Category Archives: Book Lists

Economist Best Books of 2015

The Economist Best Books for 2015 has come out. The full list is here, but a few that leaped out at me:

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. By Robert Putnam. Simon & Schuster; 386 pages; $28 and £18.99

The most important divide in America today is class, not race, and the place where it matters most is in the home. In a thoughtful and persuasive book, the former dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government analyses the growing gulf between how the rich and the poor raise their children, adding a liberal voice to long-standing conservative complaints about family breakdown

Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles. By Bernard Cornwell. Harper Collins; 352 pages; $35. William Collins; £25

A great and terrible story of a battle that was fought 200 years ago, told with energy and clarity by a writer who has a deep understanding of men in combat and why they do what they do. “Waterloo” proves that Bernard Cornwell’s non-fiction is as fine as his novels, if not finer.

The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East. By Eugene Rogan. Basic Books; 512 pages; $32. Allen Lane; £25

How a multinational Muslim empire was destroyed by the first world war, by a historian of the 20th century who is director of the Middle East Centre at Oxford University.

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. By Mary Beard. Liveright; 608 pages; $35. Profile; 606 pages; £25

A masterly new chronicle, by Britain’s most engaging historian of the ancient world, about Rome from its myth-shrouded origins to the early third century. She shows that the key to its dominance was granting citizenship to so many people.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. By Andrea Wulf. Knopf; 496 pages; $30. John Murray; £25

Explorer, polymath, friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Jefferson and Simon Bolívar, Alexander von Humboldt was one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. His ideas are as relevant today as they ever were.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics. By Richard Thaler. Norton; 432 pages; $27.95. Allen Lane; £20

Why people don’t behave the way economic models predict lies at the heart of this brilliant intellectual history by the founder of this once-obscure blend of psychology and economics.

Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family. By Anne-Marie Slaughter. Random House; 352 pages; $28. Oneworld; 352 pages; £16.99

Why organisations will have to change radically to make work-life balance a reality, by a respected foreign-policy expert who left her high-octane government job to spend more time with her two teenage sons. A rational, well-argued call to arms. Move over Sheryl Sandberg.

The Fishermen. By Chigozie Obioma. Little, Brown; 304 pages; $26. One; £14.99

A lyrical retelling of the Cain-and-Abel story in which four Nigerian brothers play truant from school, go fishing and meet a soothsayer who predicts that one brother will kill another. Not yet 30, Chigozie Obioma is a writer to watch.

Summer Book Recommendations

As it hits the peak of summer (but not Midsummer, which was ages ago, confusingly enough), it seemed apropos to pass on some summer book suggestions: a selection of reviews I’ve written over the past year

What If – Randall Munroe

A recommendation I share with Bill Gates – a hilarious yet educational way to learn why not to swim in nuclear waste ponds (hint: it isn’t because of the nuclear waste)

Business Adventures – John Brooks

Warren Buffet and Bill Gates’ favourite business book. What more needs to be said? It’s a classic discussion of the fundamentals of running and understanding a business.

The Smartest Kids in the World – Amanda Ripley

A light but compelling read on the educational systems of Finland and Korea, both of whom have schoolkids who do very well on international test scores, Poland, which has dramatically improved recently, and the US, which…has not and does not. Light and suitable for summer, but on a important topic and full of great ideas.

Daily Rituals – Mason Currey

We all have our daily rituals – waking up at a particular time, checking our phone, sitting in a room naked having an ‘air bath’ for an hour. That last one might only apply to Benjamin Franklin. A fun walk through some eccentric rituals, rich with stories for summer barbecues and even a little motivating.

College Disrupted – Ryan Craig

A study of the American educational system and how it needs to change. Data driven and insightful, it takes the unusual step of looking at the whole educational system, not just the top 50 universities we usually think of.

Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Marquez writes beautifully and thinks deeply. His books are always worthwhile, but Love in the Time of Cholera is a beautiful meditation on the nature of love.

The Sense of Style – Steven Pinker

Summer can be a great time to work on our own projects. Perhaps one of your is improving your writing with help from a man who, sayeth the Economist, writes like an angel?


The Economist Best Books 2014

Something like a quarter of all book sales are made in the month before Christmas each year – it’s a popular gift! I thought, therefore, it might useful to take a look at some 2014 book lists.

The Economist released their list in the most recent edition – I’ve included the summaries of some but not all. One in particular stands out to me: Pinker’s The Sense of Style – highly recommended, and you can read my review at the link!

