Featured Author: Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker, The Big Short, Moneyball)

Michael Lewis is one of America’s best known financial writers.  His book Moneyball was made into a motion picture starring Brad Pitt, and his book The Big Short iwas recently made into a movie. He is also the author of the book Blind Side, which was made into a very successful movie.

All Michael Lewis books here.

Here are a couple of books by Michael Lewis that I’ve written about previously.

Liar’s Poker is an account of the high pressure deals on Wall Street during the 1980s. The author, Michael Lewis, was a bright and very young recent college graduate who suddenly found himself making insane amounts of money trading bonds on the floor of Salomon Brothers.

Lewis recounts his adventures in learning to trade the market, the profane culture of the brokerage, and playing Machiavellian office politics. It’s pretty dramatic, with lots of high stakes deals, backbiting and secret alliances, and the stench of greed. It’s also how the financial world operates.

Moneyball is about an unlikely success: how the cash strapped Oakland A’s baseball team found ways to win without the ability to afford highly priced skills. One simply must find players with unusual and overlooked talents. One does this by identifying talents that no-one else can see – a tough business in a 100-year old game that few thought held any more secrets.

Those people were wrong. Baseball did have secrets. And these were ferreted out by Bill James, an eccentric and charming former night watchman from Kansas. Famed business writer Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker) tackles the subject of how the Oakland A’s turned baseball shibboleths on their head by using these unconventional insights gleaned from reams of statistical data.

How To Find Keywords Within 5 Words of Each Other

Bet you didn’t know about “proximity” searches in the Ebscohost family of databases. These commands allow you to search 2 words that occur in the text near each other.

The upshot of which is: the article is more likely to be written about your topic if your words occur close to one other.

(Ebscohost is the name of the publisher that brings you several of our databases. You may know them by their proper names, like Academic Search. Once inside an Ebsco database, you can always “choose databases” to search several Ebscohost databases at once.)

Here’s the official directions from Ebscohost:

Proximity Searches

You can use a proximity search to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other in the databases. Proximity searching is used with a Keyword or Boolean search.

The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched, as follows:

Near Operator (N) – N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another regardless of the order in which they appear.

For example, type tax N5 reform to find results that would match tax reform as well as reform of income tax.

Within Operator (W) – In the following example, W8 finds the words if they are within eight words of one another and in the order in which you entered them.

For example, type tax W8 reform to find results that would match tax reform but would not match reform of income tax.

In addition, multiple terms can be used on either side of the operator. See the following examples:

  • (baseball or football or basketball) N5 (teams or players)
  • oil W3 (disaster OR clean-up OR contamination)

How To Get Industry Reports

Is an industry growing, consolidating or emerging? Or is there declining demand for their products? Do people want different things from that industry – say, less white bread and more whole wheat? Are their raw materials and labor costs going up or down? Who has the biggest market share? Are demographics affecting the industry in any way? Is someone way out front with a killer product or service?

Our industry surveys are located in these databases:

ABI Inform
Business Source Complete
Marketline Advantage
Market Research
Mint
Standard and Poor’s (industries tab is at the top of the screen)

How to Use Google Scholar (Or Not)

Google Scholar searches the contents of many (but not all) academic journals. However, it does not provide access to the fulltext material. If you are off-campus, you will be prompted to log in or buy the article.

If you follow the Alkek Library link to Google Scholar here, you will have to sign in ONCE with your NET ID and then it’s all clear sailing.

In any case, please don’t buy the article – you can get it through us.  If you hit a dead end, use interlibrary loan.

Google Scholar does not search ALL the scholarly literature because some publishers restrict access.

Featured Author: Walter Kirn (Up In The Air)

All Walter Kirn books here

Walter Kirn is an American novelist and journalist who has written for several prominent magazines as well as being the author of Up In The Air (which was made into an excellent film starring George Clooney).

His most recent book is Blood Will Out (link to a review of the book, signin required) –  a fascinating nonfiction account of his relationship with a con man with a murderous past. Excerpt from the review linked above:

“Powerful people fell for a man who said he had a master key to Rockefeller Center.Kirn was targeted for something else. At certain moments of lucidity, Kirn self-flagellates over his phony pal, and the reader feels a little sorry for him. (Yeah, yeah, but first: “In 1975, when I was twelve, my family packed a U-Haul van, snapped a Yale padlock on its rear loading door, and left predictable rural Minnesota for burgeoning, anarchic Phoenix.” Even Walter Kirn‘s hardware is pedigreed.) Kirn writes, “Maybe my egotism was a homing beacon. Maybe it made me a more attractive mark.”

This was the central characteristic of Rockefeller’s frauds–and Crowe’s, and Chichester’s, if not Gerhart’s: their puffed-up prey. The prey who needed some insecurity polished by having nobility, American or otherwise, within their lives. There were the wealthy old ladies threatened by the middle-class-ification of their town. There were the Wall Street men who wanted to employ a broker who was to-the-manor-born and had connections in Hollywood. Then there was the management consultant who wound up leading her firm’s work for Michael Bloomberg and Charles Schumer; her Rockefeller connection could not have hurt her there. And of course there was the educated, snobby journalist on the make, looking for a story and an entrée into society. The people who accepted Gerhartsreiter in his various grandiose guises had hustles of their own. Powerful people within a nation ostensibly impervious to aristocracy fell for a man who said he had a master key to Rockefeller Center. Gerhartsreiter’s joke was on them.”

We Have Screenplays

Find all screenplays here.

Did you know that we have screenplays at the Alkek Library? Technically, they are housed at the Southwest Writers, Wittliff Collections Reading Room, on the seventh floor of the library.

While the screenplays cannot leave the building, stop by and spend a few minutes reading everything from major Hollywood productions to critically acclaimed small films.