Robert Merton

So I’m sitting here reading peer reviewed papers in a bid to understand Nigam, Srivastava and Banwet’s (2018) review on behavioural finance. This is my second read of their review and like a maze I keep having to download papers they have referenced so I can better understand the points they advance.

It was one such download that brought me to a paper by Robert Merton. Unusual but beautiful was a picture of the man himself of the first page of his journal article on Capital Market Equilibrium with Incomplete Information.

I smiled back at him and said to myself, “finally, there you are”. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Merton is – great finance thinker. Where would we be without all of his thoughts on capital asset pricing, option pricing, etc.

Every time I teach my students finance theory and caution ⚠ that it does not necessarily hold in real life, I hear a litany of complaints about its irrelevance then. I remind them that theories from thinkers provide a framework for further thought on how things work in real life. I always end by saying that I hope someday I will have thinkers from my class who can challenge current dogmas and bring about change.

I hope I can rise to that challenge myself. I look up to the forerunners. Let me start by finishing that review I was reading.

Robert Merton 😊

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Well, given that this book in my opinion has been given just about the same prominence as Jane Eyre ( everyone kept asking if I’ve read the alchemist) I was a little disappointed. Maybe I was too expectant.

It was simplistic and hard to believe given that it was addressing one grave human concern – why am I here? The writing style was simple and reminded me of Aesop’s fables. I guess I was expecting something more dense perhaps because of the title.

The point of the book was to do what you are destined to do( what makes you truly happy – I suppose), without getting sidetracked in the process. In identifying your destiny you should be in tune with yourself and God (God us present in our hearts and in nature). You should also believe completely in your capabilities to do the impossible. In our quest to achieve our dreams our fears and thoughts of our inadequacies are what stand in our way.

As a Christian, I liked all the Christian nuances in the book. The way he wove Bible stories into the book was beautiful too. The primary verse that jumped out at me was : seek ye first the kingdom of God and all other things, shall be added unto you. He reminds us that our journey to find our treasure will not be without incident but we have all it takes to find God, and with that all other things we desire.

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

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My first book read in 2018. Although I am neither a twin nor have a sister I share a close bond with, I enjoyed Curtis’s book. I however, think that the story could have been told in fewer pages. At a point, the book seemed  like a movie with too many characters and too many sub-plots. Despite their challenges, I liked the way the sisters  looked out for each other. Style wise, i enjoy a book better when its picturesque. Although very voluminous, I could not clearly find my way around St Louis in my head and most of the time, it was dark and dull- i thought the imagery could have been better. Nevertheless, I read every single page and in record time too. I decided last year not to write out the entire summary in my reviews but this was a 521 page book and I have no idea where to leave my readers so I’m breaking my rule and doing a longer summary than usual.

The story revolves around a twin pair who have psychic abilities they call senses. Whereas Vi accepts her senses and does nothing to dull them, Kate is terribly embarrassed by her senses and does everything she can to dull and hide them so she can live a normal life. They grow up in a very dismal environment with a depressed mother who apparently did not want and had no idea she was expecting twins until she was due. Their very reticent father could do or did nothing to improve their situation. Although it remained unclear the nature of the romantic relationship between their parents it remained clear that their childhood although not terrible was not one of utter bliss.

The identity crises that Kate struggles with remains with her throughout high school up until they both go off to different universities. At this point, Vi drops out school barges in on Kate’s life and attempts to destroy all semblances of the normal life she has created in college. Kate sends her packing home and their relationship takes a nose dive. Kate realizes that she cannot marry her long-time boyfriend, after her mother dies from overdosing, because his life is too perfect and he cannot understand where she has come from. With this realisation came a shattering of the shell that Kate had attempted to build around herself. Even though she returns home, it takes her a long time to recover from her mother’s death and also to find some level of self acceptance.

In the long run, Kate meets a perfect young man, Jeremy,who loves and accepts her just for who she is-Vi had already sensed that she would meet and marry him. She settles happily with him and has two wonderful kids. She becomes a stay at home mum so she can give the kids full attention. Vi on the other hand, having never completed any degree programme, takes her “senses” to a different level and becomes a professional psychic. Everything is seemingly going well until, Vi predicts an earthquake which shakes St. Louis and becomes topical even at the national level. Although, her “senses” had been dulled, Kate picks up October 16th as an important date and when she tells Vi they both assume it’s the date of the earthquake and announce it to everyone.

 

African Girl- The Awakening by Kezia Dzifa Awadzi

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I don’t know much about other African countries but if you went through the Ghanaian education system up until University, especially the University of Ghana, you can relate entirely to this book. If you did not grow up in Ghana and are interested in getting a good perspective about family, education, love, work and religious life in Ghana-you must definitely read this book.

Dzigbordi Dzordzorme, the main character, walks us through her life  from Achimota College through to the University of Ghana. At Achimota, she meets Michael who helps her break her social awkwardness. Later on she meets Maxwell, Michael’s cousin, and they fall in love with each other. Despite Maxwell’s fears that his father would not have accepted Dzigbordi on tribal grounds, he does. Ironically, Dzi’s very strict parents decide that Maxwell’s manners do not befit the standard of their family when on his first visit  he takes of his shoes, places them on the couch and plays with his toes ( who does that?). It is after this sad incident that their troubles begin. As staunch Christians, we are exposed to their struggle with sexual purity in their relationship. Dzi and Maxwell hold on firmly to their love despite the constant rejection Max faces from Dzi’s family. Eventually, Dzi travels to the United States to further her studies. While in the US, a new phase of their relationship unfolds.

