Lately, my companion on the 67A bus to and from Downtown has been Jerry Frew, a highly successful Senior Portfolio Manager at Delaware Investments. At least it has seemed that way as I read this book, a close-up and personal narration of his professional life from July through December of 1998. Gerald Frew - whom I now feel I know well enough to call Jerry - has led the team managing the Delaware Growth Funds (which have grown from three mutual funds to eight) since 1996. He is a down-to-earth guy with a profound and sturdy understanding of the stock market, and as welcoming to the reader trying to pick up some of that knowledge, as he was to the author when she asked to follow him around and listen to his conversations.
There are many other players in this book - managers, traders, secretaries, analysts, CEO's, salespeople, Alan Greenspan, and, somehow, computer screens - who behave in rather ordinary ways. Jerry says things like "Pacific Gateway is flopping around like a dead carp with prickly heat," and "Vinny, why don't you take 6 [thousand shares] of Amazon to go?" Sports analogies abound. But intense drama is provided by the wild gyrations of the market, the incipient dot-com boom, and the race of hundreds of funds toward the big prize: best year-end performance on December 31.
This is a window into a world that few get to see, displaying a view of
mutual fund operation from the inside. How do the managers choose, buy
and sell the stocks in their portfolios? What information do they acquire
and how do they evaluate it? What do they get to know that we don't? How
do they obtain first crack at bargain basement prices for every
IPO? Along the way, the author clearly explains the numerous investment
terms and principals that come up, from market caps to red herrings,
dead-cat bounces, and beeps. There are also more mundane details: what
portfolio managers wear every day (unremarkable), the menu for their free
lunches (mediocre), how they deal with breakdowns of their all-important
computers (as we all do - wait helplessly for the technicians.) But what
is most captivating and instructive about this book is the daily, hourly,
and often minute-by-minute account of knowledgeable people talking,
listening, thinking, acting, and maneuvering in the stock market, with the
aid of billions of other people's dollars, possibly yours.
HD 9000.5 .S454 2000
STOLEN HARVEST: THE HIGHJACKING OF THE GLOBAL FOOD SUPPLY by Vandana Shiva (South End Press, 2000)
This slim but powerful volume protests the rapid monopolization of food production and distribution by a handful of corporations. Backed by impressive research and vivid examples, the author outlines the huge cost of agricultural globalization in increased pollution, disease, and socioeconomic disruption, as well as reduced food quality and biodiversity. Paying the price are millions of poor people, whose lives for centuries have been based on highly developed diverse local farming and cooking practices that are now being destroyed. But ultimately all of us who eat are increasingly at risk.
This book exposes numerous instances of environmental abuses and corporate greed in the international fishing, agriculture and cattle industries. One compelling issue it tackles is that of intellectual property issues in food biotechnology. World Trade Organization agreements which globalize western patent laws are allowing a small number of corporations to secure the patents for seeds and grains that were actually developed over thousands of years through seed sharing and breeding among rural farmers. This brand of "biopiracy" presents many chilling realities. RiceTec, a Texas-based corporation, recently won patent rights to basmati rice and grains despite the fact that basmati had existed in India for centuries, potentially forcing Indian farmers to pay royalties. The diversity of seeds and grains produced organically and by cooperative efforts is being eliminated, as small farmers must buy seeds each year from their new legal owners, creating conditions of dependence, debt, and failure. Currently, according to Shiva, 10 companies control 32% of the world's seed market and 100% of seeds that are genetically engineered, while 5 companies control the entire global grain trade.
These numbers should give pause to anyone concerned about the
consolidation of wealth and resources by the small number of companies
that seem to be overtaking the world's marketplaces. Shiva sounds the
alarm that the production and distribution of food, arguably the world's
most important resource, is increasingly controlled by these companies
whose primary purpose is to increase profits and further eradicate
competition. Shiva demonstrates how high the stakes are, and provides a
scientifically sound and impassioned wakeup call to anyone who cares about
the global food supply.
HM 1226 .P37 2000
HOW TO GET PUBLICITY (AND MAKE THE MOST OF IT ONCE YOU'VE GOT IT) by William Parkhurst (HarperBusiness, 2000)
William Parkhurst understands the importance of publicity. His firm, Parkhurst Communications, has prepared hundreds of writers (including three Nobel Laureates and twenty Pulitzer Prize winners), heads of state, and Fortune 500 CEOs in the areas of speech and media training. In this book he shares the knowledge he has acquired in his years of experience with you, the fortunate reader.
You'll find out how to make the media contacts most appropriate for your publicity campaign, how to write press releases for both print media and e-mail, how to assemble an effective press kit, and how to use the Internet to best advantage. Mr. Parkhurst offers practical tips: think of every question that could possibly come up about your theme, print each one on its own card, and have a friend ask them at random. Tape yourself during these sessions so you can hear how you sound to others. Strategies for dealing with adversarial and/or difficult questions, rude interruptions, and interviewers who are not prepared are offered as well. Mr. Parkhurst urges extreme caution when talking to reporters, since everything you say can be "on the record." There are guidelines on how to evaluate and improve your appearance and what you need to know about setting up a publicity tour.
Each chapter concludes with a select group of web sites that exemplify the
lessons given in the text. If you are thinking about launching a
publicity campaign, this valuable insider's guide should help you become
media-savvy and prepared to look and sound your best in any situation.
Also recommended are:
HF 5548.32 .B59 2000
THE ELECTRONIC B@ZAAR: FROM THE SILK ROAD TO THE E-ROAD BY Robin Bloor (Nicholas Brealey, 2000)
TAKE STOCK: A ROADMAP TO PROFITING FROM YOUR FIRST WALK DOWN WALL STREET by Ellis Traub (Dearborn Trade, 2001)
LANDSCAPE WITH FIGURES: A HISTORY OF ART DEALING IN THE UNITED STATES by Malcolm Goldstein (Oxford Univ. Press, 2000)
Contact the business librarians, who also answer questions about business,
money, and work, at (412) 281-7141 or at