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Conference Book Archive

(commentary by the respective publishers)

Fall 2016 - Oct. 4

The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americas and Our Energy Future

by Gretchen Bakke, Ph.D.

America’s electrical grid, an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, is turning out to be a poor fit for the present. It’s not just that the grid has grown old and is now in dire need of basic repair. Today, as we invest great hope in new energy sources--solar, wind, and other alternatives--the grid is what stands most firmly in the way of a brighter energy future. If we hope to realize this future, we need to re-imagine the grid according to twenty-first-century values. It’s a project which forces visionaries to work with bureaucrats, legislators with storm-flattened communities, moneymen with hippies, and the left with the right. And though it might not yet be obvious, this revolution is already well under way.

Winning at Active Management: The Essential Roles of Culture, Philosophy, and Technology

by William W. Priest, Steven D. Bleiberg & Michael A. Wellhoelter

Winning at Active Management conducts an in-depth examination of crucial issues facing the investment management industry, and will be a valuable resource for asset managers, institutional consultants, managers of pension and endowment funds, and advisers to individual investors. Bill Priest, Steve Bleiberg and Mike Welhoelter all experienced investment professionals, consider the challenges of managing portfolios through complex markets, as well as managing the cultural and technological complexities of the investment business.

Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism

by Jeff Gramm

A sharp and illuminating history of one of capitalism’s longest running tensions—the conflicts of interest among public company directors, managers, and shareholders—told through entertaining case studies and original letters from some of our most legendary and controversial investors and activists. Recent disputes between shareholders and major corporations, including Apple and DuPont, have made headlines. But the struggle between management and those who own stock has been going on for nearly a century. Mixing never-before-published and rare, original letters from Wall Street icons—including Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, Ross Perot, Carl Icahn, and Daniel Loeb—with masterful scholarship and professional insight, Dear Chairman traces the rise in shareholder activism from the 1920s to today, and provides an invaluable and unprecedented perspective on what it means to be a public company, including how they work and who is really in control.

Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin...And How to Bring It Back

by David A. Stockman

In TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin... And How to Bring It Back, David Stockman brings us an insider-turned-iconoclast's report on how 30 years of financial and political misrule by the Washington/Wall Street elites have brought the U.S. to the brink of ruin. He shows that the Fed's destructive ZIRP and QE policies have buried Flyover America in debt while clobbering it with shrinking real wages and vanishing job opportunities. At the same time, the bicoastal elites have prospered mightily from the massive inflation of financial assets in the Wall Street casino and the debt-fueled expansion of Imperial Washington's domestic rackets and global interventions.

Spring 2016 - April 13

The Scandal of Money: Why Wall Street Recovers but the Economy Never Does

by George Gilder

Why do conservatives have such a hard time winning the economic debate in the court of public opinion? Simple, George Gilder says: conservatives misunderstand economics almost as badly as liberals do. Republicans have been running on tax cut proposals since the era of Harding and Coolidge without seriously addressing the key problems of a global economy in decline. Enough is enough. Gilder, author of New York Times bestseller Wealth and Poverty, proposes a completely new framework for understanding economic growth that will replace failed 20th century conservative economics and turn the economic debate—and the country—around.

The Madoff Chronicles (Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth)

by Brian Ross

The collapse of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme led to the instant evaporation of $65 billion of wealth. The effects of Madoff's brazen fraud were felt most closely in New York and Palm Beach but the story was, and continues to be, front page news across the country. Now, a paperback version of the book is perfectly timed with the ABC drama starring Richard Dreyfuss. Brian Ross and his team of investigators shed an unyielding light onto Madoff's scheme--how he got started, how he succeed for so long, who helped him, and who shielded him from early investigations. From hard hitting revelations to fascinating anecdotes, this is an incisive and voyeuristic look into this first family of financial crime . This is both news and the most addictive kind of true crime reading, certain to appeal to both Madoff junkies and neophytes who will love a juicy story filled with intrigue, betrayal, and billions and billions of dollars.

Drawn to Opera

by Hank Blaustein

This book is a collection of Hank Blaustein drawings done at performances of Operas and Recitals together with Opera related personal anecdotes.

