You no longer follow PHIL

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow PHIL

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

PHIL

San Diego, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

420
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 178 reviews
  • 184 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 77 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
135

  • Mastering the Grain Markets: How Profits Are Really Made

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Elaine Kub
    • Narrated By Elaine Kub
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Elaine Kub uses her talents for rigorous analysis and clear, approachable communication to offer this 360-degree look at all aspects of grain trading. From the seasonal patterns of modern grain production, to grain futures' utility as an investment asset, to the basic trading practices of the grain industry's most successful companies, Mastering The Grain Markets unveils something for everyone.

    PHIL says: "An all-time favorite: so much is here"
    "An all-time favorite: so much is here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love and devour books constantly, and this one stands out even among the best. Here, blended together, are clear and basic tutorials in business, economics, finance and trading, and plenty of the language in these fields. Grain turns out to be a great way to illustrate these ideas, deals and processes. The author reads her book, which is yet another great facet: it is just right to hear this in the voice, inflections and embodiment of a midwestern person, who grew up in that environment, then went to higher education and sharpened the tools and understandings. Her voice and content are both so wholesomely midwestern, it provides perfect packaging for these themes. This book is right in the mainstream of our economy's thinking and language, and a very fine bit of teaching, yet this is a very singular expression, all its own, unlike anything I've seen. My unqualified thanks to this author for her work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Man Who Made Wall Street: Anthony J. Drexel and the Rise of Modern Finance

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Dan Rottenberg
    • Narrated By J.M. Ross
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The second son of an Austrian emigre, Anthony Drexel (1826-1893) soon established himself as the preeminent financial mind in the Philadelphia currency brokerage his father began in 1838. Shunning publicity, self-promotion, and high-profile public accolades (he declined President Ulysses S. Grant's invitation to become Secretary of the Treasury), Drexel initiated a partnership with J. P. Morgan and his father, Junius, that became the most powerful financial combination of its age.

    Jean says: "He tamed the bulls and bears"
    "LIke its subject, quietly shines"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As the book opened, its wanderings through the story of Anthony Drexel's father had me worried. Here we were with a vain young vagabond painter walking aimlessly around the mountain hamlets of Napoleonic Europe. But the point of the story, and the broad canvas across which it happened, quickly enough came into focus. (That gullible young man, Francis Drexel, in grand American fashion, would end his life a venerable Philadelphia banker.) His son, Anthony Drexel, was a man of extraordinary business sense wrapped in an outward plainness and modesty that modern sensibilities might gloss over. But the story unfolding all around him, in which he was time and again a major player, was at the heart of American business and financial history and politics in his times. Here, right down the street, is Jay Cooke, emerging marketing wizard of mass bond issues for the Civil War, later to crash and burn spectacularly in an insanely ambitious cross-continent railroad adventure; General (then President) Grant; all the banking firms and families of the times here and in Europe, and of course, Anthony's associates, Junius and John Pierpont (J.P.) Morgan. In Drexel's virtuoso conception and building of his business relations with the Morgans, the confused younger Pierpont's life was changed at a critical point and redirected into its historical, planet-affecting path, still affecting us today. The personalities, conversations and steps in all this are lucidly told, easy to follow, and the narrator is ideal: clear and not flashy. Here we see not the march of business history (from the old family structures into more modern entities, ideally explained through actual decisions and deals, as when A. Drexel must favor partner J.P. Morgan's visionary business decision over his own partner-brother's wishes, on the eve of the crash of 1873). And on another level, for the business organization afficionado, we get a great sketch of such inspiring things as the ideal expression of private partnership based on character, in its most dynamic workings (between Drexel and the Morgans, especially J.P.), with scarcely a partnership agreement document in sight. (One can see by comparison how the sprawling structures of capital and control nowadays, as Adam Smith suspected, can undercut accountability and integrity.) We experience these things through the intimacy of personal correspondence, and then, time and again, the viewpoint seamlessly pulls back and shows a wider tableau. Through it all, as the biggest backdrop, we get a very economical and listenable explanation of major events and innovations of the later-mid 1800s in finance, fit perfectly with the details of the story, and the larger context of business history. (This is the most coherent explanation of these broader events among the dozens of related books I have read). This book is first-rate. Bravo!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Church and the Jews: The Lectures of Dr. David Neiman

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By David Neiman
    • Narrated By David Neiman
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Dr. David Neiman's lecture series, The Church and The Jews traces the intimate and troubled relationship between the Christian Church and the Jewish people. The series starts with the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. when the Catholic Church was founded and takes us through the Crusades, the Disputations of the 13th century, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Reformation.

