Book Review: Wealth, War & Wisdom

The first thing I do when a PR flack sends me a book is throw away their summary.  Unlike other reviewers, I read the books.  The publisher sent me this book, but I did not ask for it.

All that said, I thought Wealth, War & Wisdom was a great book, and I spent more time on it than I normally do for books of equivalent length.  Why?  It covered areas of history that I was not as aware of.

This book is really two books in one.  It is a book that covers the history of WWII in an eclectic and cursory way.  After that, it asks the harder question of how one can assure the preservation of wealth in a volatile world.  In a lesser way, I have talked about that recently.

Regarding the history of WWII, I came away with a greater appreciation of:

  • The troubles Britain faced.
  • The cruelty that the people in the nations overrun by Hitler and the Soviets faced.
  • The compromises many nations made to have an easier time in the War.
  • The courage that it took to oppose aggression in the face of initially bad odds.

One commonality between Germany and Japan was a lack of resources, and rather than produce and trade to get them, they chose conquest.

But the greater problem is how one preserves wealth over all contingencies.  The problem is almost insuperable.  Even as some wealthy people today are buying farmland, that was one strategy to preserve wealth in WWII.  Homely farms that were reasonably productive, but not ostentatious, were ideal to preserve wealth and lives.  Away from that, investing abroad was wise for the rich.  Also, commodities and TIPS, which did not exist then might preserve some wealth.  Gold and other precious items, if small could also preserve wealth, or at least life.

For those who live in the US today, we live in a special time and place.  We are free from the losses that come from aggression on our home soil.  We largely agree with one another, much as politicians may disagree on that point.  Americans are exceptional in so many ways, though not all of them are good.

Preserving wealth means owning productive land locally, and having flight capital abroad.  Away from that, Biggs counsels owning stocks because good times happen more often than they should.

I liked this book, more than many, and if you want to buy it, you can find it here: Wealth, War and Wisdom.

Full disclosure:  Publishers send me books.  I review some of them.  I try to review the best of them, but I promise the publishers nothing.  If you click on a link that leads you to Amazon through my website, and you buy something, I get a small commission.  My view is that you should buy what you want.  Don’t reward me for something that you don’t like.  Rather, enter Amazon through my website and buy what you want; it will cost you nothing more.