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Archive for February, 2016

Monday, February 29th, 2016

The Story Behind “Spotlight” — Roy J. Harris on the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-Winning Story

Pulitzer's Gold

Before Spotlight, the movie, won the Oscar for Best Picture, the Boston Globe won the Pulitzer for its remarkable investigative journalism. Below is the chapter “Epiphany in Boston: 2003: The Globe and the Church,” from Pulitzer’s Gold: A Century of Public Service Journalism, by Roy J. Harris. In the chapter, Harris examines the challenges confronted by the reporters and shares the perspectives of the reporters on confronting the Church:

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Book Giveaway! “A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age,” by David J. Helfand

This week we are featuring A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits of Mind, by David J. Helfand.

In addition to featuring the book and the author on the blog, we will also be posting about the book on twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits of Mind to one winner. To enter the contest please e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu and include your name and address. The winner will be selected Friday, March 4th at 1:00 pm.

Here’s what Neil deGrasse Tyson says about the book:

A Survival Guide for the Misinformation Age is an impassioned plea for science literacy. Given the state of the world today, in which scientifically underinformed voters elect scientifically illiterate politicians, David Helfand has written the right book at the right time with the right message. Read it now. The future of our civilization may depend on it.”
You can also read the chapter “A Walk in the Park”:

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Images from “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”

How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?

We conclude our week-long feature on “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses”: Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs,” by Tahneer Oksman by sharing some of the extraordinary images from her book:

Aline Kominsky Crumb
Aline Kominsky Crumb, top of title panel from “Nose Job,” 1989

Lauren Weinstein
Lauren Weinstein, “The Best We Can Hope For,” 2008

Aline Kominsky Crumb
Aline Kominsky Crumb, untitled cartoon. In Need More Love

Vanessa Davis
Vanessa Davis, full-page color drawing. In Make Me a Woman

(more…)

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Tahneer Oksman on Writing a Jewish Book

“Why did I write a Jewish book? Because I was trying to reclaim my Jewish self, however unfamiliar its now ragged shape.”—Tahneer Oksman, author of “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”

When Tahneer Oksman, author of “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”: Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs, first began as PhD. student in literature, focusing on Jewish women’s comics was not on the horizon As she explains in a recent essay in Lilith, while women’s literature was of great interest to her, she had decided to put her Jewish upbringing behind her:

Somewhere between my upbringing in a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school in the Bronx, and the years of slowly replacing that orthodoxy with new modes of belief and practice — feminism, writing, literature and, yes, yoga — I decided that my Jewish history would never figure, could never figure, in my life as it — as I — had been remade. It would certainly never become a centerpiece.

However, as she pursued her studies, she found herself drawn to the lives of such Jewish writers as Anzia Yezierska, Sara Smolinsky, and Grace Paley. This shift to concentrating Jewish women writers was not necessarily the best career move. Oksman explains:

Writing about a Jewish topic also meant transforming myself into the very worst thing you could become as a graduate student: unmarketable. I was now too Jewish for English Literature programs, and I would never be Jewish enough for jobs in Jewish programs. This left me, as usual, between worlds; if you write your first book on a Jewish topic, after all, you’ve pigeonholed yourself: you’re a Jewish writer. Haven’t you seen how so many of those popular “canonical” Jewish writers (and actors, and painters, and critics) reject that title? Write about something else; take the word Jewish out of your title, for heaven’s sake!

(more…)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Columbia University Press at Columbia University

Each month we feature a new set of books by Columbia professors in a vitrine on the Columbia University campus:

February Vitrine

This month’s books include:

The Wheel: Inventions and Reinventions
Richard W. Bulliet

Religion, Secularism, and Constitutional Democracy
Edited by Jean L. Cohen and Cécile Laborde

Practice Extended: Beyond Law and Literature
Robert A. Ferguson

A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits of Mind
David J. Helfand

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Tahneer Oksman Recommends Recent Graphic Memoirs

Turning Japanese

The following is a post by Tahneer Oksman, author of “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”: Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs

In “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?” I examine the complex and exciting ways identity can be mapped out and pictured on the comics page. I chose to focus on autobiographical Jewish women cartoonists in particular because I found their ambivalence about Jewish identity—their desire to often simultaneously identify as insiders and outsiders—a captivating example of how comics can help visualize incongruity, paradox, and conflict alongside connection, acceptance, and recognition.

