The most recommended books about trade

Who picked these books? Meet our 27 experts.

27 authors created a book list connected to trade, and here are their favorite trade books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of trade book?


Colonial Ecology, Atlantic Economy

By Strother E. Roberts,

Book cover of Colonial Ecology, Atlantic Economy: Transforming Nature in Early New England

Eric H. Ash Author Of The Draining of the Fens: Projectors, Popular Politics, and State Building in Early Modern England

From the list on early modern environmental history.

Who am I?

I am a historian of early modern Europe, especially 16th- and 17th-century England, and my work pulls together threads from different historical disciplines, including political history, the history of science and technology, and environmental history. I am fascinated by the ways that human history is intimately linked with the environment, and I am most interested in how early modern European states and empires worked to understand, manage, and profit from the natural world, especially with respect to using and conserving natural resources such as water, wood, and wildlife. I have chosen books that explore these issues in innovative and exciting ways.

Eric's book list on early modern environmental history

Why did Eric love this book?

A superb history of a particular landscape in the midst of profound political, economic, and environmental transformation; it is a wonderful example of interdisciplinary research.

The book explores the Connecticut River valley in colonial New England, and shows how the economic needs and interactions of the Native American and European inhabitants completely reshaped the ecology of the region.

My favorite chapter is Roberts’s brilliant analysis of the lucrative trade in beaver pelts, which not only shifted the balance of power between Native Americans and European settlers, it also eradicated the beavers and their extensive network of dams, erasing the vast wetlands of the region and leaving the river itself unrecognizable.

By Strother E. Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Colonial Ecology, Atlantic Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Focusing on the Connecticut River Valley-New England's longest river and largest watershed- Strother Roberts traces the local, regional, and transatlantic markets in colonial commodities that shaped an ecological transformation in one corner of the rapidly globalizing early modern world. Reaching deep into the interior, the Connecticut provided a watery commercial highway for the furs, grain, timber, livestock, and various other commodities that the region exported. Colonial Ecology, Atlantic Economy shows how the extraction of each commodity had an impact on the New England landscape, creating a new colonial ecology inextricably tied to the broader transatlantic economy beyond its shores.

Unwanted Neighbours

By Jorge Flores,

Book cover of Unwanted Neighbours: The Mughals, the Portuguese, and Their Frontier Zones

Mark Dizon Author Of Reciprocal Mobilities: Indigeneity and Imperialism in an Eighteenth-Century Philippine Borderland

From the list on borderland mobility.

Who am I?

The past fascinates me because it is strange and different to the world we live in today. That is why I prefer looking at earlier centuries than contemporary times because the distant past requires an extra effort on our part to unlock how people back then made sense of their world. When I read an old chronicle on how Indigenous people spent days traveling to meet acquaintances and even strangers, it piqued my interest. Did they really need to meet face-to-face? What did traveling mean to them? The books on the list below are attempts by historians to understand the travelers of the past.

Mark's book list on borderland mobility

Why did Mark love this book?

Unwanted Neighbours is a captivating look at the frontier interactions between the Mughals and the Portuguese.

I like how Flores breaks the typical division between maritime and overland empires. The Mughal Empire was as much maritime as it was territorial, and the Portuguese maritime empire had an overland side to it as well.

The stories of cross-cultural relations in the book give texture to the past and help readers imagine the complexities of the characters in Mughal India.

By Jorge Flores,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In December 1572 the Mughal emperor Akbar arrived in the port city of Khambayat. Having been raised in distant Kabul, Akbar, in his thirty years, had never been to the ocean. Presumably anxious with the news about the Mughal military campaign in Gujarat, several Portuguese merchants in Khambayat rushed to Akbar's presence. This encounter marked the beginning of a long, complex, and unequal relationship between a continental Muslim empire that was expanding into south
India, often looking back to Central Asia, and a European Christian maritime empire whose rulers considered themselves 'kings of the sea'.

By the middle of the…

Book cover of The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio

Arlene Naylor Okerlund Author Of Elizabeth: England's Slandered Queen

From the list on biographies that tell the truth.

Who am I?

Fake news is not new. Biographies, in particular, are fraught with fallacies and fake stories. When fake news slanders individuals, reputations are ruined and lives destroyed. That’s what happened to Elizabeth Wydeville, Queen Consort to Edward IV, and mother of the two princes who disappeared during Richard III’s reign. When I discovered the slander that destroyed Queen Elizabeth’s reputation, I began a 5-year research project to set the record straight. Some fallacies are deliberate, originating in envy or power putsches. Others derive from historical laziness or incompetence. What I learned from my research has determined my choices of biographies, stories that tell previously unrevealed truths about individuals.

