In today’s uncertain markets, investors need to be more active and more selective, which requires being more informed about the world around us. These books explore the shifting dynamics at work in the world today – and help us get more comfortable with uncertainty.
"After Europe" by Ivan Krastev
"Has the West Lost It?: A Provocation" by Kishore Mahbubani
"Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" by Sheryl Sandberg
"Shackleton’s Boat Journey" by Frank Arthur Worsley
"Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy" by James Williams
"Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts" by Annie Duke
The European Union faces a range of challenges, including the rise of populism, thorny Brexit negotiations and unstable politics in member countries such as Italy. This makes Mr Krastev’s book a timely one – particularly with European Parliamentary elections on the cards in 2019. Can the EU emerge from its struggles as a stronger, more streamlined and more cohesive “United States of Europe”?
The world may be undergoing a seismic shift as the balance of economic power moves away from developed nations in the West, and towards Asia and Latin America. Demographics, political upheaval and a potential “tech cold war” between China and the US are all playing a role. Mr Mahbubani argues that only by embracing change will the West continue to play a key role.
Although published several years ago, Ms Sandberg’s book is as timely as ever, underscoring the work still to be done on closing the gender pay gap and removing the “glass ceiling” for women. Asset managers have a role to play, both in helping women advance in the workplace and influencing the companies in which we invest so that they address these issues.
Sir Ernest Shackleton led the early 20th-century Antarctic expedition that turned into one of the greatest survival stories of all time. Mr Worsley brings this story vividly to life, pinpointing Shackleton’s dichotomous personality. As an explorer, he made many bad decisions, but as a leader, he had unparalleled skills that came through when most needed.
The rise of social media and smartphones has connected billions of people, transforming politics, entertainment, and the way we consume news and information But as our digital devices clamour for our attention, Mr Williams argues that they take a toll on our focus, create distrust and distract us from what is truly important.
A former World Series of Poker champion, Ms Duke raises interesting questions for investors, particularly in a world filled with unknown variables about business disruption, politics and monetary policy. Success may lie in making an accurate assessment of what you know and don’t know – and being comfortable with uncertainty.
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Neil Dwane is a portfolio manager and the Global Strategist with Allianz Global Investors, which he joined in 2001. He coordinates and chairs the Global Policy Committee, which formulates the firm’s house view, leads the firm’s bi-annual Investment Forums and communicates the firm’s investment outlook through articles and press appearances. Neil is a member of AllianzGI’s Equity Investment Management Group. He previously worked at JP Morgan Investment Management as a UK and European specialist portfolio manager; at Fleming Investment Management; and at Kleinwort Benson Investment Management as an analyst and a fund manager. He has a B.A. in classics from Durham University and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.