One of the (happy) frustrations I encountered in writing this book was that I kept stumbling across powerful works of graphic memoir that didn’t necessarily fit into the set of themes I was grappling with in the book. In other words, they weren’t particularly Jewish. Here I offer a brief glance at four works, three recently published and one forthcoming, that caught my attention and merit a closer look.

Jennifer’s Journal: The Life of a Suburban Girl, Volume 1
Jennifer Cruté
(Rosarium Publishing, 2015)
From its bubbly and enticing cover, which pictures a young girl playing with dolls in her room as a devil smoking a cigarette grins in the corner, to its sincere depictions of a serious artist focused on painting and creating, Jennifer Cruté’s Jennifer’s Journals is often startling in its unexpected juxtapositions. The book is partly the story of becoming an adult and artist and partly a family history, with amusingly jarring interludes featuring moments in the childhood of the author/artist’s friends. Cruté offers her readers a motley of such unusual narrative techniques, including punch lines, an adult translator who occasionally appears, and sometimes the simple but forceful confusion of a sequence of painful memories offered without explanation. Her characters are cartoonish, bubbly; but that doesn’t lessen the sting when, for example, in a sequence recalling distant family history (“Georgia, circa 1915″), her great-grandfather matter-of-factly tells her grandma Faye, “Aww, don’t worry, baby. Dead people can’t lynch us.” If anything, the book’s style catches its readers off-guard, offering an unpredictable, open-ended self portrait of a life still unfolding.

Turning Japanese: A Graphic Memoir
MariNaomi
(2d Cloud, forthcoming in spring 2016)
I’ve long been a fan of MariNaomi’s autobiographical comics, from her early collection Kiss & Tell, which documents a range of romantic (mis)adventures, to Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories, an episodic compilation on family, work, and love. In Turning Japanese, MariNaomi brings her understated, often deadpan narrative voice to life with spare, fluid lines. On the surface, the book traces two seemingly unrelated threads: a new relationship weathering the ins-and-outs of everyday life; and the search for connection with a place and culture that the protagonist, who calls herself a “mutt,” has been distanced from. Born to a Japanese mother who fled home to marry and raise a family in America, MariNaomi reveals, over the course of the narrative, how the search for a future, with or without a partner, is inevitably, if sometimes vaguely, tied to one’s personal history, one’s past. Like the texts that I write about in How Come Boys?, this book reflects the complicated nature of identification and disidentification, of the ways we can paradoxically come to find who we are through our rejections and rebellions.

(more…)

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

An Interview with Tahneer Oksman, author of “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”

Tahneer Oksman,

“What’s interesting about comics is that you have artists drawing versions of themselves over and over on the same page. You can actually see their serial selves, their past, present, and future self-portraits in relation to one another.”—Tahneer Oksman

The following is an interview with Tahneer Oksman, author of “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”" Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs:

Question: The graphic memoirists you write about in your book have complicated relationships to Jewish identity. What are some of the ways they express or articulate their ambivalence?

Tahneer Oksman: For someone like Aline Kominsky Crumb, her reflections on Jewish identity read, at least initially, like a general distaste for the Jewish Long Island community that she grew up in. Her memoir is saturated with visual and verbal stereotypes about Jews, and Jewish women in particular. But the more closely you examine her work, the more you recognize its complex push-pull: she incorporates those stereotypes in order to fully explore her own sense of self. In a way, she is continually mocking her own mockery.

Some of the other cartoonists I write about tend to be more overtly ambivalent. Vanessa Davis, for instance, expresses a clear adoration for various tenets of her Jewish identity, many of these associated with childhood and family. But within images portraying precious memories—of her Bat Mitzvah, for example—she incorporates words or body language that contradict the celebratory, engaged atmosphere depicted around her. Other artists, like Lauren Weinstein, express ambivalence indirectly, as when her young persona writes a letter to Mattel, complaining about how “All your Barbies look like Aryans!,” and then later laments her own so-called Jewish looks (including her nose).

