Monday, July 16, 2012

Some of my readings

  1. Alan Greenspan, Age of Turbulence - disappointing. Mostly I was trying to learn something behind his thinking when he looks at numbers. Except for the instance when he was describing the lack of productivity gains from the Internet (which I’m dubious there ever was any) there was very little to be gained from this book.
  2. Gary Katzenstein, Funny Business - illustrates how naive an American can be when he is accepted into an internship at Sony. It is a hilarious look at his life in Japan for the short time he was there. It is a story of cultural differences and at times illustrates the ugliness of Americans abroad. He is able to laugh at his own follies which I think is what made this book a fairly breezy read.
  3. Peter Lynch, One Up on Wall Street was so self-effacing that I wondered how Peter Lynch ever made any money.
  4. John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - appealed to the conspiracy theorist in me but at the end I had to confess that it all sounded just a little too wild.
  5. FM Scherer, International High Technology Competition was a little disappointing. I’m not particularly sure what I had expected but the most interesting parts were definitely the narrative portions of how US industries responded to foreign competition in the high-technology sector. The responses were categorized into “aggressive”, “submissive”, “business-as-usual” as well as the outcomes from these responses. Of particular interest was whether firms increased, cut back or did nothing in terms of R&D expenses. The regression analyses can be considered exploratory since there weren’t really any strong conclusions that could be drawn from them (at least from my point of view). This was mainly because there didn’t seem to be real strong patterns in how firms responded although nationality/international experience of managers seem to be an important factor.
  6. Arnold Danielson, Consolidation of Banking, or How Five Banks Bought 50% of America's Biggest Business - this book was outdated the moment it was published since the financial crisis of 2007 came in the heels of its release. For someone with little knowledge of the US banking industry this was a good introduction to how inter-state regulation of banking led to the creation of the bank conglomerates that stood just before the subprime mess. The story continues to unfold however.
  7. Mario Livio, The Equation that Couldn’t Be Solved was enjoyable and a good introduction to the lives of Evariste Galois and Niels Abel. It was a little too much to expect the book to teach me about symmetry and group theory however. The question of symmetry seems to be the heart of quantum physics today but it was not handled very well for a novice like myself. Like many pop science books the explanations were forgotten after the last page.

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