For a focus on non-fiction in particular, you could also look at Tyler Cowen’s recommendations.

Politics and current affairs

The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited. By Louisa Lim. Oxford University Press; 248 pages; $24.95 and £16.99. Buy from;
Twenty-five years after the bloodshed in Beijing, new details keep emerging. This reconstruction, by a correspondent for America’s National Public Radio, is as important for Western readers as it is for the new Chinese generation that has grown up since 1989 and knows little of what happened.

The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate on the Future of Free Speech. By Flemming Rose. Cato Institute; 240 pages; $24.95. Buy from;
The culture editor of the Danish newspaper that published cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 offers a personal account of the ensuing controversy and what it means for democracy.

Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalisation of Democracy. By Francis Fukuyama. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 658 pages; $35. Profile; £25. Buy from;
A superstar academic, who in 1992 tried to persuade people that they had got to the end of history, returns admitting that things are more complicated than he imagined. China has adopted a mixture of state capitalism and authoritarianism, and democratisation has failed in Russia and most of the Middle East. What is needed are high-quality political institutions; not an easy thing to build.

The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall.

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China.

Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923.

The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia.

Indonesia Etc: Exploring the Improbable Nation.

China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa.

Biography and memoir

Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Concise Life. By John Röhl. Cambridge University Press; 240 pages; $24.99 and £16.99. Buy from;
Scholarship and authority shine through this short version of John Röhl’s 4,000-page, multi-volume life of Kaiser Wilhelm, an emotionally needy, bombastic, choleric and hypersensitive man quite ill-suited to run the most powerful country in Europe.

 Napoleon: A Life. By Andrew Roberts. Viking; 976 pages; $45. Allen Lane; £30. Buy from;
A British historian makes full use of the treasure trove of Napoleon’s 33,000-odd letters and concludes that the French emperor was a tactical military genius who made some serious strategic mistakes and was far from being a brilliant statesman.

H is for Hawk. By Helen Macdonald. Jonathan Cape; 300 pages; £14.99. To be published in America by Grove Atlantic in March 2015. Buy from;
A bird’s-eye view of love and loss, this meditation on nature, raptors, grief and the strange life of T.H. White—English author of “The Goshawk”—was the discovery of the season. Winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction.

E.E. Cummings: A Life. By Susan Cheever. Pantheon; 213 pages; $26.95. Buy from;
Inward-looking and now unfashionable, E.E. Cummings is a tricky poet to understand. With boundless new detail gathered through meticulous research, Susan Cheever succeeds where most other biographers have failed.

Faisal I of Iraq.

Little Failure: A Memoir.

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery.


The English and Their History. By Robert Tombs. Allen Lane; 1,012 pages; £35. Buy from;
A British academic shows how being a historian of France helped him recognise that his fellow Englishmen and women have embraced pluralism and immigration for at least 1,300 years, he concludes, and they should not give it up as it is a characteristic strength.

Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517-1648. By Mark Greengrass. Viking; 752 pages; $45. Allen Lane; £30. Buy from;
A magisterial account of the birth of modern Europe, from the Reformation, which broke the dominance of the Roman Catholic church, to the Peace of Westphalia, which entrenched the idea of the nation-state.

The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. By Kevin Birmingham. Penguin Press; 417 pages; $29.95. Head of Zeus; £20. Buy from;
A gripping account of how a banned masterpiece, James Joyc’s “Ulysses”, was published in instalments in small literary magazines and then in private, limited print runs by dedicated patrons (most of them women) who had to smuggle copies into America and Britain.

Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David.

Why Homer Matters.

The Reckoning: Death and Intrigue in the Promised Land.

Economics and business

Capital in the Twenty-First Century. 

The Forgotten Depression, 1921: The Crash that Cured Itself.

Science and technology

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. By Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt; 302 pages; $28. Bloomsbury; £20. Buy from;
Five previous extinctions wiped out plant and animal life on a huge scale; now a sixth is upon us. Is life resilient enough to withstand mankind?

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. By Nina Teicholz. Simon & Schuster; 479 pages; $27.99. Scribe; £14.99. Buy from;
A historical study of how fat came to be demonised, especially in America, by a mix of academics, government officials and food companies, and how the few sceptics who dared take on the fat orthodoxy have been much disparaged for their pains. Detailed in its research and eloquent in its argument, this is the year’s most surprising diet book.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. By Atul Gawande. Metropolitan Books; 282 pages; $26. Profile; £15.99. Buy from;
A thoughtful American doctor, who gave the 2014 Reith lectures, recounts how many of his patients spend their final hours hooked up to machines, under fluorescent lights, surrounded by strangers. Far better to think through the implications and plan for the end you really want.

