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1. The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences,
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2. Credit Derivatives & Synthetic
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3. And The Money Kept Rolling In
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4. Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics,
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5. Creative Cash Flow Reporting:
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6. Trading in the Global Currency
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7. Credit Derivatives Pricing Models:
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8. The Creature from Jekyll Island
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9. Interest and Prices : Foundations
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10. Standard & Poor's Fundamentals
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11. Credit Risk Models and the Basel
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12. The Eurodollar Futures and Options
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13. Globalizing Capital
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14. Managing Credit Risk : The Next
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15. Currency Strategy: A Practitioner's
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16. International Monetary and Financial
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17. The Standard & Poor's Guide
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18. Monetary Theory and Policy : Second
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19. Maestro: Greenspan's Fed And The
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20. Bailouts or Bail-Ins: Responding

1. The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Cures
by Richard Duncan
list price: $29.95
our price: $23.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470821027
Catlog: Book (2003-07-25)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 26061
Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"A sobering, timely wake-up call to the looming dangers of a massive - critically necessary - correction in the U.S. Richard Duncan writes with immense clarity and experience, weaving historical material into a rich tapestry of disturbing patterns, warning that the world cannot afford to ignore the lessons of Asian and Latin American financial crises - and Japan's malaise - as an even greater economic threat looms. A must read, with economic seat belt buckled." - David H. Satterwhite, Managing Director, The Economist Conferences Corporate Network-Japan

"Richard Duncan has written a fascinating study of history in the making. He is right to propose that we need joint efforts by different stakeholders to overcome a coming monetary crisis." - Frank J. Richter, Director, Asia, World Economic Forum

"Hard on the heels of the collapse of the "new economy" is that of the "new finance". Richard Duncan crisply explains why payback time for years of USs credit excesses, payments imbalances and securitized sub-par lending is imminent. Mr Greenspan, your time is up. The wisdom of Ludwig von Mises will prevail." - Philip Bowring, Columnist, International Herald Tribune

"Make no mistake - much of the discontent with the global financial system is rooted in the dollar standard. The risk of a dolar crisis is real and the author deserves much praise for clearly exposing a force that many seek to deny. A must read for anyone with a savings deposit." - Jesper Koll, Chief Economist, Merrill Lynch Japan

"This is a welcome attempt at exploring the symptoms of what may become a major financial storm. Is the world wise to expect the problem to find its own solution? Richard Duncans suggestions for a cure imply a degree of worldwide slump that may prove difficult to foster, but his arguments are worth listening to." - Philippe Delhaise, President, Capital Information Services Ltd ... Read more

Reviews (28)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great points on international trade issues, poor solutions
This book is really worth the read for anyone trying to make sense of our world economic environment. Mr. Duncan makes many persuasive points as he explains the cause of the boom/bust cycles that have occurred since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreement. A major point is that the proliferation of a fiat "dollar standard" has created credit inflation in the banking systems of export heavy nations. This increase in credit created much distortion and malinvestment, and the cycle ended with over-capacity and speculation. Asset bubbles were then created in equities and real estate. He also describes the "boomerang dollar" as the money flowing out of the US, because of our current account deficit, finds it's way back here as foreign nations buy our corporate, federal, and agency debt. Our budget deficit is largely financed by foreigners who then add the dollar denominated assets to their bank reserves. The author's work is well researched and presented.
In part four the author presents his solutions to what he believes is a looming global deflationary depression. He describes a global minimum wage, and the empowerment of the IMF to basically become the world's central bank. It was enough to make the Austrian hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I believe his solutions are thankfully unworkable. The cost and logistics of overseeing the minimum wage compliance would be staggering. We have enough trouble enforcing work laws in our own country. How do we expect some UN knockoff to monitor an employer in Saigon or Calcutta? The author's solution to allow the IMF to use special drawing rights to provide global welfare makes me wonder if he may have written the fourth part of his book as an intellectual exercise, target practice if you will.
Mr. Duncan's book is important in its factual examination of some very troubling global economic developments. I'm glad I read it. But, his solutions are way off the mark. Any real solutions come with much pain, it can't be avoided. We need a sound money system, less government intervention, and more reliance on free market forces.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read between the lines
Having traded currencies successfully for the past 20 years, I found this book to be a credible resource. With the U.S. deficit spiraling in the wrong direction, we need to be aware of all the possibilities to create optimum contingency plans. This book will provide you with the information to make the informed decisions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dollar Crisis Accurate and Timely
I first read The Dollar Crisis four months ago. With each re-read, the author's reasoning for and results of the coming dollar crisis makes more sense. It lays an extremely good foundation for the current world imbalance and makes valid predictions which are based on historical models.

Although I wish the author had given additional recommendations for what we, as individuals, might do to protect ourselves before the eventual dollar demise, I do believe his idea of establishing a Global Minimum Wage may be the best way, internationally, to avoid the collapse of the dollar. I wish him the best of luck if he pursues this ambitious solution.

2-0 out of 5 stars Starts with conclusion and then uses facts to back it up
this book is typical of this "the sky is falling" genre. It presents many useful statistics about trade imbalance and growing debt for the U.S. However, rather than try to determine potential scenarios or outcomes, I feel like the author is always trying to make the data fit his conclusions. While these conclusions may play out, most people are just not that good at determining the future. For example, he talks extensively about the coming disinflation. Since his book, inflation has reappeared. Also, it seems like it's going to be with us for a while because of the Fed's agressive monetary policy, and strong demand from China for commodities.

Also, he tries (like many others) to suggest a gold standard is better than the fiat standard we have. While I understand the sentiment, it's just hard to believe that in today's very, very complex financial world that we could ever go back to Gold. Besides, no one (outside of the gold circles) seems to care if money isn't backed by gold.

Bottom line for the world: If I borrow $10, it's my problem. If I borrow $3 trillion, it's everyone's problem. In other words, the world is married to the dollar for now, and any other marriage (i.e., to a future currency) will take a lot of time to unwind. Also, countries are probably not going to stop buying our debt for quite a while since we're all hooked.

Bottom line for the book: Great facts. Conclusions too far-reaching.

4-0 out of 5 stars A bit rushed, yet a valuable book nonetheless
As I write, the Fed has declared victory over the deflationary threat and is getting ready to raise interest rates. Thus, one reading this book would think that its dire warnings regarding deflation constitute old, passe news. They should beware. Duncan wrote this book in order to further educate people amongst the common investor class as well as analysts/economists about how dire the *overall* economic picture is in America. I.E. Said deflationary threat may have seemingly dissipated, yet the larger trends outlined in the book beg the question over whether disinflation/deflation have truly been knocked out in favor of a genuine economic recovery.

For any student of economics, political economy or investments, this book will serve as a rare and valuable primer regarding the real reasons why we are the richest nation on the planet, the core reasons for said status, the true nature of "money", and our relationships with other nations deemed as our "creditors". Quantitatively supplemented with charts, tables, graphs, quotes and figures cited directly from sources such as the IMF, Federal Reserve and luminaries/authors in the field (Stiglitz, Soros, Von Mises, Keynes, Friedman, Krugman, et al.), Duncan certainly backs up effectively his core assertions. If nothing else, the book serves as a mini course in global finance and macro-economics, and thus deserves a read.

The book didn't get much press or publicity in the U.S. after it was published in 2003. No wonder. Its bearish tone and thesis are hardly qualities that Kudlow and Cramer would rant about, let alone even cite cautiously. However, the book does compliment other compelling texts with similar subject matters such as "Conquer the Crash" by Robert Prechter, Jr., "Financial Reckoning Day" by William Bonner, "The Case Against the Fed" by Murray Rothbard, "The Truth About Markets" by John Kay, "The Mystery of Capital" by Hernando de Soto and even "After the Empire" by Emmanuel Todd -- in describing what would otherwise be washed out in the mainstream media and press.

I was initially put off by the grammatical oversights that pop up every now and then, yet later figured that the book practically went from author's computer to the printing press. That's rare, considering the large publisher, yet considering the urgency of the material, I overlooked it. Again, the majority of the content outweighs aesthetic concerns.

Also, Duncan can be annoyingly redundant with many of his core points, which, coupled with the above complaint, gives the book's writing the sense that no one else really reviewed said text. Yet, again, the urgency of Duncan's arguments, that our current account and trade deficits are out of control, that foreign creditors are starting to show palpable concern, that current trends resemble past lead-ups to crashes while out-sizing them, amongst other points, mitigate such concerns.

The language he uses in describing his latter proposals is rushed and not as empirical as what he revealed earlier, yet his proposals are bold enough to warrant attention. If the reader wholly disagrees with his proposals regarding how to confront and treat our Himalayan-sized global money imbalances, at least the reader has a sober, solid foundation after the first 3/4s of the book for trying to arrive at their own proposal(s).

