45 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Finance about their New Books

New Books in Finance Marshall Poe

    • Investing

Interviews with Scholars of Finance about their New Books

    Daniel Peris on Goetzmann's "Money Changes Everything" (Princeton UP, 2016)

    Daniel Peris on Goetzmann's "Money Changes Everything" (Princeton UP, 2016)

    Think that Wall Street has nothing to do with the real economy? You are probably not alone in that regard. But it turns out, you are wrong. As William N. Goetzmann demonstrates in his Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible (Princeton University Press, 2016), the tools of finance were as important for the rise of civilization as were the soldiers, castles and battles. Were it not for property contracts, agreements over imports and exports of grain, how to manage risk in increasingly complex economic ventures, etc we are still living in small agricultural communities eaking out an existence, and with no engagement of the wider world beyond the next village over.
    For finance professionals, Money Changes Everything offers an additional lesson: you have a history. People have been confronting for millenia the same intellectual and operational challenges that you face today. It might make sense to become familiar with how your predecessors in Ancient Sumeria and Rome and Qing Dynasty China and early modern Europe defined and worked out those same problems. You might be surprised how much you can learn from your predecessors.
    Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Trained as a historian of modern Russia, he is the author most recently of Getting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors. You can follow him on Twitter @Back2BizBook or at http://www.strategicdividendinvestor.com

    • 15 min
    Daniel T. Kirsch, "Sold My Soul for a Student Loan" (ABC-CLIO, 2019)

    Daniel T. Kirsch, "Sold My Soul for a Student Loan" (ABC-CLIO, 2019)

    With free college in the national conversation, there’s been no better time for Daniel T. Kirsch’s new book Sold My Soul for a Student Loan: Higher Education and the Political Economy of the Future (Praeger, 2019). Kirsch teaches at California State University, Sacramento.
    American colleges and universities boasts an impressive legacy, but the price of admission for many is now endless debt. As Kirsch shows in the book, increasing educational indebtedness undermines the real value of higher education in US democracy. To help readers understand this dilemma, he examines how the student debt problem emerged and what the long-term effects of this might be. Sold My Soul for a Student Loan examines this vitally important issue from an unprecedented diversity of perspectives, focusing on the fact that student debt is hindering the ability of millions of people to enter the job market, the housing market, the consumer economy, and the political process.

    • 30 min
    Alberto Cairo, "How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information" (Norton, 2019)

    Alberto Cairo, "How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information" (Norton, 2019)

    We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous―and easier to share than ever. We associate charts with science and reason; the flashy visuals are both appealing and persuasive. Pie charts, maps, bar and line graphs, and scatter plots (to name a few) can better inform us, revealing patterns and trends hidden behind the numbers we encounter in our lives. In short, good charts make us smarter―if we know how to read them.
    However, they can also lead us astray. Charts lie in a variety of ways―displaying incomplete or inaccurate data, suggesting misleading patterns, and concealing uncertainty―or are frequently misunderstood, such as the confusing cone of uncertainty maps shown on TV every hurricane season. To make matters worse, many of us are ill-equipped to interpret the visuals that politicians, journalists, advertisers, and even our employers present each day, enabling bad actors to easily manipulate them to promote their own agendas.
    In How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information (W. W. Norton, 2019), data visualization expert Alberto Cairo teaches us to not only spot the lies in deceptive visuals, but also to take advantage of good ones to understand complex stories. Public conversations are increasingly propelled by numbers, and to make sense of them we must be able to decode and use visual information. By examining contemporary examples ranging from election-result infographics to global GDP maps and box-office record charts, How Charts Lie demystifies an essential new literacy, one that will make us better equipped to navigate our data-driven world.

    • 57 min
    Richard Robb, "Willful: How We Choose What We Do" (Yale UP, 2019)

    Richard Robb, "Willful: How We Choose What We Do" (Yale UP, 2019)

    Tired of the mechanical, narrowly rational human behavior of the Chicago school, but not exactly comforted by the emphasis on irrational activity in behavioral economics? So am I. Richard Robb, professor at Columbia and fund manager, offers a third way. In Willful: How We Choose What We Do (Yale University Press, 2019), Robb develops the notion of "for itself" behavior and decision making that can't be reduced to the algorithms of calculating machines, or even those that are adjusted for human foibles. Willful is not a comprehensive theory of decision making, but an effort to reinsert some element of humanity into explanations of how individuals and groups act. It is a work along the lines of "life is a journey, not a destination" but one well enriched by a wide reading of ancient and modern philosophers.
    Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Trained as a historian of modern Russia, he is the author most recently of Getting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors. You can follow him on Twitter @Back2BizBook or at http://www.strategicdividendinvestor.com

    • 42 min
    Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing

    Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing

    As you may know, university presses publish a lot of good books. In fact, they publish thousands of them every year. They are different from most trade books in that most of them are what you might called "fundamental research." Their authors--dedicated researchers one and all--provide the scholarly stuff upon which many non-fiction trade books are based. So when you are reading, say, a popular history, you are often reading UP books at one remove. Of course, some UP books are also bestsellers, and they are all well written (and, I should say, thoroughly vetted thanks to the peer review system), but the greatest contribution of UPs is to provide a base of fundamental research to the public. And they do a great job of it.
    How do they do it? Today I talked to Kathryn Conrad, the president of the Association of University Presses, about the work of UPs, the challenges they face, and some terrific new directions they are going. We also talked about why, if you have a scholarly book in progress, you should talk to UP editors early and often. And she explains how! Listen in.
    Marshall Poe is the editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@gmail.com.

    • 40 min
    Howard Kunreuther, "The Future of Risk Management" (U Penn Press, 2019)

    Howard Kunreuther, "The Future of Risk Management" (U Penn Press, 2019)

    Whether man-made or naturally occurring, large-scale disasters can cause fatalities and injuries, devastate property and communities, savage the environment, impose significant financial burdens on individuals and firms, and test political leadership. Moreover, global challenges such as climate change and terrorism reveal the interdependent and interconnected nature of our current moment: what occurs in one nation or geographical region is likely to have effects across the globe. Our information age creates new and more integrated forms of communication that incur risks that are difficult to evaluate, let alone anticipate. All of this makes clear that innovative approaches to assessing and managing risk are urgently required.
    When catastrophic risk management was in its inception thirty years ago, scientists and engineers would provide estimates of the probability of specific types of accidents and their potential consequences. Economists would then propose risk management policies based on those experts' estimates with little thought as to how this data would be used by interested parties. Today, however, the disciplines of finance, geography, history, insurance, marketing, political science, sociology, and the decision sciences combine scientific knowledge on risk assessment with a better appreciation for the importance of improving individual and collective decision-making processes.
    The essays in The Future of Risk Management (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), edited by Howard Kunreuther, Robert J. Meyer, Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan, highlight past research, recent discoveries, and open questions written by leading thinkers in risk management and behavioral sciences. The Future of Risk Management provides scholars, businesses, civil servants, and the concerned public tools for making more informed decisions and developing long-term strategies for reducing future losses from potentially catastrophic events.
    Visit the University of Pennsylvania Press and enter promo code RISK50 during checkout to receive a 50% discount. Valid until November 15, 2019.
    Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner. You can tweet her @bethwindisch.

    • 35 min

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