Good Reading -- October 2015 (part 2)
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America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve -- I've mentioned this book before, and it has finally arrived. Not that anyone would need any more inducement to read it, but here's a note from the author himself with multiple endorsements.
“Dear Friends: I wanted to let you know of the forthcoming (Oct. 20) publication of my new book, “America’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve,” by the Penguin Press. Alan Blinder has called it “a page turner;” Publisher's Weekly has called it “superb and captivating,” and Ben Bernanke has called it “a highly engaging historical account.” And the current Fortune calls it "a gripping tale with a trove of vivid characters.” For more information or to pre-order, go to www.rogerlowenstein.com. And thank you!”
My two cents: If you like history and great writing, this is the book for you. It is a tough subject and very few writers could make this subject so engaging and accessible, but Lowenstein handles it with his usual excellence. I also think this book should be required reading for anyone who walks to opine/discuss/complain about current Fed policy -- the history of the Fed is both fascinating and instructive. Highly recommended.
Facts and Figures (thanks to Craig for passing this along)
The Last Voyage of El Faro -- A chilling, well-written look at the factors that lead up to the tragic loss of a cargo ship and its crew in Hurricane Joaquin. Large parts of this article might as well have been lifted from Charlie Munger's famous talk, "The Psychology of Human Misjudgment." Highly recommended.
We Need an Energy Miracle -- A lengthy and insightful interview with Bill Gates. Highly recommended.
Berkshire vs. KKR: Intermediary Influence and Competition -- An academic paper by Berkshire expert Larry Cunningham looking at the expenses and tradeoffs inherent in financial intermediaries.
How Playing the Long Game Made Elizabeth Holmes a Billionaire -- This short profile has some interesting aspects and commentary, especially in light of the recent controversy surrounding the company.
Theranos Has Struggled With Blood Tests offers some, um, counterpoints to the prevailing narrative. More issues are here. And the company's response is astounding.
Then, Google Ventures went on record saying it passed on a chance to invest in Theranos because it did not like the results of some basic homework. Then, Theranos says Google Ventures is all wrong and that Theranos refused their meeting request but seems to acknowledge problems. What a mess -- here's guessing this is not the last of it.
The Evolution of Value Investing -- A historcial look at value investing by author Joe Calandro.
How Tom Wolfe Became...Tom Wolfe -- A long profile written by Michael Lewis, as recommded by Jason Zweig.
The Most Prolific Editor on Wikipedia -- This guy has averaged 385 edits per day over a decade...