Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why it Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Schiller
Apparently influential in the Obama administration. Good to see the basics of behavioral economics being applied to a macro-economic book. Helped me get a better sense of why I paid too much for my house, why some folks are still poor, why jobs seem harder to come by, and why the folks making economic policy often seem like dumb apes. Well written and informative. Makes a good argument for the benefits and limits of capitalism and the necessity of regulation to protect our investments and jobs.
Put this book on the syllabus of our reading on why we screw up basic decisions, make poor judgements, fail to predict the future, and are afraid of all the wrong things. Should be read by journalists everywhere who write about disease and violence, and us folks who read and watch these stories. A good cognitive and theoretical summary of the academic literature on risk and behavioral economics. Written with style and humor.
Butchers Hill: A Tess Monaghan Novel by Laura Lippman
The 3rd, and best so far, Tess Monaghan Baltimore murder mystery. I'm reading these in order, having bought the lot used on Amazon. Lippman is getting a little darker, and Tess continues to intrigue with her weird mix of bravery and poor decision making. Baltimore is really a great character in these books....made me want to visit the Charm City.
Not as good as "Discover Your Inner Economist" -but worth a read. Sort of feels like an extended blog post - but nothing really wrong with that as Cowen as some interesting things to say. The core of the book is an argument as to why folks on the autistic spectrum are our new profits, or at least reasons why their cognitive styles are well suited to our information economy and why their brains and behaviors should be honored and understood. Cowen is in love with information, with lists, and with the Web tools that let us play in this information.
Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip--Confessions of a Cynical Waiter (P.S.) by Steve Dublanica
From the blog http://waiterrant.net/ - an insiders tour of the life and culture of a waiter at a high-end restaurant. Dublanica has some tales to tell and some advice to give. He is not nearly a good a writer as Bourdain (the book owes much to Kitchen Confidential), but the book is enjoyable and mildly informative. Mostly I'm amazed at the level of substance abuse (and just pure abuse) that are part of a food servers life. It does make sense, as waiters work crazy hours, work around alcohol, and are paid in cash. Waiters generally live in the moment, are working towards something else (acting, writing, blogging), and are under-appreciated and under-paid. I'll never tip pre-tax again.
Moscow Rules (Gabriel Allon) by Daniel Silva
The Gabriel Allon books that come before were: The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, and the The Secret Servant. I recommend reading them in order. Allon is a Mossad assassin, art restorer and learning technologist (okay, I made up one of these things). Great characters. Moral clarity. Some good action. Topical plots. Always well researched, with an eye for getting the details right. Not very humorous. I'll keep reading.
Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, No. 14) by Janet Evanovich
Mind candy. They all blend together in a hazy goop of New Jersey crime, big hair, fugitives, and exploding cars. This is what I imagine my life would have been like if my Dad would have stayed in Linden.