2023 Book Preview List

By Stefan Prelog | February 23, 2023


Yes, yes, I know it’s late February, but cut me some slack. Most of these books still haven’t come out so you didn’t miss out on anything. 

At the end of the year, I noted there were a lot of 2023 book lists floating around, but as usual there were few finance and investing books highlighted so I decided to cull a list of books that looked interesting.  

You’ll notice there are multiple books about financial fraud. There are also a few books looking at financial crashes and their impact, and one that looks at the investors who profit from them. There are a couple of books about our monetary system, a book on crypto and the first book on FTX and SBF. There are a couple of books  taking a hard look at specific industries - private equity and consulting. There are also a couple of biographies and a couple of classics with new editions.

We’ll try and interview some of these authors, and if there’s a book you think we missed, let us know. 

Without any further ado, I’m thrilled to unveil our 2023 book preview list.


1) The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend

By Rob Copeland

St. Martin’s Press

November 7, 2023

From the publisher: 

“The unauthorized, unvarnished story of famed Wall Street hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio.

When Ray Dalio, billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, announced in October 2022 that he was stepping down from the company he founded 47 years ago, the news made headlines around the world. Dalio achieved worldwide fame thanks to a mystique of success cultivated in frequent media appearances, celebrity hobnobbing, and his bestselling book, Principles. In The Fund, Rob Copeland draws on hundreds of interviews with those inside and around the firm to reveal what really goes on with Dalio and his cohorts behind closed doors.

Tracing more than fifty years of Dalio’s leadership, The Fund peels back the curtain to reveal a rarified world of wealth and power, where former FBI director Jim Comey kisses Dalio’s ring, recent Pennsylvania Senate candidate David McCormick sells out, and countless Bridgewater acolytes describe what it’s like to work at this fascinating firm.

Dalio has stepped down from Bridgewater before; will the legacy of his Principles continue to chart the course of the firm? The Fund provides unique insight into the story of Dalio and Bridgewater, past, present and future.

Why we’re looking forward to reading: 

Copeland is a former WSJ reporter who wrote a number of stories about Bridewater’s secretive culture. He got a lot of former employees to talk and he painted Bridgewater as a cult-like investment firm with a Hunger Games culture. Dalio used Trumpian-style tactics to combat Copeland’s stories. He called it fake news and targeted Copeland in company posts made on LinkedIn. This is going to be a fun book, but it will be interesting to see if Dalio and Bridgewater’s legal team attempts to stop it from being published. 


2) Unknown Market Wizards: The best traders you've never heard of

By Jack D. Schwager  

Harriman House

November 7, 2023

From the publisher: 

Unknown Market Wizards continues in the three-decade tradition of the hugely popular Market Wizards series, interviewing exceptionally successful traders to learn how they achieved their extraordinary performance results.

The twist in Unknown Market Wizards is that the featured traders are individuals trading their own accounts. They are unknown to the investment world. Despite their anonymity, these traders have achieved performance records that rival, if not surpass, the best professional managers.

Some of the stories include a trader who turned an initial account of $2,500 into $50 million, a trader who achieved an average annual return of 337% over a 13-year period, a trader who made tens of millions using a unique approach that employed neither fundamental nor technical analysis, a former advertising executive who used classical chart analysis to achieve a 58% average annual return over a 27-year trading span and a promising junior tennis player in the UK who abandoned his quest for a professional sporting career for trading and generated a nine-year track record with an average annual return just under 300%.

Why we’re looking forward to reading: 

Schwager’s “Market Wizard” books are reliable, entertaining and informative. They’re snackable treats for people who want to learn about top traders. It will be interesting to get to know these unknown traders who have somehow stayed under the radar and out of the press.


3) What I Learned About Investing from Darwin 

By Pulak Prasad 

Columbia Business School Publishing

May 9, 2023

From the publisher: 

The investment profession is in a state of crisis. The vast majority of equity fund managers are unable to beat the market over the long term, which has led to massive outflows from active funds to passive funds. Where should investors turn in search of a new approach?

Pulak Prasad offers a philosophy of patient long-term investing based on an unexpected source: evolutionary biology. He draws key lessons from core Darwinian concepts, mixing vivid examples from the natural world with compelling stories of good and bad investing decisions―including his own. How can bumblebees’ survival strategies help us accept that we might miss out on Tesla? What does an experiment in breeding tame foxes reveal about the traits of successful businesses? Why might a small frog’s mimicking the croak of a larger rival shed light on the signs of corporate dishonesty?

