Monday, November 29, 2021

Has the West Lost It? By Kishore Mahbubani

This book’s full title is Has the West Lost It? A Provocation. He thinks that they have not lost it yet, but it still can. Throughout most of history, India, and China each produced about a third of the world’s GDP. However, Europe, then the US (i.e., the West) has dominated the world since 1800. However, this is coming to an end and the US (and the West) will have to deal with the changing world. Kishore Mahbubani has his own web site .

I quite liked this book. Kishore Mahbubani certainly has a different view of the world. But this is what I would expect from him. He is a Singaporean citizen. I felt the book was well written and interesting. I like to read people who have a different world view that what I generally hear. I live in Canada. The world is changing and we need to hear from non-westerners.

There are a surprising number of very negative reviews on Good Reads. Hilton L. Root writes a great review of this book at Independent Institute. Masih Ullah Khan at India Quarterly, Journal of International Affairs writes a balanced view of this book. There is another good review by Sir Richard Jolly at the Institute of Development Studies. Kishore Mahbubani at World Economic Forum on how Asian wisdom can complement western thinking.

Bill Emmott & Kishore Mahbubani talk at Ideas Abu Dhabi about A Clash or Fusion of Civilizations and the state of our world. This is an interesting discussion only about 22 minutes long.

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, June 23, 2021

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin

This book’s full title is Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence. This is written by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez with a forward by Mr. Money Mustache. Vicki Robin has her own website here.

It is a bit preachy but some ideas are worth stating. At one point she says if you have 10 dresses and felt you have nothing to wear – – the trill of getting is greater than the joy of having and using. But if you have ten dresses and have enjoyed waring all of them for years you are frugal (and happier). Waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them. Your success at being frugal is measured not by your penny-pinching but by your degree of enjoyment of the material world. (This is on pages 165 to 166 in my paperback).

I liked the attitude of no blame, no shame about dealing with the past. If you were foolish with money in the past, forget about that and only focus on what you will do in the future. What I do not find practical was advise to invest in real estate for renting. Personally, I rather invest in the stock market. You do not have to deal with people as you do if you have real estate for renting. I know people who have done this and they do have some horror stories.

I invest in companies in the stock market. You can get in trouble if you go after short term capital gains. This can be fine in a strong bull market, but you can lose big time in a bear market. I just ride out bear markets. I have good dividend paying stocks and they come back after each bear. During the bear, I still get dividends and every bear market I have been in, my overall dividends have increases. Of course, there are always companies that cut or suspend their dividends in a bear market. However, there are also companies that increase their dividends in a bear market.

There is a review by a blogger on Physician on Fire. There is a review by Mary Wisniewski on this personal finance site. There is another good review on Zen Habits.

See a money or your life summary by The Swedish Investor on YouTube. There is short and good review by Yath Prem on YouTube. Vicki Robin speaks at Microsoft Research. Vicki Robin also speaks on Detroit Public TV.

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, 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.