100 books like A Splendid Exchange

By William J. Bernstein,

Here are 100 books that A Splendid Exchange fans have personally recommended if you like A Splendid Exchange. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets

Steven K. Vogel Author Of Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work

From my list on how markets really work.

Who am I?

I first got interested in how markets really work when I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on the “deregulation” movement in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. I quickly discovered that deregulation never happened in the literal sense. In most cases, governments had to increase regulation to enhance market competition. They needed more rules to get “freer” markets. This sounds paradoxical at first, but it really isn’t. It makes perfect sense once you realize that markets do not arise spontaneously but rather are crafted by the very visible hand of the government. So I took that insight and I have been running with it ever since.

Steven's book list on how markets really work

Steven K. Vogel Why did Steven love this book?

McMillan offers a highly readable and concise book on how economists understand market institutions.

I love to assign this book to my undergraduate students because McMillan makes sense of some fairly complex topics, such as auction design. And he covers a wide range of topics of current interest, such as corporate governance and intellectual property rights.

By John McMillan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reinventing the Bazaar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the wild swings of the stock market to the online auctions of eBay to the unexpected twists of the world's post-Communist economies, markets have suddenly become quite visible. We now have occasion to ask, "What makes these institutions work? How important are they? How can we improve them?"

Taking us on a lively tour of a world we once took for granted, John McMillan offers examples ranging from a camel trading fair in India to the $20 million per day Aalsmeer flower market in the Netherlands to the global trade in AIDS drugs. Eschewing ideology, he shows us that…


Book cover of The Strategy of Conflict

Avinash Dixit Author Of The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life

From my list on economics and game theory.

Who am I?

Avinash Dixit is an emeritus university professor of economics at Princeton. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was President of the American Economic Association for the year 2008.

Avinash's book list on economics and game theory

Avinash Dixit Why did Avinash love this book?

This is the book that brought game theory to life. Eschewing dry mathematical theorems, and conducting rigorous logical analysis through rich examples of strategic use of threats, promises, and brinkmanship in real life, Schelling opened up a whole world of practical applications of the theory. My own thinking and writing about game theory owes a huge debt to Schelling. You should also read his “Arms and Influence,” “Micromotives and Macrobehavior,” and “Choice and Consequence.”

By Thomas C. Schelling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Strategy of Conflict as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A series of closely interrelated essays on game theory, this book deals with an area in which progress has been least satisfactory-the situations where there is a common interest as well as conflict between adversaries: negotiations, war and threats of war, criminal deterrence, extortion, tacit bargaining. It proposes enlightening similarities between, for instance, maneuvering in limited war and in a traffic jam; deterring the Russians and one's own children; the modern strategy of terror and the ancient institution of hostages.


Book cover of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Martin Sternstein Author Of Barron's AP Statistics

From my list on statistical insights into social issues.

Who am I?

I taught for 45 years at Ithaca College broken by two years as Fulbright Professor in West Africa at the University of Liberia. During my years in academia, I developed several new courses including a popular “Math in Africa” class and the first U.S. course for college credit in chess theory. I’ve always had a passion for and continue to have strong interests in (1) national educational and social issues concerning equal access to math education for all and (2) teaching others about the power of mathematics and statistics to help one more deeply understand social issues.

Martin's book list on statistical insights into social issues

Martin Sternstein Why did Martin love this book?

Steven Levitt, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, has written a thoughtful book at the layperson level to help one understand how mathematical and economic tools provide insights into sensitive social issues from racism to abortion.

He delves into predicting the long-term consequences of short-term decisions. This book is not intended for the college classroom, and it is controversial, but I found it to be a fascinating read.

By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Freakonomics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The legendary bestseller that made millions look at the world in a radically different way returns in a new edition, now including an exclusive discussion between the authors and bestselling professor of psychology Angela Duckworth.

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? Which should be feared more: snakes or french fries? Why do sumo wrestlers cheat? In this groundbreaking book, leading economist Steven Levitt—Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and winner of the American Economic Association’s John Bates Clark medal for the economist under 40 who has made the greatest contribution to the discipline—reveals that…


Book cover of Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street

Victor Haghani Author Of The Missing Billionaires: A Guide to Better Financial Decisions

From my list on intelligent financial decision-making in less than 200 pages.