Informed by successful evolutionary strategies, Prasad outlines his counterintuitive principles for long-term gain. He provides three mantras of investing: Avoid big risks; buy high quality at a fair price; and don’t be lazy―be very lazy. Prasad makes a persuasive case for a strategy that rules out the vast majority of investment opportunities and advocates permanently owning high-quality businesses.

Combining punchy prose and practical insight, What I Learned About Investing from Darwin reveals why evolutionary biology can help fund managers become better at their craft.

Why we’re looking forward to reading: 

We love a book that uses evolutionary biology to help us be better investors. Using a frog croak to shed light on corporate dishonesty and looking at bumblebees’ survival strategies to help us accept missing out in investing in Tesla. Yeah, sign us up.


4) Fool Me Once: Scams, Stories, and Secrets from the Trillion-Dollar Fraud Industry

By Kelly Richmond Pope 

Harvard Business Review

March 21, 2023

From the publisher: 

A riveting look at the perpetrators, victims, and whistleblowers behind financial crimes, from forensic accounting expert and documentarian Kelly Richmond Pope.

Have you ever wondered why Bernie Madoff thought he could brazenly steal his clients' money? Or why investors were so easily duped by Elizabeth Holmes? Or how courageous people like Jeffrey Wigand are willing to become whistleblowers and put their careers on the line?

Fraud is everywhere, from Nigerian "princes," embezzlers, and Ponzi schemers to corporate giants like Enron and Volkswagen. And fraud is costly. Each year, consumers, small businesses, governments, and corporations lose trillions of dollars to financial crime.

We're so accustomed to hearing about fraud that our abilities to identify it and speak about it are limited.

No more. In Fool Me Once, renowned forensic accounting expert Kelly Richmond Pope shows fraud in action, uncovering what makes perps tick, victims so gullible, and whistleblowers so morally righteous, while also encouraging us to look at our own behaviors and motivations in the hope of protecting ourselves and our companies.

By the time you finish this book, you'll have a better understanding of—and perhaps even compassion for—perpetrators, a renewed connection to victims, and an appreciation for those who blow the whistle.

Filled with fascinating stories and insightful analysis, Fool Me Once will open your eyes and challenge your thinking. It will inspire you to question your own preconceived notions about fraud. It will challenge your beliefs about yourself and other people. And it will help you understand a phenomenon that most of us fail to grasp—until it's too late.

Why we’re looking forward to reading: 

We’ve all read the stories about Madoff, Holmes and Sam Bankman Fried and had the same thought: “How did people not know this was a fraud .” It’s easy to have that thought when you’re looking back in hindsight and presented with all of the facts. Pope is a professor at Depaul University and a filmmaker who analyzes corporate crime. It’s an ambitious premise and I’m not sure we’ll have compassion for the Madoff types after reading this but we’ll give it a shot. 


5) Plunder: Private Equity's Plan to Pillage America

By Brendan Ballou

Public Affairs

May 2023 

From the publisher: 

How the scourge of private equity is transforming the American economy – increasing poverty, inequality, and economic decline – how the government is helping them do this, and what to do about it.

Plunder is a startling investigation into the poorly understood, powerful force of private equity that is reshaping the American economy: raising prices, reducing quality, cutting jobs, increasing inequality, and shifting resources from productive parts of the economy to unproductive ones. Already transformative, private equity is poised to reshape the American economy in this decade the way that big tech did in the last decade, and subprime lenders the decade before that. And importantly, private equity is doing all of this not just with the acquiescence but the active support of the government.

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Toys R Us; why your doctor’s bills are getting more expensive, why nursing homes are getting worse, why there is a housing shortage, why newspapers in Chicago and Los Angeles have gone downhill and local investigative reporting has dried up, Brendan Ballou’s Plunder provides the reason why and provides a reform agenda spelling out how this industry can be stopped from wreaking further havoc.

Private equity firms buy up companies using little or no investment, forcing them to take on huge debts and pay extractive fees,  often wringing the life blood out of them, leaving them bankrupt or a shell of their former selves.  Private equity’s impact extends to the communities that have long depended on now- eviscerated companies for employment and prosperityPerhaps most startling is Ballou’s insight into how this is happening with the active support of government.

Why we’re looking forward to reading: 

Blaming private equity for the ills of society may seem like a tired trope, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth exploring. Ballow is a special counsel of the DOJ and was part of the team that brought suit in the U.S. vs. Google. He also leads the Department’s work on private equity so he has had a front seat watching as the industry is reshaping the economy. This is not going to be a warm and fuzzy book on the PE industry and we’ll see if it has any impact on the industry’s increasing reach.


6) Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud

By Ben McKenzie and Jacob Silverman

July 18, 2023
Abrams Press

From the publisher: 

From a famous actor and an experienced journalist, a wildly entertaining debunking of cryptocurrency, one of the greatest frauds in history and on course for a spectacular crash

At the height of the pandemic, TV star Ben McKenzie (The O.C., Gotham) was the perfect mark for cryptocurrency: a dad stuck at home with some cash in his pocket, worried about his family, armed with only the vague notion that people were making heaps of money on something he—despite a degree in economics—didn’t entirely understand. Lured in by the promise of taking power from banks, possibly improving democracy, and sure, a touch of FOMO, McKenzie dove deep into blockchain, Bitcoin, and the various other coins and exchanges on which they are traded.

But after scratching the surface, he had to ask, “Am I crazy, or is this all a total scam?” In Easy Money, McKenzie enlists the help of journalist Jacob Silverman for a caper and exposé that points in shock to the climactic final days of cryptocurrency now upon us. Weaving together stories of average traders and victims, colorful crypto “visionaries,” Hollywood’s biggest true believers, anti-crypto whistleblowers, and government agents searching for solutions at the precipice of a major crash, Easy Money is an on-the-ground look at a perfect storm of 2008 Housing Bubble–level irresponsibility and criminal fraud potentially ten times more devastating than Bernie Madoff.

Why we’re looking forward to reading: 

You don’t often see an actor and a reporter teaming up to write a book on a topic like cryptocurrency. People familiar with McKenzie know he’s been an active critic of cryptocurrency, but he’s garnered respect for his thoughtful approach to gain understanding of the asset and that led him to Jacob Silverman. This promises to be an engaging read as they try to peel back the layers of the controversial asset class at an inflection point in the industry.


7) Blood Money: The Story of Life, Death and Profit Inside America's Blood Industry

By Kathleen McLaughlin

Simon & Schuster

Feb. 28, 2023

From the publisher:

Blood Money shares McLaughlin’s decade-long mission to learn the full story of where her medicine comes from. She travels the United States in search of the truth about human blood plasma and learns that twenty million Americans each year sell their plasma for profit—a human-derived commodity extracted inside our borders to be processed and packaged for retail across the globe. She investigates the thin evidence pharmaceutical companies have used to push plasma as a wonder drug for everything from COVID-19 to wrinkled skin. And she unearths an American economic crisis hidden in plain sight: single mothers, college students, laid-off Rust Belt auto workers, and a booming blood market at America’s southern border, where collection agencies target Mexican citizens willing to cross over and sell their plasma for substandard pay.

McLaughlin’s findings push her to ask difficult questions about her own complicity in this wheel of exploitation, as both a patient in need and a customer who stands to benefit from the suffering of others. Blood Money weaves together McLaughlin’s personal battle to overcome illness as a working American with an electrifying exposé of capitalism run amok in a searing portrait that shows what happens when big business is allowed to feed unchecked on those least empowered to fight back.

Why we’re looking forward to reading: 

Who hasn’t sold their plasma at some point? McLaughlin goes down a deep rabbit hole that looks at the blood industry and the plasma supply chain to make some startling revelations. This looks like an ambitious book that looks like a scathing look at the exploitation of the blood industry. 


8) Warren Buffett: Investor and Entrepreneur

By Todd A. Finkle

Columbia Business School Publishing

March 2023

From the publisher:

Warren Buffett is perhaps the most accomplished investor of all time. The CEO and chair of Berkshire Hathaway has earned admiration for not only his financial feats but also the philosophy behind them. Todd A. Finkle provides striking new insights into Buffett’s career through the lens of entrepreneurship. This book demonstrates that although Buffett is thought of primarily as an investor, one of the secrets to his success has been running Berkshire as an entrepreneur.

Finkle—a Buffett family friend—shares his perspective on Buffett’s early life and business ventures. The book traces the entrepreneurial paths that shaped Buffett’s career, from selling gum door-to-door during childhood to forming Berkshire Hathaway and developing it into a global conglomerate through the imaginative deployment of financial instruments and creative deal making. 

Finkle considers Buffett’s investment methodology, management strategy, and personal philosophy on building a rewarding life in terms of entrepreneurship. He also zeros in on Buffett’s longtime business partner, Charlie Munger, and his contributions to Berkshire’s success. Finkle draws key lessons from Buffett’s mistakes as well as his successes, using these failures to explore the ways behavioral biases can affect investors and how to overcome them.

