Monday, June 21, 2010

Recently Received Books

In addition to books I review, publishers occasionally send me books that I don't review after reading them, don't read or have a difficult time reading once I get started. For those of you that may be interested in these books, since they tend to be on the topics of finance and economics, I am launching the "Recently Received Books" feature which may, or may not, contain comments about the books (but they certainly won't be full reviews-more just notices of arriving books).

13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson and James Kwak--Simon Johnson is the rebel insider economist who was formerly chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.  I actually read this book from cover to cover and a book that calls bankers oligarchs can't be all bad. But while Johnson and Kwak understand that the banking elite have captured the current regulatory system, their solution is more regulatory agencies (or at least different ones). I have hope for Simon long-term, he's come a long way from being an IMF economist. He sees the problems, but doesn't quite get that freedom and less regulation is the solution. That said, I have placed this book on my book shelf that is closest to my computer, since the first half of the book is a great reference tool with a great mini-history of banking in America.

Free Trade Doesn't Work: What Should Replace It and Why by Ian Fletcher--The author actually personally contacted me and asked me if I was interested in reviewing this book. I assumed he understood I am a free market, free trade  kind of guy, so I told him to send it along. I was hoping to find some type of dynamite knew anti-free trade argument, but I just couldn't get into the book, so I guess I'll never know what's in it.If you happen to come across this post via a Google search and are looking for an anti-free trade book, you should know that the back cover has something like 10,000 endorsements from various economists at universities and institutions around the world. As a matter of fact, I think the only economists that haven't yet endorsed the book are Bob Murphy and me.

Chasing Goldman Sachs by Suzanne McGee--This book has a great premise: That many Wall Street firms have set out to emulate Goldman Sachs and the way they operate. I initially started reading this book with great enthusiasm, but never got passed the first page. Since then, I have attempted to read this book at least a half dozen times. I have flipped to random pages and started reading. I have turned to specific chapters and started reading, but I have never been able to finish a paragraph. This is odd. I am very interested in how Goldman operates. I would be very curious about any firms that tried to emulate Goldman, yet  given my current location relative to time and space in the universe, there is nothing that draws me into the writing in this book. It's almost as though this book is written in much the way there are those silent whistles that only dogs hear. It's written, I think, in some fashion that I can't hear it. I hope for the author's sake that this is a defect with me and not the English speaking population of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Re: the free trade book--I looked it up on Amazon and came across this review

    Looks like typical, pedestrian misunderstanding of how free trade. I don't know how any other professional economist could recommend this book.