    PHIL says: "A terrific display of the power of lecture"
    "A terrific display of the power of lecture"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story here spans the arrival of Christianity as an official religion of Rome in the 300s, through Martin Luther's times. As my scholarship into these times in Muslim, Jewish and Christian spheres deepens, it is refreshing to have good lectures between heavier forays. These are not as ponderous as deeply scholarly books, and yet deep enough to give me a strong start into the subjects. As such they empower and accelerate my learning, with the light touch that lecture provides. There is much on European political history and particularly the Catholic church and its greatest thinkers in these times, alongside the Jewish thinkers and leaders. This work effortlessly, gracefully spans politics, philosophy, law, and theology, showing sensible links between them, as a great professor can do. The Jewish migrations and various related actions of Jews and Christians alike suddenly make a lot more sense to me, showing that Professor Neiman was a deeply thoughtful scholar of all sides of these matters. Time and again we receive fine insights into the actors in their times, finding themselves facing real-world problems unfolding in real time, to solve (often imperfectly, sometimes disastrously) with doctrines and the tools at hand.
    He seems unfailingly charitable to the Jews' plights and perspectives, as I suppose I could expect, and I'm not scholar enough to completely critique this. Nevertheless, I never feel I am being shown one-dimensional Christians. Everyone is credibly an actual person in a world of fast-emerging, tough issues. My knowledge has gained immensely.
    I would contrast the next work of his I am hearing, "The Jews in History." The style and approach are somewhat different. In "The Church and the Jews," some basic history knowledge and curiosity is all that is needed, and many characters, institutions, doctrines, terms, and concepts are lucidly and patiently explained. "The Jews in History" would seem to require a bit more pre-existing background in the listener, in the basic stories of the Torah, for example. E.g., we are expected to know some detail of the stories of Joseph and Moses, to make sense of the comments. It has a more familiar tone, and has less patient, smoothly accessible structure and continuity as is found in "The Church and the Jews." Yet, it has a quality and depth all its own.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By William K. Black
    • Narrated By Scotty Drake
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In this expert insider's account of the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s, William Black lays bare the strategies that corrupt CEOs and CFOs - in collusion with those who have regulatory oversight of their industries - use to defraud companies for their personal gain.

    PHIL says: "Bank frauds and their pet regulators, 1980s-2000s"
    "Bank frauds and their pet regulators, 1980s-2000s"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another title might be, "mud wrestling in a tangled snake pit over the privilege to steal other people's money." Yet another, "a bipartisan masterpiece of machinations and sleaze: following the bread crumbs, naming names, good and bad, and among the bad, the incredibly slippery." A few slither away with big money, and the final bill, in a familiar story, is handed to the taxpayer, with Congress hacks helping the perps, greatly enlarging that bill, and altogether making us all measurably poorer for life.
    This may be a by-product of every go-go era, and go-go-eras have produced some great good for the public. This book focuses on the exploiters of such times, and I think we probably have another such prosperous phase of the cycle coming (so watch out).
    Did Alan Greenspan really say he thought there shouldn't be fraud laws (as attributed here, as having been remarked to Brooksley Born?) If so, wow.
    People plus econ theory can go to some very abstract, exotic places. That is, until one realizes: many hacks in the private and public sectors have their bread fundamentally buttered with information asymmetry: they actively embrace the view of a world of suckers and the suckered. The manipulators (and their house theory-propounders) make huge fortunes from it, want it, and must think the defrauded get what they deserve. Why should we slow down and take note of the fools who just haven't paid the information costs of being kingpins (and thus, in a sense, deserve their losses, and bargained for them)?
    It is an interesting ethos and set of questions. Some version of it is also a central cash flow machine for a huge political and business elite, despite the protestations of many (hauling out the easy bumper sticker phrase) that this is merely the magical free market in operation. (Adam Smith knew better, castigating fraud and what is now called agency problems, but who really reads him? Might as well watch the adult cartoons on TV creatively cherry-picking his writings.) After all, the market finds its equilibrium at some point, and by then, the winners have unassailable amounts of winnings, free and clear and oh-so-cleverly stashed. The armies of well-greased syncophant experts see to that. Except that the defrauded in this latest round of this phenomenon (2008) are unprecedented numbers of the rest of us, especially via the system of government-(taxpayers)-as-insurance-for-the-macro-economy joined at the hip with continuing permissiveness of fraud. Watch it unfold again now: now whenever everybody's fear of macro-disaster subsides, the next echo of this familiar financing bubble will take off. Since interest rates can't and won't be lowered soon, the answer (proposed by many) to juice up the economy will be sharp financial deregulation. And again, as in this book, the downsizing of things like bank examiner budgets. The regulated businesses will again be touted by regulators as "our clients." And surprise, into many cronies' pockets, vast amounts of cash will flow. Everybody will feel (at least potentially) rich and studly for a little while, then comes the inevitable denouement. (I can't assume from this small sample that the cycles will continue to shorten and steepen. But it concerns me.)
    And it feeds back into both major parties' coffers, and some very big political names, keeping the dance going longer, for bigger looting and losses, as this book shows.
    This book spends most of its time in a blow-by-blow of the '80s S&L affair in which this author was a prime participant from the government enforcement side. (This is not the entire history: the inquisitive reader can look for more background as to why S&Ls were in the ditch they were, for which the answer SEEMED to some, and some in good faith, to deregulate, to give some slack to the floundering industry, to climb out of its ditch. As usual, bipartisan fingerprints were all over the mess from way back. That larger history isn't quite all here, and isn't the apparent intention of this book, which is much more about the direct trench warfare.)
    People with an interest in this subject and its players will find it pretty absorbing (some will find it maddening, either at the author and those he praises, or those he pillories, or maybe some mix thereof). Having shown the most connected '80s crooks dispatched finally, after a titanic struggle finally winding up in climactic hearing scenes in Congress, it picks up speed to tie together a bigger picture historically and economically (from the author's particular viewpoint) in about the last one-fifth of the book. He is quite critical of public choice theory and other conservative concepts that, I think, can be very meaningful and important. But I don't get the sense of a blinkered ideologue.
    It was my honor to meet one of this book's heroes, Edwin Gray, later Bank Board Chairman, informally, in the early Reagan era. He infuriated a lot of well-connected people by actually doing his job, even after severe pressure was brought by many powerful and connected people. We can compare this civil servant, ungainly character traits and all, with the party hack later put into the regulators' ranks who, per the author, could not shut up about the fancy tricked-out interior and sound system of arch-crook-banker Charles Keating's jet. The latter sort of naive young apparatchiks were intentionally salted into the ranks of the regulators, by those for whom government is always and everywhere nothing but "the problem." Why not, in that vein, hire cops who are in awe of Pablo Escobar's car collection?
    And yet, next to the magnitude of crony cash flows these days, and the bitter rhetoric and broken consensus-reaching process, one can feel nostalgic for Reagan and his ability to work across the political spectrum and often lead in very good and productive directions, too. He was not simply a one-trick pony, as many of the cartoonish supposed imitators are now. But in the shadow of any and every system, some strange critters can grow.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Calm Before the Storm: Why Volatility Signals Stability and Vice Versa