Q: How does this differ from the ways in which Jewish male graphic artists might grapple with these questions in their own work?

TO: I don’t believe there’s any essential difference in the ways that Jewish women and men—or women and men more generally—portray identity in comics. In the book, I selected seven memoirists who, to my mind, successfully model this ambivalent Jewish identity that I set out to explore. There are plenty of other Jewish cartoonists who didn’t make it into the book, not because they don’t fit into this model but because I had to set limitations in order to effectively develop my ideas. The book is meant to introduce a way to start thinking about how identity functions in comics, and not as any kind of end point.

To my mind, crucial differences emerge when it comes to how different kinds of comics (and artistic and literary works more generally) are perceived. Certain subjects and styles are still considered amateur or frivolous both in and out of academic contexts. It’s still a very male-dominated medium in this way, no matter how many women skillfully assert themselves in various forms of print and online. This reception ultimately influences the ways that comics get made. In other words, there’s going to be an awareness, for artists and writers who have been marginalized, of certain critical tones, and that will inevitably find its way into the work, for better or worse.

(more…)

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

New Book Tuesday: New Books by Lévi-Strauss, Vattimo, and More!

Claude Levi-Strauss, We Are All Cannibals

We Are All Cannibals: And Other Essays
Claude Lévi-Strauss; Foreword by Maurice Olender; Translated by Jane Marie Todd

Of Reality: The Purposes of Philosophy
Gianni Vattimo; Translated by Robert T. Valgenti

The Emergence of Iranian Nationalism: Race and the Politics of Dislocation
Reza Zia-Ebrahimi

Negative Emotions and Transitional Justice
Mihaela Mihai

What Is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas, and Why They Matter (Now available in paper)
Jeffrey Bennett

People, Parasites, and Plowshares: Learning from Our Body’s Most Terrifying Invaders (Now available in paper)
Dickson D. Despommier; Foreword by William C. Campbell

Red Tape, A New Work by Les Levine, 1970: To Engage the University in a Useless Task Which Will Allow It to Expose a Working Model of Its System
Les Levine
(Columbia Books on Architecture and the City)

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror
Cristina Massaccesi
(Auteur)

When True Love Came to China
Lynn Pan
(Hong Kong University Press)

Yonfan’s Bugis Street
Kenneth Chan
(Hong Kong University Press)

The Kite Family
Hon Lai-chu
(East Slope Publishing Ltd. (Muse, Hong Kong))

Shipping and Logistics Law: Principles and Practice in Hong Kong
Felix W. Chan, Jimmy J. Ng, and Sik Kwan Tai
(Hong Kong University Press)

Researching Private Supplementary Tutoring: Methodological Lessons from Diverse Cultures
Edited by Mark Bray, Ora Kwo, and Boris Jokic
(Comparative Education Research Centre, Hong Kong University)

The Practical Prophet: Bishop Ronald O. Hall of Hong Kong and His Legacies
Moira M. W. Chan-Yeung
(Hong Kong University Press)

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Umberto Eco on Language and Lunacy and the Force of Falsity

Umberto Eco

We were very saddened to learn of the recent passing of noted linguist and novelist Umberto Eco. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to publish Serendipities: Language and Lunacy, one of Eco’s works, which The Atlantic called “Erudite, wide-ranging, and slyly humorous…. The literary examples Eco employs range from Dante to Dumas, from Sterne to Spillane. His text is thought-provoking, often outright funny, and full of surprising juxtapositions.”

In the book, Eco unlocks the riddles of history in an exploration of the “linguistics of the lunatic,” stories told by scholars, scientists, poets, fanatics, and ordinary people in order to make sense of the world. Exploring the “Force of the False,” Eco uncovers layers of mistakes that have shaped human history, such as Columbus’s assumption that the world was much smaller than it is, leading him to seek out a quick route to the East via the West and thus fortuitously “discovering” America. Like his other other works, Serendipities is a masterful combination of erudition and wit, bewildering anecdotes and scholarly rigor.