By viewing Buffett as an entrepreneur, this book offers readers a fresh take on one of the world’s best-known financial titans.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

There are no shortages of books on Warren Buffet. We did a B&N search and “Warren Buffett” yields 255 results. There are books about him, his life, his investing style, his portfolio. There’s seemingly a book analyzing every aspect of Warren Buffett and his life. There are even some odd ones including “The Evangelization of Warren Buffett by Mother Mary.” Either way, Buffet as to be the most written-about investor and we’re interested to see what new tid-bits Finkle gives us.


9) Chaos Kings:  How Wall Street Traders Make Billions in the New Age of Crisis

By Scott Patterson


June 2023

From the publisher: 

Written by a veteran Wall Street Journal reporter, this is a fascinating deep dive into the world of billion-dollar traders and high-stakes crisis predictors who strive to turn extreme events into financial windfalls.

Written by a veteran Wall Street Journal reporter, this is a fascinating deep dive into the world of billion-dollar traders and high-stakes crisis predictors who strive to turn extreme events into financial windfalls.

There’s no doubt that our world has gotten more extreme. Pandemics, climate change, superpower rivalries, cyberattacks, political radicalization—virtually, everywhere we look there is mayhem bearing down on us, putting trillions of assets at risk.

And at least two factions have formed around how to respond. In Chaos Kings, Scott Patterson depicts how one faction, led by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, bestselling author of The Black Swan, believes humans can never see the big disaster coming. In their view, extreme events—so-called Black Swans—while inevitable, will always catch us by surprise. In 2007, Taleb’s longtime collaborator, Mark Spitznagel, launched the Universa hedge fund, which would go on to make billions protecting investors against unforeseen chaos in the market.

A second faction, which relies on complex formulas, believes looming chaos can be detected. Chief among these risk prognosticators is Didier Sornette, a colorful French mathematician who enjoys riding his motorcycle at speeds in excess of 170 miles per hour. When Sornette looks out from what he calls his Financial Crisis Observatory in Zurich, Switzerland, what he sees are Dragon Kings—punishing events that are unlikely to occur but have probabilities that can be predicted…and defended against.

Which faction is right? All of our financial futures may depend on the answer.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

We love a book about people profiting from chaos, especially when those people are Mark Spitznagel and Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Add in a competing faction led by a French mathematician, and this has the makings for a financial battle for the ages. Patterson is the prefect reporter to tackle this topic and we’re excited to see how it all comes out.


10) Seven Crashes: The Economic Crises That Shaped Globalization

By Harold James

May 2023

Yale University Press

From the publisher: 

A leading economic historian presents a new history of financial crises, showing how some led to greater globalization while others kept nations apart.
The eminent economic historian Harold James presents a new perspective on financial crises, dividing them into “good” crises, which ultimately expand markets and globalization, and “bad” crises, which result in a smaller, less prosperous world. Examining seven turning points in financial history—from the depression of the 1840s through the Great Depression of the 1930s to the Covid-19 crisis—James shows how crashes prompted by a lack of supply, like the oil shortages of the 1970s, lead to greater globalization as markets expand and producers innovate to increase supply. By contrast, crises triggered by a lack of demand—such as the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–2008—result in less globalization as markets contract, austerity measures are imposed, and skepticism of government grows.
By considering not only the times but also the observers who shaped our understanding of each crisis—from Karl Marx to John Maynard Keynes to Larry Summers—James shows how the uneven course of globalization has led to new economic thinking, and how understanding this history can help us better prepare for the future.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

There have been a lot of books about the global financial crisis and its impact on the economy and society. Taking a historical look at seven crashes to examine their effects on globalization - both negative and positive - is an ambitious endeavor and one we’re excited to read it.


11) We Need to Talk ABout Inflation: 14 Urgent Lessons From the Last 2,000 years

By Stephen D. King

Yale Books

May 14, 2023

From the publisher: 

A myth-busting explanation of inflation, the desperate gullibility of central bankers and finance ministers—and our abject failure to learn from history.

From investors and monetary authorities to governments and policy makers, almost everyone had assumed inflation was dead and buried. But now people the world over are confronting a poisonous new economic reality and, with it, the prospect of vast and increasing wealth inequality.

How have we arrived in this situation? And what, if anything, can we do about it?

Celebrated economist Stephen D. King—one of the few to warn ahead of time about the latest inflationary upheaval—identifies key lessons from the history of inflation that policy makers chose not to heed. From ancient Rome through the American Civil War and up to the asset bubbles of today, inflation stems from policy error, sovereign greed, and a collective loss of faith in currencies.