Great book, generally. The type of text that should be required reading at the *high school* level nowadays (yes, indeed, raise the bar...considering what future generations must contend with, debt-wise). ... Read more

2. Credit Derivatives & Synthetic Structures: A Guide to Instruments and Applications, 2nd Edition
by Janet M.Tavakoli, Janet M. Tavakoli
list price: $75.00
our price: $47.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 047141266X
Catlog: Book (2001-06-29)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 18364
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fully revised and updated
Here is the only comprehensive source that explains the various instruments in the market, their economic value, how to document trades, and more. This new edition includes enhanced treatment of U.S. and worldwide regulatory issues, and new product structures.
"If you want to know more about credit derivatives--and these days an increasing number of people do--then you should read this book."
--Merton H. Miller, winner, Nobel Prize in Economics, 1990
"Tavakoli brings extraordinary insight and clarity to this fascinating financial evolution . . ."--Carl V. Schuman, Manager, Credit Derivatives, West LB New York
Janet M. Tavakoli (Chicago, IL) is Vice President of the Chicago branch of Bank of America, where she directs the company's overall marketing of global derivatives and manages its CreditMetrics initiative.
... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars High Level View of Credit Derivatives
This book provides an up-to-date and comprehensive overview of credit derivatives. Tavakoli provides an excellent resource for credit risk managers who specialize in one area of credit risk management, professionals who are new to the field, or for experienced professionals who need the definitive reference of credit derivatives products.
This book is not about is the mathematical and statistical details in credit risk/portfolio modeling, but Tavakoli does a good job of highlighting various aspects of modeling (such as data availability, limitations of different approaches, etc.). For example, Tavakoli's explanation of first-to-default baskets provides a quantitative explanation of boundary conditions and a qualitative explanation of the products.

The clear, qualitative, conceptual explanations are supported by explanations that show a deep understanding of the underlying mathematics. Numerically minded readers will grasp this, but even those who are a bit numbers shy will find the quantitative examples easy to follow. Tavakoli's book enabled me to discuss the assessment and deployment of quantitative models on an even footing with professional risk managers and the rocket scientists developing these models.

I also recommend Phillip Schonbucher's book on credit derivatives for people who need to model credit derivatives. Unfortunately, the resource doesn't exist that can solve the tough problem of estimating correlation between defaults.

5-0 out of 5 stars State of the Art
Tavakoli has beautifully written a cutting-edge book on how to think about credit derivatives in the context of the global markets. One doesn't need a Ph.D. in math to understand the concepts presented here, because they are competently explained. Tavakoli evidences a deep understanding of the topic in her ability to make complicated mathematical concepts clear, and explaining how to apply credit derivatives in practice.

I noticed the reader below couldn't be bothered to actually read this book, but seems to have views on what is and isn't appropriate in a finance book. I happen to be Jewish, and thought the review smacked of anti-Semitism. Tavakoli's remarkable explanation of the development of international banking was particularly appropriate in the explanation of sovereign risk and why it occurs (mismatch of cultures and ethics among other reasons). I believe most professionals will agree there is more to credit risk than equations especially in light of recent developments in the international markets.

Tavakoli's ability to integrate multiple business and finance disciplines is one of the reasons I find this book the best product book on the market for credit derivatives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Derivatives Sales view:
POSITIVE POINTS: Best indepth book on Credit Derivatives. Very readable. Explains very nicely why this derivatives are so important for banks. Non technical.

NEGATIVE POINTS: Focus on banks with only a little chapter on Credit Derivatives as investment products. No explanation how those derivatives are priced (but hey, there are loads of technical books)

5-0 out of 5 stars Credit Derivatives for the Capital Markets
Tavakoli gives a very clear description of terminology used in the international derivatives marketplace. Jargon doesn't often travel well across borders, so this is especially valuable. It is difficult enough dealing with ISDA language and foreign languages. The peculiarities of high finance add another complicating spin that Tavakoli does an excellent job of clearing up.

The coverage of leverage and total return swaps is especially valuable to asset managers and hedge funds. The use of off-balance sheet financing and upfront collateral is especially useful to those new to total return swap trading. Although Tavakoli gives examples of hubris and humor, this is a serious finance book, and although Schonbucher gives more details on the mathematics in his book "Credit Derivatives pricing, this book is not easy.

Tavakoli demonstrates a strong command of the topic and great skill in explaining a complex topic without glossing over theory. This is an excellent reference book. Credit default swaps and all of the terminology, both standard and non-standard are thoroughly explained.

The graphics are very clear, and there are lots of practical examples with straightforward explanations based on depth of experience and straightforward math. If you are new to finance, this book is not the place to start. If you have a background in bonds or other areas of the capital markets, you can tackle this book. Tavakoli assumes the reader has some experience and draws on this to make credit derivatives a part of the tool kit. You will be able to understand both the theory and real world applications of credit derivatives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Credit Derivatives
Very clear explanation of credit derivatives and their diverse applications. Tavakoli explains how credit derivatives can actually be oversold on a given reference obligation creatig potential physical delivery problems in the event of default. She also explains the pros and cons of the various types of delivery, specifying various credit events, other triggers.

The explanation of the various terms of the documentation and the reasons for each is very extensive.

The section on total return swaps is particularly good. ... Read more

3. And The Money Kept Rolling In
by Paul Blustein
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
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Asin: 1586482459
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 905635
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Book Description

The dramatic, definitive account of the most spectacular economic meltdown of modern times exposes the dangerous flaws of our global financial system.

In the 1990s, few countries were more lionized than Argentina for its efforts to join the club of wealthy nations. Argentina's policies drew enthusiastic applause from the IMF, the World Bank and Wall Street. But the club has a disturbing propensity to turn its back on arrivistes and cast them out. That was what happened in 2001, when Argentina suffered one of the most spectacular crashes in modern history. With it came appalling social and political chaos, a collapse of the peso, and a wrenching downturn that threw millions into poverty and left nearly one quarter of the workforce unemployed.

Paul Blustein, whose book about the IMF, The Chastening, was called "gripping, often frightening" by The Economist and lauded by the Wall Street Journal as "a superbly reported and skillfully woven story," now gets right inside Argentina's rise and fall in a dramatic account based on hundreds of interviews with top policymakers and financial market players as well as reams of internal documents. He shows how the IMF turned a blind eye to the vulnerabilities of its star pupil, and exposes the conduct of global financial market players in Argentina as redolent of the scandals-like those at Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing- that rocked Wall Street in recent years. By going behind the scenes of Argentina's debacle, Blustein shows with unmistakable clarity how sadly elusive the path of hope and progress remains to the great bulk of humanity still mired in poverty and underdevelopment. ... Read more

4. Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence (Enterprise)
by Tim Parks
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0393058271
Catlog: Book (2005-04-11)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 5250
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The remarkable story of the Renaissance's preeminent financiers.

Their name is a byword for immense wealth and power, but before their renown as art patrons and noblemen the Medicis built their fortune on banking—specifically, on lending money at interest. Banking in the fifteenth century, even at the height of the Renaissance, meant running afoul of the Catholic Church's prohibition against usury. It required more than merely financial skills to make a profit, and the legendary Medicis—most famously Cosimo and Lorenzo ("the Magnificent")—were masterly in wielding the political, diplomatic, military, and even metaphysical tools that were needed to maintain their family's position.

In this brisk and witty narrative, Tim Parks uncovers the intrigues, dodges, and moral qualities that gave the Medicis their edge. Vividly evoking the richness of the Florentine Renaissance and the Medicis' glittering circle, replete with artists, popes, and kings, Medici Money is a brilliant look into the origins of modern banking and its troubled relationship with art and religion. 14 illustrations. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Read
I've only read two of Tim Parks books: "Italian Neighbors" and "Italian Education". I loved both of them. I like his nonchalant style which takes the reader right to the point.
"Medici Money" was a good surprise. I had never read anything about the most famous family in Florence, so this book was a good introduction to the fortunes and misfortunes of the power and money hungry Medicis. Because I don't have a background in economics, some parts were a little more difficult to grasp for me, but otherwise it was a witty account of the Medici's bank rise and fall. I only wished it had more on the metaphysics aspect of Renaissance life and how it related to banking. I also think the book would benefit if it had more illustrations and a better genealogy table (some dates were different from the text). Overall it was a pleasant and informative read. I specially liked his suggestions in the bibliography. In sum, I enjoyed the book very much and if you're interested in learning a bit more about Renaissance and the Medici, it's a good start. ... Read more

5. Creative Cash Flow Reporting: Uncovering Sustainable Financial Performance
by Charles W.Mulford, Eugene E.Comiskey
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
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Asin: 0471469181
Catlog: Book (2005-01-14)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 146680
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Book Description

Successful methodology for identifying earnings-related reporting indiscretions

Creative Cash Flow Reporting and Analysis capitalizes on current concerns with misleading financial reporting on misleading financial reporting. It identifies the common steps used to yield misleading cash flow amounts, demonstrates how to adjust the cash flow statement for more effective analysis, and how to use adjusted operating cash flow to uncover earnings that have been misreported using aggressive or fraudulent accounting practices.

Charles W. Mulford, PhD, CPA (Atlanta, GA), is the coauthor of three books, including the bestselling The Financial Numbers Game: Identifying Creative Accounting Practices. Eugene E. Comiskey, PhD, CPA, CMA (Atlanta, GA), is the coauthor of the bestselling The Financial Numbers Game: Identifying Creative Accounting Practices. ... Read more

6. Trading in the Global Currency Markets
by Cornelius Luca
list price: $70.00
our price: $44.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0735201463
Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
Publisher: Prentice Hall Press
Sales Rank: 7642
Average Customer Review: 3.95 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An in depth look at the tremendous potential of this vital market with expert advice from one of the foremost authorities. The foreign exchange market is the world's largest and fastest growing financial terrain.Despite its high trading volume, it is also a market little understood and little regulated.This definitive resource brings the universe of foreign exchange within reach of every investor.The revised edition includescomplete comprehensive coverage of the euro and the latest historical and economic changes in the market.

Cornelius Luca, a renowned authority on international investing, draws on the insights of leading experts in diverse fields of specialty to explain every crucial aspect of foreign exchange.He provides investors with an arsenal of trading weapons, many on the cutting edge of technology.Demystifying the intricacies of these markets, the book includes:

Analysis of the mechanics of the market, the major players and markets, the pertinent risks, corporate trading, and methods of trading execution.

