100 books like Fool's Gold

By Gillian Tett,

Here are 100 books that Fool's Gold fans have personally recommended if you like Fool's Gold. 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 Liar's Poker

Paddy Hirsch Author Of The Devil's Half Mile

From my list on glimpse into the dark heart of the financial markets (without being bored to tears).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a career financial and business journalist, only recently turned novelist. I’m obsessed with the way that history repeats itself in the financial markets and that we never seem to learn our lessons. Fear and greed have always driven the behavior of bankers, traders, and investors; and they still do today, only barely inhibited by our regulatory system. I want to help people understand how markets work, and I like combining fiction with fact to explain these systems and how they’re abused. With that in mind, I work during the day as a reporter at NPR and by night as a scribbler of historical fiction with a financial twist.

Paddy's book list on glimpse into the dark heart of the financial markets (without being bored to tears)

Paddy Hirsch Why did Paddy love this book?

I love this book because it reads like a fictional tale about the modern financial markets, and yet it’s all absolutely true!

I am still staggered by some of the stories that Lewis tells about the real-life characters who worked on Wall Street back in the 1980s. And I’m in awe of the colorful way he describes and explains the way the bond markets work—no easy task.

Not only did he bring the go-go days of the 80s to life for me, but he also gave me a solid grounding in the machinations of the financial markets, helping me in both my writing and journalism careers.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Liar's Poker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers, one of Wall Street's premier investment firms. During the next three years, Lewis rose from callow trainee to bond salesman, raking in millions for the firm and cashing in on a modern-day gold rush. Liar's Poker is the culmination of those heady, frenzied years-a behind-the-scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business. From the frat-boy camaraderie of the forty-first-floor trading room to the killer instinct that made ambitious young men gamble everything on a high-stakes game…


Book cover of Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

Susan Crane Author Of Nothing Happened: A History

From my list on books about Nothing, in particular: because Nothing always means Something.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by how we remember the past and why some things get written into histories and other things don’t. I realized that Nothing happens all the time but no one has thought to ask how we remember it. Once I started looking for how Nothing was being remembered, I found it all around me. Books I read as a kid, movies I’d seen, songs I’d heard – these were my sources. So when I started working, Nothing got done (yes, I love puns!).

Susan's book list on books about Nothing, in particular: because Nothing always means Something

Susan Crane Why did Susan love this book?

Like a classic wine pairing, read Horwitz and Smith together and savor the full flavors. White journalist Horwitz visited every former Confederate state and talked to local people about how memories of the Confederacy were still alive at the end of the twentieth century.

I loved his eye for detail and his knack for finding fascinating people to talk to. His stories are hilarious, outrageous, and compelling all at once.

By Tony Horwitz,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Confederates in the Attic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent takes us on an explosive adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where Civil War reenactors, battlefield visitors, and fans of history resurrect the ghosts of the Lost Cause through ritual and remembrance.  

"The freshest book about divisiveness in America that I have read in some time. This splendid commemoration of the war and its legacy ... is an eyes–open, humorously no–nonsense survey of complicated Americans." —The New York Times Book Review

For all who remain intrigued by the legacy of the Civil War—reenactors, battlefield visitors, Confederate descendants and other Southerners,…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 The Great Crash 1929

Matthew P. Fink Author Of The Unlikely Reformer: Carter Glass and Financial Regulation

From my list on American financial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was always interested in American history and studied at Brown University under an outstanding professor of American economic history, James Blaine Hedges.   During my career at the mutual fund association I often approached issues from an historical perspective. For example:  Why did Congress draft legislation in a particular way?  How would past events likely affect a regulator’s decisions today?  As a lawyer I had been trained to write carefully and precisely.  As a lobbyist I learned the need to pre

Matthew's book list on American financial history

Matthew P. Fink Why did Matthew love this book?

The book does an outstanding job in describing the people and events that produced the October 1929 stock market crash in a highly entertaining style. Galbraith wrote more like a witty and insightful journalist than the award-winning economist that he was. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about American financial history. The book is a model for writers who want to educate non-experts about public policy issues.

By John Kenneth Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Great Crash 1929 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of the most engrossing books I have ever read' Daily Telegraph

John Kenneth Galbraith's now-classic account of the 1929 stock market collapse remains the definitive book on the most disastrous cycle of boom and bust in modern times.