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology.

Culture, society and travel

Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family. By June Carbone and Naomi Cahn. Oxford University Press; 272 pages; $29.95 and £18.99. Buy from;
Asking why fewer people marry, two American legal academics show how, over the decades, economic inequality has undermined the rationality of marriage for many and weakened the family.

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. By Steven Pinker. Viking; 359 pages; $27.95. Allen Lane; £20. Buy from;
With gentle good humour, the Harvard psycholinguist explains that a good piece of writing is like the perfect soufflé appearing in a spotless kitchen at the end of a cooking show: “The messy work has been done beforehand and behind the scenes.” A good read for all ages.

Lessons of Hope: How to Fix Our Schools. By Joel Klein. Harper; 320 pages; $27.99. Buy from;
The former chancellor of New York’s department of education knows at first hand how much a child’s education is linked to his or her success in life. He has much to say about his nine-year campaign to improve the city’s school system and how it could become a blueprint for reform of America’s education system.

Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism and Road Revolt in Saudi Arabia.

The Reef, A Passionate History: The Great Barrier Reef from Captain Cook to Climate Change.

Germany: Memories of a Nation.


The Narrow Road to the Deep North. By Richard Flanagan. Knopf; 352 pages; $26.95. Chatto & Windus; £16.99. Buy from;
A journey of loss and discovery set among the prisoners of war who were sent to build the “Death Railway” between Thailand and Burma during the second world war. Winner of the 2014 Man Booker prize for fiction and replete with scenes that stay with the reader long after the final page, this is the book that Richard Flanagan was born to write.

Lila. By Marilynne Robinson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 272 pages; $26. Virago; £16.99. Buy from;
The third of Marilynne Robinson’s novels to be set in Gilead, Iowa, and featuring John Ames, a Congregationalist preacher, turns to the story of Ames’s late-in-life wife. A former prostitute and cleaner, Lila, in her new incarnation, learns about grace, joy and love, lessons that are imparted with no trace of soppiness. By one of the finest writers in America.

Decoded. By Mai Jia. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 315 pages; $26. Allen Lane; £18.99. Buy from;
At last, a fine Chinese novel that holds its own as a work that book-lovers with no special knowledge of China will relish. By a former member of the intelligence services, “Decoded” stands out for its pace and for the sheer novelty of the tale it tells.

Arctic Summer.


No Man’s Land: Fiction from a World at War.

Thirty Girls: A Novel.

Family Life: A Novel.

Fourth of July Creek.

Uncertain Glory.

Clinton’s Favourite Books

A favourite blog of mine, Farnamstreet, just shared Bill Clinton’s 21 favourite books. Keep in mind this is from 93, and so says about as much as the regions and groups whose support he wanted as much as books he likes. For all that, interesting!

Original list here, and Farnam Street discussion of each book here.


•  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou.

•  Meditations, Marcus Aurelius.

• The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker.

• Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963, Taylor Branch.

• Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

• Lincoln, David Herbert Donald.

• The Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot.

• Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison.

•  The Way of the World: From the Dawn of Civilizations to the Eve of the Twenty-First Century, David Fromkin.

• One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

• The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, Seamus Heaney.

• King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Adam Hochschild.

• The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis.

• Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell.

• The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis, Carroll Quigley.

• Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics, Reinhold Niebuhr.

• The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron.

• Politics as a Vocation, Max Weber.

• You Can’t Go Home Again, Thomas Wolfe.

• Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Robert Wright.

• The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats, William Butler Yeats.

Bill Gates Summer Reading Recommendations

Gates is good about giving book recommendations, so I thought I’d pass them along: this list is shorter than usual, actually. The comments about each book are his (I can’t get away with talking about Buffet like a personal friend): I like Ezekiel Emanuel, so would probably read his, and Doris Kearns Goodwin is always a good place to start. Any book that’s the favourite of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet seems like a reasonable choice, too.

Business Adventures, by John Brooks. Warren Buffett recommended this book to me back in 1991, and it’s still the best business book I’ve ever read. Even though Brooks wrote more than four decades ago, he offers sharp insights into timeless fundamentals of business, like the challenge of building a large organization, hiring people with the right skills, and listening to customers’ feedback.

