Tag Archives: Holiday Reading

Holiday reading – Rowing – Economics – Psychology

Here are some books that are on the list to read this holiday. There is a mix of some new, some old and some rowing. Thanks to Leith Menzies for the rowing books:

  • Mind over water: lessons on life from the art of rowing – I am told that this book is a combination of rowing and life lessons. Rowers will recognise the technical side of things but the book does address the aspects of our world whatever challenge you set yourself.
  • The Kiwi Pair – Another rowing book following the double olympic champions and numerous world champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray. Very different personalities and also interesting to read how coaches got the best out of them – a lot of psychology in achieving consistent elite performance.
  • Narconomics – I’ve had this book for awhile – like 3 years and it has been lent to numerous students who have said it is very good. Tom Wainwright – who was Central American correspondent for The Economist – argues that most successful drug cartels operate like Wal-Mart in that they have a virtual monopoly on the product at the source of supply.
  • The Economists’ Hour – A recent publication that how economists who believed in the power and the glory of free markets transformed the business of government, the conduct of business and, as a result, the patterns of everyday life. It explains how globalisation failed to deliver on its central promise of increased prosperity.
  • Messengers – The review in The Economist got my attention. With the amount of information available to people these days why is it that self-confident people are believed over experts in their field. Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks look at variables such as appearance and financial status that influence our trust in these people.
  • Licence to be bad – Modern economics dismisses ethics in favour of a narrow focus on self-interest – they have applied the same reasoning in the law courts, leading to the doctrine that bargaining by parties achieves the optimal outcome. However it doesn’t favour behavioural economics which suggests that we are not calculating machines.

Holiday Reading

No doubt most of you will be heading to the beach for part of the summer holidays. Here are a couple of books that look like a good read. I will be back on the blog in the middle of January.

Holiday Reading

Paper Promises: Money, Debt and the New World Order [Paperback] by Phillip Coggan

In today’s financial climate, we are all, naturally, obsessed by debt. In almost every aspect of our life we experience it – on our credit cards, mortgages, bank loans and student loans. But where has this debt come from? How does it work? What is any money really worth? And what promises do we need to believe to keep the whole system afloat?

In this fascinating look at money through the ages – including our own unstable future – award-winning financial journalist Philip Coggan examines the flawed structure of the global finance systems as they exist today, and asks, with deeper imbalances that the world is currently facing, what’s actually at stake. Amazon.co.uk

Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World [Hardcover] by Dambisa Moyo.

Commodities permeate virtually every aspect of modern daily living, but for all their importance—their breadth, their depth, their intricacies, and their central role in daily life—few people who are not economists or traders know how commodity markets work. Almost every day, newspaper headlines and media commentators scream warnings of impending doom–shortages of arable land, clashes over water, and political conflict as global demand for fossil fuels outstrips supply. The picture is bleak, but our grasp of the details and the macro shifts in commodities markets remain blurry.

Winner Take All is about the commodity dynamics that the world will face over the next several decades. In particular, it is about the implications of China’s rush for resources across all regions of the world. The scale of China’s resource campaign for hard commodities (metals and minerals) and soft commodities (timber and food) is among the largest in history. To be sure, China is not the first country to launch a global crusade to secure resources. From Britain’s transcontinental operations dating back to the end of the 16th century, to the rise of modern European and American transnational corporations between the mid 1860’s and 1870’s, the industrial revolution that powered these economies created a voracious demand for raw materials and created the need to go far beyond their native countries. Amazon.com

How Do We Fix This Mess?: The Economic Price of Having it All, and the Route to Lasting Prosperity [Hardcover] by Robert Preston

In Robert Peston’s new book he explains in his characteristically straightforward way how the world got itself into the current economic mess – and how we might get out of it.

‘How do we fix this mess? I don’t know. But don’t stop reading now. Perhaps if we have a clearer understanding of what went wrong, we’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done. This book is a map of what needs to be fixed.’

The record-breaking unbroken growth between 1992 and 2008 wasn’t the economic miracle that it seemed. It was based on a number of dangerous illusions – most notably that it didn’t matter that the UK and US year after year consumed more than they earned.

But we couldn’t go on increasing our indebtedness forever. The financial crash of 2007/8 and the subsequent economic slump in much of the west was the moment when we realised we had borrowed more than we could afford to repay. Amazon.co.uk