Vividly depicting the causes, effects, aftermath and long-term consequences of financial meltdown, Galbraith also describes the people and the corporations who were affected by the catastrophe. With its depiction of the 'gold-rush fantasy' ingrained in America's psychology, The Great Crash 1929 remains a penetrating study of human greed and folly.


Book cover of The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 is an academic book, but it's beautifully written, and not too, too jargony. Tsing does a kind of commodity ethnography, embedding herself in multiple parts of the lifecycle of the Matsutake Mushroom trade, while depicting the worlds of pickers, restauranteurs, mushroom traders and auctioneers, nature guides, and more. She also weaves in a critique of capitalist markets in which these kinds of natural entities now are embedded, which I dig! 

By Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mushroom at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What a rare mushroom can teach us about sustaining life on a fragile planet

Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world-and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the Northern Hemisphere. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's account of these sought-after fungi offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: What manages to live in the ruins we have made? The Mushroom at the End of the World explores the unexpected corners of matsutake commerce, where we encounter Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions lead us into…


Book cover of Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste

Caro Feely Author Of Saving Our Skins: Building a Vineyard Dream in France

From my list on books about wine from a recovering wine geek.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a wine writer, winemaker, organic wine farmer, and an accredited wine educator with decades of experience. I have loved wine since my first sip as a university student and wine is one of my life’s passions. I love how wine can connect you to a place, how it is like travel in a bottle, to a vintage, a place, a person. I’ve written five books about wine; I offer wine courses, tours and vineyard walks in South-West France and I live on the organic vineyard and winery that I co-founded with my husband. In my writing life, I’m also wine writer for Living magazine.

Caro's book list on books about wine from a recovering wine geek

Caro Feely Why did Caro love this book?

This book is my favourite wine book in recent times. In it, Bianca Bosker follows her quest to become a sommelier.

We follow her wine-tasting experiences, which include tasting with a high-flying circle of New York sommeliers from top restaurants and learning about wine while having sex. How is the last part possible? You’ll have to read it to find out!

You’ll also learn about wine, wine tasting, how your brain works, and the underworld of restaurants and sommeliers. This book is entertaining and well-written; I laughed out loud many times.

By Bianca Bosker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' PICK

"Thrilling . . . [told] with gonzo elan . . . When the sommelier and blogger Madeline Puckette writes that this book is the Kitchen Confidential of the wine world, she's not wrong, though Bill Buford's Heat is probably a shade closer." -Jennifer Senior, The New York Times

Professional journalist and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn't know much about wine-until she discovered an alternate universe where taste reigns supreme, a world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. Astounded by their fervor and…


Book cover of Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves

Robin Wigglesworth Author Of Trillions: How a Band of Wall Street Renegades Invented the Index Fund and Changed Finance Forever

From my list on financial history that are genuinely gripping.

Why am I passionate about this?

I ended up in financial journalism by happenstance (it was pretty much the only corner of the media world that was still hiring when I graduated in the early 2000s). But I fell in love with it. To understand the world, you have to understand money. Whether you like it or not, it is the hidden wiring that binds us all together. I’ve found that reading history books on finance and economics has helped me better understand what is going on today, so I hope the books on this list will help you do the same. 

Robin's book list on financial history that are genuinely gripping

Robin Wigglesworth Why did Robin love this book?

This is, for want of a better word, financial porn.

It won’t explain the underlying issues or even proximate triggers for the global financial crisis of 2008, but no one has ever written a financial book as titillating as Too Big to Fail. Sorkin really brings you into the rooms of power and conveys the sweaty panic that gripped the financial system as it careened over the edge. 

By Andrew Ross Sorkin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Too Big to Fail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BBC SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2010

They were masters of the financial universe, flying in private jets and raking in billions. They thought they were too big to fail. Yet they would bring the world to its knees.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, the news-breaking New York Times journalist, delivers the first true in-the-room account of the most powerful men and women at the eye of the financial storm - from reviled Lehman Brothers CEO Dick 'the gorilla' Fuld, to banking whiz Jamie Dimon, from bullish Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to AIG's Joseph Cassano, dubbed 'The Man Who Crashed the…


Book cover of The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.

