The most recommended books about the financial crisis of 2007–2008

Who picked these books? Meet our 25 experts.

25 authors created a book list connected to the financial crisis of 2007–2008, and here are their favorite financial crisis of 2007–2008 books.
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Book cover of Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World

Joseph Vogl Author Of The Ascendancy of Finance

From my list on the political power of contemporary finance.

Why am I passionate about this?

How did I – as a scholar of German literature – turn to economic topics? That had a certain inevitability. When I left for Paris in the early nineties, reading traces of anthropological knowledge in literature and aesthetics of the 18th century, I came across economic ideas on almost every page, in natural history, in medicine, in philosophy, in encyclopedias, in the theories of signs and in the teachings of beauty. There was circulation, communication, flows of exchange all over the place, and the Robinsons were the model. This reinforced the impression that the human being was engaged in aligning himself with homo oeconomicus. The question of  modern economics has therefore become unavoidable for me.

Joseph's book list on the political power of contemporary finance

Joseph Vogl Why did Joseph love this book?

Focusing on the financial crisis of 2008 Adam Tooze’s book shows the transition from a geopolitical to a geo-economic world order in which the political destiny of old nation states is determined by the needs of international financial industry – including the rearrangement of global governance and the erosion of democracies.

I admire the way in which Adam Tooze demonstrates the entanglement between financial capitalism, crises, and the rise of populist and right-wing movements in Europe and the US.

By Adam Tooze,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE LIONEL GELBER PRIZE
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP BOOK

"An intelligent explanation of the mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it...One of the great strengths of Tooze's book is to demonstrate the deeply intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems."--The New York Times Book Review

From the prizewinning economic historian and author of Shutdown and The Deluge, an eye-opening reinterpretation of the 2008 economic crisis (and its ten-year aftermath) as a global event that directly…


Book cover of ...and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

Keith Harrison-Broninski Author Of Supercommunities: A handbook for the 21st century

From my list on how community can save society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied Mathematics – the art of solving a problem by making it as general as possible, then attacking it with a combination of different techniques. By profession, I am a technologist, but the problem that interested me wasn’t technical – I wanted to know why, when most people are basically well-meaning, the world was in such a mess! Early on in my career, I came to believe that better collaboration was part of the answer. Later, I saw how you also needed the right kind of communities. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about psychology, biology, systems theory, learning theory, anthropology, history, management, economics, finance, and more. I’m still learning.

Keith's book list on how community can save society

Keith Harrison-Broninski Why did Keith love this book?

I can’t say how much I love this book. It explains everything we know intuitively about economics but find hard to justify. Hudson was one of the few who saw the 2008 crisis coming, and he is still one of the few who know what we must do now. Taking the discussion of David Graeber’s extraordinary 2011 book Debt: The First 5000 Years to the next level, Hudson shows how Bronze Age rulers understood economic instability better than we do. When people get into serious debt, their personal crises not only destroy their own lives but ripple outwards to derail society, by giving their creditors enough power to compete with governments. To avoid society being run into the ground, governments must start cancelling debts – as they did long ago.

By Michael Hudson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In ...and forgive them their debts, renowned economist Michael Hudson – one of the few who could see the 2008 financial crisis coming – takes us on an epic journey through the economies of ancient civilizations and reveals their relevance for us today. For the past 40 years, in conjunction with Harvard’s Peabody Museum, he and his colleagues have documented how interest-bearing debt was invented in Bronze Age Mesopotamia, and then disseminated to the ancient world. What the Bronze Age rulers understood was that avoiding economic instability required regular royal debt cancellations. Professor Hudson documents dozens of these these royal…


Book cover of International Corporate Governance: A Comparative Approach

Harry Korine Author Of Strong Managers, Strong Owners: Corporate Governance and Strategy

From my list on making corporate governance work.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some time after starting out as an academic in the field of strategy, I became aware of the fact that strategists thought and acted as if board members and shareholders simply did not exist—executives made strategy. The revelatory moment for me came when I tested this conception of the world against the reality that I knew, Europe and family business, settings where shareholders in particular have always played a critical role in deciding on the direction of the firm. Ever since, I have made it my missionin research, in teaching, and in consultingto make sure that strategy and governance questions are always raised at the same time.

