Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Beleaguered by Lynne Golding

This book’s full title is The Beleaguered: Beneath the Alders Series. Lynne Golding has a site here. Her twitter account is here with a twitter name of @lynne_golding.

This is a book I got from Ben McNally’s breakfasts with authors at the King Eddie. I very much enjoyed this book. You can learn about some Canadian History while reading about Jessie Stephens and her life in Brampton. The book is part fiction and part stories from the author’s Great Aunt Jessie. I learned a bit about what the World War I was like for Canadians. I had known that there were problems for people of Austrian and German descent.

Although my ancestors in Canada came from Switzerland, they spoken German and settle in the German community. They did not talk much about the World Wars but I know that they felt that they must learn English quickly and keep their heads down. My family came in the late 1800’s to Canada. It is my Great Grandparents that were the immigrants and they apparently only spoke German. My Grandfather and Grandmother were bilingual and my father (born in 1914) only spoke English. Although he learned to swear in German.

There are book reviews on Good Reads. There is a written interview with Lynne Golding at Open Book.

Lynne Golding speaks about this series on her site. Her Facebook page is here. She has a number of videos on her site.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Fate of the West by Bill Emmott

This book’s full title is The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea. Bill Emmott has his own site here. Click the 2050 index for an interesting overview.

He talks a lot of the problems of the west. People have lost faith in government. Europe is a mess. They have economic problems but also immigration problems and terrorism. It would seem to have a lot to do with new immigrants that UK voted to separate from the EU. He says that no rich country has revived or re-energized from economic or political torpor by a revision to authoritarian rule. Those that have achieved revival had done so through some new combination of openness and a restoration of equality.

He still has hope for the future of the west. I must admit I have hope but we are going through some tough times. You can see we have a problem with trust and there is a lot of polarization. Even in Canada we have people who intensely hate people of other political parties. It is not good that people have a hard time accepting an election when their political party is not the winner. I am hoping we will muddle through our problems somehow.

There is an interesting review on Kirkus Reviews. There is a review on Publishers Weekly. G. John Ikenberry reviews this book on Foreign Affairs. He also reviews The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce. In closing he says “But, like Luce, Emmott doesn’t shed much light on the specifics of what would amount to a wholesale rethinking of the Western social contract”.

John Andrews interviews Bill Emmott on Project Syndicate . Financial News columnist David Wighton, and Christoph Winder from Der Standard joints in. Populism and the Fate of the West is debated on YouTube. The Speakers were Bill Emmott, Former Economist Editor-in-chief; Edward Luce, US columnist, Financial Times Joris Luyendijk, Investigative Journalist; and the Chair by Rowan Conway.

Bill Emmott is interviewed at Cambridge Union. This was not as interesting as the other interviews. They talked mostly of journalism. Bill Emmott and Kishore Mahbubani are interviewed at Ideas in Abu Dhabi. Kishore Mahbubani is Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, where he also served as the Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy from 2004 to 2017. His book is “Has the West Lost It”.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Written World by Martin Puchner

This book’s full title is Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History and Civilization. He has his own we website. He has put lots of information about this book there.

I found this book interesting. However, he does not always get his history right. After I saw some mistakes, I decided to note the next one. He said (page 297 my copy) that rulers in Delhi converted to Islam, but India was conquered by the Islamic Mughals. Just little things, but annoying. I do know a lot of history as I read a lot of history.

He talks about the 4 stages of literature. The first stage was dominated by small groups of scribes who mastered a difficult writing system and control the texts they assembled. In the second stage there were charismatic teachers such as Buddha, Socrates, and Jesus whose followers developed news styles of writing. In the third stage individual authors emerged supported by innovations that made access to writing easier, such as Lady Murasaki in Japan and Cervantes in Spain. The fourth stage made use of the widespread use of paper and print and ushered in an era of mass production and mass literacy with newspapers and broadsides.

There are a lot of interesting reviews of this book on Good Reads. There is a short description of this book on Kirkus. There is a podcast at Harvard Edu with an interview of Martin Puchner by Robin Kelsey. On the Writ Large site, Zachary Davis interviews Martin Puchner about his book. There is a podcast and the script from the podcast.

Martin Puchner explains the History of the Written World on YouTube for Cambridge Forum. He starts speaking at 1.14 minutes in to almost 40 minutes. I found interesting is the discussion on Charismatic teachers that appeared in writing cultures, but these teachers did not write. Their student did write what that said later. These teachers appear around the same time and they included Buddha in India, Confucius in China, Socrates in Greece, and Jesus in the Near East. Here Kameel Masr interviews Martin Puchner and this is sponsored by the Curiosity Foundation. Martin Puchner is interviewed at Harvard by Miles Osgood. This is shorter at some 14 minutes.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Machine Platform Crowd by McAfee and Brynjolfsson

This book’s full title is Machine Platform Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. There are three separate subjects of machines (i.e., computers),

Machine is talks about cheap and powerful computing and AI. Computers are expanding their capabilities. For example, they can now beat in the game of Go. Platform is about network platforms. Examples are Uber and Airbnb. The third section is about crowdsourcing. You can crowd source to do work or for funding. If you want to catch up on what is going on in the Tech world, this book might be for you.

Daniel Patton on YouTube reviews this book. He was not very pleased with it. Madanmohan Rao on Your Story writes a long and more positive review of this book. Wang Xiwen Wendy Medium also does a longest review and is pleased with this book.