Capital Returns: Investing Through the Capital Cycle: A Money Manager's Report 2002-15

by Edward Chancellor

This book uses numerous examples to demonstrate how the capital cycle approach to investments works, and how it has provided investors with market-beating returns over the past decade.

Fall 2015 - Oct. 20

The Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes

by Richard Davenport-Hines

J.M.Keynes is best known as an economist; but he had many other accomplishments, and this beautifully-written and affectionate biography brings all of them out; and, though of course there is a good deal of economics in the book, the treatment is (mostly) not too technical. It also brings out Keynes’ character: he was not only one of the most brilliant intellects of his time, beautifully articulate and persuasive, but was also kind, generous, affectionate, happy, confident, a man “of joyous vitality”, gregarious, a foe to all pessimism, and “the least envious of men”. (All this according to the author; but he also quotes people who had a more negative view of him.) He was casually and inconsistently antisemitic until the advent of the Nazis cured him of this (and Wikipedia tells me that he was a supporter of Zionism).

America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve

by Roger Lowenstein

A tour de force of historical reportage, America’s Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America’s modern central bank, the Federal Reserve. Today, the Fed is the bedrock of the financial landscape, yet the fight to create it was so protracted and divisive that it seems a small miracle that it was ever established.

The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned-and Have Still to Learn-from the Financial Crisis

by Martin Wolf

From the chief economic commentator for the Financial Times, a brilliant tour d’horizon of the new global economy and its trajectory There have been many books that have sought to explain the causes and courses of the financial and economic crisis which began in 2007–8. The Shifts and the Shocks is not another detailed history of the crisis, but the most persuasive and complete account yet published of what the crisis should teach us about modern economies and economics.

Banking in Crisis: The Rise and Fall of British Banking Stability, 1800 to the Present

by John D. Turner

Can the lessons of the past help us to prevent another banking collapse in the future? This is the first book to tell the story of the rise and fall of British banking stability over the past two centuries, shedding new light on why banking systems crash and on the factors underpinning banking stability. John Turner shows that there have only been two major banking crises in Britain during this time - the crises of 1825-6 and 2007-8. Although there were episodic bouts of instability in the interim, the banking system was crisis free. Why was the British banking system stable for such a long time? And, why did the British banking system implode in 2008? In answering these questions, the book explores the long-run evolution of bank regulation, the role of the Bank of England, bank rescues and the need to hold shareholders to account.

Spring 2015 - April 7

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns

by John C. Bogle

Investing is all about common sense. Owning a diversified portfolio of stocks and holding it for the long term is a winner's game. Trying to beat the stock market is theoretically a zero-sum game (for every winner, there must be a loser), but after the substantial costs of investing are deducted, it becomes a loser's game. Common sense tells us-and history confirms-that the simplest and most efficient investment strategy is to buy and hold all of the nation's publicly held businesses at very low cost. The classic index fund that owns this market portfolio is the only investment that guarantees you with your fair share of stock market returns.

The Floating Kilogram: ... and Other Editorials on Money from the New York Sun

by Seth Lipsky

From the editor of The New York Sun, 130 astonishing and delightful editorials on the monetary crisis and the need for the restoration of a sound dollar. "Brilliant . . . irrefutable," says Steve Forbes. "The Federalist Papers of a gold standard."

Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation is Reshaping Our World—For the Better

by Andrew Palmer

Seven years after the financial crisis of 2008, financiers remain villains in the public mind. Most Americans believe that their irresponsible actions and complex financial products wrecked the economy and destroyed people’s savings, and that bankers never adequately paid for their crimes.

Traveling to the centers of finance across the world, Palmer introduces us to peer-to-peer lenders who are financing entrepreneurs the big banks won’t bet on, creating opportunities where none existed. He explores the world of social-impact bonds, which fund programs for the impoverished and homeless, simultaneously easing the burden on national governments and producing better results. And he explores the idea of human-capital contracts, whereby investors fund the educations of cash-strapped young people in return for a percentage of their future earnings.

