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The Curse of Bigness (i.e. Monopolies)

The idea of anti-trust by government is not yet 130 years old, and it took a decade before President Teddy Roosevelt to put those ideas into action. The last time the U.S. government broke up a monopoly was AT&T in 1982. The Curse of Bigness by Tim Wu gives a quick background on how anti-trust all began, then dives into the key questions: When is big too big?How do we measure big?Is Anti...

Success by Ten

I love to uncover hidden assumptions and thus enjoy stories of the early days of some industry,  where all of what we take for granted today didn’t exist.  Modern portfolio theory, mutual funds, and retirement accounts are commonplace today, but were all invented and become popular between the 1960’s and 1990’s. Success by Ten is supposed to be advice for creating a $1...

The Growth Delusion

Fifty years ago, presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy shared these words: Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – purpose and dignity – that afflicts us all.  Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our...

Capitalism in America

Entrepreneurship comes in waves!? Snowed in, I finally finished Capitalism in America: A History, yet-another a book I stumbled upon at my local library. This one in the “new book” stack, which caught my eye both from the title as well as the co-author, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan. The book does live up to its title. It’s an easy-to-read economic...

Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World continues my research into wealth inequality and the real-world workings of capitalism.  This book is the story primarily of four men: Norman, Strong, Moreau, and Schadt, the heads of the central banks of the UK, U.S., France, and Germany in the 1910’s through 1940’s. These are the men who restructured the financial world at the end of...

War and Gold

Continuing my series of book reports on economics, I was walking through my public library when the title War and Gold caught my eye.  The book explains (in far too much detail) the history of money over the last 500 years, starting with the Spanish exploitation of the New World and the subsequent flood of silver into Europe and continuing century by century to the Volker/Regan solution to...

The commonly misunderstood tragedy of the commons

Apparently I’ve misunderstood the “Tragedy of the Commons” and so likely have you. This is a great example of a meme that is assumed to be both ancient and obvious, but isn’t.  There was an essay entitled “Tragedy of the Commons” written back in 1833, but it was ignored until Garret Hardin published an article in Science in 1968 with the same title.  It’s...

People before Profit

It took me a few months to finish People before Profit, the inspiring story of Bob Moore, the founder of Bob’s Red Mill.  A friend recommended it, as (spoiler) at age 70 Bob gave the company to his employees. From my other readings on economics, I’m concluding that its the inequality of ownership that is the root cause of both wealth and income inequality.  I was thus eager to read...

The Next Step is now a podcast too…

Here in 2018, it seems a bit 19th Century to focus solely on writing books.  Yes, I also write a blog, and those were not invented until the late 20th Century, but podcasts are one of the 21st Century’s contributions to media, and feels like a medium that is just starting to take off. I’ve thus jumped on the podcasting bandwagon using The Next Step brand from my books as the title and...

Myths and assumptions of tulips

One of the best parts of Debt: The First 5,000 Years was pointing out the myth that economies always begin with barter (hint: they never have). Similarly, whenever a market starts to heat up, we inevitably hear about the tulip bubble in Holland in the 1630’s.  Well… turns out those stories are myths as well.  Anne Goldgar has written a book, Tulipmania: Money, Honor and Knowledge in...

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