Book Review: Black Edge

June 19th, 2017

Kolhatkar, Sheelah. Black Edge: inside information, dirty money, and the quest to bring down the most wanted man on Wall Street. Random House, 2017.

book cover imageStories about powerful people behaving badly make good beach reading, especially if the protagonists are rich financiers and they come to a bad end. Extra points if the books illuminate the workings of Wall Street.

Ruthless hedge fund owner Stephen A. Cohen is the subject of Sheelah Kolhatkar’s new book, Black Edge. The story begins as Cohen graduates from Wharton and begins his career at a small brokerage firm in lower Manhattan. His natural instincts make him a star trader almost immediately. Fearless and self-confident, he generates huge profits by trading large blocks of stock at high frequency.

In 1992, Cohen starts his own hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors, and by 1995, the company is worth $100 million. He charges exorbitant fees and keeps half the profits. As he grows more powerful, he requires Wall Street bankers to give him advance notice before releasing information that would affect the price of a stock. After SAC surpasses $1 billion in assets, he hires new traders who have personal connections with people working in public companies. He uses these contacts to gather inside information (black edge) that he uses for trading. Cohen becomes one of the richest men in the world.

One of Cohen’s first in-house analysts is Duke engineering alumnus C.B. Lee, who travels to Taiwan and China to gather inside information on companies that manufacture semiconductors. Another early hire is Mathew Martoma, a Stanford MBA, who had attended Duke as an undergrad under the name Ajai Mathew Thomas. Martoma is a biotechnology specialist at SAC who had black edge on pharmaceuticals. After the FBI and SEC investigates, Lee cooperates with law enforcement, while Martoma is convicted of securities fraud and sentenced to prison. He never turns on Cohen, who goes free. At the end of the book, Stephen A. Cohen is more wealthy and powerful than ever. Instead of ending corruption in a powerful industry that operates in the dark, the FBI and SEC stop prosecuting high level corporate criminals on Wall Street.

Sheelah Kolhatkar is a master storyteller. Her entertaining and well-researched book is recommended for anyone interested in finance and ethics. She presents complex material in a clear narrative. Characters are multi-dimensional, including Duke alumni C.B. Lee and Mathew Martoma, who are treated sympathetically. Duke readers note: there is a third university connection — ethics professor Bruce Payne (Sanford School of Public Policy) who is depicted as acting with honesty and integrity.

Also available as an audiobook on OverDrive and as an eBook on OverDrive.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

New Movies for June

June 15th, 2017

Here are the latest DVDs in our collection:

Collide
A Dog’s Purpose
Get Out
Gold
The Great Wall
Logan
My Life as a Zucchini
Rings
The Salesman
Silicon Valley, season 3
A Street Cat named Bob
The Void
Before I Fall
Queen Sugar, season 1
The Space Between Us

You may browse the entire DVD collection via the library catalog.

Book Review Update: The Circle

June 2nd, 2017

book-coverThe film The Circle was released last month and has already grossed $170 million. Reviews have been negative, but that has not stopped readers from wanting to read the book that the film was based on.

I reviewed The Circle by Dave Eggers on this blog in 2015, after it was selected as one of the best business books of 2014 by leadership expert James O’Toole. In Eggers’ novel, The Circle is the name of the powerful internet company that replaces Google, Facebook, Twitter with one unified corporation that offers a single account for email, banking, social media and all other identity needs. The goal of the company is to improve the world, through utility, efficiency and transparency.

The story is about a young woman who lands a customer relations job at The Circle and is selected for a new technology project at the company. Employees are pressured to share their experiences through social media and in company sponsored events. This habit of online sharing intensifies into constant surveillance called “transparency.” Employee performance is based on feedback from millions of nameless users.

As time passes at The Circle, relationships become superficial and everyday communication sounds hollow. Individuals are conscious of everything they do and filter everything they say. As employees begin spending all their time at work, life becomes one-dimensional.

While not a great book, The Circle provokes ideas about workplace culture, privacy, surveillance and freedom. I recommend The Circle to anyone interested in the culture of organizations as well as those concerned about the changes in society arising from use of the internet.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

New Movies for May

May 17th, 2017

Here are the latest titles added to our DVD collection:

The Book of LoveGreat British Baking DVD cover
The Founder
The Girl With All the Gifts
The Great British Baking Show, season 1
Hidden Figures
Justice League Dark
La La Land
Lion
Monster Trucks
Office Christmas Party
Paterson
Split
Toni Erdmann

You may browse the entire DVD collection via the library catalog.

Library Databases and Internships

May 12th, 2017

laptop-user

Congratulations on finishing your first year at Fuqua! This post will fill in our rising Second Years on how to correctly use the online resources available to you during summer break.

The key point to consider when using library databases is to avoid the transfer of entire reports, articles, or data content from academically licensed databases to your summer employer. Transferring database content to a summer employer breaches our license with the vendor; and could cost the breaching user, and all of Duke, their access to the database.

Using databases to prepare for your internship without the transfer of content may be permissible. Please review the examples of appropriate and inappropriate use described on our web site; and email us if you have any questions.

Fine Forgiveness Event

April 26th, 2017


 
Are you graduating or just heading out soon for the summer and worried about paying library fines? May 1st through May 12th, the Ford Library will waive one overdue library fine* for each “shelfie” you post to Instagram or Facebook, up to five fine waives total.