Chairman of the Fed: William McChesney Martin Jr., and the Creation of the Modern American Financial System

by Robert P. Bremner

This is the first biography of William McChesney Martin, Jr. (1906-1998), the first paid president of the New York Stock Exchange and the chairman of the Federal Reserve System under Presidents Truman to Nixon. The extent of Martin’s influence on the course of American economic history was significant: arguably he has done more to strengthen and reform the nation’s most important financial institutions than has any other individual.

Chairman of the Fed tells Martin’s fascinating life story and explains his lasting impact on the NYSE and the Fed, both troubled institutions that Martin transformed. The book provides an inside look into the economic deliberations of five presidential administrations and describes Martin’s battles to bring about ethical and intelligent regulation of U.S. financial markets. His experiences shed light not only on the evolution of the American financial system but also on critical issues that confront the system toda

Fall 2014 - October 21

When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany

by Adam Fergusson

When Money Dies is the classic history of what happens when a nation’s currency depreciates beyond recovery. In 1923, with its currency effectively worthless (the exchange rate in December of that year was one dollar to 4,200,000,000,000 marks), the German republic was all but reduced to a barter economy. Expensive cigars, artworks, and jewels were routinely exchanged for staples such as bread; a cinema ticket could be bought for a lump of coal; and a bottle of paraffin for a silk shirt. People watched helplessly as their life savings disappeared and their loved ones starved. Germany’s finances descended into chaos, with severe social unrest in its wake.

Choice in Currency: A Way to Stop Inflation

by Friedrich A. Hayek

The pathbreaking Choice in Currency first appeared in 1976, during an inflationary bout in the United States. Hayek argued that it is crucial to the health of the market as a whole to bring the forces of competition to bear in currency markets, not just between countries but within them as well. All people should be free to use any currency of their own choosing, Hayek contended, even if that means rejecting the favored domestic one. This provides a check against inflation, permitting citizens to keep assets denominated in any unit. Choice in Currency is an important work in part because it represents a reform that could take place right now, one that would change the institutional incentives faced by central banks. This is not Hayek's full plan for sound money but rather a creative idea to diminish the total power of central banks within individual countries. It was a good idea in 1976, and it's still a good idea in the 21st century.

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

by William N. Thorndike

In this refreshing, counterintuitive book, author Will Thorndike brings to bear the analytical wisdom of a successful career in investing, closely evaluating the performance of companies and their leaders. You will meet eight individualistic CEOs whose firms’ average returns outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of twenty—in other words, an investment of $10,000 with each of these CEOs, on average, would have been worth over $1.5 million twenty-five years later. You may not know all their names, but you will recognize their companies: General Cinema, Ralston Purina, The Washington Post Company, Berkshire Hathaway, General Dynamics, Capital Cities Broadcasting, TCI, and Teledyne. In The Outsiders, you’ll learn the traits and methods—striking for their consistency and relentless rationality—that helped these unique leaders achieve such exceptional performance.

The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself

by Jim Grant

By the publisher of the prestigious Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, an account of the deep economic slump of 1920–21 that proposes, with respect to federal intervention, “less is more.” This is a free-market rejoinder to the Keynesian stimulus applied by Bush and Obama to the 2007–09 recession, in whose aftereffects, Grant asserts, the nation still toils.

James Grant tells the story of America’s last governmentally-untreated depression; relatively brief and self-correcting, it gave way to the Roaring Twenties. His book appears in the fifth year of a lackluster recovery from the overmedicated downturn of 2007–2009.

Spring 2014 - April 8

William Pitt the Younger

by William Hague

The award-winning biography of William Pitt the Younger by William Hague, the youngest leader of the Tory Party since Pitt himself. William Pitt the Younger was one of the most extraordinary figures in British history. Prime minister at the age of twenty-four, he went on to dominate British politics for two decades, presiding over such complex and treacherous national crises as the madness of King George III, the beleaguered union with Ireland, the fallout from the French Revolution and the trauma of the Napoleonic Wars. With the keen eye of an experienced politician, William Hague examines the enigmatic life and tumultuous times of a man capable of both wit and arrogance, economic genius and financial mismanagement. A rich cast of characters and a vivid backdrop of global conflict make this riveting biography of Pitt the Younger compulsive reading.

GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History

by Diance Coyle

Diane Coyle traces the history of this artificial, abstract, complex, but exceedingly important statistic from its eighteenth- and nineteenth-century precursors through its invention in the 1940s and its postwar golden age, and then through the Great Crash up to today. The reader learns why this standard measure of the size of a country's economy was invented, how it has changed over the decades, and what its strengths and weaknesses are. The book explains why even small changes in GDP can decide elections, influence major political decisions, and determine whether countries can keep borrowing or be thrown into recession. The book ends by making the case that GDP was a good measure for the twentieth century but is increasingly inappropriate for a twenty-first-century economy driven by innovation, services, and intangible goods.

Fortune Tellers: The Story of America's First Economic Forecasters

by Walter Friedman

Walter Friedman paints vivid portraits of entrepreneurs who shared a belief that the rational world of numbers and reason could tame--or at least foresee--the irrational gyrations of the market. Despite their failures, this first generation of economic forecasters helped to make the prediction of economic trends a central economic activity, and shed light on the mechanics of financial markets by providing a range of statistics and information about individual firms. They also raised questions that are still relevant today. What is science and what is merely guesswork in forecasting? What motivates people to buy forecasts? Does the act of forecasting set in motion unforeseen events that can counteract the forecast made?

Masterful and compelling, Fortune Tellers highlights the risk and uncertainty that are inherent to capitalism itself.

Fall 2013 - Oct. 22

Crony Capitalism in America: 2008 - 2012

by Hunter Lewis

When private interests need a political favor, they know whom to call. When politicians need money, they also know whom to call. The people involved try to keep most of it concealed behind closed doors. This is the system that prevails in Russia after the fall of Communism. But increasingly it is America’s system as well.

Inside the Yield Book: The classic that created the science of bond analysis

by Martin L Leibowitz

A completely updated edition of the guide to modern bond analysis First published in 1972, Inside the Yield Book revolutionized the fixed-income industry and forever altered the way investors looked at bonds. Over forty years later, it remains a standard primer and reference among market professionals. Generations of practitioners, investors, and students have relied on its lucid explanations, and readers needing to delve more deeply have found its explication of key mathematical relationships to be unmatched in clarity and ease of application. This edition updates the widely respected classic with new material from Martin L. Leibowitz. Along the way, it skillfully explains and makes sense of essential mathematical relationships that are basic to an understanding of bonds, annuities, and loans—in fact, any securities or investments that involve compound interest and the determination of present value for future cash flows. The book also includes a new foreword.

Coolidge

by Amity Shlaes

Calvin Coolidge’s improbable rise from a tiny town in New England to a youth so unpopular he was shut out of college fraternities at Amherst College up through Massachusetts politics. After a divisive period of government excess and corruption, Coolidge restored national trust in Washington and achieved what few other peacetime presidents have: He left office with a federal budget smaller than the one he inherited. A man of calm discipline, he lived by example, renting half of a two-family house for his entire political career rather than compromise his political work by taking on debt. Renowned as a throwback, Coolidge was in fact strikingly modern—an advocate of women’s suffrage and a radio pioneer. At once a revision of man and economics, Coolidge gestures to the country we once were and reminds us of qualities we had forgotten and can use today.

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art

by Don Thompson

Why would a smart New York investment banker pay $12 million for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock’s drip painting No. 5, 1948 sell for $140 million? Intriguing and entertaining, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark is a Freakonomics approach to the economics and psychology of the contemporary art world. Why were record prices achieved at auction for works by 131 contemporary artists in 2006 alone, with astonishing new heights reached in 2007? Don Thompson explores the money, lust, and self-aggrandizement of the art world in an attempt to determine what makes a particular work valuable while others are ignored. This book is the first to look at the economics and the marketing strategies that enable the modern art market to generate such astronomical prices. Surprising, passionate, gossipy, revelatory, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark reveals a great deal that even experienced auction purchasers do not know.

Money, Gold, and History

by Lewis E. Lehrman

In Money, Gold, and History, Lewis E. Lehrman raises three questions:1) Will the perennial global monetary crisis and the century-old age of inflation still be underway a generation from now?2) Will the global economy have succumbed to national rivalries, mercantilism, financial disorder, and entropy?3) Or, will monetary order have been restored by the leading nations of the world in their own self-interest?

