finance

Heroes and Villains of Finance

This book introduces the reader to 50 noteworthy personages in numerous facets of finance, from before the Common Era to the present day. The author covers a wide and diverse history of characters that includes academics, philosophers, economists, practitioners, and reprobates. This slender volume makes for an entertaining read that may elicit further interest in the many and varied subjects on which it touches. Read more

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Book Review: Your Portfolio Is Broken

Your Portfolio Is Broken

Chris Turnbull, CFA, counsels investors with “broken portfolios” — characterized by high fees, high taxes, and high turnover — to consider such passive investment strategies as indexing and to seek advisers who will realign their portfolios pursuant to a disciplined investment process with achievable objectives and a firm eye on downside risk. Read more