Six books you should read this summer

2018/06/26

Summary

The ability to separate the insight from the noise – the real news from the fake – is an increasingly critical one, particularly for investors. These books show us how to question prevailing narratives and take a fresh look at the world around us.

Key takeaways

  • “A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics” by Daniel Levitin helps readers process information overload
  • Haskel and Westlake’s “Capitalism without Capital” chronicles the rise of the “intangible economy”
  • “Fairness for All” by Mark Price provides an inside look at what makes the concept of “inclusive capitalism” work
  • To learn about the four big forces reshaping our future, read “No Ordinary Disruption” by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika and Jonathan Woetzel
  • In “Probably Approximately Correct”, author Leslie Valiant explores the “ecorithms” – natural algorithms – that we use to learn and prosper
  • John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge’s “The Fourth Revolution” explores the global race to reinvent government

A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics: A Neuroscientist on How to Make Sense of a Complex World
By Daniel Levitin

In a time when “post-truth” and “fake news” have entered the popular lexicon, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to navigate a world where information is everywhere, but not all of it is relevant or truthful. Learning how to understand statistics can make us better citizens and better investors.



Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy
By Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake

Corporations are increasingly relying less on tangible assets than on intangible ones – such as software code, brands and algorithms. This shift gives rise to disruptive new business models, reducing barriers to entry across markets and changing the very nature of investing.



Fairness for All: Unlocking the Power of Employee Engagement
By Mark Price

The relentless pursuit of profit is not the only way to generate returns to shareholders, customers and employees. This book explores the idea of “inclusive capitalism” and the six principles that the John Lewis Partnership – a well-regarded UK retailer – uses to put its people first.



No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends
By Richard Dobbs, James Manyika and Jonathan Woetzel

The directors of the McKinsey Global Institute detail how emerging markets, rapid technological change, shifting demographics and greater global connectivity are reshaping the future. Business leaders must reset their assumptions if they want their companies to succeed.



Probably Approximately Correct: Nature’s Algorithms for Learning and Prospering in a Complex World
By Leslie Valiant

Nature is mind-bogglingly complex and ever-changing, yet life has nevertheless thrived without an instruction manual. We do it by combining experience with learning, intuition and teamwork – essentially using our own natural algorithms to determine effective behaviours.



The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State
By John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

Strong institutions or small government? More state support or more promises that cannot be honoured? The West has been grappling with these issues for years, but most of their models are dysfunctional. Perhaps we need to reform how government works and the role it plays in society.



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How to repair economic inequality

2018/07/03

Summary

Wealth and income inequality are pressing global issues, affecting the quality of life for countless people, suppressing economic growth, stretching governments’ capabilities and destabilising social systems. The good news? Politicians, corporations and investors can all do their part to enact change.

Key takeaways

  • Economic inequality may be at its highest level since the Industrial Revolution; in the US alone, the top 1% owned more than 38% of total wealth in 2016
  • The social safety net is weakening as more people can’t afford basic living expenses, quality health care or retirement savings
  • Those who invested in the financial markets in the last 10-40 years have done extremely well, but the many people who don’t – or can’t – invest in risk assets have fallen further behind
  • Governments, corporations and investors all have roles to play in fixing the inequality problem. Allianz Global Investors constantly strives to add value beyond pure economic gain by aligning our interests with those of our clients and our communities.