Below is the book’s first chapter, “The Force of Falsity”:

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Book Giveaway! “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”

This week we are featuring “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”: Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs, by Tahneer Oksman.

In addition to featuring the book and the author on the blog, we will also be posting about the book on twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?” to one winner. To enter the contest please e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu and include your name and address. The winner will be selected Friday, February 26th at 1:00 pm.

Jeremy Dauber, Director, Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University, writes:

“A careful and nuanced exploration of the complexities of identity and identification, “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?” is an excellent and ground-breaking work.”

Below is the introduction, “To Unaffiliate Jewishly”:

Friday, February 19th, 2016

The First Financial Commandment for the 21st Century: “Thou Shalt Not Plead Total Investment Ignorance”

Investment: A History

“If people knew their history, they would marvel at the sheer range of investment opportunities now available to them. The idea that investing has become democratic probably feels alien to most people, but investing is extremely democratic today compared to past eras. So it is incumbent on the average person to learn enough to be his or her own best advocate in taking advantage of all this new-found opportunity.” — Norton Reamer

This week, our featured book is Investment: A History, by Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing. For the final post of the week’s feature, Reamer and Downing explain their first financial commandment for today’s investors: “Though Shalt Not Plead Total Investment Ignorance!”

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Investment: A History! You can also learn more about the book and its authors on the Investment: A History webpage and Youtube channel!

The First Financial Commandment for the 21st Century: “Thou Shalt Not Plead Total Investment Ignorance”

For thousands of years, the only people who qualified as “investors” were wealthy and politically connected landowners. Investment opportunities were few and accessible only to the elite. Yet in the blink of an eye, historically speaking, that world has been replaced by one full of investment opportunities for “everyman,” from stocks and bonds, to mutual funds, to life insurance, to pension plans, to real estate, and many other vehicles for investment.

“If people knew their history, they would marvel at the sheer range of investment opportunities now available to them,” says Norton Reamer, co-author of Investment: A History. Reamer is also the founder of United Asset Management and former CEO of Putnam Investments. “The idea that investing has become democratic probably feels alien to most people, but investing is extremely democratic today compared to past eras. So it is incumbent on the average person to learn enough to be his or her own best advocate in taking advantage of all this new-found opportunity.” (more…)

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Moments in Investing History You’ve Never Heard Of

Investment: A History

This week, our featured book is Investment: A History, by Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing. Today, on the final day of the feature, we are happy to present a short series of Youtube videos produced by the Investment: A History team that take a closer look at turning points in the history of investing that may not be as well-known as they should be. You can see all these videos and more on the Investment: A History Youtube channel!

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Investment: A History! You can also learn more about the book and its authors on the Investment: A History webpage!

When Social Security Almost Wasn’t

(more…)

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Thursday Fiction Corner: Ch’oe Yun’s There a Petal Silently Falls

There a Petal Silently Falls

Welcome to the Columbia University Press Thursday Fiction Corner! This week Russian Library editor Christine Dunbar asks how much, if any, contextualizing information should be provided to the reader of a translation?

I was once astounded by the return of a bizarre detail late in a Krzhizhanovsky work—so astounded, in fact, that I flipped back to see in what context it had originally appeared—and found that I had read it not early in the text but rather in the preceding scholarly introduction. But introductions can serve an important function, particularly for translations, where a reader often lacks background knowledge assumed in the original audience. Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton’s translation of Ch’oe Yun’s There a Petal Silently Falls eschews an introduction for a brief translators’ afterword, and this fact—combined with my own ignorance—led me to read the title novella without any knowledge of the Kwangju Massacre of 1980.

