10 books like A Splendid Exchange

By William J. Bernstein,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like A Splendid Exchange. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Reinventing the Bazaar

By John McMillan,

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

The right thinks markets are the magic solution to all problems; the left thinks they only let the rich exploit the poor. As always, the truth is more subtle. With rich details of how actual markets operate around the world, well grounded in modern economic theory of information and incentives, and written in a beautifully simple and engaging style, McMillan tells it like it is and explains why. If you have time to read only one book on economics, make it this one.

Reinventing the Bazaar

By John McMillan,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


The Strategy of Conflict

By Thomas C. Schelling,

Book cover of The Strategy of Conflict

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.”

The Strategy of Conflict

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.


Freakonomics

By Stephen J. Dubner, Steven D. Levitt,

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

Levitt and Dubner’s entertaining bestseller explores hidden and perverse incentives that color our personal and business lives. They share real examples of how perverse incentives can affect (and taint) our decisions. My research at the University of Tennessee has identified 12 perverse incentives of outsourcing (Ailments of Outsourcing) that can plague and derail an outsourcing relationship. I like this book because it helps make the concept of perverse incentives very real and puts empirical evidence around the craziness that can happen if you don’t overlook inherent perverse incentivizes. Simply put, this book will not only make you laugh, it will help you be more aware of perverse incentives. 

Freakonomics

By Stephen J. Dubner, Steven D. Levitt,

Why should I read it?

2 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…


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

By Fred Schwed,

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

This book is over 60 years old but so relevant today! The headline involves a brokerage firm customer looking at all the yachts owned by stockbrokers, hence the question in the title. A well-known writer friend of mine put it another way: “The broker made money, his investment firm made money, and two out of three ain’t bad.” I love this book that zeroes in on the conflict brokers have between their own interests and the interests of their clients.

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

By Fred Schwed,

Why should I read it?

2 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…


The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy

By Pietra Rivoli,

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

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.

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy

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,…


Shibumi

By Trevanian,

Book cover of Shibumi

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.

Shibumi

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…


The Constant Gardener

By John Le Carré,

Book cover of The Constant Gardener

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.

The Constant Gardener

By 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…


The Business

By Iain M. Banks,

Book cover of The Business

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.

The Business

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…


Net Positive

By Paul Polman, Andrew Winston,

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

Net Positive adds to the growing movement on going beyond sustainability – doing less harm – to thriving, which is about doing good. The power of this book is that it is grounded in the leadership experience of former CEO of Unilever Paul Polman, and shares many practical insights and fascinating anecdotes on how he turned the multinational into a powerhouse for creating a better world. This is complemented by the research and additional case studies that co-author Andrew Winston brings to the table. Together, they have written a blueprint for how business can be a force for positive transformation in the world. Most crucially, it raises the bar from sustainability-as-usual to the more ambitious goal of having a positive impact.

Net Positive

By Paul Polman, Andrew Winston,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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."…


Barbaric Heart

By Curtis White,

Book cover of Barbaric Heart: Faith, Money, and the Crisis of Nature

White argues it isn’t enough for environmentalists to simply point a finger at oil drillers and multinational corporations. He instead interrogates how greater humanity has maintained an elusive system of stints and bypasses for what he calls a Barbaric Heart. As citizens of Nature, White maintains we fail ourselves in numerous ways. We call upon the rhetoric and logic of technical, scientific, and bureaucratic systems even though we suspect they might have caused the problem in the first place. 

He points to the value of redefining work into vocations, of reconsidering what we principally consider to be holy and beautiful, and of directing our large brains toward expanding the project of Being rather than the GDP. Like Nietzsche, White believes the purpose of thought is not to locate Truth but rather to make it ever less convenient to lie to ourselves and live in perpetual dishonesty. White doesn’t spoon-feed us…

Barbaric Heart

By Curtis White,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Smart, funny, and fresh, The Barbaric Heart argues that the present environmental crisis will not be resolved by the same forms of crony capitalism and managerial technocracy that created the crisis in the first place. With his trademark wit, White argues that the solution might very well come from an unexpected quarter: the arts, religion, and the realm of the moral imagination.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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