Spring 2013 - April 9

The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism

by David A. Stockman

The Great Deformation is a searing look at Washington’s craven response to the recent myriad of financial crises and fiscal cliffs. It counters conventional wisdom with an eighty-year revisionist history of how the American state—especially the Federal Reserve—has fallen prey to the politics of crony capitalism and the ideologies of fiscal stimulus, monetary central planning, and financial bailouts. These forces have left the public sector teetering on the edge of political dysfunction and fiscal collapse and have caused America’s private enterprise foundation to morph into a speculative casino that swindles the masses and enriches the few.

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order

by Benn Steil

When turmoil strikes world monetary and financial markets, leaders invariably call for 'a new Bretton Woods' to prevent catastrophic economic disorder and defuse political conflict. The name of the remote New Hampshire town where representatives of forty-four nations gathered in July 1944, in the midst of the century's second great war, has become shorthand for enlightened globalization. The actual story surrounding the historic Bretton Woods accords, however, is full of startling drama, intrigue, and rivalry, which are vividly brought to life in Benn Steil's epic account.

Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis

by James Rickards

Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the sorry spectacle of countries' stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence. Left unchecked, the next currency war could lead to a crisis worse than the panic of 2008. Currency wars have happened before-twice in the last century alone-and they always end badly. Time and again, paper currencies have collapsed, assets have been frozen, gold has been confiscated, and capital controls have been imposed. And the next crash is overdue. Recent headlines about the debasement of the dollar, bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and Chinese currency manipulation are all indicators of the growing conflict.

Fall 2012 - October 23

The True Gold Standard - A Monetary Reform Plan without Official Reserve Currencies

by Lewis E. Lehrman

This Monetary Reform Plan proposes to establish the framework for an enduring, stable value for the United States dollar; that is, to define the dollar by statute as a certain weight unit of gold to be coined into lawful money.

Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist

by Thomas Levenson

In 1695, Isaac Newton—already renowned as the greatest mind of his age—made a surprising career change. He left quiet Cambridge, where he had lived for thirty years and made his earth-shattering discoveries, and moved to London to take up the post of Warden of His Majesty’s Mint. Newton was preceded to the city by a genius of another kind, the budding criminal William Chaloner. Thanks to his preternatural skills as a counterfeiter, Chaloner was rapidly rising in London’s highly competitive underworld, at a time when organized law enforcement was all but unknown and money in the modern sense was just coming into being. Then he crossed paths with the formidable new warden. In the courts and streets of London—and amid the tremors of a world being transformed by the ideas Newton himself had set in motion—the chase was on. This revelatory tale of Isaac Newton’s journey through London’s underworld will appeal to fans of The Professor and the Madman.

Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget

by David Wessel

Now a New York Times bestseller. In a sweeping narrative about the people and the politics behind the budget, Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30) to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown wildly out of control. Through the eyes of key people--Jacob Lew, White House director of the Office of Management and Budget; Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office; Blackstone founder and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson; and more--Wessel gives readers an inside look at the making of our unsustainable budget.

Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself

by Sheila Bair

Sheila Bair is widely acknowledged in government circles and the media as one of the first people to identify and accurately assess the subprime crisis. Appointed by George W. Bush as the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2006, she witnessed the origins of the financial crisis and in 2008 became—along with Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner—one of the key players trying to repair the damage to our economy. Bull by the Horns is her remarkable and refreshingly honest account of that contentious time and the struggle for reform that followed and continues to this day.

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Past Conferences & Presentations

Past Speakers 

Past Conference Books

The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americas and Our Energy Future
By Gretchen Bakke, Ph.D.

Read More >

Winning at Active Management: The Essential Roles of Culture, Philosophy, and Technology
By William W. Priest, Steven D. Bleiberg & Michael A. Wellhoelter

Read More >

Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism
By Jeff Gramm

Read More >

Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin...And How to Bring It Back
By David A. Stockman

Read More >

The Scandal of Money: Why Wall Street Recovers but the Economy Never Does
By George Gilder

Read More >

More Past Conference Books >

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