Who am I?

I have over four decades of experience working and innovating in the financial markets and have been a prolific contributor to academic and practitioner finance literature. I started my career at Salomon Brothers in 1984, where I became a managing director in the bond-arbitrage group, and in 1993 I was a co-founding partner of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management. I founded Elm Wealth in 2011 to help clients, including my own family, manage and preserve their wealth with a thoughtful, research-based, and cost-effective approach that covers not just investment management but also broader decisions about wealth and finances.

Victor's book list on intelligent financial decision-making in less than 200 pages

Victor Haghani Why did Victor love this book?

I loved this timeless classic. This book gets down to the essence of how to safely navigate Wall Street, where everyone wants a slice of your financial pie. It’s a quick and hilarious read that challenges the conventional investment wisdom that Wall Street tries to get you to believe.

You’ll become a more savvy and skeptical investor and avoid costly mistakes in your financial life. I gave a copy of this book to all my three children, and they loved it too!

By Fred Schwed,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Once I picked it up I did not put it down until I finished...What Schwed has done is capture fully-in deceptively clean language - the lunacy at the heart of the investment business' - From the Foreword by Michael Lewis, Bestselling author of "Liar's Poker". '...one of the funniest books ever written about Wall Street' - Jane Bryant Quinn, "The Washington Post". 'How great to have a reissue of a hilarious classic that proves the more things change the more they stay the same. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent' - Michael Bloomberg. 'It's amazing how…


Book cover of The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade

Diana E. Marsh Author Of Extinct Monsters to Deep Time: Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian's Fossil Halls

From my list on where authors infiltrate a wild community.

Who am I?

I’m a nerd about all things museums and archives, which I teach and write about. I was trained as an anthropologist, and got really interested in using anthropology’s methods (namely ethnography) to do long-term, embedded, deep-dive fieldwork in bureaucratic settings, like big museums. I love reading books by journalists, economists, historians, and others who do ethnography and really embed themselves in different communities, places, and cultures.

Diana's book list on where authors infiltrate a wild community

Diana E. Marsh Why did Diana love this book?

This was the first book I read that was kind of an embedded object biography back when I was an undergraduate student in my second-ever anthropology class. I was totally hooked on the genre. This book follows t-shirts, from where cotton is picked, to where t-shirts are manufactured, printed, sold and distributed, to their disposal—including second lives on the used clothing market. “Who made your t-shirt?” as a great first starting question.

By Pietra Rivoli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The keys to global business success, as taught by a T-shirt's journey

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a critically-acclaimed narrative that illuminates the globalization debates and reveals the key factors to success in global business. Tracing a T-shirt's life story from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a U.S. storefront before arriving at the used clothing market in Africa, the book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy. Along the way, this fascinating exploration addresses a wealth of compelling questions about politics, trade, economics, ethics,…


Book cover of No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs

Nick Dearden Author Of Pharmanomics: How Big Pharma Destroys Global Health

From my list on to understand why the world is in such a mess.

Who am I?

So many of the problems we face as a society stem from the way our economy works. But the economy is presented as something technical and dry, or even simply the ‘natural state of things’. It makes it hard for people to understand where power lies, or even to imagine how it could be otherwise. If we want things to be different – and we really need things to be different – we’ve got to find better ways of communicating what’s going on. I’ve chosen some books that do this – to explain how economic decisions are made. And always to point to the possibility of it all being very different and much better. 

Nick's book list on to understand why the world is in such a mess

Nick Dearden Why did Nick love this book?

In the late 1990s, a new type of economy was being born, one dominated by massive corporations, whose logos were increasingly ubiquitous, and who were driving a culture of consumerism among young people.

Klein traced this corporate dominance to a new form of capitalism in which corporations were becoming ever less interested in the stuff they actually made, be it trainers, takeaway coffee, or jeans. Rather, they were selling a brand, and replacing our very notion of ourselves as citizens living in a democracy with one of consumers shopping in a marketplace.