Harry's book list on making corporate governance work

Harry Korine Why did Harry love this book?

Too often, people in the corporate governance field jump to the conclusion that what works in one country has to work the same way in another country. Although corporate governance is fundamentally about power and accountability, no matter the setting, one size does not fit all. Thomas Clarke’s book is an excellent introduction to understanding how different legal systems and different histories have shaped corporate governance in different national environments. Learn from the best no matter the source and adapt to local needs.

By Thomas Clarke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thomas Clarke's International Corporate Governance offers a comprehensive guide to corporate governance forms and institutions and examines the recurring crises in corporate governance and the resulting corporate governance reform around the world.

While the popular structure of the original text has been retained, significant changes have been made to take account of the global financial crisis, ever-changing regulations and worldwide governance developments. Key topics include:

The governance failures of international corporations such as Enron and Lehman Brothers

Diversity in corporate and institutional forms across the world

The role of international corporate governance standards

Digital disruption in capital markets and proposals…


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

Gretchen Cherington Author Of The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy: A Family Memoir of Greed and Scandal in the Meat Industry

From my list on the intersection of history, business, and personality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Early observations of power and privilege came from growing up around my Pulitzer Prize-winning father, Richard Eberhart, and his circle of iconic literary friends. During my long career advising top executives, I came to understand the dynamics of male power and privilege and its fit with individual personality. In their corner suites, I listened to CEOs interpret their pasts and envision their futures while the best of them uncovered their real fears and vulnerabilities. As these (mostly) men confronted their own mythologies and legacies, I, too, got to examine mine—recognizing that the best way to change our companies and our lives is to change ourselves. 

Gretchen's book list on the intersection of history, business, and personality

Gretchen Cherington Why did Gretchen love this book?

This book informed my macroeconomic thinking on the way banks and companies have long been twined and the complex decisions that ultimately somebody—whether company boards or government regulators—need to make when they fail.

This was a perfect study for my own research into the near collapse of the early Hormel company and the reason why it still exists today; Sorkin’s chosen title would apply. Companies have an impact, both good and sometimes bad, and our regional and national economies often suffer from their hubris and greed.

Sorkin’s master storytelling kept me riveted and mesmerized all the way through six hundred and forty pages. 

By Andrew Ross Sorkin,

Why should I read it?

3 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 To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?

Tansy E. Hoskins Author Of Foot Work: What Your Shoes Are Doing to the World

From my list on workers’ rights in the fashion industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a journalist and author writing (mostly) about labour rights and the politics of the fashion industry. This work has taken me to Bangladesh, Kenya, Macedonia, and the Topshop warehouses in Solihull. I am the author of Foot Work – What Your Shoes Are Doing To The World, an exposé of the dark origins of the shoes on our feet. My award-winning first book Stitched Up – The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion, is available in six languages and was selected by Emma Watson for her "Ultimate Book List".

Tansy's book list on workers’ rights in the fashion industry

Tansy E. Hoskins Why did Tansy love this book?

A classic book on the pain that fashion inflicts on both people and planet. This book does an excellent job of showing how the exploitation of people is inseparable from the exploitation of the biosphere. It is a searing critique of the fashion industry and its voracious appetite for evermore profit, and how this short-termist model is driving us towards disaster.

By Lucy Siegle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An expose on the fashion industry written by the Observer's 'Ethical Living' columnist, examining the inhumane and environmentally devastating story behind the clothes we so casually buy and wear.

Coming at a time when the global financial crisis and contracting of consumer spending is ushering in a new epoch for the fashion industry, To Die For offers a very plausible vision of how green could really be the new black.