We Need to Talk About Inflation cuts through centuries of bad judgment and misunderstanding, offering a means to intervene now—so we can begin to tackle the political and social upheaval unleashed by inflation.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

Some may see the name Stephen King and think this might be a scary tale. They’d be right. There’s nothing more frightening than runaway inflation. Inflation has even caused King to rebrand “IT” star as Nickelwise. But seriously, an economist looking at the last 2,000 years to talk about the history of inflation and what we can do about it is no less scary. 


12)  A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Best Investment Guide That Money Can Buy 

By Burton Malkiel

W, W. Norton & Company

January 3, 2023

From the publisher: 

 One of the “few great investment books” (Andrew Tobias) ever written, with 2 million copies in print.

In a time of rampant misinformation about ways of growing your money, Burton G. Malkiel’s gimmick-free investment guide is more necessary than ever. Whether you’re considering your first 401k contribution or contemplating retirement, the fully updated, fiftieth anniversary edition of A Random Walk Down Wall Street remains the best investment guide money can buy.

Drawing on his experience as an economist, financial adviser, and successful investor, Malkiel shows why an individual who saves consistently over time and buys a diversified set of index funds can achieve above-average investment results. He addresses current investment fads and critically analyzes cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and meme stocks. Malkiel reveals how to be a tax smart investor and how to make sense of recently popular investment management techniques, including factor investing, risk parity, and ESG portfolios.

Investors of every age, experience level, and risk tolerance will find the step-by-step guidance they need to protect and grow their dollars.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

“A Random Walk” is one of the most widely read investment books and this is the 50th Anniversary of its publication. There will be some new information here and we’re interested to see how Malkiel has updated his seminal book. 


13) For Blood and Money: Billionaires, Biotech, and the Quest for a Blockbuster Drug 

By Nathan Vardi 

W,W. Norton & Company

January 10, 2023

From the publisher: 

A gripping business narrative and scientific thriller about what it takes to bring a wonder drug to market―and save countless lives.

For Blood and Money tells the little-known story of how an upstart biotechnology company created a one-in-a-million cancer drug, and how the core team―denied their share of the profits―went and did it again. In this epic saga of money and science, veteran financial journalist Nathan Vardi explains how the invention of two of the biggest cancer drugs in history became (for their backers) two of the greatest Wall Street bets of all time.

In the multibillion-dollar business of biotech, where pharmaceutical companies, the government, hedge funds, and venture capitalists have spent billions on funding, experimentation, and treatments, a single molecule can stop cancer in its tracks―and make the people who find that rare molecule astonishingly rich. For Blood and Money follows a small team at a biotech start-up in California, who have found one of these rare molecules. Their compound, known as a BTK inhibitor, seems to work on a vicious type of leukemia. When patients start rising from their hospice beds, the team knows they’re onto something big.

What follows is a story of genius, pathos, and drama, in which vivid characters navigate a world of corporate intrigue and ambiguous morality. Vardi’s narrative immerses readers in the recent explosion of biotech start-ups. He describes the scientists, doctors, and investors who are risking everything to develop new, life-saving treatments, and introduces suffering patients for whom the stakes are life-or-death. A gripping nonfiction read, For Blood and Money illustrates why it’s so hard to bring new drugs to market, explains why they are so expensive, and examines how profit-driven venture capitalists are shaping the future of medicine.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

Weaving together biotech, hedge funds, the government and the pharmaceutical industry is an ambitious undertaking, but Vardi is a veteran reporter and we know this will be a gripping read about how drugs are developed and come to market. 


14)  Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 3rd Edition

By John Perkins


February 28, 2023

From the publisher:

How do we stop the unrelenting evolution of the economic hit man strategy and China’s takeover?

The riveting third edition of this New York Times bestseller blows the whistle on China’s economic hit man (EHM) strategy, exposes corruption on an international scale, and offers much-needed solutions for curing the degenerative Death Economy.

In this shocking exposé, former EHM John Perkins gives an insider view into the corrupt system that cheats and strong-arms countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars and ultimately causes staggering income inequality and ecological devastation.

 EHMs are highly paid professionals who use development loans to saddle countries with huge debts and force them to serve US interests. Now, a new EHM wave is infecting the world, and at the peak of the devastation sits China, a newly dominant economic power, with its own insidious version of the US EHM blueprint. Twelve explosive new chapters detail the allure, exploitation, and wreckage of China’s EHM strategy in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

If allowed to continue its rampage, the EHM strategy—whether executed by the United States or China—will destroy life as we know it. However, all is not lost. Perkins offers a plan for transforming this system that places profits above all into a Life Economy that restores the earth. He inspires readers to take actions toward a new era of global cooperation that will end the United States’s and China’s EHM strategies for good.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

The first edition of EHM was a thrilling ride, and we like that Perkins is turning his attention to China. Perkins is not one to shy away from controversy and big themes. We’re interested to read about his prescriptive plan to restore the earth. We love ambitious books and this fits the bill.