Klein’s book looks at how companies like Nike and Starbucks transformed society – and what people were doing to challenge their dominance.    

By Naomi Klein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Logo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Tenth Anniversary Edition of Naomi Klein's No Logo with a New Introduction by the Author

NO LOGO was an international bestseller and "a movement bible" (The New York Times). Naomi Klein's second book, The Shock Doctrine, was hailed as a "master narrative of our time," and has over a million copies in print worldwide.

In the last decade, No Logo has become an international phenomenon and a cultural manifesto for the critics of unfettered capitalism worldwide. As America faces a second economic depression, Klein's analysis of our corporate and branded world is as timely and powerful as ever.

Equal…


Book cover of Shibumi

Gary McAvoy Author Of The Magdalene Deception

From my list on reads if you don’t feel like sleeping.

Who am I?

Apart from being an armchair historian and author of thriller and suspense novels, I’ve been a lifelong collector of original handwritten historical manuscripts—parchments and papyri from medieval times, papal documents from the Middle Ages, ancient illuminated manuscripts from hundreds of years ago, Gregorian chanting parchments…anything memorializing the human need to communicate and tell stories or document historical events. My home is like a museum, with framed historic written memorabilia on every wall, precious reminders of moments in time when someone thought what they were doing needed to be documented, usually in some form of achingly beautiful calligraphy when art was more important than expediency.

Gary's book list on reads if you don’t feel like sleeping

Gary McAvoy Why did Gary love this book?

I first read Shibumi in the 1970s when it was originally published, and it changed my entire philosophy about life. The cast of characters, led by assassin Nicholai Hel, his concubine Hana, and other characters are exquisitely well drawn, and each has their own distinct character traits, some endearing and others truly despicable. The book is at once exciting, sexy, funny, satirical, philosophical, and educational. Readers learn about Japanese, Chinese, and Basque cultures, World War II history, and even spelunking, all the while Nicolai deals with the evil forces of the CIA, NSA, MI5, and MI6. A brilliant writer, Trevanian was also a philosopher of sorts, giving us his take on society and how we relate to one another. One of those books that hold up well over time and you just never forget.

By Trevanian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shibumi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic spy novel from the bestselling author, Trevanian, about a westerner raised in Japan who becomes one of the world's most accomplished assassins.

Nicholai Hel is the world’s most wanted man. Born in Shanghai during the chaos of World War I, he is the son of an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father and is the protégé of a Japanese Go master. Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world’s most artful lover and its most accomplished—and well-paid—assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret…


Book cover of Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take

Anne Bahr Thompson Author Of Do Good: Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit

From my list on shifting the role business plays in society.

Who am I?

I pivoted into brand consulting after working in banking, because I saw a need to align organizational behaviors and actions with purpose and values. So naturally, as a strategist my work has always informally included an element of coaching brands and people to have the courage and confidence to be their best, true selves. To have a broader societal vision and positive social impact. Since the Me-to-We continuum of Brand Citizenship emerged unsolicited in research, I also have been on a larger mission to help business balance how it earns a profit with how it serves individual people, betters society, and regenerates the planet.

Anne's book list on shifting the role business plays in society

Anne Bahr Thompson Why did Anne love this book?

At a time when businesses are targeting net zero carbon emissions, Net Positive is a rallying cry for leaders to embrace a wider definition of sustainability.

As Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, who I’ve had the privilege of interviewing, and Andrew Winston explain net positive companies improve the lives of everyone they touch, increasing long-term shareholder returns in the process; take ownership of social and environmental impacts their business models create, viewing these as opportunities to innovate; and partner with competitors, civil society and governments to drive transformative change. 

Although some concepts presented in this book were not new to me, the authors’ examples add meaningful perspective. Net Positive affirmed my belief in purpose-led organizations and the power of business to do more.

