The semester is over. You would like to keep reading, but could use something a little less "mathy." No problem. Below are a few books that I have enjoyed, or that have come highly recommended. This list is an ongoing project: recommendations are welcome. 

International topics

The Box by Marc Levinson The history of container shipping, and the way it changed the world. An interesting view on a technology that paved the way for globalization. It seemed like this book was on the shelf of every industrial organization economist at NYU Stern. 

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman A history of 2000-2005 focused on the technological changes that accelerated globalization. Just about every policy maker and public thinker has an opinion on this book. Love it or hate it, it's worth a read --- even if it's only so that you can understand all the references to it in the New York Times.   

Poorly Made in China by Paul Midler The book recounts Midler's time in China as boots-on-the-ground for U.S. companies looking to outsource production to China. The book details just how difficult it was to find a reliable contract manufacturer. 


Lords of Finance: The Bankers who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed I haven't read it yet, but it comes very highly recommended. A look at the historical financial crises that shaped (and created) the Federal Reserve. 

Liars Poker by Michael Lewis A look inside Wall Street in the 1980s. Almost anything by Lewis is a fun read, but this is particularly good. The book is a semi-autobiography of Lewis' time at Solomon Brothers.  

Growth and Development

The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by Bill Easterly Bill was a colleague of mine at NYU. This book is a perspective on the ways that experts who have tried to help poor countries grow have largely failed. His earlier book The Elusive Quest for Growth takes on the same topic. 

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond A somewhat controversial book on the fundamental question: Why are some countries rich and some poor? From an economist’s viewpoint, there are some interesting ideas here regarding technological progress and adoption.

Economic Theory

Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David Levine A provocative study of the effects of patents and other intellectual monopolies. Given the topic, it's not surprising that the book is available as a PDF for free. 

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman This an interesting book and a nice background on the issues that drive behavioral economics.