Book Bits: 11 March 2023

Crash Landing: The Inside Story of How the World’s Biggest Companies Survived an Economy on the Brink
Liz Hoffman
Summary via publisher (Crown/Penguin Random House)
In Crash Landing, award-winning business journalist Liz Hoffman shows how the pandemic set the economy on fire—but if you look closely, the tinder was already there. After the global financial crisis in 2008, corporate leaders embraced cheap debt and growth at all costs. Wages flatlined. Millions were pushed into the gig economy. Companies crammed workers into offices, and airlines did the same with planes. Wall Street cheered on this relentless march toward efficiency, overlooking the collateral damage and the risks sowed in the process.

The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens Our Businesses, Infantilizes Our Governments, and Warps Our Economies
Mariana Mazzucato and Rosie Collington
Review via Financial Times
“It would be foolish to blame consultancies for all the problems that advanced capitalism has created,” state Mariana Mazzucato and Rosie Collington in their conclusion. Nevertheless, the authors of The Big Con blame consultancies for an awful lot, starting with: “The pristine PowerPoints, copy-and-pasted formulas for strategy and often ineffective tools that many consultancies employ.”

Design Any Disaster: The Revolutionary Blueprint to Master Your Next Crisis or Emergency
Patrick Hardy
Summary via publisher (BenBella Books)
Whether it’s a natural disaster, power outage, security breach, or even a mass shooting, many of us are woefully unprepared to deal with disaster in a proactive way, whether at home or in the workplace. The truth is that 99% of disaster plans ultimately fail when put into practice, the majority of “emergency equipment” does nothing but gather dust, and the aftermath leaves people shaken, not stronger.

The Gender of Capital: How Families Perpetuate Wealth Inequality
Céline Bessière, et al.
Summary via publisher (Harvard U. Press)
Two leading social scientists examine the gender wealth gap in countries with officially egalitarian property law, showing how legal professionals—wittingly and unwittingly—help rich families and men maintain their privilege. In many countries, property law grants equal rights to men and women. Why, then, do women still accumulate less wealth than men? Combining quantitative, ethnographic, and archival research, The Gender of Capital explains how and why, in every class of society, women are economically disadvantaged with respect to their husbands, fathers, and brothers. The reasons lie with the unfair economic arrangements that play out in divorce proceedings, estate planning, and other crucial situations where law and family life intersect.

The Panic of 1907: Heralding a New Era of Finance, Capitalism, and Democracy (2nd ed.)
Robert F. Bruner and Sean D. Carr
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
In the newly revised third edition of The Panic of 1907: Heralding a New Era of Finance, Capitalism, and Democracy, a team of dedicated researchers delivers a groundbreaking new compilation of historical fact and compelling narrative that will be of significant interest to banking theorists, financial historians, and students of business and economics. You’ll explore how and why a financial panic unfolds—through the lens of the 1907 crisis—and learn how to apply its lessons to the present day.

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