It has been awhile since I reviewed any books. Here are five that I have recently read and recommend.
Overview - Bust is written by Matthew Lynn, a reporter for Bloomberg. Lynn traces the history of the euro, Greece's entrance into the eurozone, the outcomes to date, and what Lynn believes will happen in the future. Lynn is not optimistic about the future of the euro, arguing that fixes thus far have been cosmetic and do not deal with the underlying problems in the eurozone. I agree. This is the first of what I expect to be several good books written about the euro, a narrative that has yet to fully play out.
Rating - 3.5/5 and is annointed a (*) as being highly recommended.
Title - Diary of a Very Bad Year
Overview - Diary of a Very Bad Year is a serious of interviews with an anonymous hedge fund manager by an anonymous interviewer. The interviews take place over the course of The Financial Crisis, beginning in September 2007 and ending in August 2009. It is an interesting portrait of the mind of a hedge fund manager as the financial world around him collapses. Written as a series of essays for a magazine, it easy for non-professionals to understand, and etches into memory the mindset of the time, one that seems to be fading from view.
Rating - 3.5/5 and is annointed a (*) as being highly recommended, especially for non-financial individuals.
Title - The Death of Capital
Overview - The Death of Capital is written by Michael Lewitt, the author of the outstanding HCM Market Letter, of which I am a dedicated reader. I was a little disappointed with this book, perhaps because Lewitt raised the bar so high with his HCM Market Letter. The first 100 pages discuss philosophy, particularly Marx, Keynes, Adam Smith and Hyman Minsky. It felt a little disjointed, but what do I know? I'm not a philosopher. The rest of the book deals with the Financial Crisis. Lewitt'sprescriptions are somewhat vague but I believe he is on the right track. Lewitt is a good writer and I enjoyed this book.
Rating - 3.5/5
Title - The Myth of the Rational Market
Overview - The Myth of the Rational Market by Justin Fox traces the history of rationality and the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) as the bedrock of modern economic thought. One awaiting for an intellectual demolition of the EMH might be a little disappointed but the book is an enjoyable read on the rise and fall of the EMH. In truth, the EMH has not fallen far since nothing has yet replaced it. The EMH has all sorts of intellectual problems, not least are the continuing financial crises that have permeated the financial markets over the past 30 years, but it plods on by default as the economic foundation for modern economic thought.
Rating - 4/5 and is annointed a (*) as being highly recommended.
Title - Wall Street Revalued
Overview - If you are not an investment strategist, portfolio manager, academic, economist or central banker, do not buy this book. It will put you to sleep. However, if you are an investment strategist, portfolio manager, academic, economist or central banker, you will probably find this book useful, if for anything as a reference. Written by Andrew Smithers, an economist with his own firm, Smithers & Co., Smithers writes as an economist, dissecting financial market and economic falacies with lots of numbers and graphs. This book increased my knowledge but was somewhat dense, making it a useful but not always an enjoyable read.
Rating - 3/5