BOOK REVIEWS


Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 23 November 2017
Most people do not know how to categorise Subramanain Swamy, teacher, economist, mathematician, an expert on China and an upright politician, in the habit of making ‘wild allegations’. Unlike most Indian leaders, he is highly educated. If he had continued in academics, he would have perhaps...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 09 November 2017
About 40 pages into The Money Formula, by Paul Wilmott and David Orrell, you start wondering why would someone write another book on investments that forces us to read about all the characters and theories connected to the world of investing—from Isaac Newton (who lost money in the South Sea...

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Harsh Desai 26 October 2017
The precocious lawyer, Abhinav Chandrachud, has come out with his third book in four years and it is a timely treatise on the burning issue of free speech. The book is in two parts; the first deals with the evolution of Article 19 1(a) of the Constitution which guarantees the right of free...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 12 October 2017
Western financial markets are often characterised by a colossal failure of supervision, every few years. Whether it is the Savings & Loans scam in the 1980s, the insider trading scandal of the late-1980s, the accounting scandal post dot-com bust in early-2000 or the bursting of the housing...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 29 September 2017
There is a swathe of books on long-term investing. The most popular among these are about the value investing approach which remains rather undefined. One of the classical versions of the approach is to buy stocks available at a throwaway price (deep value investing). This has turned out to...

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Sucheta Dalal Sucheta Dalal 14 September 2017
It is raining books by bankers and former governors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Quick on the heels of Duvvuri Subbarao’s book (Who Moved My Interest Rate. Leading the Reserve Bank through Five Turbulent Years), we have Yaga Venugopal Reddy’s Advice & Dissent: My Life In Public...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 18 August 2017
Diet books that promise a slim waist and a long life are dime-a-dozen. But few things seem to be well-settled in nutritional science. For decades, dietary fat was the villain and suddenly now dietary fat is good. Dairy products were good, then bad and then good again. Sugar consumption has...

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In 1961, Edward Thorp, a young mathematician, flew into Washington, DC, to address a meeting of the American Mathematical Society at the Willard Hotel. The normal attendance at such meetings then used to be about 40-50 people. But, for this talk, there was a standing-room-only crowd of...

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Kate David Ricardo was one of the most influential of the classical British economists, along with Thomas Malthus, Adam Smith, James Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham. But Ricardo, famous for theory of trade, labour theory of value, theory of comparative advantage, etc, has another identity. He...

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Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics aims at transforming the current economic mindset which is obsessed with only one aspect of the subject: the GDP, to be more precise, growth.    GDP or gross domestic product is defined as the production of goods and services, within the boundaries of...

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“I did not share my memories of the bandage removal with Alice, but I did tell her that when I was in the hospital, I wanted to know the meaning of all the noises and beeps around me. I wanted to know my heart rate and blood pressure. I wanted to know the level of oxygen in my blood, the...

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For one who has written three biographies in the past decade, I have grappled with the acute shortage of source materials that provide evidence for not just the narrative of the life one is reconstructing but also the social and political issues of the times the person lived in. The book by...

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Influencing others to do something that you want them to do has been an art which only a few realise, focus their energies on, and manage to master. Apart from selling, marketing and advertising, this art is at the core of all human interactions such as interrogation, diplomacy, teaching,...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 28 April 2017
For the patient do-it-yourself investor, High Returns from Low Risk by Pim Van Vliet is a breakthrough book, in the same league as The Little Book that Beats the Market. In that book, Joel Greenblatt explained how ranking stocks on the basis of high return on capital and low valuation does...

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Srinivas Hebbar 14 April 2017
Professor CNR Rao’s life has been a long and eventful one. He has produced research papers by the dozen, met the doyens in science from around the world, received the highest national awards, including the Bharat Ratna, and a clutch of foreign awards for science. Yet, Indian science has not...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 01 April 2017
In the previous issue, I reviewed an interesting new book by Harvard University professor Bharat Anand, The Content Trap. His short point: great products do not guarantee success. It is the connections between users, between products and between different functions that ensure their...

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Rajendra Aklekar Rajendra Aklekar 18 March 2017
There are several books on the history of Indian Railways, and they are of two kinds—either academic, heavy-reads, or coffee table books with glossy pictures, peppered with some text. The book is easy to read, quick to finish and to the point, as the present generation wants; yet, it sums up...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 04 March 2017
All companies struggle with the simple question: How do you get noticed in a world of increasing clutter, make a sale and, finally, retain customers? Additionally, today, many businesses—from media to retailing — find themselves threatened by the digital storm. How do you fight cheaper, or...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 16 February 2017
In India of the late-1800s, there was backbreaking poverty, occasional famines, and age-old cultural practices. But, by the early-1900s, major railway lines linked the ports to the interior as well as to the main cities and towns; steamship moved cargo and people along the coasts; and three...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 03 February 2017
In 1997, executives running the debt collection division of Chase Manhattan Bank began wondering why a particular group of employees in Tampa, Florida, were so much more successful than others in convincing people to pay their credit-card bills. Chase was one of the largest credit-card...

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