It’s been a hot few days here in Ottawa and with a break from work coming up, I’m looking forward to crossing off some of the books in my reading list. Chances are I won’t get around to reading even one since I just started The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the first book in Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, which runs close to 850 pages and promises to be a first-rate thriller. Still, here’s my list and if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear it:
This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff
We’ve just lived through a banking crisis and we are still dealing with a sovereign debt crisis. The authors promise a painstakingly-researched account of past financial crises going back to the 1350s. While this book sounds a lot more heavy duty than the Millennium trilogy, it would be instructive to see what the past informs us on the interesting times we live in.
Uncontrolled Risk: Lessons of Lehman Brothers and How Systemic Risk Can Still Bring Down the World Financial System by Mark Williams
You’d think that Wall Street would wise up after eight hundred years of financial folly but you’d be wrong. The collapse of Lehman Brothers almost took down the world financial system with it. I’ve already read two forgettable accounts of Lehman’s collapse and still waiting to read the definitive account of what happened. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and I’m hoping this book will succeed in answering the simple question: “Why did Lehman fail?”
The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession by Peter L. Bernstein
As Bernstein notes in the Prologue, “Gold has motivated entire societies, torn economies to shreds, determined the fate of kings and emperors, inspired the most beautiful works of art, provoked horrible acts by one people against another, and driven men to endure intense hardship in the hope of finding instant wealth and annihilating uncertainty”. This is its story.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Yes, this is not really a recent book but I’ve been meaning to read Outliers for a long time. And come to think of it, I haven’t read Tipping Point either. And even though, I’m not sure that luck plays a huge part in success is an earth-shattering revelation, you can trust Gladwell to spin a charming yarn.
The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely
I loved Predictably Irrational (my review is available here) and I’m keen to find out what “surprising negative and positive effects irrationality can have on our lives”. Prof. Ariely is an excellent writer and if this book is half as good as his first one, it would be well worth the time.