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This is what one could call a tour de force: a biography of liberalism from 1830 until now. As far as I know, the first of its kind. And its a great joy to read – at least for those interested in the history of ideas. Fawcett (a former journalist) is clearly knowledgeable, has done his research and tells the story of liberalism from a wide set of viewpoints. He sees four… Read More

A recent Foreign Affairs article draws a parallel between the Greek crisis and how Latvia recovered from its own crisis. The lesson – one that we learn over and over again – is clear: unless accompanied by substantial institutional reforms, neither austerity nor Grexit will work. I furthermore hope that Tsipras finds the time to read the insightful book ‘Why Nations Fail‘ – it will help him to better understand how functioning,… Read More

Well researched (authors are McKinsey consultants) and full of fascinating examples, the book explains how to capture the ‘biggest business opportunity in a century’: the resource revolution. Combining sustainability challenges (doing more with less) with sound business practices, Heck and Rogers make a convincing case to not wait and see, but actively shape this new world. The integration of 2,5 billion more people into the urban middle class represents a historic economic… Read More

Set up as an anthropological study, Luyendijk spent  a year and a half in the London City interviewing around 200 bankers, so-called quants, recruiters and everyone willing to participate in his experiment -published as a blog on The Guardian website. His mission was to get answers to questions as ‘What Happened?’ and ‘Have adequate measures been put in place to avoid another crisis?’. The answer to the first question is; difficult to… Read More

With great wit Lanchester describes what went wrong during the prelude to the financial crisis and who is to blame (answer: the risk takers, i.e.bankers, but also you and me). In plain language CDO’s, securitization and the difference between debt and deficit are explained, helping to better grasp the painful reality: Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay, as the subtitle of the book goes. Made me laugh and think… Read More

Boekestijn, a historian and former liberal MP, is on a mission. He is specifically interested in the (potential) damage aid does to poor countries and he formulates a detailed list of policy recommendation, making this book a great attempt to really influence the debate and policy on a practical level. Which to a certain extent it probably did, since the thinking on of aid and development has over the last years significantly… Read More

It’s subtitle reads The Origins of Power, Prosperity an Poverty. And that’s exactly what I took from the book. Help is needless if a society doesn’t have working institutions, rule of law and respect for private ownership. I read the book while in Mali, a country which proves the book’s thesis to be right.

Brilliant. If I had to choose one book to take with me to a deserted island, this is the one. It’s insightful, erudite, innovative (at least to me). It took me a while to read, because every single page is interesting and makes one think. For example; we all suffer from focusing illusion: nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it. Chew on it… Read More

An eye-opener on how systems should work to be able to confront the future (not robust, but anti-fragile), from a man I regard as a kind of a hero. Completely independent, extremely smart, but also horrible a presenter and storyteller, as I learned first-hand during a workshop on this book. Anti-fragilty is now part of my life.

Essays on Spain in times of crisis – have enjoyed the beautifully written, dense Spanish sentences, again demonstrating the uniqueness the baroque writing of Spanish authors. Molina is clearly a leftist, blaming the capitalist conspiracy for Spain’s trouble.

Insightful study into the reasons why nations prosper and why some don’t. And proves the case of the pejorative effect of aid. A must read for anyone working in developing countries or with international NGO’s.

Absolutely delightful book. This is how one should live – technology, science and human creativity will solve our problems. I am a convert, cynicism is the easy choice, to be a rational optimist is the inspiring way to live.