This has, in my view, two main consequences. First, it allowed me to read the work as primarily about rape. The narration combines chapters in the voices of 1) a construction worker who rapes and beats a mute teenager, 2) the traumatized teenager herself, and 3) a mysterious group attempting to locate her, and this structure serves to underline the teenager’s inability to speak aloud in the world of the story. Her misadventure is sparked by the deaths of her brother and mother, leaving her wandering the countryside alone, looking for her brother’s grave. (more…)

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Savvy Investors Look Back at the History of Investment for Lessons for 2016

Investment: A History

“The key is that successful investors throughout history have stuck to a few basic principles. As complex as investing can be, it is, at the same time, possible to avoid some obvious mistakes.” — Norton Reamer

This week, our featured book is Investment: A History, by Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing. As they explain in today’s post, Reamer and Downing wrote Investment: A History in part to provide investors with a historical perspective that could help them find smarter ways to invest.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Investment: A History! You can also learn more about the book and its authors on the Investment: A History webpage and Youtube channel!

New Year’s Resolution for Savvy Investors: Look Back at The History of Investment for Lessons for 2016

Thinking about how to improve your portfolio in 2016? Don’t forget the last three thousand.

A healthy understanding of investment history is a true bonus for investors – lay and professional alike – to avoid pitfalls and to be the best advocates for their own financial interests. Whether it’s running a personal retirement account or a university endowment, ancient history has lessons for portfolios today.

That’s according to Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing, co-authors of Investment: A History. Reamer is also the founder of United Asset Management and former CEO of Putnam Investments, and Downing is an investment professional in Boston. The book traces the history of investment, from the ancient world to the present day, and draws lessons for today’s investors at all levels.

Reamer and Downing note that for thousands of years, the only people who qualified as “investors” were wealthy and politically connected landowners. Yet in the blink of an eye, historically speaking, that world has been replaced by one full of investment opportunities for average people – stocks and bonds, mutual funds, life insurance, pensions and real estate.

“The key is that successful investors throughout history have stuck to a few basic principles,” says Reamer. “As complex as investing can be, it is, at the same time, possible to avoid some obvious mistakes.”

Reamer and Downing have identified four guideposts that can help investors in 2016:

1. Focus on what’s “real” – Don’t get distracted by the form of an investment (e.g., a stock certificate or a bond note). Make sure you understand the real asset behind the piece of paper, such as the company behind the stock you are buying, or the public works project issuing the bond. When buying a mutual fund or other packaged investment the same rule applies: make sure you understand the fund manager’s criteria for buying and selling securities in the portfolio. Focusing on what’s “real” should always be the priority.

2. Focus on fundamental “value” – In its simplest form, the value of an investment today is determined by the present value of its future cash generation – that is, the future cash that the investment will produce over its lifetime. Don’t be distracted by market gyrations. Take a long-term perspective and understand that markets go up and down, often for reasons other than fundamental value. Investors often forget this basic rule and allow emotion to guide their decisions – and make mistakes as a result.

3. Consider the intelligent use of leverage – Excessive leverage is dangerous, but most of the great fortunes in history were built using moderate and smart amounts of leverage. For example, a home mortgage is a sensible form of leverage for most families. On the other hand, taking out a second mortgage to fund a speculative investment is probably foolhardy.

4. Allocate your capital – Every investment is an “allocation” of capital. That is, it’s a choice between competing priorities and opportunities. Make informed, deliberate choices and tradeoffs as you decide where to put your money – especially when the choice is between saving, spending, and investing. Think through your needs. Do your best to be accountable to yourself. Set some objectives and stick to them.

“Investment is one of humanity’s most fundamental activities, and in the modern world it’s open to more people than ever before,” adds Downing. “We encourage everyone to learn some basic investment principles and take full advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.”

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Five Archetypal Investing Mistakes That Have Bedeviled Investors Through the Ages

Investment: A History

“Decade after decade, we see markets collapse and fortunes vanish for the same basic reasons. Most of the time the root cause is not some complex technical error. It’s just some new flavor of poor judgment.” — Norton Reamer

This week, our featured book is Investment: A History, by Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing. In today’s post, Reamer and Downing break down the five investing mistakes that they see repeated again and again throughout the history of investing.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Investment: A History! You can also learn more about the book and its authors on the Investment: A History webpage and Youtube channel!

Five Archetypal Investing Mistakes Have Bedeviled Investors Through the Ages

For thousands of years, investors have been making the same mistakes over and over. So true financial literacy should include not just understanding the history of investment successes, but also investing failures. Unfortunately, the recent history of the financial crisis and Great Recession indicate that many investors—even professionals—have not learned those lessons.

