Sunday, June 26, 2005

Recent reads

A list of recent reads that are (even remotely) related to finance/investing.
  • Freakonomics - A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything: The topics covered range from the sudden/drastic reduction in US violent crime rates in the 90's (and the authors' conclusion as to the cause behind the drop) to cheating in unexpected places and the motivation for the same. The last chapter on names could easily have been omitted without making any difference.

    The most important lesson is to not take expert opinion or conventional wisdom at face value, but rather try to recognize and interpret patterns.
  • Collapse - How societies choose to fail or succeed: A largish book that explores in-depth the reasons behind the decline and fall of past societies. The content is often repetitive, especially when it comes to pointing to the environmental causes. Apart from climate-related causes, the significance of friendly trading relations in deciding the fate of cultures is illustrated well and is worth studying in this age of a massive shift of production and wealth creation to the east.
  • Ugly Americans - The true story of the Ivy League cowboys who raided the Asian markets for millions: A true story that is a real thriller. A must read if you want some introduction into bad loans and how they could go worse. The book also sheds some light on hedge funds, though, being set in the 90s, it is a bit dated. The 8 rules listed at the end are worth following.

None of the above are worth buying. Borrow and read - put your cash to better use.


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