A thorough overview of foreign exchange instruments and major option strategies, with clear explanations of why currencies are traded and how to forecast currency behavior. An in-depth look at the three types of analysis: fundamental, technical, and econometric.Featuring 200 charts and graphics, TRADING IN THE GLOBAL CURRENCY MARKETS is an indispensable guide to a daunting yet promising financial playing field. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Trading in the Global Currency Markets
Loved Trading in the Global Currency Markets! While I only used it to brush up my FX knowldege, I had all my 5 FX traders read it to prepare them for this fast currency market. The book gives you everything you need, and then some. It's a very methodical book, leaving no stone unturned. It's also very objective. All other books on FX or technical analysis have "an angle". Not Luca's. In his book, he presents all facets of the industry. You just need to choose what's best for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Trading in the Global Currency Markets
"Trading in the Global Currency Markets" lands you smack in the middle of the currency markets and really makes you understand how all these FX traders maneuver money day in and day out. Due to the complexity of the subject I needed to take it easy, especially in the technical analysis sections. But I can now use the averages and MACD well enough to enter and exit successful FX transactions.

1-0 out of 5 stars A 3rd Edition is called for . . .
In 2000, when this edition was released, it most probably provided a fair introduction and overview to the global forex market, but not for individual traders.

However, its use to traders, especially individual traders is limited. Since 2000, there has been an almost explosive growth in the number of forex market-makers and brokers, catering to the individual traders, making it possible and very easy for the individual to trade forex on the inter-bank system. One can now start trading a mini forex account with only $300 !!

These critical new developments in the forex trade, are unfortunately not covered in Mr Luca's book - hence my call for a 3rd edition. The amount of information contained in the various broker's websites - inclusive of "How to" sections, "FAQs", tutorials, and other background information, pretty much contains most of the info presented in Mr Luca's book, with the exception of forward contracts and options.

The Technical Analysis information presented, is similar to the stock market, but not covered extensivley. So, if you already have that knowledge, you wouldn't need to purchase this book to start trading forex. If you need to acquire this knowledge, then I would suggest any one of the excellent in-depth books on the topic of technical analysis available. These books, even though written for the equities market, will give any prospective forex trader most of the knowledge he/she will need to start trading forex.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely informative!
Mr.Luca has out done himself. I am a 11 year veteran of the futures markets and I have written three book on futures trading. Mr.Luca's book exceeded my expectations. I read it and was completely enlightened at the chain of connections that drive the currency market. His technical analysis on forex trading was easily adaptable to my own strategies, plus I learned a few new tricks.

Mr.Luca's writing is very indepth and many beginners to forex trading will find a lot of information to wade through in order to find the nuggets they are looking for. That being said, any serious beginner will not have a problem with getting a thorough education in this fascinating subject.

Intermediate traders will see there mistakes and hopefully correct them by using this book.

Overall, this is a great book by Mr.Luca and I keep a copy as a refernce.

1-0 out of 5 stars Great waste
There is nothing in this book. It's a waste of money and time reading it, and also even if it's free, you should not read it. ... Read more

7. Credit Derivatives Pricing Models: Model, Pricing and Implementation
by Philipp J.Schönbucher, P.J. Schonbucher
list price: $125.00
our price: $78.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470842911
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 91204
Average Customer Review: 3.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Since its inception, the market for credit derivatives has shown impressive growth and is expected to hit a volume of more than $4.8 trillion by 2004. Credit derivatives have begun to transform modern banking; they have become a standard instrument for the management of default risk; they are being used for risk management and hedging as well as for speculation, balance-sheet management and regulatory capital purposes.

Despite their great usefulness, even established professionals often feel insecure when it comes to the quantitative analysis of the prices and risks of credit derivatives. Confronted with a bewildering variety of fundamentally different pricing approaches, it can be very challenging to understand their relative advantages and disadvantages and to choose the "correct" one for the problem at hand.

In this book, the author carefully explains the different pricing models for credit derivatives in a very application-oriented way. Based on his wide experience in professional training for credit derivatives analysis, the models are developed with a view to their application to real pricing problems rather than just presenting the theory.

Philipp Schönbucher is one of the most talented researchers of his generation. He has taken the Credit Derivatives world by storm. In this book he carefully explains the concepts and the mathematics behind all of the most important and popular credit risk models. Professor Schönbucher has filled an important gap on the quantitative finance bookshelf. –Paul Wilmott

The reader is presented with a clear, concise and readable treatment of credit pricing models that will appeal to practitioners and academics. It provides a useful roadmap to the many daily challenges that face practitioners. It will become a standard reference.
–Stuart M. Turnbull, Senior Vice President, Fixed Income Research, Lehman Brothers, NY

"This is the most comprehensive, and also the clearest, book on the details of constructing credit risk models that I have read. Throughout, it is directly useful for general value-at-risk credit modelling as well as its stated focus of credit derivatives. Readability is greatly enhanced by its step-by-step organization across what has grown to be a large topic area and the focus of its single author, as opposed to a collection of disjointed papers. Alternative modelling frameworks are written in a common notation and the reader is given all the details needed for direct implementation. The author, Philipp Schönbucher, is clearly one of the top researchers in this area, even before the writing of this book." –Greg M Gupton,

"Philipp addresses a wide range of modelling issues in the fast growing market of credit derivatives. He covers a broad spectrum of topics starting with the simple everyday trading tools while gradually building up to the more complex mathematical models. It successfully bridges the gap between academia and practice in an elegant and easy style, making it a valuable book for a wide audience"  –Ebbe Rogge, Product Development Group, Financial Markets, ABN AMRO
... Read more

Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Amongst the best of a bad lot
The state of theory is in such tremendous flux at present with a majority of research unpublished and a growing consensus that the state of the art is entirely inadequate. No book could possibly please industry researchers at this point, but Philipp contributes some ideas and clarification here and there and some leads which are valuable. He is perhaps a little dismissive and pessimistic when the theory wanders into hard mathematical problems, and to to a large extent his book ends where the fun stuff begins. Nontheless I would recommend, especially to those entering the field.

1-0 out of 5 stars Academic's Imperfect Idea of the Market
This book on credit derivatives models is written by an academic without a feel for how the market trades in practice. Schonbucher presents the mathematical equations without expanding on the meaning of the models or their application.

There are some errors of fact when he discusses how certain products work, such as first-to-default baskets, a serious error in and of itself, but unfortunately there are additional similar errors which show the author has an imperfect understanding of the market he writes about. All in all this book was an unsatisfying treatment of the topic.

2-0 out of 5 stars Models in theory
Nice equations, but hasn't kept up with Ph.D.'s who work on Wall Street and know the theory, thoroughly understand the products, and can apply practical but theoretically sound compromises to accommodate reality. Ph.D.'s at work in finance - including myself (physics) - are probably too busy to write the definitive modelling book. This book fails to address key ingredients such as daycounts, settlement conventions, documentation asymmetry, and more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative, Rigorous, Excellent
The book covers the basics of credit risk modeling and derivative pricing (both structural and intensity type of models), explained in a clear style with enough detail to enable implementation (a rarity in financial literature!). Basics of the theory of stochastic processes and risk-neutral pricing are also covered. Calibration methods for the models are clearly explained. Due to the limited scope, some topics are given only cursory coverage (Copula function methods, role of interest-rates models etc.), but even then, enough references are provided. A very useful, concisely written tome!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Model Overview
This is a fine overview of credit derivatives modeling. The model explanations are good, but the book may have benefited from more disclosure about data limitations and the current sources of data. Value dislocations due to documentation language are not captured by the models, especially in the light of ISDA's 2003 language changes. More detail on applications and the need to deal with risks introduced by specific structures would also have been helpful.

Curiously, there are a few conventions inconsistent with market practice used in this book. For instance, the author defines credit risk as default risk, ignoring the standard definition of credit risk which includes general credit spread widening, and credit downgrades. It also seems the author is unfamiliar with how first-to-default baskets are traded, and seems to think that premiums of the survivors are paid after a first-to-default event (They cease.). These observations aside, this is a long-awaited reference for credit derivatives professionals.

For the above risks, I recommend two other sources. Applications and documentation risks are clearly explained in Tavakoli's "Credit Derivatives" (2nd Edition). For professionals who want to know how to apply derivatives in structured finance, I highly recommend Tavakoli's just released book: "Collateralized Debt Obligations and Structured Finance". ... Read more

8. The Creature from Jekyll Island
by G. Edward Griffin
list price: $36.00
our price: $30.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0912986409
Catlog: Book (2002-06)
Publisher: Amer Media
Sales Rank: 72606
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Where does money come from? Where does it go? Who makes it? The money magicians' secrets are unveiled. We get a close look at their mirrors and smoke machines, their pulleys, cogs, and wheels that create the grand illusion called money. A dry and boring subject? Just wait! You'll be hooked in five minutes. Reads like a detective story — which it really is. But it's all true. This book is about the most blatant scam of all history. It's all here: the cause of wars, boom-bust cycles, inflation, depression, prosperity. Creature from Jekyll Island will change the way you view the world, politics, and money. Your world view will definitely change. You'll never trust a politician again — or a banker. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Do Really Know How Money Is Created?
Do you understand that there is no real money?
Do you really understand the money you carry in your wallet is really a debt instrument?
Do you understand who runs the Federal Reserve?
Do you understand that every time you sign a note, you really are funding your own loan?
Do you care about your constitutional rights?