“Decade after decade, we see markets collapse and fortunes vanish for the same basic reasons,” says Norton Reamer, co-author of the new book, Investment: A History (Columbia Business School Publishing, February 2016). “Most of the time the root cause is not some complex technical error. It’s just some new flavor of poor judgment.” Reamer is the founder of United Asset Management and Asset Management Finance, and he is the former CEO of Putnam Investments. His co-author, Jesse Downing, is an investment professional in Boston.

Mistake #1: Not diversifying enough

“In plain language, diversification means not putting all your eggs in one basket,” says Reamer. “One of the biggest advancements of the last few hundred years has been the ability to truly diversify one’s investments. Diversification is what makes modern investment portfolios tick.”

As a historical reference point, Reamer points to 14th-century Italy, before there was such a concept as “too big to fail.” Two major Florentine banking houses, the Bardi and the Peruzzi, poured a great deal of their capital into the wartime exploits of England’s King Edward III. When Edward defaulted, both banks failed.

According to Reamer, the goal of diversification is to ensure that even if one asset in the portfolio is underperforming, other assets are still potentially delivering gains. Both the Bible and Shakespeare reference diversification, and despite how ancient the wisdom may be, it can be hard to follow. Many homeowners have a significant portion of their wealth tied up in a single asset, such as a home, company-granted stock, or even a single asset class. To weather the inevitable vagaries of the market, one must diversify. (more…)

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

The Investment Challenge

Investment: A History

“This book is not about how to manage investments; rather, as a history of investment and the activities related to it over the centuries, it adds vital perspective to issues in investment management. It traces the development of investment from the earliest civilizations where agricultural land, lending, and trade activities were the economic foundation; to the creation of basic financial, collective, and charitable investment forms; and through the innovation of a vast array of specialized vehicles and funds extending into the twenty-first century.” — Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing

This week, our featured book is Investment: A History, by Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from “The Investment Challenge,” Reamer and Downing’s Introduction to Investment: A History.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Investment: A History! You can also learn more about the book and its authors on the Investment: A History webpage and Youtube channel!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

The new and improved Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) database

Columbia University Press announces the new and improved Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) database

The renowned international affairs database Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) has recently undergone a complete overhaul aimed at enhancing user experience. The new CIAO website features a redesigned user interface that standardizes the discovery and presentation of content and adds more video content, a live Twitter feed, and improved search functionality.

Other new features include: faceted browsing and refinement of search results based on normalized metadata, OpenURL and Shibboleth capabilities, and a CIAO YouTube channel, not to mention new partnerships with policy institutes and publishers, including Atlantic Council, Center for Migration Studies, Hudson Institute, the Soufan Group, Transparency International, and many more.

Of course, CIAO still retains the great features that users have always loved, including: the CIAO Atlas, featuring detailed maps and country data for 201 countries provided by the Economist Intelligence Unit; the monthly CIAO Focus, long considered an outstanding classroom tool for teaching salient issues in the field of international affairs; full-text e-books and journal content.

CIAO also boasts an advisory board that comprises of international affairs specialists and scholars from both the United States and abroad.

CIAO is a collaboration between Columbia University Press (CUP) and the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS), part of the Columbia University Libraries / Information Services, combining the editorial talent of CUP on content and CDRS’s depth of knowledge in design and information architecture to create a new, enhanced, and responsive CIAO.

About Columbia International Affairs Online

Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) is the world’s largest full-text online resource for political science, diplomatic history, international law and business, policy formation, and country analysis. The full-text database encompasses more than 500,000 pages of working papers, policy briefs, interviews, journal articles, and e-books in the field of international relations. CIAO is a dynamic resource that is constantly growing. More than 180 leading academic and research institutions, publishers, government agencies, and journals worldwide contribute to CIAO.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

A conversation with Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing, authors of “Investment: A History”

Investment: A History

“[T]he basic principles of investing are timeless, even as the economic and social stakes grow higher. The challenge will be to harness all that increasing sophistication to further push the democratization of investment, and in that regard we are optimists.” — Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing

This week, our featured book is Investment: A History, by Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing. In the first post of the week’s feature, we are happy to present an interview with Reamer and Downing in which they discuss their goals for the book, important changes in the history of investing, and what the future holds for investors.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Investment: A History! You can also learn more about the book and its authors on the Investment: A History webpage and Youtube channel!

