Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching. If you are anything like me, you are probably looking forward to delving into several new and recent book releases that could make for pleasant beach reading.
This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of the slower pace, kick back and learn something new. I managed to cull my list from about 50 to what follows. My goal is to get through at least 10 of them before the leaves start turning color in the fall. Here are the books I hope to finish before then:
1. “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future,” by Martin Ford
Given the angst about robots taking jobs from, well, everyone, this 2015 FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year could not be more timely.
I am interested in machine intelligence, robotics and neural networks, so given the book’s acclaim and great reviews, I expect to find insights into what the future economic implications of these rapidly accelerating technologies will be.
2. “Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible,” by William N. Goetzmann
Given the myriad problems finance has caused -- credit crises, the dot-com collapse, housing booms and busts, commodities crashes, deflation -- it is easy to forget how wondrous financial technologies and institutions have made the modern global economy possible. We probably fail to spend adequate time contemplating how such essential economic elements as money, bonds, banks, corporations, etc., evolved into their current forms. This looks like the book that can make that explanation interesting.
It is rare that I would even consider reading a book based on a single blurb, but given my respect for William Bernstein, his did the job: “Only William Goetzmann -- an archaeologist, art historian, and esteemed finance scholar -- could have produced this masterful exploration of money and investing through the ages. Money Changes Everything is at once deep, broad, sweeping, and gorgeously illustrated. It is a book that readers will savor and refer to again and again.”
3. “Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction,” by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
I discussed the genesis of my dislike of forecasting last week, but a much more nuanced view comes from University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock (see our Masters in Business interview). His latest book is less of a critique of forecasting and more of a guide to intelligent decision making. Learning how to think about ways to improve judgment is surely of interest to any investor.