15)  Pricing the Priceless: The Journey to Value the Planet and Protect What We Need and Love Most

By Paula DiPerna 


June 14, 2023

From the publisher: 

An exciting exploration of the new frontier of finance, to value the planet and protect what we have too long treated as free and taken for granted.

In Pricing the Priceless: The Journey to Value the Planet and Protect What We Need and Love Most, renowned environmental strategist, speaker, and author Paula DiPerna brings a unique voice to deliver a powerful exploration of today’s most fascinating financial disruption—pricing the priceless to flip conventional ideas of how we value assets and why. She asks the provocative question long ignored: Why do we value dispensable production in the billions and the atmosphere and other indispensable natural processes at zero? She digs into the answer with real-life examples from around the world of financial innovations—controversial and paradoxical, but essential.

 In the book, you’ll travel from Board Rooms to the Vatican, rainforests to Wall Street, coral reefs to mangroves to China’s carbon markets. Timely, adventurous, eclectic, and accessible, Pricing the Priceless brings alive the critical financial transformation that will determine future planetary health and social stability.

A can’t-miss read for thought leaders, business executives, investors, activists, and entrepreneurs, Pricing the Priceless is a landmark that will shape the world and future, bridging the tangible and intangible to answer a critical question of rising economic and social inspiration: What is money for?

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

Pricing the planet is an ambitious endeavor and like Perkins above, Paul DiPerna is offering a template to help save the earth. DiPerna is appealing to the finance industry to rethink how we value assets by trying to value the atmosphere and other natural processes. It’s a bold and thoughtful approach and we can’t wait to dive in.


16) The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens Our Businesses, Infantilizes Our Governments, and Warps Our Economies

By Mariana Mazzucato, Rosie Collington 


March 7, 2023

From the publisher: 

A vital and timely investigation into the opaque and powerful consulting industry—and what to do about it. There is an entrenched relationship between the consulting industry and the way business and government are managed today that must change. Mariana Mazzucato and Rosie Collington show that our economies’ reliance on companies such as McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, and EY stunts innovation, obfuscates corporate and political accountability, and impedes our collective mission of halting climate breakdown.

The “Big Con” describes the confidence trick the consulting industry performs in contracts with hollowed-out and risk-averse governments and shareholder value-maximizing firms. It grew from the 1980s and 1990s in the wake of reforms by the neoliberal right and Third Way progressives, and it thrives on the ills of modern capitalism, from financialization and privatization to the climate crisis. It is possible because of the unique power that big consultancies wield through extensive contracts and networks—as advisors, legitimators, and outsourcers—and the illusion that they are objective sources of expertise and capacity. In the end, the Big Con weakens our businesses, infantilizes our governments, and warps our economies.

In The Big Con, Mazzucato and Collington throw back the curtain on the consulting industry. They dive deep into important case studies of consultants taking the reins with disastrous results, such as the debacle of the roll out of HealthCare.gov and the tragic failures of governments to respond adequately to the COVID-19 pandemic. The result is an important and exhilarating intellectual journey into the modern economy’s beating heart. With peerless scholarship, and a wealth of original research, Mazzucato and Collington argue brilliantly for building a new system in which public and private sectors work innovatively for the 'common' good.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

The consulting industry has grown exponentially and that has led to some issues to say the least. There have been some nefarious activities that have come to light in the press, for example, you may have read about McKinsey working on behalf of authoritarian governments. This is not going to be a warm and fuzzy book on the industry and we’re interested to see if there will be scrutiny on these companies.


17) Edible Economics: A Hungry Economist Explains the World 

By Ha-Joon Chang  

Public Affairs

January 17, 2023

From the publisher: 

Edible Economics brings the sort of creative fusion that spices up a great kitchen to the often too-disciplined subject of economics

For decades, a single, free-market philosophy has dominated global economics. But this intellectual monoculture is bland and unhealthy.

Bestselling author and economist Ha-Joon Chang makes challenging economic ideas delicious by plating them alongside stories about food from around the world, using the diverse histories behind familiar food items to explore economic theory. For Chang, chocolate is a lifelong addiction, but more exciting are the insights it offers into post-industrial knowledge economies; and while okra makes Southern gumbo heart-meltingly smooth, it also speaks of capitalism’s entangled relationship with freedom. 

