What Are We Reading? March Edition

More book talk from the CIR Advisory Board.

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871147_paperback_booksLooking for a good finance read? The members of the Canadian Investment Review Editorial Advisory Board have some more recommendations for you. Once again, I’ve polled our them for their current top reads. Here they are:

Debunkery: Learn It, Do It, and Profit from it — Seeing Through Wall Streets Money-Killing Myths, by Ken Fisher. The book demonstrates debunkery on 50 of Wall Street’s widely accepted “truths,” and details in an easily accessible (and entertaining) way.

Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America by Greg Farrell. The title is pretty self-explanatory.

Pensionize Your Nest Egg: How to Use Product Allocation to Create a Guaranteed Income for Life by Moshe Milevsky  and Alexandra MacQueen.“Without a doubt the best retirement planning book I have read,” says John Ilkiw, who is himself recently retired from his post as senior vice-president, portfolio design and investment research with the CPP Investment Board. “In addition to giving people a useful and thoughtful framework for understanding and measuring retirement income risks and adequacy, it underscores the economic value of guaranteed income streams during our retired years.”

The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: How not to be your own worst enemy (Little Book, Big Profits), by James Montier. In The Little Book of Behavioral Investing, expert James Montier takes you through some of the most important behavioral challenges faced by investors. Montier reveals the most common psychological barriers, clearly showing how emotion, overconfidence, and a multitude of other behavioral traits, can affect investment decision-making.

Fault Lines: 
How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan. Raghuram Rajan was one of the few economists who warned of the global financial crisis before it hit. Now, as the world struggles to recover, it’s tempting to blame what happened on just a few greedy bankers who took irrational risks and left the rest of us to foot the bill. In Fault Lines, Rajan argues that serious flaws in the economy are also to blame, and warns that a potentially more devastating crisis awaits us if they aren’t fixed.

Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street by Peter Bernstein. A classic from 1992 but a gentle reminder of the history and dynamics of the pension business.

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby. Journalist Mallaby gives unusually lucid explanations of hedge funds and their balancing of long and short positions with complex derivatives, but what really entrances him is their freedom from regulation, high leverage, and outsized performance incentives. In his telling, they empower a heroic breed of fund managers whose inspired stock picking, currency trading, and futures contracting outsmart the efficient market.

Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007 by Gary B. Gorton. Originally written for a conference of the Federal Reserve, Gary Gorton’s “The Panic of 2007” garnered enormous attention and is considered by many to be the most convincing take on the recent economic meltdown. Now, in Slapped by the Invisible Hand , Gorton builds upon this seminal work, explaining how the securitized-banking system, the nexus of financial markets and instruments unknown to most people, stands at the heart of the financial crisis.

25th Actuarial Report on the Canada Pension Plan (as at 31 December 2009). Another pick from John Ilkiw who recommends it as “ a very readable and highly informative explanation of the financial robustness of the CPP.”

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