Practical analysis for investment professionals

Book Reviews


Book Review: Systemic Risk: The Dynamics of Modern Financial Systems

The global financial crisis revealed a critical need for a substantial reassessment of the fundamental workings of financial systems, their interactions with the real economy, and the circumstances that tip such systems from stability to instability. In this book, Prasanna Gai provides a fresh look at these increasingly important fields.

Book Review: Numbersense: How to Use Big Data to Your Advantage

In the era of Big Data, the increased volume of data analysis inevitably entails an upsurge in bad analysis. The author argues that consumers should be extra vigilant when interpreting and relying on data analysis and encourages readers to improve their critical assessment of data analysis to optimize decision making.

Book Review: Project Financing: Asset-Based Financial Engineering

This comprehensive and well-documented guide for project finance should be valuable reading for project sponsors and their consultants. Also likely to benefit are investors and asset managers considering investments in infrastructure and in such capital-intensive corporate sectors as power, energy, telecommunications, resources, and transportation.

Book Review: Rethinking Expectations: The Way Forward for Macroeconomics

Rethinking Expectations provides fresh approaches to macroeconomic analysis, including imperfect knowledge economics (IKE), which models individual behavior and aggregate outcomes and explores the frontier of what formal macroeconomic and finance theory can deliver. These new approaches are needed, given the recent Great Recession and spectacular boom and bust in asset prices.

Book Review: The Physics of Wall Street

James Owen Weatherall argues that given the proven track record of applying ideas developed in physics to finance, it is time to do it again. His book is about the future of finance and the new set of tools that will facilitate the proper functioning of the world’s economies.

Book Review: The Hour between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings, and the Biology of Boom and Bust

John Coates, senior research fellow in neuroscience and finance at the University of Cambridge, offers a number of fascinating lessons from a booming new field, the biology of risk, revealing how risk taking and stress transform our body chemistry and drive us to irrational exuberance or pessimism. When such chemical surges overwhelm traders and investors, they tend to suffer either euphoric overconfidence or extreme timidity.

Book Review: Managed Futures for Institutional Investors

Investment professionals thinking of offering managed futures should read this primer on the nuts and bolts of managed futures and conventional “how-to” guide to making money. It provides both the solid theoretical underpinnings of the asset class and the practical aspects of incorporating managed futures into a client’s portfolio.

Book Review: Portfolio Design

Richard Marston certainly has the credentials to author a book on portfolio design. Currently the academic director of the Private Wealth Management Program at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, he has taught in five countries, is the recipient of both a Rhodes Scholarship and a Fulbright Fellowship, and—perhaps most relevantly—has taught asset allocation to more than 5,000 financial advisers as a faculty member in the Certified Investment Management Analyst program. Marston has accomplished what many investment academics find difficult—namely, produce a book that is truly practical and “hands-on” for both financial advisers and investors. Portfolio Design: A Modern Approach to Asset Allocation deftly combines rigorous academic research with everyday investment experience to provide a guidebook to the complexities underlying portfolio design and asset allocation.



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