Arlene's book list on biographies that tell the truth

Why did Arlene love this book?

The Millionaire and the Bard almost makes you believe in money. This biography of Henry Clay Folger records a great American success story: “Poor-Boy-Makes-Good” (with money from Standard Oil). But look at what Folger did with his money! He collected copies of Shakespeare’s Folios, the first edition of which is the most valuable book in the world ($9.98 million for the copy sold in New York on October 14, 2020).  

Andrea Mays tells three stories: the biography of Henry Folger, who saved the First Folio; the story of the Folio itself (how it was published, read, and preserved); and the creation of the Folger Shakespeare Library, an amazing research and educational institution, improbably sited in Washington, D.C. I love this biography because it proves that one person (greatly assisted by his wife) can surely make a difference!

By Andrea Mays,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Today it is the most valuable book in the world. Recently one sold for over five million dollars. It is the book that rescued the name of William Shakespeare and half of his plays from oblivion. The Millionaire and the Bardtells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession.
When Shakespeare died in 1616 half of his plays died with him. No one-not even their author-believed that his writings would last, that he was a genius, or that future generations would…

Where We Bloom

By Debra Prinzing,

Book cover of Where We Bloom: Thirty-Seven Intimate, Inventive and Artistic Studio Spaces Where Floral Passions Find a Place to Blossom

Erika Kotite Author Of She Sheds: A Room of Your Own

From the list on women who want to create their own personal space.

Who am I?

I am an English major turned magazine editor turned book author, with a longtime love of outbuildings. Sheds, carriage houses, studios, barns… I love them all. When I had the chance to do a book about she sheds I was thrilled. Now with two books about she sheds on the market, I’m busy running She Shed Living with my business partner. We design sheds for women throughout Southern California, sell our own line of exterior chalk-based paint, and offer resources and advice to women who want a room of their own.

Erika's book list on women who want to create their own personal space

Why did Erika love this book?

I have a longstanding professional relationship with Debra Prinzing, who was a regular contributor when I was an editor at Romantic Homes magazine. Her stories and photos brought flowers to life in any issue she was in. She is also the founder of the Slow Flowers movement, which promotes growing and buying seasonal flowers locally. Prinzing’s newest book is a wonderful odyssey through the shops, studios, campers, and (yes) sheds of passionate growers and designers. Once again, by exploring the creative spaces of others, you’ll find a rich supply of ideas for your own space. Somehow, these floral artisans and their spaces create a synergy that’s impossible to resist.

By Debra Prinzing,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Step inside the places where flowers come to life. Slow Flowers Society founder Debra Prinzing's new book showcases the beautiful plant- and flower-filled settings of Slow Flowers designers, farmer-florists, and growers. Each environment reflects the personality and aesthetic style of its owner, offering great ideas to inspire the design, organization, and functionality of your creative studio. Visit their spaces and read about their floral passions.

Cloud Charts

By David Linton,

Book cover of Cloud Charts: Trading Success with the Ichimoku Technique

Alan Northcott Author Of Mastering Technical Analysis: Strategies and Tactics for Trading the Financial Markets

From the list on cracking the trading code.

Who am I?

I came from a left-brained family, with my father a bank Forex manager and my mother in the tax office before motherhood. I've always been mathematically minded and went into mechanical engineering before my second career in trading and finance. But saying this sustains the fallacy that you have to have a head for numbers to trade. That is nothing like the truth, and I hope my last book pick shows that I have learnt and come a long way from my initial beliefs. Trading is anything but mathematical, mechanistic, or even natural, you have to study and learn new ways of thinking and doing, and you can only succeed if you are open to this.

Alan's book list on cracking the trading code

Why did Alan love this book?

And so if you are taken by the eerie success of Ichimoku charting, this is the book I recommend to get a thorough understanding. It was published in 2010 by an English trader, and to my knowledge was one of the first books solely on this topic. It has numerous colour illustrations that cover the analysis in great depth and opens the door for all traders to explore this progressive tool.

Incidentally, Ichimoku translates to "at one glance," and that idea summarizes well the effectiveness of the charts.

By David Linton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cloud Charts are increasingly being selected as the chart of choice on trading screens around the world. Cloud Charts, a ground breaking comprehensive book, is the first to lift the lid on this remarkable leading-edge trading technique.

Book cover of Entrepôt of Revolutions: Saint-Domingue, Commercial Sovereignty, and the French-American Alliance

Michael Kwass Author Of Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

From the list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France.

Who am I?

