● The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World
By Ruchir Sharma
Summary via publisher (W.W. Norton)
Shaped by his twenty-five years traveling the world, and enlivened by encounters with villagers from Rio to Beijing, tycoons, and presidents, Ruchir Sharma’s The Rise and Fall of Nations rethinks the “dismal science” of economics as a practical art. Narrowing the thousands of factors that can shape a country’s fortunes to ten clear rules, Sharma explains how to spot political, economic, and social changes in real time. He shows how to read political headlines, black markets, the price of onions, and billionaire rankings as signals of booms, busts, and protests. Set in a post-crisis age that has turned the world upside down, replacing fast growth with slow growth and political calm with revolt, Sharma’s pioneering book is an entertaining field guide to understanding change in this era or any era.
● The World According to Star Wars
By Cass R. Sunstein
Q&A with author via MarketWatch
Sunstein sees the “Star Wars” movies as case studies for behavioral scientists — showcasing overconfidence, unrealistic optimism, self-serving judgments and inertia. The messages of good versus evil and the ability of individuals to alter what seems like destiny may be apparent, but the movies, he says, focus “on the most essential feature of the human condition: freedom of choice amid a clouded future.”
● Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek
By Manu Saadia
Review via Gizmodo
Frankly, as Saadia points out, the idea that machines would relieve human beings of the drudgery of work is a very old idea—dating back at least to the Industrial Revolution, if not further. We already have a certain degree of economic prosperity, for instance, it’s just not distributed evenly around the globe. And the notion of a minimum living wage for all is actually being discussed seriously in this year’s presidential election.
● Selling Hope, Selling Risk: Corporations, Wall Street, and the Dilemmas of Investor Protection
By Donald C. Langevoort
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
In the midst of globalization, technological change, and economic anxiety, we have deep doubts about how well the task of investor protection is being performed. In the U.S., the focus is on the Securities & Exchange Commission. Part of the explanation is economic and political: the failure to know the right balance between investor protection and capital formation, and the resulting battle among interest groups over their preferred solutions. In Selling Hope, Selling Risk, author Donald C. Langevoort argues that regulation is also frustrated at nearly every turn by human nature, as exhibited both on the buy-side (investors) and sell-side (corporate executives, bankers, stockbrokers). There is plenty of savvy and guile, but also ample hope, fear, ego, overconfidence, social contagion and the like that persistently filter and distort the messages regulators try to send. This book is the first sustained effort to link the key initiatives of securities regulation with our burgeoning awareness in the social sciences of how people and organizations really behave in economic settings.
● The Politics of Innovation: Why Some Countries Are Better Than Others at Science and Technology
By Mark Zachary Taylor
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Why are some countries better than others at science and technology (S&T)? Written in an approachable style, The Politics of Innovation provides readers from all backgrounds and levels of expertise a comprehensive introduction to the debates over national S&T competitiveness. It synthesizes over fifty years of theory and research on national innovation rates, bringing together the current political and economic wisdom, and latest findings, about how nations become S&T leaders. Many experts mistakenly believe that domestic institutions and policies determine national innovation rates. However, after decades of research, there is still no agreement on precisely how this happens, exactly which institutions matter, and little aggregate evidence has been produced to support any particular explanation. Yet, despite these problems, a core faith in a relationship between domestic institutions and national innovation rates remains widely held and little challenged. The Politics of Innovation confronts head-on this contradiction between theory, evidence, and the popularity of the institutions-innovation hypothesis.
● The Hegemony of Growth: The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm
By Matthias Schmelzer
Summary via publisher (Cambridge University Press)
In modern society, economic growth is considered to be the primary goal pursued through policymaking. But when and how did this perception become widely adopted among social scientists, politicians and the general public? Focusing on the OECD, one of the least understood international organisations, Schmelzer offers the first transnational study to chart the history of growth discourses. He reveals how the pursuit of GDP growth emerged as a societal goal and the ways in which the methods employed to measure, model and prescribe growth resulted in statistical standards, international policy frameworks and widely accepted norms. Setting his analysis within the context of capitalist development, post-war reconstruction, the Cold War, decolonization, and industrial crisis, The Hegemony of Growth sheds new light on the continuous reshaping of the growth paradigm up to the neoliberal age and adds historical depth to current debates on climate change, inequality and the limits to growth.
● Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy
By Alex Moazed and Nicholas L. Johnson
Summary via publisher (St. Martin’s Press)
The advent of mobile computing and its ubiquitous connectivity have forever altered how we interact with each other, melding the digital and physical worlds and blurring distinctions between “offline” and “online.” These platform giants are expanding their influence from the digital world to the whole economy. Yet, few people truly grasp the radical structural shifts of the last ten years. In Modern Monopolies, Alex Moazed and Nicholas L. Johnson tell the definitive story of what has changed, what it means for businesses today, and how managers, entrepreneurs, and business owners can adapt and thrive in this new era.
● The 100 Year Life: Navigating Our Future Work Life
By Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott
Summary via publisher (Bloomsbury)
Does the thought of working for 60 or 70 years fill you with dread? Or can you see the potential for a more stimulating future as a result of having so much extra time? Many of us have been raised on the traditional notion of a three-stage approach to our working lives: education, followed by work and then retirement. But this well-established pathway is already beginning to collapse – life expectancy is rising, final-salary pensions are vanishing, and increasing numbers of people are juggling multiple careers. Whether you are 18, 45 or 60, you will need to do things very differently from previous generations and learn to structure your life in completely new ways.