Books to set you up for 2016

Emma Luxton
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Here’s our round-up of the best reads of 2015 in the fields of economics and finance; business and leadership; and science and technology.

Economics and finance

Inequality: What Can be Done? Anthony Atkinson, Harvard University Press

Atkinson, a leading thinker on trends in inequality over the past 50 years, discusses what we can do to combat inequality. He proposes challenging ideas to narrow the growing gap between people on high and low incomes.

Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the Uses — and Misuses — of History  Barry Eichengreen, Oxford University Press (OUP)

In Hall of Mirrors, renowned economic historian Barry Eichengreen compares governments’ and central bankers’ responses to the Great Recession and the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Other People’s Money John Kay, Profile Books

Other People’s Money argues that the finance sectors in developed countries have become too large and are not sharing the benefits of their growth.

Economics Rules Dani Rodrik, OUP

Rodrik discusses the basic tools of economics, arguing that the problem lies not with economic models but their misuse by practitioners. He believes that the key is knowing which model is appropriate for the situation at hand.

Between Debt and the Devil: Money, Credit and Fixing Global Finance Adair Turner, Princeton University Press

Adair Turner, former chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority, explores the problems created by a debt-driven economy, arguing that modern finance sectors have an inherent tendency to create debt.

Foolproof: Why Safety Can be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe Greg Ip, Hachette Book Group

Ip explains the paradox of how banks, in trying to avoid crisis, create the conditions that cause them.

Digital Gold: The Untold Story of Bitcoin Nathaniel Popper, Allen Lane

Nathaniel Popper tells the story of Bitcoin’s rise, and explains its accompanying technology, blockchain, which has the potential to revolutionize finance.

Science and technology

Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, Flatiron Books

The story of how an engineer and a salesman came together to create a business communication device that conquered the world in the early 2000s, and how quickly it was toppled by the iPhone.

The Rise of the Robots Martin Ford, Oneworld

Winner of both the Financial Times’ business book of the year award and McKinsey Business Book of the Year, The Rise of The Robots discusses the implications of the age of artificial intelligence for equality, business, employment and climate change. Ford warns that “the future may arrive long before we are ready”.

The Vital Question: Why is Life the Way It Is? Nick Lane, Profile Books

Why is life the way it is? Researcher and communicator Nick Lane sets out to answer this complex question by putting forward a solution to evolutionary problems that have baffled generations of scientists.

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter about People who Think Differently Steve Silberman, Allen & Unwin

Silberman’s Neurotribes, winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction, investigates autism, casting a humane light on a much-misunderstood condition. He also explains why disorders that fall on the autism spectrum are diagnosed more frequently now than in previous generations.

The Cunning of Uncertainty Helga Nowotny, Polity

A renowned figure in European science policy, Nowotny’s The Cunning of Uncertainty looks at the impact of uncertainty on modern life. She takes a specific interest in how researchers have worked to reduce uncertainty, with mixed results. This book has been highlighted as an important work in the field of social science.

The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution David Wootton, Allen Lane

The “scientific revolution” transformed the Western world during the 16th and 17th centuries. Wootton looks at the people, stories, faces and arguments surrounding this revolution and the emergence of experimentation in the discovery of the laws of nature.

Business and leadership

Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family Anne-Marie Slaughter, Oneworld

Why women (and men) can’t have it all. Slaughter looks at the hurdles women face in the workplace and sets out her vision for true equality between men and women with an action plan on how to get there.

Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google that Will Transform How You Live and Lead Laszlo Bock, Twelve

Head of Google’s ‘People Operations’ Laszlo Bock provides insights into how to grow the best talent through recruitment and management.

Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time Jeffrey Pfeffer, Harper Business

Stanford University professor Pfeffer questions everything we know about leadership and discusses research on how leaders can enhance their performance.

Why Should Anyone Work Here? What It Takes to Create an Authentic Organization Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones, Harvard Business Review Press

How can leaders generate commitment and foster creativity? Goffee and Jones look at research-based organizational attributes that can help leaders attract, retain and inspire the best talent.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Ashlee Vance, Ecco

Ashlee Vance’s biography on Elon Musk looks at the entrepreneur’s life and career from PayPal to SpaceX, Tesla Motors and SolarCity.

Our selection of the best economics and finance, business and leadership, and science and technology books of 2015 was curated from book lists appearing in the Financial Times, Business Insider, The Independent, Forbes and The Guardian.

Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Emma Luxton is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content. 

Image: A woman reads a book at her open air book store. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski.

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LeadershipArts and CultureGeo-economicsEmerging TechnologiesFinancial and Monetary SystemsFourth Industrial Revolution
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