By Paul Polman, Andrew Winston,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Net Positive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year

Named one of 10 Best New Management Books for 2022 by Thinkers50

"An advocate of sustainable capitalism explains how it's done" - The Economist

"Polman's new book with the sustainable business expert Andrew Winston...argues that it's profitable to do business with the goal of making the world better." - The New York Times

Named as recommended reading by Fortune's CEO Daily

"...Polman has been one of the most significant chief executives of his era and that his approach to business and its role in society has been both valuable and path-breaking."…


Book cover of The Constant Gardener

Robert Craven Author Of A Kind of Drowning

From my list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers.

Who am I?

I am the author of six espionage books, 5 featuring allied spy, Eva Molenaar operating at the highest levels of Hitler’s Reich. The 6th The Road of a Thousand Tigers, is my homage to le Carre and Ian Fleming. I have loved the spy genre since I first read The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers and grew up seeing every Bond movie since The Man with the Golden Gun at the cinema.

Robert's book list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers

Robert Craven Why did Robert love this book?

Published in 2001, The Constant Gardener is my favorite le Carre Novel. A British diplomat in Nairobi, Justin Quayle, is informed his activist wife, Tess has been killed in a remote part of Kenya along with a doctor friend. As Quayle investigates her life (in a similar way to Eric Ambler unfolds Dimitrios’s life), he uncovers her work exposing large pharmaceutical companies’ unethical experiments in the poorest regions of Africa. This leads to her brutal death and cover-up at a diplomatic and political level. It is an exceptional book that makes you rethink how medicine and the industry behind it operates. After the collapse of the USSR, le Carre seemed to struggle with his work, The Constant Gardener though, kick-started another two decades of great writing from him.

By John Le Carré, John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Constant Gardener as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The book breathes life, anger and excitement' Observer

Tessa Quayle, a brilliant and beautiful young social activist, has been found brutally murdered by Lake Turkana in Nairobi. The rumours are that she was faithless, careless, but her husband Justin, a reserved, garden-loving British diplomat, refuses to believe them. As he sets out to discover what really happened to Tessa, he unearths a conspiracy more disturbing, and more deadly, than he could ever have imagined.

A blistering expose of global corruption, The Constant Gardener is also the moving portrayal of a man searching for justice for the woman he has barely…


Book cover of The Business

Patrick Edwards Author Of Echo Cycle

From my list on changing your mind about science fiction.

Who am I?

I’m still in love with good sci-fi and fantasy after 30 years, but folk can get most terribly sniffy about it: ‘Lack of character’, ‘leaden exposition’, the list of accusations rolls on (sadly, a chunk of today’s SFF earns it). But. Every so often a work pops up that looks to the unwary book clubber like a ‘proper novel’; beneath its sexy but abstract cover and pared-back blurb lies a world of adventure that’s like LSD in an innocent mug of tea. Some writers just refuse to accept that speculation (about time and/ or space) needs to sacrifice truth. I’ve picked a few books that stand out to me for this reason – debate their merits with gusto, preferably over a good Martini at 2am.

Patrick's book list on changing your mind about science fiction

Patrick Edwards Why did Patrick love this book?

Banks is a freak of nature: he wrote sci-fi of the pinkest blood as well as prize-winning literary fare; all it took to indulge this duality was the use of a spare initial. The Business is one of the subtler interlopers: a minimalist, monochrome cover and a tale of corporate greed. Banks dials what could have been a staid techno-thriller up to 11 with killer prose, a razor-sharp protagonist, and outrageous flirting with the edges of possibility: magnates who get their jollies beaching cruise liners, hollowed-out mountain lairs, revving supercars to the destruction around the Swiss mountains. This is a novel that pops with the wit and flair of a writer at the height of his powers and determined to have a blast.

By Iain M. Banks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Business as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kate Telman is a senior executive officer in The Business, a powerful and massively discreet transglobal organisation. Financially transparent, internally democratic and disavowing conventional familial inheritance, the character of The Business seems, even to Kate, to be vague to the point of invisibility. It possesses, allegedly, a book of Leonardo cartoons, several sets of Crown Jewels and wants to buy its own State in order to acquire a seat at the United Nations.

Kate's job is to keep abreast of current technological developments and her global reach encompasses Silicon Valley, a ranch in Nebraska, the firm's secretive Swiss headquarters, and…


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