Stress Test, by Timothy F. Geithner. The central irony of Stress Test is that a guy who was accused of being a lousy communicator as U.S. Treasury Secretary has penned a book that is such a good read. Geithner paints a compelling human portrait of what it was like to be fighting a global financial meltdown while at the same time fighting critics inside and outside the Administration as well as his own severe guilt over his near-total absence from his family.

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.I read a lot about Teddy Roosevelt last year, around the time Melinda and I took our kids to the Panama Canal. He was instrumental in getting the canal built, and I’d assumed it was the highlight of his career. But it wasn’t. It’s a testament to the breadth and depth of Roosevelt’s accomplishments that the canal warrants only a handful of mentions in this biography.

The Rosie Project: A Novel, by Graeme Simsion. Melinda picked up this novel earlier this year, and she loved it so much that she kept stopping to read passages to me. I started it myself at 11 p.m. one Saturday and stayed up with it until 3 the next morning. Anyone who occasionally gets overly logical will identify with the hero, a genetics professor with Asperger’s Syndrome who goes looking for a wife.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Climate change is a big problem—one of the biggest we’ll face this century—but it’s not the only environmental concern on the horizon. Humans are putting down massive amounts of pavement, moving species around the planet, over-fishing and acidifying the oceans, changing the chemical composition of rivers, and more. Natural scientists posit that there have been five extinction events in the Earth’s history (think of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs), and Kolbert makes a compelling case that human activity is leading to the sixth.

Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Improve Our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System, by Ezekiel J. Emanuel. One of the architects of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) makes the case for why the U.S. health care system needed reform and how Obamacare sets out to fix the problems. Although he was deeply involved in its creation, Emanuel is good about making it clear when he’s educating you about the history of health care and when he’s advocating for his ideas. And unlike a lot of experts, he’s willing to make predictions about how health care will change in the coming years.”

You can also watch a video of him talking about it, here.

Summer Reading Suggestions

In honour the end of June (and Canada Day!) I thought I’d offer some suggestions for reading for the summer.

Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan

Summer’s the perfect time to review your eating habits, and Michael Pollan is the perfect person to help.

The Better Angels of our Nature – Steven Pinker

A long book, but one that is worth taking the time to read. Pinker will tell you why you can still be optimistic about humanity: violence is falling, cruelty is diminishing, and overall we’ve actually been quite successful at reducing war, homicide, and other violent crimes.

The Righteous Mind – Jonathan Haidt

Summer’s also a good time for trying to reach across the aisle and understand the other side. Haidt is the ideal way to do that: fair and openminded, he analyzes morality, and instead of arguing the other side is immoral and the debate so often seems to descend to, he looks at the basis for morality that underlie the arguments on both sides.

Quiet – Susan Cain

A nice light read, but for all the introverts out there who sometimes feel overwhelmed by an extroverted society, a great read.

On my stack

Of course, I plan to do some serious reading myself, too. On my stack at the moment is

Capital in the 21st Century – Thomas Piketty

This 700 page economics treatise outsold fiction for weeks on Amazon: what that means for readership I have no idea, but at the very least there’s a lot of copies out there.

The Panic Virus – Seth Mnookin

An examination of the autism-vaccine controversy.

Risk-Savvy: How to make Good Decisions – Gerd Gigerenzer

Gigerenzer is an unusual psychologist who argues that the modern perception that we are biased actors who need to be fixed is flawed. Instead, he argues for biases as an ‘adaptive toolbox’: a series of adaptations that are by and large useful to us.

J’accuse – Emile Zola

The classic work of the Dreyfus Affair. In French, which is slowing me down but good for me.

The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

We’ll see how these read when I get there!


What to look forward to…

I’m away for the coming week, so I thought today rather than posting a review I’d share what’s on my shelf at the moment, to give you something to do – reviews will presumably appear at some point! I’ll see you all next Wednesday.

Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol

Classic of 19th century Russian literature, intending to demonstrate the flaws and faults of the Russian character. Any relation to modern international relations purely coincidental.

Scarcity – Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir

Discusses how being in need or impoverished affects our psychological decisionmaking

The Vikings: The last pagans or the first modern Europeans? – Jonathan Clements

An introduction to Viking history, putting them in a wider historical context; ie, they were very open-minded in their pillaging.

Taking the Path of Zen – Robert Aitken

One of the classic introductory Zen texts: once I read this, I also plan to read The Eight Gates of Zen, by John Daido Loori.

Learning to School: Federalism and Public Schooling in Canada – Jennifer Wallner

Examines Canada’s educational system, the only industrialized country without a national department of education (it’s all done at a provincial level).