I really enjoyed this book, I did. I think it was so easy to relate to because the setting was mainly non-fictional. The author uses actual names of halls of residence and places within the University of Ghana, where I schooled. Although, this was part of the book’s appeal, I also think this meant the author had less to do in terms of creating  a setting. I suspect strongly that this story is an autobiographical-fiction. I saw myself relive, through the main character- the parenting drama, the social awkwardness, balancing emotions and academic work, identity crises, etc.

Although I enjoyed the book, I didn’t like the packaging much- the image on the front cover of the book. The title did not appeal much to me either. If I didn’t have to read it so I could review it on the radio show, I probably would never have picked it off a bookshelf. That however, would have been my loss. I forgot to mention, there’s  a sequel to the book I’m waiting patiently for.

 

Dearest Mimi, 

Someday I hope to read this to you when you are old enough to understand the most part. Hopefully, it’ll make life easier 😊        

Mimi, journal! Remember to re-read your journal at the end of the year. In the process you’ll get to know yourself better. Aside journaling, focus on being your friend. Be kind to you, be gentle, have conversations with yourself, get to know you, pay attention to what you like and what you don’t like. Spend quality time with you without being bored. Discover your interests, your fears, your strengths and your weaknesses.

As you find yourself, be unapologetically you at all times. Grow by all means, learn from others, work on your weaknesses and improve your strengths. But do it to make the you you’ve come to know a better person. Never embrace change for the sole reason that it makes someone else happy, never do it so you feel accepted, never do it for the sole reason that everyone else is doing it. Do it because it makes the wonderful person you’ve come to know a better person and for that matter the world a better place. This will be hard if you have no idea who you are, so be your best friend and then be unapologetically you. 

Mimi,I’ll shout this from the rooftops. Learn all that you can about your salvation in Christ Jesus. I’ll teach you all that I can and hold your hand as far as I can. Unfortunately, at a point it gets very personal. Learn your verses. At least if you can learn and memorise 25 verses a year, that won’t be bad. It might seem boring but my love, read it. Read the Bible cover to cover. You might not understand it all, but get into the habit of knowing God through His Word. 

Two actions you should consciously focus on in your walk with Christ are: trust and obey. The extent to which you take this seriously will determine how strong you ll be when hard times hit (which will definitely happen). When they hit, remember to hold on unwaveringly to the faith you profess in Christ Jesus. The saddest thing in life is to lose the peace Christ gives when you are at your lowest. Hold on firmly love, hold on.

Lest I forget, baby, remember to laugh. Laugh for no reason, laugh when there’s a reason. Don’t take anything overly seriously. We’re just sojourners in this life, what won’t kill us will definitely pass. So laugh at yourself sometimes. Don’t take your successes too seriously and don’t take your failures too seriously. Learn to laugh and smile at the little things. In a dark world like ours you’ll find light if you do😍.

With loads of love till we talk again. 😙😙, Awolaryea.                                                1/1/18

Framily… When friends become family

Have I told you how among the many blessings God has given me, I count myself blessed to have such awesome friends? I remember writing a piece about them a few years ago when I was going through some really rough patches in my life. I think I did another on facebook nit too long ago too. But that’s just how special they are. I have to shout it from the rooftops. 

My friends are few and close, so few and close I jokingly tell each of them that I won’t be surprised if only six to seven friends of mine show up at my wedding. The rest of the guests will be family and friends of the groom. Each of them is as different as chalk and cheese but as amazing and special as can be.

They are there when I need to talk, when I need to fool, when I need to cry, when I need to share a joke, when I need to gossip🙆‍♀️. I can so rely on them to be there for me. They’ve seen me up, they’ve seen me down, they’ve seen me cry, they’ve seen me laugh, we’ve had our fights and our share of fun too. When need be, they’re frank with me at other times they pamper me 😊. They are my family, my clan. I can’t even explain how loved they make me feel. I thank God over and over again for my friends and pray all the time that he gives me the grace to be even  half as good to them as they are to me. When friends become family your life gets sunnier. Love you guys can’t imagine my world without you 😍😍😍

Memories

When painful memories remind me of how much power they hold

I’ll only let that be a reminder to constantly create happier ones

I hold no lasso over the horse that upsets the worms’ rusty cans

I might not be able to erase the heartache the graphic jolts load

As they bore  through their cans they’ll not my joy permeate

I will only let them be a reminder happier ones to create

 

When painful memories remind me of how much power they hold

I’ll remind them of how much power I have, so I shall fight

I’ll shuffle through them like a deck of cards until I find my knight

Then joyfully I shall dwell on my knight , happy and bold

We’ll dance and wine and dine until we are depleted

Every moment I spend in pain is a new memory created

 

 

In pursuit of passion

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