Category: The Reading List


The Economic Schools: Gettin’ Schooled

Ha-Joon Chang is an economic pluralist who is unlikely to receive a Nobel Prize because he spends too much time being unorthodox. He’s particularly famous for two books: Bad Samaritans – which is a smackdown of the IMF and the World Bank for the policies that they forced developing countries to adopt in exchange for […]

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No One Would Listen: the Bernie Madoff Story

I’ve written before about Ponzi schemes, but having recently read (and been a bit bored by) the book in the title, I felt that it might be time to revisit that post and put it in context. What is a Ponzi Scheme? A Ponzi Scheme (and/or Pyramid Scheme*) occurs when the investment manager uses new […]

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The Joy of X

I realise that this is not strictly a financial-literacy/economic-understanding type topic – but this book on math by Steven Strogatz was mind-blowing. For me, at least. And actually, after consideration, I think it’s entirely relevant to the way one sees the finance world. It’s trite to put it this way: but mathematics is not just the […]

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Books: Adapt

The Zimbabwe Land Reform Program was only a program in the loosest sense of the word. But given enough time, it is highly likely that we will one day look back on it as a success story: because people eventually adapt. An illustrative example: the land grab that took place in the 2000s was very […]

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Books: The Zurich Axioms

Not so long ago, I wrote a post on risk. Admittedly, I actually spoke about it in the context of Unit Trusts – but sometimes, you need a springboard topic. Here’s the post: Unit Trusts: Match-making for Difficult Personalities FYI: there are some links in that post to free online risk assessment tests. You should […]

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Books: Outliers

I love it when you find something (a book, a theory, a talk) that explains the seemingly inexplicable. And by “explain” I mean “with actual reasons”-  not with general loose platitudes about fate and destiny. Yes – those elements are there in an existential sense, described in probabilistic terms as miraculous – but that doesn’t […]

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Books: Barbarians at the Gate

Usually, on the first day of lectures in your final year Finance course, you’ll get some geeky 30 year old standing up at the front of the lecture hall with a powerpoint list of “must reads” that he got “asked about in all [his] interviews with the big finance houses” (then why are you assistant-lecturing […]

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Books: The Power of Habit

Sidebar: I’ve decided that Tuesdays are going to be the day I post about a book that I’m reading/have read, and why I think it’s worthwhile. But it’s not going to be a book review (because those be boring) – rather, it’s going to be a summary of the parts I found interesting… So you […]

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Books: Poor Economics

I have been fiercely promoting this book since I started reading it. In particular, the post “Poor people think differently“. But now that I’ve finished it – it gets a post of its own. Here is a list of the things that I found especially interesting: People give more money when the cause has a […]

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Books: Freakonomics

I almost hate myself for writing this. Freakonomics is a cliché. And far too famous for its “the reason that crime dropped in the United States in the 90s is the abortions that were happening in the 70s”. Nevertheless, for most of us, Freakonomics is an awesome way to be introduced to: economics; and general skepticism […]

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