The Aleph Blog » Economics


The Volatility Machine (5 Stars)

The book was written in 1999-2000, and published in 2001. It explains how economic activity in the developed world travels into the smaller markets of the developing world, amplifying booms and busts. Coming off the Asian/Russian crises of 1997-1998, it was a timely book. During boom periods, capital flows from the developed countries to the developing countries; during bust periods, capital gets withdrawn. There is a kind of “crack the whip” effect, where the tail feels the change in direction the most.

To buy the book: The Volatility Machine

Priceless (5 Stars)

Most people would benefit from the book.  We all need to understand our thinking biases better, so that we make smarter purchases, and avoid wasting money.  If the ideas of the book are applied well, you could pay for the book many times over in a year.

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)

Fault Lines (5 Stars)

Anyone who wants a comprehensive view of the crisis would benefit from this book.  It does a fairly complete job, and is not long at ~230 pages.

If you want to buy the book, you can buy it here:  Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy

Where Keynes Went Wrong (5 Stars)

Send it to your Congressman, send it to your Senator.  Make sure every member of the Fed gets one, and the fine folks at the Treasury as well.  Beyond that, think of your liberal friends who think of Keynes as a hero, and give them one.  After reading this, I want to add Keynes’ General Theory to the list of books the everyone cites, and no one reads.  (That list: The Bible, Origin of the Species, The Communist Manifesto)

If you want to buy it you can get it here: Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts.

Monetary Regimes and Inflation (4 Stars)

Economists would benefit from the book, and also those that like reading about the history of inflation.  Few things truly change in History; the names may change, but we make the same mistakes.

For those who want to buy the book, you can buy it here: Monetary Regimes And Inflation: History, Economic And Political Relationships.

Making Sense of the Dollar (4 Stars)

If foreign exchange and trade is of interest to you, you will benefit from this book. One more note: this is not a technical book with lots of math, and there is no technical analysis on its pages.

If you want to buy the book, you can buy it here: Making Sense of the Dollar: Exposing Dangerous Myths about Trade and Foreign Exchange

Secrets of the Moneylab (3 Stars)

If you want to understand how pricing decisions can improve your business, this book could help you.  Value investors, I am sorry, no, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for an entertaining book on how economics really works on the micro level, you would like this book.

If you want to, you can buy it here: Secrets of the Moneylab: How Behavioral Economics Can Improve Your Business.

The Economics of Food: How Feeding and Fueling the Planet Affects Food Prices (3 Stars)

Anyone who wants a basic understanding of food economics, and how that is impacted by a wide number of factors including using crops for the production of fuel would benefit from this book.  The book is well written, and seemingly balanced.

The book is available here: The Economics of Food: How Feeding and Fueling the Planet Affects Food Prices


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.

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