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Gregory F. Treverton
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Instead of trying to predict "Black Swan" events such as coups or crises, forecasters should look at how political systems handle disorder. The best indicator of a country's future trajectory is not a lengthy past stability, but recent moderate volatility.

    PHIL says: "Fine Taleb, but repeats some themes in other books"
    "Fine Taleb, but repeats some themes in other books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are widely read in Taleb's work, there are few surprises here. I pretty avidly snap up whatever he writes, but I had seen such things as his praise of city-states elsewhere. There seems a slight advance in his mapping of fragilities on a wider scale, compared with his prior works.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Genesis of Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alan M. Dershowitz
    • Narrated By Alan M. Dershowitz
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    What if an angel hadn't stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac? What does Genesis seem to be telling us about taking revenge? Or what is it saying about capital punishment? Drawing on biblical commentary from throughout the ages, Alan Dershowitz shines a brilliant legal light on the stories that comprise the foundation of our society.

    Ian C Robertson says: "I Liked It Anyway ..."
    "An ambitious book that lives up to its ambitions"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The title is a great description of the topics in this book. I underwent a quantum leap in my understanding of Torah/Old Testament, its legal ramifications, and foundations of Jewish thought. I have not followed the life or work of author Alan Dershowitz very closely, and I understand in various ways he is controversial. However, his exegesis here of this ancient document in legalistic terms (and of course crediting other thinkers where appropriate, and there is a long line of them), and relating it to our present justice system, is fantastic. I am making a bit of a comparative study of the Abrahamic religions, and have been helped in this also by some works by Karen Armstrong (also available here) on Christianity and Islam. I think it very important that we try to comprehend these faiths (and the history and thinking of their practitioners) on deep levels. The maintenance of lives of millions as free as possible from violence may come to depend on it. I am utterly satisfied with this book as having (brilliantly) furthered these aims.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Against the Herd: 6 Contrarian Investment Strategies You Should Follow

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steve Cortes
    • Narrated By Ross Douglas
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The public needs to think independently and not be duped, particularly because those who are selling their messages or promoting their ideas have a plethora of powerful media through which to do so. Against the Herd presents six contrarian views of major events that will shape the future. Steve Cortes of CNBC pulls no punches in explaining these trends. Many will find his views counterintuitive and even controversial. Some will find his forecasts alarming. But open-minded readers who are willing to heed his well-informed advice will find it illuminating, beneficial, and profitable.

