Archive for July, 2015

Book Review: Three Books About Money

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Money: It is the root of all evil but it also makes the world go round. People with a lot of money are uncomfortable talking about it, but those who have inherited it understand that having money without some purpose is soul sapping. Three new books in the Ford Library show how money changes ourselves and our world.

book cover imageSullivan, Paul. The thin green line : the money secrets of the super wealthy. Simon & Schuster, 2015.

According to business journalist Paul Sullivan, the thin green line is the difference between being rich (having a large income) and being wealthy (having more money than you need to live as you wish). He explains that someone who earns a high salary but spends it all in an extravagant lifestyle is not as well off as someone who lives in financial comfort and security, regardless of income. His book advises people on how to weigh the options in spending, saving, investing, paying taxes and giving money away (to children and to charities) — making financial choices that help people feel wealthy and secure.

This book is also available as an audiobook on Overdrive.

book cover imageVigna, Paul and Michael J. Casey. The age of cryptocurrency : how Bitcoin and digital money are challenging the global economic order. St. Martin’s Press, 2015.

Two Wall Street Journalists explain cryptocurrency as an open-source computer protocol, a new digital foundation for conducting business. Best known is six year old bitcoin, which has the potential to radically change the banking sector, allowing users to bypass traditional institutions, with their high fees, powerful elites and political corruption. Bitcoin eliminates the financial middleman in business transactions, reduces costs and increases transparency. Bitcoin also allows people without access to banks at all – women in developing countries, for example — to engage in commerce to improve their standard of living. While unlikely to replace traditional banking entirely, an unregulated and decentralized financial system is destined to be another option in the world’s payment infrastructure.

This book is also available as an eBook on OverDrive and as an audiobook on OverDrive.

book cover imageSehgal, Kabir. Coined : the rich life of money and how its history has shaped us. Grand Central Publishing, 2015.

In 2008 author Kabir Sehgal worked on J.P.Morgan’s emerging markets desk in New York when the global financial crisis hit. As a personal project, he decided to learn about the root causes of the financial crisis, which led him to the work of well-known behavioral economists to help explain why money makes us act in bizarre and irrational ways. Sehgal’s research resulted in a new book, where he explains why we use money as a form of exchange; what physical forms money has taken through the ages; and how we use money as a symbol of value. The chapter on religion and money is especially enlightening.

This book is also available as an eBook on OverDrive and as an audiobook on OverDrive.

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

New Movies for July

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Our latest DVD titles added this month:

Kingsman: the Secret Service
Time Lapse
Unfinished Business
5 Flights Up
Belle and Sebastian
Danny Collins
The Duff
Get Hard
Last Knights
Playing It Cool
Run All Night
Wild Tales
Woman in Gold

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

Book Review: The Education of a Value Investor

Monday, July 13th, 2015

book cover imageSpier, Guy. The Education of a value investor : my transformative quest for wealth, wisdom, and enlightenment. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Aquamarine Fund founder Guy Spier wants university educators to search their souls for the role they play in the greed, superficiality and bad judgment among the bankers, brokers and capitalists on Wall Street. In his new book, The Education of a Value Investor, Spier writes that his own privileged education (Oxford and Harvard Business School) trained him to respond to other people’s approval rather than to an internal moral compass. Spier’s book is about his own personal journey to wisdom and maturity.

Spier begins his story as a newly minted MBA, who accepts a position as vice president at a shady brokerage house, D.H. Blair, where Spier’s Ivy League credentials dress up sketchy deals to sell to investors. The competitive environment at the firm motivates employees to push the legal and ethical boundaries to be successful. Even at the elite firms like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, bankers distort the truth to further their own self-interest. From this experience, Spier learns that a person’s environment causes one to slowly change over time.

After Spier leaves D.H.Blair, he finds it difficult to find another position in the financial sector. He reeducates himself by reading classic business books and by modeling Warren Buffett’s investment and life choices. He asks himself, “What would Warren Buffett do?” Then one day his father and a small circle of friends and business associates give him $15 million to manage. Spier founds the Aquamarine Fund and manages his fund as Warren Buffett would do, finding “companies that are cheap, have an expanding ‘moat’ around them, and that are awash in cash.” A charity lunch with Warren Buffett becomes the turning point in his life.

The Education of a Value Investor is an engrossing book. Guy Spier tells his story openly, in an easy conversational style. He writes about attention deficit disorder and the non-rational part of his brain that lead him to make bad decisions. He speaks frankly about his own flaws, including arrogance, pride and envy. He discusses the behavioral changes that he makes in his life to compensate for his emotional challenges, including relocating away from the temptations of New York and London. He shares his strategies for managing his personal vulnerabilities as well as his investments. In the end, he concludes that nothing matters as much as bringing the right people into your life.

This story of personal growth is recommended for most readers. However, Spier seems reluctant to take responsibility for his early career choice and casts the blame on his elite education. As an MBA student at Harvard, he attends Buffett’s presentation to students but barely hears the man who would later become his mentor, because he is distracted by a woman in the audience. And while it is true that some graduates of prestigious universities end up on Wall Street, compromising their ethics, not all do. Some students read their own moral compasses long before they graduate.

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