If you have ever been interested in how money is created in the United States then this a book you really need to read. Griffin gives you facts and analyzes with relentless, cold logic. It doesn't paint a very pretty picture, but it is very important information you need to be aware of. The Federal Reserve System is a legal cartel designed to create riskless profits for member banks, while simultaneously turning our entire financial system into the legal and moral equivalent to that of a Las Vegas casino. Remember, the house always wins! If you have ever wondered what a true pyramid scheme looks you don't have to look far just look at the Federal Reserve, which only functions as long as debt is being created at an accelerating rate.

I know for those who have been living day in and day out don't understand how money is really created. To many this all sounds crazy, but Griffin has backed everything up with just the facts. Now many may reading his material may be a little unconfortable with his conspiracy therory. But as Griffin himself says, if a group of people, operating in secret, create a system that explicitly benefits themselves at the expense of others, what else can you call it but conspiracy? It really can explain all the crookedness and incompetence behind all the wall street and corporate shenanigans of the last decade, doesn't it?

You must keep an open mind while reading but I promise you, the best place to hide a conspiracy is to do it right in front of you.

If you care about your constitutional rights, you will read this book today.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Bechmark In The Realm Of Civic Knowledge!
Author G. Edward Griffin's book "The Creature From Jekyll Island: A Second Look At The Federal Reserve" is a most well researched and written historical text.Griffin presents the background with almost an air of mystery that the reader must peel away, like layers of an onion, to reveal the truth.

The book provides, in great detail, the time, place, and mannerin which the groundwork for the Federal Reserve was laid, and more importantly, the reasons why.Griffin explains why even the name is misleading.The Federal Reserve is not a federal or governmental administration, and it is not a reserve, such as abank.

Also provided is great historical detail about the commerce and industry in our nation during the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.This book will not disappoint the reader looking to expand his or her knowledge of how the collective financial machinations of our country are run.

I read this book during my undergraduate years and once presented the book in defense of a historical argument I had with one of my history professors.Needless to say the professor looked at my reference (the book is so well researched), acceded to my contention, borrowed the book "for his own enrichment" and never gave it back!I gratefully let him keep it so maybe he would soften his ascribed "socialist democrat" leanings.Unfortunately I am sans the book this day.Oh well, we march on.

As the topic of Civics is not really taught in public schools, or even required in undergraduate studies anymore, this book will serve to "illuminate" the reader into the background of how private finances and politics are inseparable.My only criticism of this text is the highlighted aspect of a government conspiracy at work.Not that Griffin's arguments have no merit, they certainly do, as Lord Acton so aptly is quoted "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!"However, the mere aspect of "a conspiracy notion" is all the extremists on all sides need to "debunk" a truly great piece of historical research and writing.

I rate this wonderful book five stars.It is well worth the money and deserves a place on the library shelf of every institution and the home of every student of history.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Can't Believe I Did Not Know Any of This!
This is an amazing book.It is disconcerting to think I have lived 50 plus years, been in the banking and real estate industries a large portion of those years and never had a clue about how money is created, how banks REALLY operate and the incredible history and functions of the NOT so federal reserve.Initially, I was fascinated with the information, but by the end of the book, I was furious - furious at how we have all been led along and controlled - don't miss this - a Large Light Bulb comes on and you cannot forget it or walk away.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Work
Until you read this book, you probably won't know what is really going on in the world.
It's that important a work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must, MUST read.
Think you know anything about the dollar bills in your wallet?
Think you know who runs this country?
Think that we live in a "free market" economy?

Think again.

Griffin piles up facts and analyzes them with relentless, cold logic. The picture he paints isn't pretty. The Federal Reserve System is a legal cartel expressly designed to create riskless profits for member banks, while simultaneously turning our entire financial system into the legal and moral equivalent of a Las Vegas casino. Yeah, you might get lucky for a while, but the house will always win. Our monetary system is a pyramid scheme that only functions as long as debt is being created at an accelerating rate.

This all sounds crazy, but Griffin has the facts to back it up. The challenging part about Griffin's arguments is that he explicitly states that the foundation and perpetuation of the Federal Reserve System was a conspiracy. Whenever the "C"-word is mentioned, it is an unfortunate truth that many people get turned off. But as Griffith himself says, if a group of people, operating in secret, create a system that explicitly benefits themselves at the expense of others, what else can you call it but conspiracy? Heck, I guess you could call it a "peanut" or a "canteloupe" but it would still add up to the same thing--a system expressly designed to reward failure and punish diligence and honesty. Kinda explains all the crookedness and incompetence behind all the wall street and corporate shenanigans of the last decade, doesn't it?

And if you keep an open mind and pay close attention to his arguments, you'll see that the best place to hide a conspiracy is in plain sight.

If you care about free markets, and your constitutional rights, you will read this book today. ... Read more

9. Interest and Prices : Foundations of a Theory of Monetary Policy
by Michael Woodford
list price: $65.00
our price: $65.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691010498
Catlog: Book (2003-08-18)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 63989
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, any pretense of a connection of the world's currencies to any real commodity has been abandoned. Yet since the 1980s, most central banks have abandoned money-growth targets as practical guidelines for monetary policy as well. How then can pure "fiat" currencies be managed so as to create confidence in the stability of national units of account?

Interest and Prices seeks to provide theoretical foundations for a rule-based approach to monetary policy suitable for a world of instant communications and ever more efficient financial markets. In such a world, effective monetary policy requires that central banks construct a conscious and articulate account of what they are doing. Michael Woodford reexamines the foundations of monetary economics, and shows how interest-rate policy can be used to achieve an inflation target in the absence of either commodity backing or control of a monetary aggregate.

The book further shows how the tools of modern macroeconomic theory can be used to design an optimal inflation-targeting regime--one that balances stabilization goals with the pursuit of price stability in a way that is grounded in an explicit welfare analysis, and that takes account of the "New Classical" critique of traditional policy evaluation exercises. It thus argues that rule-based policymaking need not mean adherence to a rigid framework unrelated to stabilization objectives for the sake of credibility, while at the same time showing the advantages of rule-based over purely discretionary policymaking.

... Read more

Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Woodford's Incomplete Model
I have been spending the last four months concentrating on Woodford's model of a cashless economy, which Woodford presents in Chapter 2, and which provides the foundation for the rest of the book. I believe his model to be incomplete, relying on a rational expectations precedent of assuming bounded solutions when solving expectational difference equations. A colleague and I have written a paper that shows that this precedent is flawed and we then propose more rigorous procedures. When we apply those revised procedures to Woodford's model of a cashless economy, we find his model is incomplete.

Furthormore, I am writting a second paper that shows that the central bank in Woodford's model is unable to affect the nominal interest rate paid on loans by other entities. If the central bank cannot affect this interest rate, then it cannot affect prices even if Woodford's model was complete.

These are just challenges to Woodford's model which need to withstand the test of refereed journals. However, the potential reader of this book needs to be aware that there are some academics who are challenging the validity of his model. For more details, search for "Woodford cashless economy" with a search engine and you should be able to find my web page that discusses this (...) David Eagle, Associate Professor of Finance
Eastern Washington University

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good book in Monetary Policy
For sure this will become a masterpiece in modern monetary policy. It is very well detailed, and discusses what is really important in the field.

It is already a reference book, and must be read by practitioners, students and academicians interested in the subject.

However the book has the following caveats:

- It is too verbose. That means that you might have the same deepness with less words. As a consequence the reader often gets tired, bored and misses the main point;
- It does not talk about conventional monetary policy as you could find in Walsh's "Monetary Theory and Policy";
- Trying to make the exposition easier, the models are presented in separeted too far apart pieces. This makes it difficult to fully grasp the details at once.

In view of this, I must say that Walsh's book might become a necessary complements to Woodford's. Notice that the styles and goals of both books are different. Therefore, buying one or another depends on your intentions.

In additon I'd say that Woodford's overall strategy is right in terms of the sequence of subjects treated. However, shorter and more numerous chapters might improve the exposition tactics.

5-0 out of 5 stars must read text for students in monetary economics
This book is written by one of the giants in modern macroeconomics. Although a little bit lengthy, the book contains nearly all the recent advance in monetary economics, especially in the interest rate rules and optimal monetary policy. Of course, you should be familiar with log linearization and simple matrix algebra in order to access the mathematics of the book. Woodford¡¦s Interest and prices and Walsh¡¦s Monetary Theory and Policy (2nd edition) would definitely become the required text for every graduate course in monetary economics around the world. ... Read more

10. Standard & Poor's Fundamentals of Corporate Credit Analysis
by BlaiseGanguin, JohnBilardello
list price: $75.00
our price: $47.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071441638
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 101349
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Book Description

An authoritative, in-depth guide to all aspects of credit analysis from the experts at Standard & Poor's

Credit analysis--gauging an issuer's ability to repay interest and principal on a bond issue--plays an essential role in determining how bond issues are rated and priced. Fundamentals of Corporate Credit Analysis provides both analysts and investors with the practical, up-to-date information they need, backed by Standard & Poor's research, data, and experience, to properly assess the credit risk of virtually any entity.

Whether used as a handy all-in-one guide or as a comprehensive training tool, it will give anyone the knowledge and tools needed to dig beneath standard ratings and determine an organization's true creditworthiness.

