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The New Lombard Street

Back to understanding money and economics, I started reading The New Lombard Street soon after serendipitously discovering the wonderful online class, Economics of Money and Banking by Professor Perry Merhling (@PMerhling). After two or three years buried under other books on my nightstand, prodded a bit by a discussion group popping up on Reddit talking about the class, I finally finished...

Factfulness

If you’ve never seen Hans Rosling speak, scroll down, click play, and be amazed. Before Hans passed away, he wrote down his big learnings in Factfulness. This is one one those books everyone should be read. It’s a easy read, and insightful and hopeful, and at the same time, frightening. The key lesson is that almost no one really knows what is going on in the world. Population growh...

Boatbuilding

For years I’ve been so busy with global travel and family that I’ve not had time for any real hobby. Instead I’ve been vicariously enjoying other people practicing their hobbies via YouTube. Keith Appleton, Keith Rucker, Scott Manley, Cody’s Lab, TechMoan, and Curious Marc, plus the explainers of 3Blue1Brown, Alec Steele, CGP Grey, Clickspring, Half as Interesting, Half...

Am I Being Too Subtle?

Many months ago, someone suggested I read “Am I Being too Subtle?“, Sam Zell’s memoir. It’s a good read. Clearly written by Sam itself, as Sam is a go-getting entrepreneur, a true self-made billionaire, but one that didn’t simply have one success, but a whole series of successes in a multitude of industries. The biggest teaching moments of the book come at the end...

Creative Capital

Back in 1992, at age 22, I started my first company. Before cellphones. Before the Web. Before broadband. Before everyone had an email address. Before the Lean Startup. But what I (and others) took for granted was a system of Angel investors and venture capitalists. I didn’t think twice back then where that system came from. I didn’t consider whether the same system funded Edison...

Bernanke: The Courage to Act

Here in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic and attached economic crisis, it seemed a good time to read Ben Bernanke’s memoir of the Panic of 2007-2008. Like most of the economics history books I’ve read and posted about, the stories are interesting but the writing quite dry. Too many words devoted to unnecessary details. But ideas that are well worth remembering and learning from...

Americana: A 400 Year History of American Capitalism

Economic history books tend to be dry. Not so with Americana: A 400 Year History of American Capitalism. The author does a very good job of weaving threads of stories together to keep the narrative fast paced and interesting. The story spans from the Mayflower in the 1600s through the iPhone in 2007. I previously posted the Mayflower story, as I hadn’t before seen details on how the oft...

America Started with Capitalism

The story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower taught to every American child in every American school is less than half of the actual story. Obviously there are a lot of day to day details left out, but the most striking of the omissions is the fact that the endeavor was a for-profit business. The corporate side of this story is told in the first chapter of Americana: A 400-Year History of American...

Emergent Fraud

Halfway through reading The Big Short, I’m stuck wondering how after trillions of dollars of damage to the financial system, not only did no one go to jail, but no one was even brought in front of a jury. I think I figured out why. To explain, I have to go back to Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations. Smith’s core argument is that the amazingly efficient system later dubbed Capitalism...

Don’t Believe Every Economist

One of my hobbies is reading books on economics. (People do call me Luni after all). What I’ve learned from all this reading is that some economists can explain how an economy actually works, but have very odd, very wrong ideas on how should work. Case in point today is The Production of Money by Ann Pettifor. The book explains how central banks don’t actually print money, that...

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