BOOK REVIEWS


John Bogle is the creator of ‘indexing’—which advocates tying your fortunes to a market index, such as the Nifty or the Sensex, instead of trying to pick individual stocks or funds, because most fund managers cannot beat the index over the long term and successful stock-picking greatly depends...

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Devarajan Mahadevan 27 April 2010
The great India story is still playing out. This book attempts to chronicle the country’s prowess in various sectors through a collection of articles written by a veritable who’s who of India’s best and brightest—scientists, technologists, government officials, thought leaders, journalists,...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 20 April 2010
A timeless classic re-issued as an Indian edition The title of the book draws from the work of Dr Simon Ramo, a scientist and one of the founders of TRW Inc. Dr Ramo identified a crucial difference between a winner’s game and a loser’s game in an excellent book on game strategy, Extraordinary...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 20 April 2010
A supply-side interpretation of the world’s financial woes If you’ve been browsing through the latest titles in economics, chances are the words ‘Financial Armageddon’ or ‘Financial Apocalypse’ crop up frequently. Rarely has the business of gloom and doom sold so well. Joseph Stiglitz, the...

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Devarajan Mahadevan 20 April 2010
As the blurb says, the author—a graduate of the London School of Economics—has served before the bar as a barrister and behind the bar as a bartender. This book details more than 650 recipes comprising numerous spirits and liqueurs—along with all the accompanying paraphernalia and etiquette. The...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 07 April 2010
An analysis of the new reality of global financial flows I have reviewed hundreds of books but I don’t recall one that has drawn a more glowing suite of praises than When Markets Collide, especially since the praises come from market-players, policy-makers, writers and academics alike. Alan...

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Devarajan Mahadevan 07 April 2010
Asian history—in the aftermath of World War II They came, did business, conquered but were forced to make an ignominious retreat. This book narrates the tragic story of what happened when Britain was finally forced to abandon its Asian empire. The authors unravel the gruesome goings-on...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 07 April 2010
Exposition on the techniques of value investing Here’s another exposition on the techniques of value investing with a slightly different flavour. Rather than delving into the nitty-gritty of value investing as a concept, the book attempts to lay the mental framework that needs to be...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 22 March 2010
A neurologist and financial expert expounds simple principles for investment success in any scenario Dr William Bernstein is not the normal finance type. Formerly a practising neurologist, he first wrote a book called The Intelligent Asset Allocator. The book attracted a lot of critical...

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Ravi Samalad 22 March 2010
On the origins of commodity trading in India According to Dr William Bernstein (author of the book reviewed above), there are a few key factors behind successful investing. One of them is understanding history. Back to the Future: Roots of Commodity Trade in India is an effort by two authors...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 22 March 2010
How to profit from value stocks Investing in the stock markets is one task where it pays to be a lone wolf, says Gabriel Wisdom in his book Wisdom on Value Investing. The book argues that, rather than following the crowd, the smart investor stays calm and waits patiently for incredible deals...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 06 March 2010
A historical account of US economic crises and suggestions for reform From his days of the Great Depression to the current sordid saga of the credit crisis, Henry Kaufman has experienced first-hand the upheaval and turbulence of financial markets. He brings with him a deep understanding of...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 06 March 2010
A riveting narration in luminous prose of economic policymaking during the two world wars John Maynard Keynes desperately wanted to join the government (UK Treasury) and influence policies. Since London  was at the centre of the universe in the early 1900s, this meant an ability to influence...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 22 February 2010
Old ideas in a new book on how to improve decision-making The last chapter of this book is titled “Sorting Luck from Skill”. To explain it, the author could not have found a better example than William H Miller, fund manager of Legg Mason’s Value Trust Fund. The Fund outperformed the S&P 500...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 22 February 2010
How to discover and profit from small-cap stocks Wouldn’t it be great if you could catch the next Infosys, Reliance or HDFC at bargain prices before anyone on Dalal Street gets even the faintest hint of such potential? Ian Wyatt’s book is aimed at precisely this—guiding you in your quest to...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 22 February 2010
It is no secret that Harvard and Yale university endowments have managed what countless fund managers failed to achieve. They have beaten the S&P 500 index returns year after year. How can individual investors mimic the stellar performance of these top endowments? This book sheds light on the...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 08 February 2010
The financial services business is invested with snake oil salesmen, argues this new book For many people, investing is a complicated and unnerving task. The financial numbers are too confusing and product offerings even more so. Ultimately, they find themselves at the doorstep of a broker...

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Devarajan Mahadevan 08 February 2010
A flowery account of the colourful life of a self-styled prince—who went on to become India’s most famous painter This tale belongs to a time when poetry would rhyme and art used to faithfully depict the subject being portrayed. Ravi Varma was born in 1848 in Travancore. He went on to...

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Sanket Dhanorkar 08 February 2010
China’s role in the credit crisis and the new world order Was China responsible for the credit crisis? The author argues that although it didn’t directly cause the crisis, China played a vital role in creating low interest rates that encouraged over-borrowing and, ultimately, led to the...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 05 February 2010
An insider’s perspective of major financial disasters on Wall Street and why we should be prepared for more of them Warren Buffett once calculated that it cost some $100 billion a year to keep Wall Street going. And that was before the obscene salaries and bonuses of 2007. But who pays this...

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