... Read more

11. Credit Risk Models and the Basel Accords (Wiley Finance)
by Donald R. van Deventer, Kenji Imai
list price: $135.00
our price: $91.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470820918
Catlog: Book (2003-08-08)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 179851
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Book Description

The Bank for International Settlements is only 1-2 years away from effectively requiring all major financial institutions in the world to use a sophisticated credit models. The most widely used model is based on the 1974 Merton model of risky debt. A more recent extension of the Merton model of risky debt is the Shimko, Tejima and van Deventer (1993) model, which allows for simultaneous analysis of credit risk and interest rate risk. Increasingly, however, bankers are turning to a newer class of models called “reduced form credit models” because of their analytical power for both complex derivatives like credit derivatives and the mark to market of loans on a credit adjusted basis.

The Basel Capital Accords place a heavy emphasis on financial institutions' ability to assess credit risk. In this book, two of the world's best-known risk management experts assess both the Merton model and reduced form credit models and show exactly how to measure model performance as the Basel Accords require. They use the same tests to assess the likely effectiveness of the Basel Capital Accords in measuring the safety and soundness of financial institutions.

The authors go into great detail in assessing the ability of leading credit models to evaluate collateralized debt obligations, loan commitments, collateralized loans, as well as retail and small business loan portfolios.

Credit Risk Models and the Basel Accords reviews the objectives of the credit risk management process, introduces the theory of the Merton and reduced form credit models, shows how the models can be used in practice, and then examines a wide range of historical data to show the relative performance of the models in practice.

This book offers a balanced review of the newer reduced form models and the older Merton model.It is an invaluable guide for financial institutions striving to meet the requirements of the new Basel Accord. It is a book that thoroughly reviews the pros and cons of both classes of credit model. The Basel Accords ensure that financial institutions do more than just “have” a model - they must also understand how they work. This book will help to fulfill that requirement of the new Basel Accords. ... Read more

12. The Eurodollar Futures and Options Handbook (Irwin Library of Investment & Finance.)
by GalenBurghardt
list price: $70.00
our price: $44.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071418555
Catlog: Book (2003-06-23)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 89240
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Eurodollar trading volume is exploding, with no end in sight tools phenomenal growth. The Eurodollar Futures and Options Handbook provides traders and investors with the complete range of current research on Eurodollar futures and options, now the most widely traded money market contracts in the world. The only current book on this widely-followed topic, it features chapters written by Eurodollar experts from JP Morgan, Mellon Capital, Merrill Lynch, and other global trading giants, and will quickly become a required reference for all Eurodollar F&O traders and investors.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Standard!
Clearly the best book on Eurodollar futures and options. The book is a must for anyone involved in fixed income securities.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Having just finished reading the author's treatment of bond futures in the 'Treasury Bond Basis,' I was happy to see that Burghardt was updating some of his material from the early 1990s on Eurodollar futures. The 'Bond Basis' was an excellent and thorough analysis, and 'The Eurodollar Futures and Options Handbook' follows the same trend.

He provides an excellent overview of the institutional details of Eurodollars and their uses. The book is at its strongest when dealing with issues of the convexity bias and also scores high by not neglecting important issues like the stub period. Perhaps my favorite chapter was on callable bonds and the extension/compression risk, which, while a little misplaced in a book on Eurodollars, still provided a very lucid explanation of the relevant issues.

With regard to options, the author touches upon some of the interest strategic combinations using serial and mid-curve options, but I feel that he could've delved a bit deeper in this part of the book. It's the only area in which I felt the book was somewhat lacking.

Having said all that, if you're looking to learn about Eurodollar futures, I can't imagine there's a better book out there. This is an excellent compilation of a number of Burghardt's research from the 1990s together with more recent updates. Even if Eurodollars are not your main area of expertise, this book will still help you to gain a more solid understanding of many of the pertinent topics in fixed income. ... Read more

13. Globalizing Capital
by Barry Eichengreen
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691002452
Catlog: Book (1998-07-13)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 325373
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The importance of the international monetary system is clearly evident in daily news stories about fluctuating currencies and in dramatic events such as the recent reversals in the Mexican economy. It has become increasingly apparent that one cannot understand the international economy without knowing how its monetary system operates. Now Barry Eichengreen presents a brief, lucid book that tells the story of the international financial system over the past 150 years. Globalizing Capital is intended not only for economists but also for a general audience of historians, political scientists, professionals in government and business, and anyone with a broad interest in international economic and political relations. Eichengreen's work demonstrates that insights into the international monetary system and effective principles for governing it can result only if it is seen a historical phenomenon extending from the gold standard period to interwar instability, then to Bretton Woods, and finally to the post-1973 period of fluctuating currencies.

Eichengreen analyzes the shift from pegged to floating exchange rates in the 1970s and ascribes that change to the growing capital mobility that has made pegged rates difficult to maintain. However, he shows that capital mobility was also high prior to World War I, yet this did not prevent the maintenance of fixed exchange rates. What was critical for the successful maintenance of fixed exchange rates during that period was the fact that governments were relatively insulated from democratic politics and thus from pressure to trade off exchange rate stability for other goals, such as the reduction of unemployment. Today pegging exchange rates would require very radical reforms of a sort that governments are understandably reluctant to embrace. The implication seems undeniable: floating rates are here to stay. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great macro text but very G7 centric
Barry Eichengreen's book Gold Fetters is a classic on the Gold Standard and the Great Depression. The cover of this one claims that it will become a classic on the international monetary system. While it's good, it certainly isn't a classic. It's a great book, but spoilt by its lack of breadth.

Globalizing Capital is full of details and gives readers a terrific account of how mainstream exchange rates were managed (or weren't) in the period from 1870 to 1997. Each of the four main chapters is self contained (1870-1914, 1918-1944, 1944-1973, 1973-1997).

Globalizing Capital has two broad threads. Firstly, the only periods in recent history when exchange rates have been stable have occurred when there have been a) high levels of international co-operation or b) periods when governments have been able to choose between high capital mobility and extending democracy. Trying to court both the masses and international traders has often been the trigger for banking and currency crises.

The second theme is the choice between fixed and floating regimes. The world nowadays is characterised by instantaneous communications and highly mobile capital. Small countries can chose to float and large groups with deep interlinks can form monetary unions, but the rest are faced with increasingly unpleasant choices. As capital becomes more mobile, the choices faced by those left in the middle will become even more perilous.

While the theoretical line is flawless, the content isn't. Globalizing Capital is extremely G7-centred and gives little if any indication that there was a world outside the North Atlantic until Japan emerged in the 1960s. There is little mention of the history of colonial currency boards prior to Hong Kong in the early 1980s, no attempt to tackle the issues thrown up by recent debt crises in Latin America and nothing on transition countries in Eastern Europe and Asia who dispensed with central planning and multiple exchange rates in the 1990s.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clearly-written classic on the world monetery system.
This book is not for the casual reader. However, we do recommend it strongly to anyone interested in understanding the relationship between global politics and international economics. Our consulting staff uses it often when discussing pricing policies and long-range financial planning with experienced and sophisticated exporters. John R. Jagoe, Director, Export Institute.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crucial for understanding today's global financial crisis.
Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System is better described by its subtitle than its title, but even that fails to suggest just how up-to-the-minute it is. This book really provides a crucial key for unlocking the puzzles of today's global financial crisis. It tells the whole story of how the gold standard worked, how the Bretton Woods system worked -- and why and how they stopped working. If you wonder what the differences between floating and fixed exchange rates really are, this book will tell you, in all dimensions. It shows very clearly that the international financial crisis we see today is a great deal like what has happened at some times in the past, and it explains what worked, what didn't, and why in the past in dealing with similar crises. The author's entirely non-ideological -- where there are two intellectually-respectable sides to an issue, he presents both, explains why he comes down as he does, and tells you where to look for more information. The book is brief (about 200 pages), well and clearly written, and doesn't assume that you know much about economics or banking. There's a nice glossary in the back which explains all those mysterious terms you hear about these days. I understand that the new paperback edition has been updated to carry the story right up through the Asia crisis.

W. D. O'Neil ... Read more

14. Managing Credit Risk : The Next Great Financial Challenge (Frontiers in Finance Series)
by John B.Caouette, Edward I.Altman, PaulNarayanan
list price: $90.00
our price: $56.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471111899
Catlog: Book (1998-10-09)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 89008
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first full analysis of the latest advances in managing credit risk.

"Against a backdrop of radical industry evolution, the authors of Managing Credit Risk: The Next Great Financial Challenge provide a concise and practical overview of these dramatic market and technical developments in a book which is destined to become a standard reference in the field." —Thomas C. Wilson, Partner, McKinsey & Company, Inc.

"Managing Credit Risk is an outstanding intellectual achievement. The authors have provided investors a comprehensive view of the state of credit analysis at the end of the millennium." —Martin S. Fridson, Financial Analysts Journal.

"This book provides a comprehensive review of credit risk management that should be compulsory reading for not only those who are responsible for such risk but also for financial analysts and investors. An important addition to a significant but neglected subject." —B.J. Ranson, Senior Vice-President, Portfolio Management, Bank of Montreal.

The phenomenal growth of the credit markets has spawned a powerful array of new instruments for managing credit risk, but until now there has been no single source of information and commentary on them. In Managing Credit Risk, three highly regarded professionals in the field have—for the first time—gathered state-of-the-art information on the tools, techniques, and vehicles available today for managing credit risk. Throughout the book they emphasize the actual practice of managing credit risk, and draw on the experience of leading experts who have successfully implemented credit risk solutions.

