Living in More Than One World,

The Blog of Bruce Rosenstein

Mihir A. Desai and the Wisdom of Finance

The recent New York Times article “Insurance 101: Butler Undergrads Write Coverage for Dogs and Pianos,” about Butler University’s student-run insurance company, brings to mind the 2017 book The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return, by Mihir A. Desai, an economist and professor at both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.

Desai’s book is worthy of all the considerable praise it has received, including various best of the year lists, and being long-listed for the coveted Financial Times and McKinsey Best Business Book of the year. He devotes considerable space to insurance, delivered in a style representative of the entire book: thoughtful, subtle and representing more than one point of view on the subjects he covers.

Read More

Bitcoin Regulation and Enforcement: No Easy Answers

A major theme running through the June 26 American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section National Institute on Bitcoin and Other Digital Currencies in Washington, D.C. was how to balance regulation compliance and law enforcement while allowing for innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit that has flourished around the bitcoin ecosystem in its short existence.

The ABA’s write-up of the event focuses mainly on the remarks of the two keynote speakers, U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, who heads the criminal division; and Jamal El-Hindi, the recently named deputy director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Read More

The Leonard Cohen Economy

Leave it to The Economist, and specifically the Schumpeter management column, to find the intersection between Leonard Cohen and entrepreneurship. The February 25th Enterprising Oldies explores, in a neat package, why all of us (no matter where we are chronologically in adulthood) may have to explore entrepreneurship and other forms of self-employment at some point in our working lives.
As we think about how to diversify our portfolio of work experiences, it’s worth digging deeper into how we can apply some of the life lessons of the 77 year old Cohen, a singer/songwriter/poet/novelist who was inducted into the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Read More

Books for the Season of Transitions

Even though it is graced with a photo of Keith Richards and a nod to his new autobiography, Life; Kerry Hannon’s post 10 Great Books for Career Changers, Give The Gift of Possibility has to-the-point thumbnails on self-help, career-changing and personal finance books to aid people in transition.  She mentions job hunters and retirees as potential recipients of the books, but the list should hold appeal for people in various types and stages of transition, which is pretty much everyone. Our transitions take place at different paces and in varying levels of awareness. So reading thoughtful books can often be valuable companions for our journeys.

Read More

Coach Wooden Going Strong at 98

I’ve been a big sports fan since childhood, and I watched many times on TV during high school and college as John Wooden coached UCLA to college basketball glory. He is one of the most successful coaches in any sport, of all time. And at age 98, he has done quite well writing books, and in public speaking. Michel Hiltzik’s column, John Wooden’s still Coach, even in the investment game, in the Los Angeles Times is a highly interesting interview with Wooden about his investing principles. Hiltzik points out that Wooden coached in an era (the 1940s through the mid-1970s) when coaches weren’t paid particularly well.…

Read More

Nightly Business Report: 30 Years of TV Financial News

I’ve been a longtime viewer of the Nightly Business Report on PBS, which went on the air 30 years ago. In 1994, I visited the studio in Miami where it is broadcast, saw a show going out live and met some of the people who produced it. Of course, that was before TV programs had websites, and NBR now has an extensive one; with transcripts, special features, lots of video, statistics, investor education and blogs. Susie Gharib, one of the anchors, has an intriguing post on June 4th, The Recovery Alphabet. It’s an unusual take on the nature of the economic recovery (when it comes); in the shapes of the letters it would look like, based on her talks with economists.…

Read More

How Do You Spend Your Time?

The Managing Your Money: Personal finance advice feature has a brief, intriguing May 20 entry by a local accountant, Jamie Downey, The Best Financial Advice I Ever Received. Downey expands on advice he heard from the author/sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer; to invest your time, rather than spend it. Downey examines his own life in a variety of categories, to demonstrate how he invests his time in various activities. His advice and personal example goes beyond finances to give an interesting blueprint for the intelligent, productive use of time. (Most of this time, by the way, is outside of the workplace.…

Read More