I’m a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University who studies the history of France and the French empire. My research stretches from the age of Louis XIV through the French Revolution, exploring questions of political economy, capitalism, empire, the Enlightenment, and popular culture. At a moment when historical research is becoming increasingly specialized, my work builds bridges between political, economic, and cultural history. 

Michael's book list on the Haitian Revolution from a historian of France

Why did Michael love this book?

Covo investigates long-neglected economic aspects of the Haitian Revolution. Beginning in the pre-revolutionary period, when the French called the colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) the “Pearl of the Caribbean,” this deeply researched book spotlights the role Haiti played as a commodities hub during the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions. I find this book particularly important because it shows how imperial trade and racial capitalism defined the age of commercial republicanism.

By Manuel Covo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Age of Revolutions has been celebrated for the momentous transition from absolute monarchies to representative governments and the creation of nation-states in the Atlantic world. Much less recognized than the spread of democratic ideals was the period's growing traffic of goods, capital, and people across imperial borders and reforming states' attempts to control this mobility.

Analyzing the American, French, and Haitian revolutions in an interconnected narrative, Manuel Covo centers imperial trade as a driving force, arguing that commercial factors preceded and conditioned political change across the revolutionary Atlantic. At the heart of these transformations was the "entrepot," the island…

Brotherhood of Kings

By Amanda H. Podany,

Book cover of Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East

Sarah C. Melville Author Of The Campaigns of Sargon II, King of Assyria, 721–705 B.C.

From the list on introducing the ancient Near East.

Who am I?

My interest in the ancient Near East began when I was about 8 years old. One day, when couldn’t find anything to do, I started paging through a book on Assyrian art that I found in one of my parents’ bookcases. I was hooked. I wanted to know what made those mysterious ancients tick. How did they understand the world they inhabited? How did they live? What made them fight so hard and so often? I became an Assyriologist in order to answer those questions, and I’ve been working toward that goal ever since.

Sarah's book list on introducing the ancient Near East

Why did Sarah love this book?

Outside of specialists, few people know about the complex international relations that developed in the Near East in the 2nd millennium BC, during the Middle and Late Bronze Age when Egyptian, Hittite, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Mitannian kings competed to gain power, prestige, and territory. Leaders created an intricate system of treaty agreements, diplomatic protocols, trade relations, and dynastic marriages to further their aims and keep peace. (Wars played a big role as well.) Diplomatic correspondence from these periods reveals the personalities of the kings involved: some complain, some wheedle, and others command, but all are anxious to retain power and earn the support of their gods. Well-chosen quotes from ancient sources and Podany’s lively writing style make this a rewarding and entertaining read. 

By Amanda H. Podany,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Amanda Podany here takes readers on a vivid tour through a thousand years of ancient Near Eastern history, from 2300 to 1300 BCE, paying particular attention to the lively interactions that took place between the great kings of the day.

Allowing them to speak in their own words, Podany reveals how these leaders and their ambassadors devised a remarkably sophisticated system of diplomacy and trade. What the kings forged, as they saw it, was a relationship of friends-brothers-across hundreds of miles. Over centuries they worked out ways for their ambassadors to travel safely to one another's capitals, they created formal…

Sinews of War and Trade

By Laleh Khalili,

Book cover of Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula

Robert Vitalis Author Of Oilcraft: The Myths of Scarcity and Security That Haunt U.S. Energy Policy

From the list on crazy things we believe on oil and world politics.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated with the relationship between the United States and the Middle East since my freshman year at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where I began as a commuter, stuck in gasoline lines, during the “energy crisis” in the fall of 1973, and where I was among the first SUNY students to study abroad in Egypt after the United States resumed diplomatic relations. I wrote my dissertation on Egypt’s economic development (When Capitalists Collide: Business Conflict and the End of Empire in Egypt, 1995) and have been teaching and writing about U.S. involvement in the region for 35 years.

Robert's book list on crazy things we believe on oil and world politics

Why did Robert love this book?

Professor Laleh Khalili provides an absolutely riveting account of the transformation of the Gulf region, where the U.S. fifth fleet has operated since the 1990s, into a hub of world commerce in oil and arms. She argues that the lines between civilian and military logistics have grown increasingly blurred. To prove it, she takes us aboard the container ships, detours back to the time when British firms and government agencies ruled, explores the ports and free zones, follows the rails and roads, and uncovers the complex labor relations that make war and trade possible. 

By Laleh Khalili,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the map of global trade, China is now the factory of the world. A parade of ships full of raw commodities-iron ore, coal, oil-arrive in its ports, and fleets of container ships leave with manufactured goods in all directions. The oil that fuels China's manufacturing comes primarily from the Arabian peninsula. Much of the material shipped from China are transported through the ports of Arabian peninsula, Dubai's Jabal Ali port foremost among them. China's 'maritime silk road' flanks the peninsula on all sides.