Starting with a lucid analysis of recent sweeping changes in the U.S. and global financial markets, this comprehensive resource documents the credit explosion and its remarkable opportunities—as well as its potentially devastating dangers. Analyzing the problems that have occurred during its growth period—S&L failures, business failures, bond and loan defaults, derivatives debacles—and the solutions that have enabled the credit market to continue expanding, Managing Credit Risk examines the major players and institutional settings for credit risk, including banks, insurance companies, pension funds, exchanges, clearinghouses, and rating agencies. By carefully delineating the different perspectives of each of these groups with respect to credit risk, this unique resource offers a comprehensive guide to the rapidly changing marketplace for credit products.

Managing Credit Risk describes all the major credit risk management tools with regard to their strengths and weaknesses, their fitness to specific financial situations, and their effectiveness. The instruments covered in each of these detailed sections include: credit risk models based on accounting data and market values; models based on stock price; consumer finance models; models for small business; models for real estate, emerging market corporations, and financial institutions; country risk models; and more. There is an important analysis of default results on corporate bonds and loans, and credit rating migration. In all cases, the authors emphasize that success will go to those firms that employ the right tools and create the right kind of risk culture within their organizations. A strong concluding chapter integrates emerging trends in the financial markets with the new methods in the context of the overall credit environment.

Concise, authoritative, and lucidly written, Managing Credit Risk is essential reading for bankers, regulators, and financial market professionals who face the great new challenges—and promising rewards—of credit risk management. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Executive Summary on Managing Credit Risk
This book is good overview on current status of the credit risk management. I recommend it to those who need to get quick overview on what it takes. It compares classic credit analysis with new approaches, explains the credit culture etc. However this can not be used as a single source of information. You will need additional books. Do not expect to get mathematical formulas in this book. There is only very few of them, which is benefitial here, because the book is easy to understand. What you will get is a vision on how the credit risk should be managed. If you seek specific advices on how to manage credit risk than there are better books like Managing Bank Risk: An Introduction to Broad-Base Credit Engineering from Morton Glanz.

4-0 out of 5 stars Too good to be true?
While the recent comment "Comprehensive Resource on Credit Risk Management" is very good in many ways, I wish it explains more in the low yielding instruments, like the wit it shows in the treatment of high yield.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive Resource on Credit Risk Management
Overall this book is a good overview of credit risk managment issues and techniques. The treatment of high yield is particularly good, and much of this information is unique to this resource. The writing is accessible to beginners, and the content is a useful reference for experienced professionals.

4-0 out of 5 stars Innovative approach to Managing credit risks
This book popularises the new portfolio management approach to managing loan portfolios.The attempt is to mark the value of loans to market. This assumes a vibrant market for securitised loans , strips etc.It is a very good introductory book an the subject which is now evolving.It should be read by regulators and those who have supervisory roles.It is easy reading not much encumbered by obscure mathematical equations
This is good value for money and should be on every credit administrator's bookshelf

4-0 out of 5 stars A Foot in the Door
The authors make for a particularly impressive team of credit risk experts and Professor Altman in particular is a global authority on the subject. The book does not disappoint, and provides a first-rate overview of the field as it is currently emerging. Of particular interest to this reviewer were the chapters on the new credit risk models such as CreditMetrics, KMV and their brethren. There are also some informative chapters on default and recovery analysis and credit migration. However, like so many financial books on the market these days, there is little guidance on the practical implementation of the various approaches described in the text. Overall, "Managing Credit Risk" is a very useful work but for this kind of money I would have expected more than just a foot in the door! ... Read more

15. Currency Strategy: A Practitioner's Guide to Currency Trading, Hedging and Forecasting
by CallumHenderson
list price: $110.00
our price: $69.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470846844
Catlog: Book (2002-11-11)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 98720
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

John Maynard Keynes’ reference to the ‘animal spirits’, that elemental force which drives financial markets in herd-like fashion, was applied to the stock market. However, he might as well have been referring to the currency market, for the term sums up no other more perfectly. A market that is volatile and unpredictable, a market that epitomises such a concept as the ‘animal spirits’, surely requires a very specific discipline by which to study it.

This is precisely what Callum Henderson does in this eminently practical and readable book. He provides an analytical framework for currency analysis and forecasting, combining long-term economic valuation models with market-based valuation techniques to produce a more accurate and user-friendly analytical tool for the currency market practitioners themselves.

Written by a market practitioner for fellow professionals whose job is to turn the theory into practice and actually execute the currency market transaction, the book is split into three parts:

  • Theory and practice
  • Regimes and crises
  • The real world of the currency market practitioner.
... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Read!
In 1971, President Richard Nixon ended the convertibility of the dollar into gold and thereby scotched the mechanism of international agreements and regulations that had governed the world monetary system since the end of World War II. Over the ensuing decades, the once-stable global monetary environment became an exciting, volatile new source of risk and opportunity. Manufacturers saw their fortunes rise and fall as currency shifts favored them or, alternatively, their competitors overseas. Financial institutions discovered new opportunities and dangers in fast-moving currency markets. We recommend this book for its detailed and generally clear, albeit often tedious, introduction to the tools, techniques and strategies readers may use to manage risk or speculate in the world's biggest financial arena - the unregulated international currency market.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very good forex hedging primer.
This book is a well written, easy to read book on FX markets with diagrams and examples to help clarify concepts. It can be used as an initial introduction on trends and models and is excellent for those more experienced who want to review basic concepts. The only gripe I have about it is that the currency models seem very simplistic. Of course, I have the same gripe about the simplistic usage of math in all economic books.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Read!
In 1971, President Richard Nixon ended the convertibility of the dollar into gold and thereby scotched the mechanism of international agreements and regulations that had governed the world monetary system since the end of World War II. Over the ensuing decades, the once-stable global monetary environment became an exciting, volatile new source of risk and opportunity. Manufacturers saw their fortunes rise and fall as currency shifts favored them or, alternatively, their competitors overseas. Financial institutions discovered new opportunities and dangers in fast-moving currency markets. We recommend this book for its detailed and generally clear, albeit often tedious, introduction to the tools, techniques and strategies readers may use to manage risk or speculate in the world's biggest financial arena - the unregulated international currency market.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Informative - good for novice traders
There is a lot of material in this book that traders should know. Some are minor details, but these are the same details that can determine whether a trade will be profitable. It is divided into three parts towards the end to suit three types of investors: (1) corporate, (2) institutional, and (3) speculator. Obviously not all three will suit you, but you can learn some things from all of them. Take a look. ... Read more

16. International Monetary and Financial Economics
by Joseph P. Daniels, David D. VanHoose
list price: $106.95
our price: $106.95
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Asin: 0324063628
Catlog: Book (2001-07-09)
Publisher: South-Western College Pub
Sales Rank: 477411
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This text covers the full range of topics in international money and finance, giving solid attention to 3 key areas - international finance, open-economy macroeconomics, and international money and banking. It consistently connects theory to real-world policy and business applications (and strikes a balance between business relevance and policy relevance), demonstrating to students the contemporary applications that can be explored, and that international monetary and financial economics is a dynamic and interesting subject area that has become of great importance for international affairs and business. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars An econ book with real world uses!
Daniels and VanHoose have put together an easy to read, real world applicable textbook. The topics covered are upper level collegiate international finance, but it's presented in a down to earth, orderly fashion. While I would have wanted color graphs, the full examples of complex operations (derivatives hedging, theoretical currency exchange rates and the like) more than made up the difference. They separate the elitist mathematics from that which students want and need. As a college student without a lot of time, that's a huge help. The most important teaching tool used extensively throughout the book is historical data. Being able to show why in theory, give evidence, and then present the deviations takes effort. There is no easy way to explain how the central banks around the world use different tactics in thier policies, but they got through it. ... Read more

17. The Standard & Poor's Guide to Measuring and Managing Credit Risk
by Arnaudde Servigny, OlivierRenault, Arnaud de Servigny, Olivier Renault
list price: $65.00
our price: $40.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071417559
Catlog: Book (2004-03-26)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 18721
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Today's most complete, up-to-date reference for controlling credit risk exposure of all types, in every environment

Measuring and Managing Credit Risk takes you far beyond the Basel guidelines to detail a powerful, proven program for understanding and controlling your firm’s credit risk. Providing hands-on answers on practical topics from capital management to correlations, and supporting its theories with up-to-the-minute data and insights, this authoritative book examines every key aspect of credit risk, including:

  • Determinants of credit risk and pricing/spread implications
  • Quantitative models for moving beyond Altman’s Z score to separate “good” borrowers from “bad”
  • Key determinants of loss given default, and potential links between recovery rates and probabilities of default
  • Measures of dependency including linear correlation, and the impact of correlation on portfolio losses
  • A detailed review of five of today’s most popular portfolio models—CreditMetrics, CreditPortfolioView, Portfolio Risk Tracker, CreditRisk+, and Portfolio Manager
  • How credit risk is reflected in the prices and yields of individual securities
  • How derivatives and securitization instruments can be used to transfer and repackage credit risk

Today’s credit risk measurement and management tools and techniques provide organizations with dramatically improved strength and flexibility, not only in mitigating risk but also in improving overall financial performance. Measuring and Managing Credit Risk introduces and explores each of these tools, along with the rapidly evolving global credit environment, to provide bankers and other financial decision-makers with the know-how to avoid excessive credit risk where possible—and mitigate it when necessary.