Taking particular issue with our current mania for both big-name labels and cheap fashion, To Die For sets an agenda for the urgent changes that can and need to be…


Book cover of The Long Game: China's Grand Strategy to Displace American Order

Pádraig Carmody Author Of Africa's Shadow Rise: China and the Mirage of African Economic Development

From my list on China’s global and African strategies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in China-Africa relations fifteen years ago when I realised that the rise of the former was going to have major and long-lasting effects on the politics and economics of the continent. In a sense, the rising role of China in Africa foretold its rise to global power and influence. Since then I have been fascinated by the ways in which China has restructured, or been involved in the restructuring, of African economies and politics and the ways in which that country’s global strategies and roles have continued to evolve and their impacts. I have written several books on the impacts of emerging powers in Africa.

Pádraig's book list on China’s global and African strategies

Pádraig Carmody Why did Pádraig love this book?

There is a veritable cottage industry now on books on China and its global strategy and influence. This book by Rush Doshi is one of the best because its analysis is based on extensive analysis of Chinese Communist party documents over decades. Doshi's analysis asks whether or not China has a grand strategy by examining China’s foreign policy concepts, capabilities, and conduct. This makes for a compelling and detailed analysis. 

By Rush Doshi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Given the turbulence in the international order in recent years, one of the central concerns among observers of world politics is the question of China's ultimate goals. As China emerges as a superpower that rivals the United States, American policymakers grappling with this century's greatest geopolitical challenge are looking for answers to a series of critical questions. Does China have expansive ambitions? Does it have a grand strategy to achieve them? If so,
what is it and what should the United States do about it?

In The Long Game, Rush Doshi draws from a rich base of Chinese primary sources,…


Book cover of The Big Short

Claire A. Hill Author Of Better Bankers, Better Banks: Promoting Good Business through Contractual Commitment

From my list on bankers, especially bankers behaving badly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested—a vast understatement to anyone who knows me—in what makes people tick. I’ve focused on analyzing business actors – bankers, lawyers, investors, executives, shareholders, and others. What do they want? Some combination of money, power, or prestige? How does loving to win fit in? How about hating to lose? When is enough (money/power/prestige) enough? What do they think is ok to do to get what they want? What do they think is not ok? Amazingly, as a law professor, I can pursue that interest as part of my job, and – I think and hope – do so in a way that might help lawmakers, regulators, and policymakers do better.

Claire's book list on bankers, especially bankers behaving badly

Claire A. Hill Why did Claire love this book?

As everyone knows at this point, anything Michael Lewis writes will be enormous fun to read, while being about something really important—something he’ll make you care about even if you didn’t when you started the book.

In this case, the subject is people who bet on the direction of mortgages (and thus, house prices), and how those who bet on a huge plunge were right. This book has an amazing cast of characters, all richly drawn: some are smart, some are not so smart; some are excellent schmoozers, some can barely tolerate human interaction; some care a lot about money, some care more about being right, especially if everyone else is wrong.

Each book I've recommended cries out to be made into a movie. This one actually was.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Big Short as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.

Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a…


Book cover of Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance

Roger E. Backhouse Author Of Founder of Modern Economics: Paul A. Samuelson: Volume 1: Becoming Samuelson, 1915-1948

From my list on 20th century economists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Roger E. Backhouse has been a Professor of Economics and the University of Birmingham (in the UK) for many years, specializing in the history of economic ideas, and has written several books on contemporary economics and where the ideas came from. Knowing that many people lose interest when economics gets technical, he has picked biographies of modern economists who have led interesting lives as well as contributing to the development of their discipline, defining “modern” economists as ones who were active during his own lifetime, a criterion that excludes John Maynard Keynes, on whom several outstanding biographies have been written.

Roger's book list on 20th century economists

Roger E. Backhouse Why did Roger love this book?