Myth-busting, witty, and thought-provoking, Edible Economics serves up a feast of bold ideas about globalization, climate change, immigration, austerity, automation, and why carrots need not be orange. It shows that getting to grips with the economy is like learning a recipe: when we understand it, we can adapt and improve it—and better understand our world.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

Ha-Joon Chang has a knack for making economics engaging. He had previously written “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism.” He’s done it again here as he pairs economics with cuisine from around the world. Chang would make for a great dinner guest and we can imagine him dissecting any dish to explain the economic links behind it. Order us up a copy and don’t forget to tip your server or delivery person.


18) The Gray Choice: Lessons on My Journey from Big-Time Banking to the Big House (and Back)

By Shaun Hayes  

Paige Publishing Group

February 7, 2023

From the publisher: 

Learn hard-won lessons from a millionaire who risked and lost it all-and learned to move forward again.

At 29, banker Shaun Hayes was on his way to his goal of becoming a millionaire. Guided by hustle and ingenuity, he purchased his first bank and was CEO of one of the largest publicly held bank holding companies in Missouri. For years, he was lauded as one of the Midwest's top entrepreneurs and riding high as a business leader and family man. He took the risks and made the sharp decisions others wouldn't-

Until those decisions led him to his downfall ... and prison.

Learn the true story of entrepreneur and multimillionaire Shaun Hayes's rise to the highest levels of corporate banking, his subsequent fall that led to 37 months in federal prison, and the ultimate costs: his family, friends, freedom, and fortune. A cautionary tale of great success and failure, this page-turning business memoir is your guide to staying on course through life's ethical gray areas.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

Shaun Hayes was sentenced to 68 months in prison after pleading guilty to participating in a scheme to defraud a bank and to profit from illegal insider loans. This may not be on the level of “The Wolf of Wall Street”, but we’re always intrigued by books written by reformed financial criminals. 


19)  Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative

By Jennifer Burns

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

November 14, 2023

From the publisher: 

Milton Friedman was, alongside John Maynard Keynes, the most influential economist of the twentieth century. His work was instrumental in the turn toward free markets that defined the 1980s, and his full-throated defenses of capitalism and freedom resonated with audiences around the world. It’s no wonder the last decades of the twentieth century have been called “the Age of Friedman”—or that analysts have sought to hold him responsible for both the rising prosperity and the social ills of recent times.

In Milton Friedman, the first full biography to employ archival sources, the historian Jennifer Burns tells Friedman’s extraordinary story with the nuance it deserves. She provides lucid and lively context for his groundbreaking work on everything from why dentists earn less than doctors, to the vital importance of the money supply, to inflation and the limits of government planning and stimulus. She traces Friedman’s longstanding collaborations with women, including the economist Anna Schwartz, as well as his complex relationships with powerful figures such as Fed Chair Arthur Burns and Treasury Secretary George Shultz, and his direct interventions in policymaking at the highest levels. Most of all, Burns explores Friedman’s key role in creating a new economic vision and a modern American conservatism. The result is a revelatory biography of America’s first neoliberal—and perhaps its last great conservative.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

We’re surprised to learn that this is the first full biography of Milton Friedman, but none-the-less it sounds like a comprehensive look at one of the most influential economists of our time. Historian Jennifer Burns has done an exhaustive amount of research. There’s a lot here to unpack and we’re ready for it. 


20) Demise of the Dollar: From the Bailouts to the Pandemic and Beyond, 3rd Edition

By Addison Wiggan


May 2023

From the publisher: 

As the dollar continues to weaken throughout the world, it has become clear that the impact is going to be significant as well as far reaching. This book explores the number of reasons for the dollar's current state, including the prior structural flaws of the dollar, the growing trade deficit, the Euro and other international factors. It also discusses the results of the dollar's fall and how it will impact economies worldwide. Continuing where the previous The Demise of the Dollar books left off, it explores the dollar's increasingly sharp decline and provides readers with updated suggestions for protecting their portfolios.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

Addison Wiggan has been calling for the demise of the dollar since this book first came out in 2008. This is the third edition and there’s more momentum behind his argument. In this latest edition, Wiggan notes the Fed “papered” over the pandemic and used stimulus checks to spur spending and help the economy. The move may have done more damage. Wiggan will eventually be right, but given the crypto blow up, it still may take some time. 


21) The Little Investment that Beats the Market 

by Joel Greenblatt


May 9, 2023 

From the publisher: 

In 1952, in a seminal paper published in the Journal of Finance, Professor Harry Markowitz called diversification “the only free lunch in finance.” Of course, Markowitz went on to win the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work which still serves as the cornerstone of investment strategy for academics and professionals alike. And while, to this day, the concept of diversification has stood the test of time, the whole “only free lunch in finance” thing is about to go the way of the dodo (just like that expression).