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars a complete, robust and comprehensive valuable resource!
In Measuring and Managing Credit Risk, the authors provided a robust, complete and comprehensive treatment of several aspects of modern credit risk measurement and management. Written by two high talented practitioners, this book will become certainly a reference both for academics and practitioners thanks to its careful treatment of several not so known empirical issues which practitioners have to face everyday. At the same time, do not consider the book as a new recipes book for managing credit risk. Both authors already proved their deep knowledges of financial theory and establish once again, through this book, how advanced knowledges of theory combined with significant practical experience make leading researches. As a PhD candidate in Finance, actually writing on credit risk, I definitively adopted this book and higly recommend it for anyone dealing with credit risk issues either through a practical experience or through a theoritical work. ... Read more

18. Monetary Theory and Policy : Second Edition
by Carl E. Walsh
list price: $72.00
our price: $66.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262232316
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Sales Rank: 73187
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Monetary Theory and Policy presents an advanced treatment of critical topics in monetary economics and the models economists use to investigate the interactions between real and monetary factors. It provides extensive coverage of general equilibrium models of money, models of the short-run real effects of monetary policy, and game-theoretic approaches to monetary policy. Among the topics covered are money-in-the-utility-function models, cash-in-advance models, money and public finance, the credit channel of money, models of time consistency, monetary policy operating procedures, and interest rates and monetary policy.

The book uses dynamic simulations to evaluate quantitatively the significance of the channels through which monetary policy and inflation affect the economy. It extensively examines modern approaches to monetary policy that stress the incentives facing central banks and the strategic interactions between central banks and the private sector. Where most treatments of monetary policy emphasize money supply control and money demand, this book focuses on the implications of interest rate control for monetary policy. The book is designed for advanced graduate students in monetary economics, economic researchers, and economists working in policy institutions and central banks.

This second edition includes new discussions of empirical evidence on the interest elasticity of money demand, the fiscal theory of the price level, the new Keynesian model, optimal policies in forward-looking models, stability and the Taylor principle, and open economy new Keynesian models. It also expands its coverage of multiple equilibria, the role of timing assumptions in cash-in-advance models, and the Ramsey approach to optimal monetary taxation. A new chapter treats policy analysis in new Keynesisan models; the discussion includes the derivation of the policy objective function, optimal commitment and discretionary outcome, targeting rules,and instrument rules.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This book deals with most of the modern monetary theory issues. Eventhough it clearly says it is written for graduate students, undergraduate ones with good algebra and calculus levels could accomplish the basic acknowledgement of the book. The second edition has been improved a lot as I see it. Bonds have been added to the agent's budget constraint. This is very helpful for the interpretation of the first order conditions. Chapter 4, mainly the first part was rewritten in a most comprehensible way. There are a few things to highlight about the dark sides: In chapter 3, Professor Walsh did not include bonds in the budget constraint which would have been really useful. Besides there are a few mistakes in the appendix regarding the expected values. Chapter 7, "Macroeconomic Implications" is not very clear which assumptions have been made to approximate around the steady state. Despite there are still a few little mistakes, the book is excellent, I guess the best in Monetary Theory and Policy. Totally recommendable!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars recommended!
This book might well become the standard (mainstream) graduate text in monetary economics.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best text on advanced macroeconomics there is.
This is the best book length treatment of the state of the art in academic thinking about inflation and central banking, a lot of what economics is about to lay people and politicians. While this is a graduate text in macroeconomics, in no way is it unnecessarily abtruse. You'll need to be comfortable with little more than algebra, linear difference equations, and the sort of elementary statistics practical economists do. Amazingly, this book has no obvious competitors because first rate economists wrongly disdain writing books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well worth buying.
This book provides a good grounding on monetary theory and the questions it wants to answer. It is easy to follow whilst providing covering most recent development. Its only drawback is that it uses the HP filter as the benchmark which any model should replicate, without accounting for the fact that there are several problems with that filter. ... Read more

19. Maestro: Greenspan's Fed And The American Boom
by Bob Woodward
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
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Asin: 0743204123
Catlog: Book (2000-11-14)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 134078
Average Customer Review: 3.14 out of 5 stars
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Bob Woodward called his biography of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan Maestro for two reasons. First, Greenspan is a musician. He started out as a Julliard-trained jazz sax man. "He wasn't a good improviser," Woodward reports. And while the other guys got stoned all night, Greenspan "read economics and business books and eventually became the band's bookkeeper." He also cultivated powerful pals, like Ayn Rand, whose coterie dubbed the dour young man "The Undertaker."

More profoundly, Greenspan is a maestro, a conductor, exquisitely attuned to every instrument in the political and economic orchestra. He rules by consensus, but with a firm hand and notoriously inscrutable words. Marvelously, Woodward relates that Greenspan had to propose twice to his wife, the violinist-turned-TV news star Andrea Mitchell, before she understood: "His verbal obscurity and caution were so ingrained that Mitchell didn't even know that he had asked her to marry him." Woodward gives us the inside story of what Greenspan really thinks and how he outmaneuvered the most ruthless politicians on earth in some of the hairiest times imaginable, from the 1987 stock market crash to the 1994-95 Mexican crisis to the stomach-churning turn of the century. It turns out that for all his awesome knowledge of monetary minutiae, the Fed chief literally relies on "a pain in the pit of my stomach" to make decisions. "At times, he found his body sensed danger before his head," writes Woodward. The Fed chief also adapts Einstein's technique to economics, hunting for discrepancies as keys to deeper theories. Einstein made breakthroughs out of bent light; Greenspan deduced productivity gains that government statisticians had overlooked for years. (The gains appeared when Greenspan made the statisticians calculate productivity by business sector, the way it's done in the real world.)

Woodward's prose is cool and rational, not exuberant. But if you're into economics and politics, you'll find a rich gossip trove here. Who knew Reagan had a draft of a presidential order to shut down Wall Street trading at hand in 1987? Scary! Reading Maestro is better than sitting with Greenspan in his famous tub as he charts your future--it's like being right there inside his head. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

Reviews (71)

2-0 out of 5 stars Star Struck
Bob Woodward doesn't know much economics and worships Alan Greenspan. These are the two main things that readers will learn from this book. If it wasn't apparent from the title, this book is essential a tribute to the wisdom of Alan Greenspan. Woodward presents an account where Greenspan's judgement is shown correct at every turn, and the doubters are all proven wrong. The result is the best economy in thirty years.

Unfortunately, the history (and economics) is a bit more complex than Woodward would have us believe. To take the most obvious example, it is not clear that the U.S. economy is presently the bright shining star that Woodward assumes. The low unemployment, rapid economic growth, and low inflation are all good news, but there are serious clouds on the horizon. Specifically, the over-valued stock market and the over-valued dollar threaten the economy with a double whammy which could leave the economy reeling for years to come.

Even with the recent decline in the stock market, price to earnings ratios are still close to double their historic average. The Congressional Budget Office (the agency that makes all the projections for the budget that everyone uses in political debates) projects that real corporate profits will actually shrink by about 10 percent over the next decade. This implies that the market is over-valued by 100 percent, or more. A decline of this magnitude would destroy approximately $10 trillion in wealth, or $70,000 for an average family.

Similarly, the United States is running a huge trade deficit which is leading it to borrow $450 billion a year from abroad. A trade deficit of this magnitude is no more sustainable than a budget deficit of $450 billion, as Alan Greenspan and every other economist knows. Reversing this deficit will inevitably require a large drop in the value of the dollar, perhaps by as much as 30 percent. A decline in the dollar of this magnitude will crimp living standards in the United States, as the price of imported goods rise, and also lead to more inflation.

While the fault for the over-valuation of the stock market and the dollar may not lie entirely at Greenspan's feet, he does bear a large share of the responsibility. Back at the end of 1996 (when the market was about half its recent highs), Greenspan did warn about the possibility that irrational exuberance had overtaken the stock market. But most of his subsequent comments were more oblique, leaving open the possibility that stock prices could make sense. Given the seriousness of the problem, it would have been entirely appropriate for Greenspan to use his bully pulpit at the Fed to warn of the consequences of a seriously over-valued stock market. He could have presented lectures on this topic in his Congressional testimony, in the same way that he has lectured about the dangers of budget deficits on numerous occasions. Given Mr. Greenspan's standing in financial circles, it is hard to believe that such lectures would not have had an effect. The same applies to the over-valuation of the dollar.

Woodward is almost completely oblivious to this set of issues. While the possibility of a stock bubble is mentioned at several points, it is never treated as though it were a serious problem. The history of the Great Depression and the current example of a Japanese economy left to stagnate for a decade after the collapse of its bubble in 1989 should have been sufficient to get Woodward's attention.

Similarly, Greenspan gets the final, and often only, word on the disputes of the past. For example, we get the account of his decision to raise interest rates in 1994-5 to head off inflation. Woodward tells us about the objections raised within the Clinton Administration to a policy which slowed the economy and cost jobs. However, at the end of the day, Woodward tells us that inflation remained under control, and the unemployment rate eventually fell to its current levels of close to 4.0 percent.

Woodward seems to feel that this history vindicated Greenspan's rate hikes, when the reality is the opposite. Greenspan raised interest rates because he accepted the prevailing view within the economics profession at the time, that unemployment rates below 6.0 percent would lead to higher inflation. The subsequent history showed that there was no necessary link between the unemployment rate and inflation, and that the unemployment rate could fall far below 6.0 percent without triggering inflation. Had Greenspan not raised interest rates in 1994 and 1995, the economy would have grown faster in these years and the unemployment rate would have dropped more quickly. Millions of people needlessly went unemployed in these years, and the economy lost more than $100 billion in output. History has shown that Alan Greenspan was wrong.

There are many other places where Woodward's naive hero worship and ignorance of economics lead him to go astray. The Greenspan story is certainly an interesting one which deserves to be told. It is unfortunate that this book could not have been written by someone with more understanding of the subject matter and a more open mind on the subject.