It’s easy!

1 Snap a “shelfie,” i.e. a book-related photo. It could be of a favorite book or place to read, a “book face,” or a photo featuring the Ford Library and/or its collections.
2. Post the photo to your Instagram account or to Ford Library’s Facebook page with #fordlibraryshelfie
3. Send us an email to let us know you have posted it.

Please note: Your Instagram profile must be set to public during the promotion so that we can see your photo and we have to approve posts to our Facebook page before they will appear.

Rules:
1. All Duke University students are eligible to participate.
2. Each photo must be tagged #fordlibraryshelfie and posted between Monday, May 1st and Friday, May 12th, 2017. Your photo(s) may be shared, copied, and used in Ford Library promotional material.
3. A maximum of five overdue fine waives total will be allowed per student during the promotion.
4. * Waives apply to overdue fines incurred in the last 6 months (from November 2016 – April 2017) only.
5. * Waives will not apply to items that have not yet been returned, for fines that were incurred at other Duke University Libraries, or for recall fines (where another patron was waiting for the overdue item). This promotion is in addition to our existing one-time waive policy.

Questions? Email: ford-library-circulation@fuqua.duke.edu

Economic Evolution

April 19th, 2017

Americans are living in a time of unprecedented prosperity. At the beginning of the 20th century, life at home and at work was dull, dangerous and uncomfortable. Today, average Americans live as comfortably as royalty a few decades ago, and have more leisure time. Four new books combine economics and history to provide ideas on how prosperity evolved in our modern age and insights into what is likely to happen in the lean years ahead.
 
book cover imageThe Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert J. Gordon
The technological, economic and social transformations that drove the rise in prosperity between 1870 and 1970 overshadow today’s advances in communication and information technologies, which have not produced a comparable prosperity.
 
 
 
 
book cover imageEmpire of Things by Frank Trentmann
Since the dawn of civilization, people’s role or work defined who they were, but in today’s consumer culture, material possessions display identity. The transformation to a worldwide consumer society developed over the past 5 centuries and changed the course of history.
 
Also available as an eBook on OverDrive.
 
 
book cover imageBourgeois Equality by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey
Citizens in advanced nations are better off than they were in 1800 by an astounding 3000%. The reason?
Innovation. In Europe, ideas for inventions were widely disseminated for the first time under a new ideology of individual dignity for common people and their right to improve their lives.
 
 
 
 
book cover imageMoney Changes Everything by William N. Goetzmann
A financial historian explains how the development of finance made civilizations possible. A tool for managing time and risk, finance was an innovation that permitted individuals to move economic value forward and backward through time – allowing people to imagine and to calculate a future.
 
Also available as an eBook.
 

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

The Fuqua Book Exchange

April 17th, 2017


 
 
The Fuqua Book Exchange is taking place April 24th through May 12th, 2017. Share your gently-used books with the Fuqua Community. All subjects welcome. Give a book, take a book. Free!

Drop-off your gently-used books at the Ford Library circulation desk. Select from books on the “Fuqua Book Exchange” shelf in the Career Collection. Any books unclaimed after the exchange will be donated to Better World Books or Book Harvest (children’s and young adult books).

New Movies for April

April 12th, 2017

Here are the latest DVD titles in our collection:

Assassin’s Creed
Collateral Beauty
Jackie
Live by Night
Miss Sloane
A Monster Calls
Patriots Day
Planet Earth II
Sing
Solace
Why Him?
20th Century Women
Doctor Strange
Fences
Moana
Silence
A Tale of Love and Darkness
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

You may browse the entire DVD collection via the library catalog.

WSJ: Best Business Books 2016

April 3rd, 2017

Every year, the Wall Street Journal asks writers, academics, business owners, athletes and assorted interesting people for their recommendations for the best books of the year. Here’s what the contributors said for 2016.
 
Retired basketball player and sportscaster Bill Walton is “the proud and fortunate son of a librarian.” He proposed Shoe Dog to entrepreneurs as a guide to success. “Phil Knight started Nike in 1963 with a $50 loan from his father. I don’t need to tell you how that story ended up.”
 
 
Fellow athlete Abby Wambach recommends Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. “As I have transitioned into retirement, Grit is a powerful reminder of the qualities that made me a successful soccer player would serve me just as well in the world beyond the field.”
 
 
Alan Greenspan’s biography, The Man Who Knew was selected by several readers, including Elliott Management Corp founder and CEO Paul Singer, who noted, “As important as it is to know which qualities to look for in the next Fed chair, it is also important to know which qualities to avoid.”
 
 
No surprise that several people chose Hillbilly Elegy, including Roger Altman, founder/chairman of Evercore as well as U.S. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who called J.D. Vance’s memoir, “the story of overcoming a tumultuous family life in southern Ohio and Kentucky. This isn’t just Mr. Vance’s story. It’s the story of many other people across rural America who have lost hope.”
 
 
Fuqua faculty member’s Dan Ariely’s newest best-seller, Payoff is recommended by James Altucher, author of 17 business books. “Dan Ariely makes the strong case that the best way to motivate people, including ourselves, is not through persuasive tactics, however subtle, but by providing the groundwork for meaning in people’s lives. James Altucher also endorses Tools of Titans, “interviews from hundreds of peak performers – from athletes and artists to generals and entrepreneurs and shares the ‘tactics, routines, and habits’ that made them titans.”

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.