Saturday, December 04, 2010

Books for Christmas

From my other blog, Peter's Bookshelf:

Six months of panic - Trevor Sykes

Few Australian writers can match Trevor Sykes' understanding of the murkier waters of Australian business, as readers of his Pierpont column and his magisterial works The Bold Riders and Two Centuries of Panic have shown.

He has now turned his eagle eye on what has become known as the GFC, and the waves of panic that began with the subprime crisis in America and flowed with tsunami-like force across Europe, Asia and Australia. This was a crisis which was borne from an excess of greed, and immorality, and Sykes singles the Wall Street banks out for particular blame.

He explains how the subprime phenomenon came about, and how the fall of Lehman brothers marked the beginning of the slide. Inevitably the crisis reached Australia, with Centro and MFS the first dominoes in the chain. With the same blowtorch he earlier applied to the likes of Alan Bond he dissects the questionable dealings which caused the fall of high flyers like Allco, Babcock and Brown, ABC and many more, and summarises the pain and harm caused by the myriad small companies and individuals feeding from the frenzy.

Zombie Economics - John Quiggin

In the graveyard of economic ideology, dead ideas still stalk the land.

The recent financial crisis laid bare many of the assumptions behind market liberalism--the theory that market-based solutions are always best, regardless of the problem. For decades, their advocates dominated mainstream economics, and their influence created a system where an unthinking faith in markets led many to view speculative investments as fundamentally safe. The crisis seemed to have killed off these ideas, but they still live on in the minds of many--members of the public, commentators, politicians, economists, and even those charged with cleaning up the mess. In Zombie Economics, John Quiggin explains how these dead ideas still walk among us--and why we must find a way to kill them once and for all if we are to avoid an even bigger financial crisis in the future.

The Plundered Planet - Paul Collier

Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion was greeted as groundbreaking when it appeared in 2007. The Economist wrote that it was "set to become a classic," the Financial Times praised it as "rich in both analysis and recommendations," while Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times called it the "best nonfiction book so far this year."

Now, in The Plundered Planet, Collier builds upon his renowned work on developing countries and the poorest populations to confront the global mismanagement of nature. Proper stewardship of natural assets and liabilities is a matter of planetary urgency: natural resources have the potential either to transform the poorest countries or to tear them apart, while the carbon emissions and agricultural follies of the rich world could further impoverish them. The Plundered Planet charts a course between unchecked profiteering on the one hand and environmental romanticism on the other to offer realistic and sustainable solutions to dauntingly complex issues.

Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals - Ray Moynihan

Hard-hitting and provocative, this powerful expose of the birth of a new 'disease' - and the multi-million dollar machine unleashed to market - takes us inside the corridors of medical power from Paris to Melbourne to Manhattan to witness the creation of 'female sexual dysfunction' as a twenty-first century epidemic.

The characters in this corporate thriller are the global drug giants, the doctors and psychologists working with them, and the critics trying to untangle medical science from marketing who argue the new disorders of desire are a misleading and dangerous distraction from the real problems in sexual relationships.

I really really really really recommend each.

Related Posts

. Brilliant new movie trailers (Don't worry, they relate to economics)

. "Inspirational" - Seen at Borders at the Canberra Centre

. Scroogenomics - the Christmas debate writ large