2007-12-29

Robert Ludlum's The Hades Factor: A Covert-One Novel (2006)

While the writing and the unrolling of the plot is a bit too flowery, the main theme would still be an interest (in particular for conspiracy theorists). Could it be possible for some (private in this case) organization to unleash a virus on the world's population for which they only have the serum to heal, and make an enormous profit as governments buy them out. With the advances in biotechnology, this might be becoming a closer possibility ...

2007-12-15

The Tristan Betrayal by Robert Ludlum (2003)

Oh, my, this is a movie in a box. Spies and counter spies in the Second World War, in occupied Paris, Stalin's Moscow and Hitler's Berlin. All the right clich├ęs, the idealistic young American, beautiful Russian lead ballerina in the "Bolshoi", agents gone wrong, agents turned, sadistic music lover Germans, the simple minded NKVD agents, and a surprising ending. Could it be true that falsified intelligence turned the direction of the war, and not just once? Excepting the bad Russian pronunciation, and the fake German accent, good listening.

2007-12-11

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (2007)

This book offers a candid glance into the world of fiercely competitive world of high school and college sports, in particular football, through the story of Michael Oher (who is probably the exception, as he happened to be adopted the right time by a family being close to sports, and received excellent opportunities during drafting). Of course, being a "freak of nature" also helped, as Michael was already bigger during high school, than many NFL players, while exhibiting excellent athletic abilities, natural kinesthetic sense (coupled with below average IQ, as attributed to his uncaring upbringing).

Techniques of Tape Reading by Vadym Graifer, Christopher Schumacher (2003)

This book of somewhat misleading title (considering that the trading approaches offered are more technical/chart based) is a good read for anybody considering to get into daytrading, and it is not offering a rosy picture. In section Trader's Journey, the author offers a personal biography as related to the long process of becoming a trader, while in Trading System and Practical Examples details are offered by the trading approaches taken. The key passage to learn is: "Trade what you see, not what you think".

Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky (1942)

A story of love and betrayal, young and old, set in the French countryside, where the peasant/farmers only care about their own business, and so reluctant to get involved (with the authorities), that even suspected murder can go unreported. A gem.

2007-12-03

Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich by Jason Zweig (2007)

A somewhat entertaining read summarizing "scientific" findings on human behaviour, as related to the field of investment. It might be worthy to know, how our preprogrammed brain kicks in very quickly during various circumstances, and drive our risk avoidance, primitive pattern seeking, anticipation of winning (apparently not dissimilar to a narcotic high) herding instinct, framing of facts, disregarding odds, overconfidence in our skills and predictions, physiological changes related to gains and losses, and more. Some practical approaches are offered, but the author's oft offered conclusion, that we all would be better just investing in index funds, might be just a manifestation of herding in regards to opinions of financial writers'. With the understanding, that many of these behaviours would not change very quickly, it was surprising to see many of these findings were being detailed by researchers multiple decades ago (no new research since?), and in many cases based on limited sampling (almost being on the verge of statistically not valid).