Friday, 7 October 2016

The Committee to Destroy the World: Inside the Plot to Unleash a Super Crash on the Global Economy

Lewitt is a financial profession and author and publisher of The Credit Strategist, a newsletter covering politics, economics and finance. The book captures the author's opinion of what has happened after the Great Financial Crisis, both in the finance realm and a little in geopolitics.

It was challenging to read this book due to the length and content, so I shall summarise the content as best as I can. Lewitt introduces the current global backdrop (2015) including politics and finance. He covers the GFC and policies surrounding it. There is also heavy philosophical discussion of money and he reaches back in history to draw ideas from Keynes, Karl Marx and Adam Smith and interprets their writting in the modern setting. Towards the end of the book, he writes about his ideas on financial reform which ideas are focused on America. The last portion deals with what investors should do which is a very touch-and-go section.

Despite the interesting title, the book was difficult and dry. There were the usual explanations of what a CDL/ CDO, normal in any book discussing the GFC. There is overage of some global situations, but the book is mainly focused on the American context. What was good about this book was the excellent and more philosophical discussions about the idea of money, interwoven with the author's observations of modern times. This book is more a commentary than a finance book, similar to the previously reviewed A Banquet of Consequences by Das. This book also contains a rather negative view of the policies and people responsible for our current finance climate. I recommend this book to readers looking for intellectual stimulation in its financial philosophy portions; I skimmed over the policy bits. Compared to A Banquet of Consequences, TCTDTW is less broad and more difficult to digest.

Recommend: No

Found in NLB: Yes

Friday, 12 August 2016

Capital Returns

This book is a selection essays from Marathon Asset Management over 2002 - 2015.

The book is divided into two parts: investment philosophy and a deeper look at the GFC and what the group did. In the first part, there are essays on the capital cycle, their views on value investing and management, written with real case studies of companies. The second part records their thoughts before, during and after the GFC. There is also a last set of humorous essays written fictitiously from the point-of-view of a greedy banker. The book is easy to read and each chapter is short with some dry humour injected at various sections.

Marathon's views of the capital cycle and valuation of a company are not mainstream, hence this is a good book to read to pick up new concepts. The real-life examples flesh out their ideas well. I have not come across some of their investment ideas in other books, so this would complement intermediate investors well.

Recommended: Yes

Found in NLB: Yes