CategoryBooks

Eating Tomorrow

A few weeks ago there was a talk on Agroecology by Timothy A. Wise. That term is widely used outside the U.S. for what we’d call sustainable or restorative agriculture. That part of the talk was good, but far more interesting were the stories from the book which the talk summarized, Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food. The author traveled the...

Boomerang, by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis is the author of The Big Short and a rare storyteller who can convey complex economic topics as stories with interesting characters and plots. Boomerang tells stories in and around the financial meltdown (a.k.a. Panic) of 2008-2009, but for Americans these are mostly the far less discussed stories of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, and Germany. The fact that Iceland was able (within a...

Broken Bargain

American banks fail when unregulated, and they fail when improperly regulated. That is the one sentence summary of Broken Bargain by Kathleen Day, the latest book in my series trying to understand how the financial system is failing. My key learnings from his book are highly unlikely what the author intended. She’s a bit too anti-bank for my taste. We’d seem to agree on 99% of what is...

The Case for Socialism (or not)

With capital “S” Socialism in the political news, when The Case for Socialism appeared in the new book shelf at my local library, I thought it a good time to see if Alan Maass and Howard Zinn could help me better understand Capitalism and its flaws. Unfortunately, instead this book had me asking my wife (a professor of philosophy and teacher of logic and critical thinking) for the...

America’s Bank

Back to uncovering the history of the modern economy and understanding of how money truly works (see Lords of Finance, War and Gold, Capital in the 21st Century, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, and The Wealth of Nations to get up speed) my latest read is America’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve. The title sounds a bit dry and the book delivers on that promise, but there...

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...

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