RateSetter’s recommended summer reads 2015
By Scott Murphy | Fri 17 Jul 15
By Scott Murphy | Fri 17 Jul 15
We’ve scoured the RateSetter office for suggestions and compiled a list of old favourites and some newer additions. So whether you’re sunbathing in Sardinia, trekking in Thailand or are planning a staycation within our own shores, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy reading a good book this summer.
Nudge, Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein (2008)
Back in 2008, Nudge became one of those seminal publications that radically altered people’s view of economics. The Cabinet Office even set up a specialist “Nudge Unit” in 2010 to apply behavioural insights into Government policy. In Nudge, Thaler and Sunstein argue that by analysing how people make decisions we can use behavioural insights so that people can be “nudged” into making better decisions.
Economics: The User's Guide, Ha-Joon Chang (2014)
Ha-Joon Chang seeks to make economics accessible to all. He belongs in the unorthodox camp of economists and uses this strength to provide views on key topics such as the euro, inequality in China and American manufacturing, rather than relying on a single disciplinary perspective. In the wake of the financial crisis, Economics: The User’s guide provides an accessible primer to how the global economy actually works-in real-world terms. Look out for the often spectacular uses of various cult films in his explanations of economic terms and theories – who knew you could explain adaptive preferences with Django Unchained?
Smart Money, Andrew Palmer (2015)
Economist journalist Andrew Palmer argues that - contrary to popular views since the financial crisis - the financial services industry can be a force for good and help address many difficult social issues. Palmer’s central premise is that we need more rather than less innovation in financial services, with creative ideas ranging from peer-to-peer lending to social impact bonds and prize-linked saving schemes now re-defining the benefits that finance can deliver for society.
Debt: The First 5,000 Years, David Graeber (2011)
Debt: The First 5,000 Years chooses as its theme a somewhat unglamorous, often maligned topic. Anthropologist David Graeber’s seeks to demonstrate that the traditional view of money replacing a barter economy is wrong, and that very complex debt mechanisms have existed for millennia. Debt is a solid and worthwhile read on the topic of what really makes the world go round.
House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again, Atif Mian, Amir Sufi (2015)
We think we know the story of the financial crisis. We’ve lived through it and it has hardly been out of the papers. However, do we really understand what happened and how we can stop history repeating itself? In House of Debt, Mian and Sufi use extensive analysis to show that current policy is too heavily biased toward protecting banks and creditors, with the goal of increasing the flow of credit – a disastrously counterproductive response when the fundamental problem is actually too much debt in the first place.
Think we’ve missed an essential book that needs to be added to the reading list? Let us know what you’re reading this summer in the comments section below.
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