Bloomberg 2013 Books

Having given Bill Gates’ suggestions earlier this week, I thought I’d continue with Bloomberg News survey of best 2013 books by various public figures, mostly CEOs and investors but including public servants, economists, and academics. The most popular book was “The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White and the Making of a New World Order” by Benn Steil, for what it’s worth: a few other choices are below. I’ll get back substantive posts after Christmas, honest!

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World” by Howard G. Buffett

“He thought he knew his son Howard’s story pretty well, but he says he was surprised to read his book. In it, he realized the evolution of Howard from a child of limitless energy but little direction into a serious philanthropist was dramatic.”

Howard G. Buffett, chairman of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation: “The Idealist:  Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty” by Nina Munk

“Illuminated the flaws of trying to impose Western thinking on Africa. “Jeff Sachs’ `Millennium Villages’ tried to create a recipe for lifting regions out of poverty through massive aid and development plans designed from a distance by people who lacked a deep understanding of farming. This book is stark proof that approach just does not work.””

Carlos Slim (World’s 2nd richest man)

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” by Christopher McDougall

My Way: An Autobiography” by Paul Anka

American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the U.S.A.” by Ed Whitacre

The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined” by Salman Khan.

Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary: “Wilson” by A. Scott Berg

“Woodrow Wilson’s story, a century after his presidency. Wilson’s crusading ideals in favor of freedom abroad, and against excessive economic power at home, continue to define political debates. As America grapples with vast technological forces reshaping our economy, and a world system being transformed, both the positive and negative lessons of Wilson’s presidency have never been more relevant.”

Paul Martin, former prime minister of Canada: “The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America” by Thomas King

“Takes real talent to convey deep thought without the reader knowing it. This is what Tom King has done, and on a subject matter that far more of us should understand, but don’t.”

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan

“when I finish it, I will regret having done so because what I will really want to do is read it again for the first time.”

Bill Gates 2013 Book Recommendations

It’s nearing Christmas, which means tis the season for ‘Best of’ lists and other ways of avoiding actual work. Far be it from me to buck this trend!  Today, I thought I’d share Bill Gates’ book suggestions for 2013. He writes (full story here);

“I read mostly nonfiction because I always want to learn more about how the world works. And reading is how I learn best.

Each of the books on the list below taught me something I didn’t know. How shipping containers helped cut the cost of moving goods between Asia and North America by roughly half. How refined tools for measurement laid the groundwork for the invention of the steam engine. How we’re dangerously overfishing cod, tuna, and other species.

More generally, these books tell amazing stories of human ingenuity.”

The Box, by Marc Levinson

“You might think you don’t want to read a whole book about shipping containers. And Levinson is pretty self-aware about what an unusual topic he chose. But he makes a good case that the move to containerized shipping had an enormous impact on the global economy and changed the way the world does business. And he turns it into a very readable narrative.”

The Most Powerful Idea in the World, by William Rosen

“A bit like The Box, except it’s about steam engines. Rosen weaves together the clever characters, incremental innovations, and historical context behind this invention.”

Harvesting the Biosphere, by Vaclav Smil

“There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil. Here he gives as clear and as numeric a picture as is possible of how humans have altered the biosphere. The book is a bit dry and I had to look up a number of terms that were unfamiliar to me, but it tells a critical story if you care about the impact we’re having on the planet.”

The World Until Yesterday, by Jared Diamond (You can see my review here)

“It’s not as good as Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. But then, few books are. Diamond finds fascinating anecdotes about what life is like for hunter-gatherers and asks which ones might apply to our modern lifestyles. He doesn’t make some grand pronouncement or romanticize tribal life. He just wants to find the best practices and share them.”

Poor Numbers, by Morten Jerven

“Jerven, an economist, spent four years digging into how African nations get their statistics and the challenges they face in turning them into GDP estimates. He makes a strong case that a lot of GDP measurements we thought were accurate are far from it.”

Why Does College Cost So Much?, by Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman

“The title is a question that seems to get more attention every year. The authors are good about not pointing fingers but instead talking about how America’s labor market affects the cost of college.”

The Bet, by Paul Sabin

“Sabin chronicles the public debate about whether the world is headed for an environmental catastrophe. He centers the story on Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon, who wagered $1,000 on whether human welfare would improve or get worse over time. Without ridiculing either proponent, Sabin shows how their extreme views contributed to the polarized debate over climate change and other issues that continues today.”