Machine, Platform, Crowd with Erik Brynjolfsson talks on YouTube. This is a short video of under 10 minutes and a great overview of this book. Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee speak at Google. Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee speak at MIT under the MIT Sloan Expert Series. They are interviewed by Rebecca Knight. This 30 minutes session is the most interesting one.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson

This book’s full title is Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. This is a great book and quite insightful. I very much like the idea that inclusiveness works. I am an old fashion liberal, a capitalist and a strong believer in the rule of law.

Basically, this book puts forward to the idea that the successful nation are inclusive nations. The includes both economic and political inclusiveness. The more inclusive a nation is the better it is for all the people of the nation. In inclusive nations, everyone gets a chance to rise to elite status. You never know where the next great ideas or next great leader could come from.

I live in Canada, a land of immigrants. Sometimes we have been more or less accepting of new immigrants and sometimes we have been incredibly awful to new immigrants. What we need to realize is that we would all be better off if everyone got a chance to contribute to our society. We put too many people in jail, especially from minority groups and natives. And, even though our last liberal provincial government throw a lot of money at education, we still have poor schools in poor areas.

There is a lot we need to fix. However, I am still grateful that I live in a country like Canada. We are quite provincial, but we do generally live a good life. We have a diverse population, which is our greatest strength. However, I do not think we use this strength as best as we could.

The authors also believe in “creative destruction”. This is a process in which industry continuously destroy the current industries and incessantly create new ones. There is an article on Wikipedia about this subject. I know a number of reviewers had problems with this book. See Randal Samstag’s long review on Good Reads, I must admit I greatly enjoyed reading this book and I think that their main points about inclusivity is good.

This book has its own Wikipedia page. It is very long, but worthwhile reading, or worthwhile reading parts, especially some of the criticism near the bottom of the article. There is a much shorter and very good review of the book by Warren Bass at the Washington Post. There are some really good reviews on Good Reads.

Daron Acemoglu gives a short overview of this book at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) . James Robinson at Ted Talks talks about this book. There is a speech by James Robinson at Carnegie Middle East Centers in Lebanon. Daron Acemoglu discusses Why Nations Fail at MIT Center for International Studies. Q&A starts about 45 to 46 minutes into this video. Daron Acemoglu discusses Why Nations Fail at The Cato Institute. The second lecture is shorter version of the one at MIT.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Murdered Midas by Charlotte Gray

This book’s full title is Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise. It is a Biography of Harry Oates. I do not often read biographies. I am not much interested in them. However, Charlotte Gray spoke at one of the Meet the Author breakfasts held by Ben McNally Book Shop at the King Eddie. Because of her talks I bought the book and found it quite fascinating.

This book is a great way to learn a bit about Canadian History. I read a lot of history, but little about Ontario, the province where I live. There has been little written about it as far as I can see, so I was quite interested in this, especially in the history of Kirkland Lake. My father’s family came from Switzerland in the 1880’s and settle into farm life just south of North Bay. Some of the family spread out farther north into Kirkland Lake, Long Lac and Thunder Bay. This book contains some history of Kirkland Lake, New Ontario, Niagara Falls and Bahamas.

I had never heard to Harry Oakes before I heard Charlotte Gray speak at the Ben McNally breakfast. I found her talk very interesting and that is why I bought the book. I also very much enjoyed the interview she had with Steven Paikin on The Agenda and there is a link to that below.

There is a review of this book by John Law on The Standard of St. Catherine. Another review is by Megan Moore Burns on Quill and Quire. Sharon Hanna on the Canadian History site compares this book to the Missing Millionaire by Katie Daubs. It is an interesting comparison.

There is a great interview by Steve Paikin on The Agenda of TVO. Charlotte Gray on her book "Murdered Midas talks on the St. Campus of U of T. Charlotte Gray reads from her book on YouTube. This is a short but interesting video. Charlotte Gray is interviewed in Niagara Falls.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Money Plot by Frederick Kaufman

This book’s full title is The Money Plot: A History of Currency's Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate. A wild romp through mankind’s history with currency. It is how money is about storytelling. The book covers mostly a western story but it is enchanting.

It is fun to read for all the references and words I had to look up, like metonymy, catachresis and anagogical. It sort of comes down to money is what we say it is. And by the way, this is not an investment book. However, you might understand things like Bitcoin better. It is interesting that the reviews that are on the negative side all come from finance and views on the positive side do not. Just saying.

David E. Spiro does a great review of this book on New York Journal of Books. There is a good review also on Kirkus Reviews. Joel Schlesinger at Winnipeg Free Press does a great review. This is the best review as he seems to understand this book better than other reviewers.

A talk by Frederick Kaufman called The measure of all Things: Sustainability, is at Ted Talks. Nick Licata interviews Frederick Kaufman at Elliott Bay Book Company. The interview ends at around 35 minutes and then you start to get questions from the audience. It is worthwhile seeing this until the end although it is over an hour. Fred Kaufman is interviewed by Charlotte MacLeod on Investing New Network. This is a shorter (25 minutes) interesting interview and it is interesting as it is an investment approach rather than the approach on Elliot Bay Book Company which approaches the book from the English Literature angle.

Fred Kaufman does a presentation for Georgia Center for the Book. The presentation starts at 2:50 minutes and goes to 40 minutes. Then there are questions from the moderator, Joe Davich and questions sent in. This is a good video as Frederick Kaufman talks about the origins of money with illustrations from his computer.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.