You see, there’s a new Little Investment in town, and as hard as it is to believe, investors can now and forevermore get started on their second free meal. What makes something a “free lunch”? How about an investment that sounds too good to be true? Though this Little Investment just doesn’t seem fair and shouldn’t even exist–now it does.

If you’re still young, here’s a way to save for retirement in a tax-advantaged way while achieving higher compounded returns. But if you’re older, perhaps achieving higher portfolio returns while taking less risk is more appealing. This Little Investment can do that too! If you’re from the “if this is so great, how come it hasn’t been done before” school of investing, we feel your pain. But nothing can be done about that now. That’s actually what makes this investment opportunity new. Investors both young and old will now, for the first time anywhere, have a chance to learn about the fascinating, fun and previously untold story behind The Little Investment that Beats the Market.


Why we’re looking forward to reading:

Joel Greenblatt helped launch Wiley’s Little Book series and we’re intrigued with a promise of a free meal. Greenblatt is a legendary investor and he’s given investors a simple stock screening tool to select Magic Formula stocks. We’re excited to read about this new too good to be true investment. 


22) SBF: How The FTX Bankruptcy Unwound Crypto's Very Bad Good Guy

by Brady Dale


May 2023 

From the publisher: 

History keeps teaching one lesson that no one wants to learn: the guys out to save the world have a way of blowing it up. Satoshi Nakamoto created bitcoin to take all the tinkering out of the finance system, but then somehow in 2022 the blockchain industry's poser boy became a quant from Jane Street hellbent on tinkering with money and eventually everything else.

Sam Bankman-Fried (or SBF), the co-founder of the trading firm Alameda Research and the exchange FTX, became a leader in the crypto industry as decentralized finance exploded in 2020. He became famous as his firm splashed money on sports stadiums and Super Bowl ads during the bull run that began in 2021, all while promising to drive his piles of wealth into making the world a better place. He became infamous when his $19 billion empire came crashing down over one week in November 2022. Now under house arrest after posting $250 million in bail, the final verdict on SBF is a story still to be told.

It's probably for the best that he's not even going to be able to tinker with money again for a while.

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

There are going to be a rash of books about Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX. We know Michael Lewis was embedded with SBF when things started to unravel. We know his book will get the attention and likely a movie treatment, but this a complex story with multiple layers so there’s room for different takes and perspective. We know Bloomberg Business Week writer got a deal for a book, but Brady Dale’s book seems to be the first to market and as Wiley Executive Editor, Bill Fallloon told us, we can expect a few surprises. We’re ready and will get this book as soon as it’s out. 


23)  The Little Book of Picking Top Stocks: How to Spot The Hidden Gems

By Martin Fridson


May 2, 2023

From the publisher:

How well does it pay to own the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s best-performing stock of the year? Over the 2012-2021 period, the one-year total return ranged from 80% to 743%. This book identifies the quantitative and qualitative traits of stocks that made it to #1 and tells the stories of how they got there. A key indicator, the Fridson-Lee Statistic, makes its debut in these pages.

Aiming for the massive upside of the #1 stocks entails substantial risk. It’s not something to do with more than a small percentage of your portfolio. But attempting to pick the coming year’s top performer can provide an outlet for speculative impulses that might otherwise spoil a prudent, long-term investment plan. And by investigating the statistically determined best candidates for #1, you’ll gain important insights into stock selection.

The Little Book of Picking Top Stocks explains why conventional equity research provides only limited help in zeroing in on the index’s future top performer. Spotting the #1 stock isn’t Wall Street analysts’ focus, although the information they furnish about companies’ competitive strategies is quite helpful. Problematically, investment banks’ fundamental stock reports are structured around a valuation metric that was discredited nearly half a century ago—earnings per share.

Author Martin Fridson’s previous writings on the stock market include the books It Was a Very Good Year and Investment Illusions, as well as articles such as “Ben Graham’s Value Approach: Can It Still Work?” He has received the CFA Society of New York’s Ben Graham Award and has been named the Financial Management Association International’s Financial Executive of the Year. The Green Magazine called his Financial Statement Analysis (co-authored with Fernando Alvarez) “one of the most useful investment books ever.”

Why we’re looking forward to reading:

Fridson is a legendary bond investor known for his rigorous approach so it’s interesting that he’s applied his technique to top stock picking. We’ll take any book that will help us identify top stocks particularly in this investing environment.