    PHIL says: "Written in 2011, but prescient on many levels"
    "Written in 2011, but prescient on many levels"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a listenable book with many thought-provoking passages. The world the author foresaw in 2011 has of course not perfectly materialized, but I was startled how often he was right. If the author had turned out perfectly right, I would have to chalk it up to a substantial measure of luck (since nobody knows the future, and nobody who knew the future would be a TV commentator or schlepping books; he would be the richest person on the planet).
    The one-star audible reviewer obviously missed the point, as indicated by his short-swing (and wrong for now) view of gold's ascendency (which was already wrong when that review was written). My approach to investing is much like this author's, with a macro focus and pretty long term view. I see this book as more "teaching how to fish" (i.e., think) than simply handing me a serving of fish (a one-time set of"hot tips.") This book satisfies my approach of developing a sound underlying method of portfolio allocation, KNOWING that some of my assumptions (and anyone's, outside of pure luck) will not be proven true. And yes, some of the conclusions I don't agree with -- I would hope. Yes, some asset classes have swung wide of where the author expected, counseling a rethinking of some of the recommendations. But that is easy to do.
    A problem with any dated product is getting the right frame of mind to benefit from it. For example, many ground-breaking films don't seem so great on a re-watching, often precisely because they have been so widely imitated and refined upon. So, a need is there to rewind and think of the work in terms of the time it was created. I found this exercise easy here, and was pleased to check the author's prognostications against the (limited) record since then. Indeed, many contrarian ideas voiced by this author are more mainstream now than they were in 2011. (That would seem to be the point of contrarian thinking: seeing things others do not, which later materialize in a wider recognition as true. That is how the investor makes a profit, and isn't that why we are here? Under these sorts of tests, the book comes out strong.
    As for the pop-culture and other cultural references, I found them entertaining. Usually I am quite annoyed by such a thing, being for a more academic approach, but these were clever and amusing.
    So, as the world continues to surprise us, I continue to seek out opportunities to listen to the thinking of all kinds of observers, and with this one, I'm well satisfied.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Norm Chronicles: Stories and Numbers About Danger and Death

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Michael Blastland, David Spiegelhalter
    • Narrated By Angelo Di Loreto
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    An entertaining guide to the statistics of personal risk, The Norm Chronicles will enlighten anyone who has ever worried about the dangers we encounter in our daily lives.

    PHIL says: "Who KNEW death and statistics could be such FUN?"
    "Who KNEW death and statistics could be such FUN?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a clever piece of work. Many acquaintances, and I, have been wrangling about one risk of everyday life versus another, forever, i.e., the stuff of our daily choices, our claims of wisdom or folly. There is a neat little tutorial in simple statistics imbedded in this too, and ways of debunking splashy news stories, but as you follow the quirky little stories here, you might not have noticed it. I have read other books about debunking claims, but this one went down like fizzy candy. In a good way. And, don't get me wrong, there is plenty of adult info, on which many an adult is snared in miscalculation. And I vastly appreciate the way the mundane non-emergencies of life are noticed and modeled here, and not merely the garish, slapstick side so (misleadingly) splashed around the news.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court's Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Antonin Scalia
    • Narrated By Wyntner Woody
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (55)

    Brilliant. Colorful. Visionary. Tenacious. Witty. Since his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1986, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has been described as all of these things, and for good reason.

    Jean says: "Interesting insight into Justice Scalia"
    "Like him or not, this is a good sample"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author is laudatory of Justice Scalia but not stiflingly so. It is a good sampling of Scalia's work, plenty in his own words. He is not one to be ignored, as at times he seems to exert an almost tidal pull on decisions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • China's Imperial President: Xi Jinping Tightens His Grip

    • UNABRIDGED (32 mins)
    • By Elizabeth C. Economy
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Xi Jinping’s reforms are designed to produce a corruption-free, politically cohesive, and economically powerful one-party state with global reach: a Singapore on steroids. But there is no guarantee the reforms will be as transformative as the Chinese leader hopes.

    PHIL says: "Interesting"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A person following the media much on this might already know this. But this is a good broad overview of challenges and prospects Xi Jinping (and China) are facing, and the policies Xi has announced to face these.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How Well Run Boards Make Decisions (Harvard Business Review)

    • UNABRIDGED (31 mins)
    • By Michael Useem
    • Narrated By Todd Mundt
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In the aftermath of the Enron and WorldCom debacles, corporate boards have been shaken up and made over. Most of the changes are structural and don't go to the heart of a board's work: making the choices that shape a firm's future. Which decisions boards own and how those calls are made are largely hidden from the public. As a result, boards are often unable to learn from their counterparts at other companies. In this article, Michael Useem pulls back the curtain and provides an inside look.

    PHIL says: "Too short, fast to extract real lessons"
    "Too short, fast to extract real lessons"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are too many little vignettes here without the kind of detail one would need to extract good case studies of how good decisions were made, or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.