Philip Augar Author Of The Bank That Lived a Little: Barclays in the Age of the Very Free Market

From my list on financial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

By the late nineties, I had lost faith in the industry where I had made a living for twenty years. Deregulation on Wall St and in the City had left investment banking with a business model riddled with conflict of interest. The rewards spiralled out of control and the businesses became too complicated for the regulators to supervise. I have a doctorate in history and had been a top-ranked investment analyst in several sectors. I took an idea to Penguin and my first book, The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism, was published in 2001. I've since written six more, and contributed regularly to the Financial Times and BBC.      

Philip's book list on financial history

Philip Augar Why did Philip love this book?

Discrete, mysterious, and powerful, Wall St’s great financial institutions shaped corporate America in the 20th century and none more so than Lazard Freres. But towards the end of the century, as competitors scaled up, Lazard was distracted by a power struggle involving hard-charging Wall St bankers and an inscrutable French billionaire. Who really played the winning hand? This book reveals all!

By William D. Cohan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A grand and revelatory portrait of Wall Street’s most storied investment bank

Wall Street investment banks move trillions of dollars a year, make billions in fees, pay their executives in the tens of millions of dollars. But even among the most powerful firms, Lazard Frères & Co. stood apart. Discretion, secrecy, and subtle strategy were its weapons of choice. For more than a century, the mystique and reputation of the "Great Men" who worked there allowed the firm to garner unimaginable profits, social cachet, and outsized influence in the halls of power. But in the mid-1980s, their titanic egos started…


Book cover of The Personal Librarian

Penny Haw Author Of The Woman at the Wheel

From my list on historical fiction on women who follow their dreams.

Why am I passionate about this?

My maternal grandmother was an unconventional woman and a feminist in every way that matters. Although she was raised according to Victorian norms when girls were expected to remain in patriarchal shadows, she was fiercely independent. She was my hero and encouraged me to forge my own future. She also nurtured in me a love of reading and writing, which led to me becoming a journalist and author. My grandmother and I shared a great love of animals. It’s no coincidence that my debut historical fiction, The Invincible Miss Cust is based on the true story of Britain and Ireland’s first female veterinary surgeon. I’m intrigued by strong, interesting women driven to follow their dreams.   

Penny's book list on historical fiction on women who follow their dreams

Penny Haw Why did Penny love this book?

Based on the true story of Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was compelled to hide her identity and pass as white to work as J P Morgan’s personal librarian, this book contains everything I love about historical, biographical fiction and more.

It’s about a woman who defied convention and whose life story is fascinating, relevant, and inspiring. Belle is an intelligent, driven woman, who can hold her own in any company, and yet, to realize her ambitions and protect her family, she must conceal who she really is.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about her, and the lengths she had to go to pursue the career she loved. It’s a stunning tribute to an exceptional woman in history.  

By Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Personal Librarian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Instant New York Times Bestseller! A Good Morning America* Book Club Pick!

Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR! Named a Notable Book of the Year by the Washington Post!

“Historical fiction at its best!”*
 
A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.

In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by…


Book cover of Capital City: New York City and the Men Behind America's Rise to Economic Dominance, 1860-1900

Lynne B. Sagalyn Author Of Times Square Remade: The Dynamics of Urban Change

From my list on exciting a passion for understanding cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with understanding cities toward the end of my college studies. It was the late 1960s and urban issues were foremost in the nation’s consciousness. The times were difficult for cities and many of the problems, seemingly intractable. That drew me to graduate work in urban studies and afterward, teaching about real estate development and finance. My work on public/private partnerships and the political economy of city building has drawn a wide audience. In explaining how cities are built and redeveloped, my goal has been to de-mystify the politics and planning process surrounding large-scale development projects and how they impact the physical fabric of cities.

Lynne's book list on exciting a passion for understanding cities

Lynne B. Sagalyn Why did Lynne love this book?

It’s near impossible not to fall for the lure of urban history when a skilled writer brings to light compelling stories of the men (atlas no women in this book) who transformed New York into an economic powerhouse, the capital of capitalism, in the late 19th century.

Their names are familiar but not so their complete stories: J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, Samuel Gompers, Theodore Roosevelt. The writing is so good, it’s hard to put the book down.

By Thomas Kessner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Describes the emergence of post-Civil War New York City, as it evolved from a port city to metropolis via the birth of capitalism, and how such moguls as Rockefeller, Carnegie, and J. P. Morgan helped define the foundation of twentieth-century financial institutions. By the author of Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Great Depression, presidential biography, and New York City?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Great Depression, presidential biography, and New York City.

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