What will readers find in Investment: A History?

The book explains key elements in the long history of investment. Each chapter includes important stories and lessons that are intended to illustrate crucial dimensions of the investment world, as they have developed over the centuries. Our goal is to increase understanding of the investment practices and opportunities of today by understanding the history of investing.

In broad scope, what are the most important findings in the book?

Most people will be surprised to find out how remarkably uncomplicated it is to be a sensible investor, and in that regard we identified four basic investing principles. First, look at every investment as “real.” That is, when you invest, you own the underlying asset—e.g., with stocks you are buying a piece of a corporation. Don’t be distracted by the paper form of the investment. Understand the basics of whatever entity you are buying.

Second, it’s all about fundamental value, where “value” is determined by the value today of future cash flows that the investment may produce over its lifetime. Third, intelligent use of financial leverage is a legitimate tool for investors; in fact, it has helped build most of the great fortunes of history. Of course, excessive leverage can be extremely dangerous because all leverage will multiply returns—either positively or negatively. Finally, the most basic management skill is resource allocation: i.e., the effective allocation of capital and human resources.

Investing did not always exist in its current form. What were the precursors to the current investment landscape?

With ancient and pre-modern investment, we emphasize three areas: the basic investment vehicles of early history; the extreme inequality in the distribution of investment opportunity and benefit; and the surprising sophistication of some early investment vehicles, strategies, and purposes.

We believe that, to grasp the reality and significance of investment as a fundamental human activity, it’s necessary to begin in ancient times and understand the roles of agricultural land, lending and trade in the ancient world. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that by today’s standards, it took an astonishing amount of wealth and power to even qualify to be an ‘investor.’ Finally, we felt it was essential to understand that in some respects—despite a lack of investment diversity and the absence of equality—investment even in those early days had features that were remarkably sophisticated and prescient. (more…)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

New Book Tuesday: Contemporary Art, Beyond the Secular West, Malaysian Fiction, Acute Melancholia, and More!

Industry and Intelligence

Our weekly listing of new titles now available:

Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820
Liam Gillick

Beyond the Secular West
Edited by Akeel Bilgrami

Slow Boat to China and Other Stories
Ng Kim Chew. Translated and Edited by Carlos Rojas

Acute Melancholia and Other Essays: Mysticism, History, and the Study of Religion
Amy Hollywood

Plagiarama!: William Wells Brown and the Aesthetic of Attractions
Geoffrey Sanborn

The Great East Asian War and the Birth of the Korean Nation
JaHyun Kim Haboush. Edited by William J. Haboush and Jisoo Kim

Macroeconomics and Development: Roberto Frenkel and the Economics of Latin America
Edited by Mario Damill, Martín Rapetti, and Guillermo Rozenwurcel

Of Women Borne: A Literary Ethics of Suffering
Cynthia R. Wallace

Real to Reel: A New Approach to Understanding Realism in Film and TV Fiction
Marten Sohn-Rethel
(Auteur)

The Dead in the Garden
Ghassan Zaqtan
International Poets in Hong Kong
(The Chinese University Press)

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Book Giveaway! Investment: A History, by Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing

Investment: A History

“Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing have delivered a truly impressive history of investments and the investment-management business, starting from its earliest origins in the ancient world to its most recent and innovative forms, for example, the hedge funds, private-equity pools, and other forms of alternative investments in the twenty-first century. It is not only a complete history but a well-organized and analytical one, built with continual reference to the important principles of business and investing.” — Jay Light, dean emeritus, Harvard Business School

This week, our featured book is Investment: A History, by Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its authors on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. You can also learn more about the book and its authors on the Investment: A History webpage and Youtube channel!

We are also offering a FREE copy of Investment: A History. To enter our book giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select our winners on Friday, February 19th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!