BOOK REVIEWS


Harsh Desai 20 January 2017
When was the last time that you felt a little breathless after you finished a business book, as if you had just come back from a three-mile run? When was the last time that you felt a distinct urge to go out and buy the product which the book is about and the only thing that stopped you was...

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Sucheta Dalal Sucheta Dalal 06 January 2017
After Dissenting Diagnosis by Dr Arun Gadre and Dr Abhay Shukla (reviewed in Moneylife, 10 June 2016), The Ethical Doctor is another lucid exposé of the rampant malpractices in the healthcare industry.    The author, Dr Kamal Kumar Mahawar, writes about corrupt practices in India, but...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 23 December 2016
Edgar (Ed) Wachenheim, chairman and chief portfolio manager, Greenhaven Associates, has written an unusual book. Common Stocks and Common Sense: The Strategies, Analyses, Decisions, and Emotions of a Particularly Successful Value Investor is a series of investment case studies on specific...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 09 December 2016
Which was the best-performing stock in the US in the 25 years, following the Black Monday crash of October 1987? When Bloomberg-Businessweek went searching for the answer, it did not end up in Apple (Silicon Valley), or Microsoft (Redmond) or Berkshire Hathaway (Nebraska). It ended up at...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 12 November 2016
SocialCops was founded by Prukalpa Sankar and Varun Banka; they were batch-mates at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. While they were interning with large investment banks, they learnt the importance of ‘big data’ and how “analysts in the financial sector relied on it to...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 28 October 2016
Richard Thaler is the world’s foremost theorist on behavioural finance, a field that was developed by Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize-winner in 2002) and Amos Tversky from the 1970s. Most of them, and another top researcher, Cass Sunstein, have worked together at some stage or another to...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 14 October 2016
In the late 1960s, the Hungarian psychologist Laszlo Polgar embarked on a strange experiment. He had studied hundreds of people who were considered geniuses in one field or another and had concluded that any child could be turned into a genius with directed coaching and training. He was...

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Bapoo Malcolm Bapoo Malcolm 01 October 2016
The first two chapters made me jot down: ‘putdownable’. Thank God, I continued. Sue the Messenger then starts to read like a detective novel. Each Smart-Alec chapter-title is followed by journalistic sleuthing, digging up dirt, exposing the filthy tricks bag of corporates—be they chemicals...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 17 September 2016
Many have probably read how Sanjeev Sanyal, a thoughtful historian, economist and urban planner, has torn to shreds, Ashoka’s reputation as a pacifist. In case you didn’t, here is his story of the real Ashoka. In 274BC, Bindusara, son of Chandragupta, died. The crown prince, Sushima, was on...

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Walter Vieira Walter Vieira 03 September 2016
Winston Churchill was right when he said that democracy is not a perfect system; but until we find a better one, it is the best we have. The pessimists in all countries, including USA and India (the largest democracies in the world), will keep complaining about the failure of the system. This...

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Sumaira Abdulali 22 August 2016
To Amitav Ghosh, climate change is intensely personal and his own sudden experience of it has been so inexplicable that he hesitates to use it in his fictional writings, for fear of melodrama. Even now, while writing this work, he says, we are in enough self-denial and that The Great...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 20 August 2016
Books that are able to describe successful businesses through a common theme or analytical framework are rare in India. This one (The Unusual Billionaires; Saurabh Mukherjea; Penguin Random House India, Rs499; 445 Pages) is an addition to that small collection. It uses the John Kay’s famous IBAS...

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Debashis Basu Debashis Basu 05 August 2016
This book is the third and last in the ‘Evolution of a Trader’ series by Thomas Bulkowski. I had reviewed the first two (Trading Basics and Fundamental Analysis and Position Trading) in August-September 2013. The third book is all about swing trading and day trading. Bulkowski is quite a...

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Vijay Joshi is emeritus fellow of the Merton College, Oxford. Unlike professors teaching and researching in foreign universities, Joshi has had ringside view of the Indian economy having held official positions like the special advisor to the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, director of...

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One of the perennial questions in the minds of investors is about the optimum size of a portfolio or how many stocks should one hold in one’s portfolio. Put another way, should you have a concentrated or a diversified portfolio? There are lots of arguments for and against each option. Too few...

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Ruchir Sharma is a head of emerging markets and chief global strategist of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. His previous book, Breakout Nations, appeared in 2010 (and was reviewed in Moneylife) to great critical acclaim. This book is even better. It is a kind of macro checklist of the...

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Medical malpractices are widespread. In fact, while we come across cases of financial mis-selling every day, we believe that these are mild, compared to the gross abuses by hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Stories of pass-backs between physicians, pathologists and surgeons;...

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Books that give thumbnails of interesting characters are always interesting. Heroes and Villains of Finance does exactly that—provides sketches of the lives and ideas of the 50 chosen characters from the history of finance. While the stories of famous people in finance like Warren Buffett,...

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Moneylife Digital Team 13 May 2016
Technology has been a big boon to lawyers as well as litigants caught in the interminable and expensive legal system in India. The process of converting the mass of judgements across various levels of the judiciary into digital format began over 25 years ago and has struggled to keep pace...

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Moneylife Digital Team 13 May 2016
Every other engineer passing out of a top educational institution heads for a management degree and then gets hired by a financial organisation. However, the world is a better place not because of the finance guys but the engineers. Like Margaret Hutchinson, a chemical engineer, who developed...

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