4-0 out of 5 stars Greenspan's Firm Hand on the Wheel
Have you ever wondered who exactly the "Fed" is, and how they control the unseen levers of the American economy? Quick...what's the difference between the "Fed Funds rate" and the "discount rate?" What influence does partisan politics have on this whole process? Who exactly is Alan Greenspan, and why did we never hear about any Fed Chairman prior his tenure? Bob Woodward addresses these questions, and many more, in this compact, entertaining, and informative volume.

Maestro starts off with Alan Greenspan assuming the Fed Chairman levers of power from Paul Volcker in 1987, shortly before the "Black Monday" meltdown, and takes us through his unprecedented appointment to a fourth term in early 2000 by a most unlikely soul mate, President Bill Clinton. With Maestro, author Bob Woodward continues to fill the literary niche that he has for his past several books: writing about subjects and events that are too topical and recent to be seen in a fully objective historical context, yet producing a volume that has much more depth and substance than day-to-day journalistic coverage. Woodward's access to the Washington elite is unrivaled, and this book, as many of his previous ones, relies heavily on the journalistic tradition of the unnamed source.

Maestro takes us into the meetings of both the FOMC, and the Fed Board of Governors. Woodward lets us be a "fly on the wall" in those meetings, and allows us to hear the discussion, interchange, and debate about the national and international economy that precedes a change in the Fed funds rate or discount rate. We see the Board of Governors, and Greenspan himself, as brilliant but fallible human beings who, like the rest of us, see their jobs and obligations through the prism of their own political viewpoints. Additionally, though, Woodward takes us into minds of the individual members, through what certainly were many off-the-record interviews, to see how the Governors feel about the process, and about Chairman Greenspan himself. Viewpoints range from admiration and deference to jealousy and envy, and Woodward lays it all down for us. In one scene, Woodward shares with us a somewhat frustrated President Clinton venting his emotions through an impersonation of the Fed Chairman, right in the Oval Office, to the side-splitting laughter of the President's advisors. Granted, this doesn't have the national importance of "seventeen minutes of missing tape," but it does make for good reading.

Woodward, as usual, maintains a laser focus on his subject, refusing to be diverted for more than a minute by the Clinton-Lewinsky fiasco, or even by areas of Greenspan's life that he doesn't deem as relevant. At first, I found myself hungry for more details about Greenspan as a person: what does he like to do in his spare time? What kind of a neighbor would he be? It doesn't take long to realize, however, that with Greenspan, the professional is the personal. He has no children that we know of, just married his longtime sweetheart (NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell) in 1997, takes only one brief vacation a year, and has been absorbed in studying economic data since 1948. Greenspan truly exhibits the meaning of the old saying, "Do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life."

You don't need an MBA or a PhD in Economics to understand and appreciate this book. Woodward includes a helpful glossary in the back that I, even as the possessor of one of the two above-noted degrees, found myself referring to with some frequency. Not only does one not need vast empirical economic knowledge to appreciate this book, the reader may even get more out of this book without it. The most significant drawback of this book is the lack of a sense of completion. Greenspan's story is a work in progress, and this book with undoubtedly be regarded in the future as perhaps an interim analysis of his accomplishments. The book ends just when the tech stock slide is beginning. The most relevant questions are yet to be answered: how have perceptions of Greenspan been altered by the slowing economy? Will President Bush reappoint Greenspan to a fifth term in 2004? If not, how will the President replace the man that has become synonymous with the Chairmanship itself? Is any succession planning underway? One can only hope that Woodward stays in contact with his spiderweb of sources, and shares that information with us in a future work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Far too superficial for its topic
Bob Woodward will probably go down in history as one of America's most influential journalists. In collaboration with Carl Bernstein, Woodward publicized the Watergate scandal and helped to bring down the Nixon presidency. His efforts to reveal the truth may have single-handedly changed the relationship between the media and politics.

Woodward has already been blessed with his 15 minutes of fame. His latest work, "Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom," represents neither earth-shattering importance nor an erudite treatment of his subject, Alan Greenspan and his reign over the Federal Reserve.

To its merit, "Maestro" does shed a surprising amount of light on a once mysterious and self-consciously secretive organization. The inner-workings of the Fed and its policy-making are depicted with excellent detail, as Woodward takes the reader through the bumpy rides of setting interest rates from 1987-2000. And for non-economic types, Woodward does a pretty decent job explaining how monetary policy works and what the implications are for increasing interest rates or expanding the money supply.

Yet it is a shame Woodward is not an economist himself because his book suffers from a lack of depth on certain issues. The work's treatment of developments over the last decade, including the savings and loan scandals of the late '80s and the Asian financial crises of the '90s, is rather superficial.

What is most bothersome about Woodward's work is its failure to point out many of the negative conclusions the details of the work might necessitate. The author's editorial on his subject is one of pure praise, as he attempts to elevate the status of Greenspan to that of a modern hero. The truth is far more complicated than the rose-colored picture Woodward would like to paint.

One of the scariest points Woodward's book fails to make is that the position of chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee is perhaps the most powerful seat of economic policymaking in the United States. Many students of the Fed's operations grow up believing that interest rates are set by the democratic vote of a committee of economists. In reality, the monetary power of the last 13 years has rested in the judgement of one man.

Greenspan's career epitomized the struggle to push the envelope on limitations to power. The chairman was the master of the FOMC, and before each meeting, he polled and called every member to figure out each one's stance on whether to raise or lower interest rates. Since the chairman always speaks last at an FOMC meeting, Greenspan often could plea for the universal support of his decisions, and his careful rhetoric frequently was enough to achieve the policy outcomes he desired. There were even times from 1988-1999, when the committee voted to allow Greenspan to make minor adjustments in the Fed Funds rate between meetings, giving him complete monetary control.

We are all lucky that Greenspan has handled the responsibility of his power with such sobriety. What if Greenspan had not been so judicious? An America where the sovereign economic policymaker was a bumbling idiot would resemble the despair of 1929, when interest rates were raised even after the stock markets crashed. The very idea that determining the Fed Funds rate could rest in the hands of a moron is a scary thought.

Another frightening notion Woodward doesn't elucidate is the number of problems with the way our system allocates its human capital. Many of those on the FOMC were there simply because they had political ties and connections. If Greenspan were to resign tomorrow, party friendships and political allies could influence the new appointment.

Often when economic policymaking is submerged in politics, short-run prosperity is prioritized, and little thought is given to where things will head five or 10 years down the road. If we had a Fed chairman who - because he was a pawn of politics - strove for break-neck growth without regard to price stability, disaster could occur. Woodward strives to make the point that Greenspan always has tried to put his job above factionalism, but Woodward fails to recognize that future Fed chairmen may not behave the same way.

Overall, Woodward's "Maestro" gives a decent overview of the history of economic developments and monetary policy in the last decade. The book's flaws lie not in the display of facts but rather in its pure, unquestioning praise of its central figure, Alan Greenspan. I would not disagree with statements that Greenspan has done his job especially well. He, however, has been fortunate, as circumstances beyond his control contributed to the record expansion of our economy and our subsequent prosperity. Greenspan's ability as Fed chairman surely will be tested as our economy slows, and whether we continue to prosper will determine if he really has, as Woodward says, a "mastery of process."

4-0 out of 5 stars Engaging, Surprising, and Informative
I read this book wanting to be better informed about how The Fed and Greenspan operate, and wound up being thoroughly educated and entertained understanding how banks, the White House and Washington DC political appointments work. I never thought I would ever use the phrase "hard-to-put-down" in connection with an economics/banking book but this one did it. It was a real page turner and definitely one of Bob Woodward's most underrated and under-discussed books. (No caller mentioned this work during his 3-hour C-Span interview a few months back.) Get your hands on a copy of this book and prepare for an interesting and enjoyable ride. My one complaint: I wish it were longer. Although this book answered all my "Fed" questions, I wished its time track would continue to the present, or perhaps delve a little deeper into the past. But this complaint notwithstanding, the book was still an excellent and engaging read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Maestro, Greenspan's "Biography"
This book was basically a miniature biography on the life of Alan Greenspan. Except this book does not really go into Greenspan's personal life, the only feature of this book that is not included about Alan Greenspan is his personal life. Although once or twice Greenspan's girlfriend, Andrea Mitchel was mentioned. For the most part this entire book solely focusses on Greenspan's work as an economist for the United States government. In my personal opinion Bob Woodward basically just stated facts and had no criticism whatsoever throughout this entire book this is the only part that bugged me. Woodward basically just wrote straight facts and tried a little too hard to make Greenspan look incredibly good in the end. ... Read more

20. Bailouts or Bail-Ins: Responding to Financial Crises in Emerging Markets
by Nouriel Roubini, Brad Setser
list price: $28.95
our price: $24.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0881323713
Catlog: Book (2004-08)
Publisher: Institute for International Economics
Sales Rank: 250373
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Book Description

Roughly once a year, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. treasury secretary and in some cases the finance ministers of other G-7 countries will get a call from the finance minister of a large emerging market economy. The emerging market finance minister will indicate that the country is rapidly running out of foreign reserves, that it has lost access to international capital markets and, perhaps, that is has lost the confidence of its own citizens. Without a rescue loan, it will be forced to devalue its currency and default either on its government debt or on loans to the country's banks that the government has guaranteed. This book looks at these situations and the options available to alleviate the problem. It argues for a policy that recognizes that every crisis is different and that different cases need to be handled within a framework that provides consistency and predictability to borrowing countries as well as those who invest in their debt. ... Read more

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