Since the global financial crisis of 2007-8, everyone knows about the transformation of financial markets that has taken place in recent decades. It also well known that developments in information technology have played a major role in that transformation. What is less well known is where the ideas that made it all possible came from. In this book, Perry Mehrling tells the story of Fischer Black, one of the creators of the Black-Scholes formula for pricing options (rights to buy or sell assets at a specified price at some point in the future) which are one of the foundations on which modern finance rests. The book shows how these ideas emerged out of a new type of community that spanned university economics departments and business schools as well private-sector financial firms, many of them founded in order to trade on the basis of the theories their founders had developed.

By Perry Mehrling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Praise for FISCHER BLACK AND THE REVOLUTIONARY IDEA OF FINANCE "The story of Fischer Black...is remarkable both because of the creativity of the man and because of the revolution he brought to Wall Street...Mehrling's book is fascinating." FINANCIAL TIMES "A fascinating history of things we take for granted in our everyday financial lives." THE NEW YORK TIMES "Mehrling's book is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of modern finance or the life of an idiosyncratic creative genius." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY "Fischer Black was more than a vital force in the development of finance theory. He was also a character.…


Book cover of Capitalism: A Short History

Kleio Akrivou Author Of The Challenges of Capitalism for Virtue Ethics and the Common Good: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on capitalism, ethics, and the self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have cross-disciplinary expertise (ethics and moral philosophy, philosophical anthropology and moral psychology), and my work focuses on personalist virtue ethics, moral human development, and the links between ethics and economics; I am a person who loves nature and animals, and I’m thrilled to do good work. I was educated and worked internationally, with academic degrees in different Europe countries and the USA, and 30 years of work and academic experience in Europe, the USA, and SE Asia. I live with my family near London, U.K.. I am passionate about enabling a more sustainable society that however remains rooted in human dignity and avoids instrumentalizing the person

Kleio's book list on capitalism, ethics, and the self

Kleio Akrivou Why did Kleio love this book?

A brilliant short history of capitalism, and how it all evolved until we got to today’s late or hyper-capitalism.

I love the way the book draws from social and economic history, to show how economic, social, and personal relations and ways of life have been weakened is something that starts from the 14th century but also evolved locally as much as in more universal ways.

By Jurgen Kocka,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this authoritative and accessible book, one of the world's most renowned historians provides a concise and comprehensive history of capitalism within a global perspective from its medieval origins to the 2008 financial crisis and beyond. From early commercial capitalism in the Arab world, China, and Europe, to nineteenth- and twentieth-century industrialization, to today's globalized financial capitalism, Jurgen Kocka offers an unmatched account of capitalism, one that weighs its great achievements against its great costs, crises, and failures. Based on intensive research, the book puts the rise of capitalist economies in social, political, and cultural context, and shows how their…


Book cover of Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the Uses-And Misuses-Of History

Tobias Straumann Author Of 1931: Debt, Crisis, and the Rise of Hitler

From my list on the Great Depression and its impact on history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I began to study history at the university, I have always wondered why things could get so wrong in Europe in the 1930s. The key to understanding this crucial period of world history was the failure of economic policy. In the course of my studies, many of my questions have been answered, but I am still wondering about the extent of human and institutional collapse. Hence, to me, the Great Depression is such a fascinating topic that you can never leave once you started doing research about its causes and consequences.

Tobias' book list on the Great Depression and its impact on history

Tobias Straumann Why did Tobias love this book?

Our view of the Great Depression was changed by the Great Recession following the financial crisis of 2008. No one has a better grasp of the similarities and differences between the two major economic shocks of the last 100 years than Barry Eichengreen. Most interesting are Eichengreen’s reflections about the right and wrong lessons the firefighters of the 2008 financial crisis drew from the Great Depression.

By Barry Eichengreen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The two great financial crises of the past century are the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession, which began in 2008. Both occurred against the backdrop of sharp credit booms, dubious banking practices, and a fragile and unstable global financial system. When markets went into cardiac arrest in 2008, policymakers invoked the lessons of the Great Depression in attempting to avert the worst. While their response prevented a financial collapse and
catastrophic depression like that of the 1930s, unemployment in the U.S. and Europe still rose to excruciating high levels. Pain and suffering were widespread.

The question,…