Sinews of War and Trade is the story of what the making of new ports and…

Book cover of From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfavolume 17

Yasuhiro Makimura Author Of Yokohama and the Silk Trade: How Eastern Japan Became the Primary Economic Region of Japan, 1843-1893

From the list on cities, their trades, and world trade.

Who am I?

One of the oldest questions is: why are some countries rich and some countries poor? Adam Smith famously answered that it was the division of labor (specialization) and trade in his book The Wealth of Nations. The more you study trade, however, the more complicated the answer becomes. I have been grappling with this question since the 1990s, as a student, and I still do not have a simple answer like Adam Smith. However, I think I have come up with a framework to understand how the economic history of the world developed and I have been teaching that global history in college as a professor since the 2010s.

Yasuhiro's book list on cities, their trades, and world trade

Why did Yasuhiro love this book?

This book by David Aslanian features the Armenian merchants of the New Julfa district of the city of Isfahan in modern-day Iran. They conducted long-distance trade between India and Europe and competed against some of the giant corporations of the day such as the Dutch East India Company. The experts of the old silk road trade competed against the new maritime trades well into the nineteenth century.

By Sebouh Aslanian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on a rich trove of documents, including correspondence not seen for 300 years, this study explores the emergence and growth of a remarkable global trade network operated by Armenian silk merchants from a small outpost in the Persian Empire. Based in New Julfa, Isfahan, in what is now Iran, these merchants operated a network of commercial settlements that stretched from London and Amsterdam to Manila and Acapulco. The New Julfan Armenians were the only Eurasian community that was able to operate simultaneously and successfully in all the major empires of the early modern world--both land-based Asian empires and the…

Book cover of The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China

Laura Hostetler Author Of Qing Colonial Enterprise: Ethnography and Cartography in Early Modern China

From the list on geo-politics and rise of the nation state in China.

Who am I?

As Professor of History and Global Asian Studies and Director of the Engaged Humanities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I'm interested in intersections at the margins between cultural systems. I first became drawn to Chinese history after visiting the country in 1982 and returned to teach English there before undertaking graduate studies. My work on eighteenth-century China focuses on ethnography and cartography as tools of empire building during its period of growth and expansion. My current project, Bridging Worlds: Reflections on a Journey, chronicles a quest for personal integration when obtaining an education has too often become predicated on the ability to cut oneself off from aspects of one’s own inner knowing and lived experience.

Laura's book list on geo-politics and rise of the nation state in China

Why did Laura love this book?

In The Confusions of Pleasure Timothy Brook captures the consternation of a local official as he witnesses the cultural and economic changes wrought by the rise of private wealth in the late Ming, (c. 1600). Unable to raise adequate revenue or to adapt the conservative agrarian foundations of its legitimacy to changing times, the Ming eventually collapses from within, unable to protect itself from marauding bands led by a disgruntled former government post station worker and subsequent invasion by a foreign force. Yet, those who are able to adapt to changing times survive. The resonances for our own day are multiple and apt. 

By Timothy Brook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Ming dynasty was the last great Chinese dynasty before the Manchu conquest in 1644. During that time, China, not Europe, was the center of the world: the European voyages of exploration were searching not just for new lands but also for new trade routes to the Far East. In this book, Timothy Brook eloquently narrates the changing landscape of life over the three centuries of the Ming (1368-1644), when China was transformed from a closely administered agrarian realm into a place of commercial profits and intense competition for status. "The Confusions of Pleasure" marks a significant departure from the…

Systems of Survival

By Jane Jacobs,

Book cover of Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics

Geoff Mulgan Author Of Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World

From the list on how societies think.

Who am I?

I’ve worked top-down with dozens of governments worldwide and bottom-up with many campaigns, start-ups, and social enterprises. I realised that the connecting thread is how to mobilise shared intelligence to address the big challenges like cutting carbon emissions or reducing inequality, and how to avoid the collective stupidity we all see around us. We waste so much of the insight and creativity that sits in peoples’ heads. I thought we were missing both good theory and enough practical methods to make the most of technologies – from the Internet to generative AI – that could help us. I hope that my book – and the work I do – provides some of the answers.

Geoff's book list on how societies think

Why did Geoff love this book?

One of my favourite books from a few decades ago is Jane Jacobs’ Systems of Survival. 

She is best known for her work on cities, but this has a wider canvas. It explains how all working societies, and organisations, combine contradictory moral syndromes, what she calls the guardian and trader syndromes. She also shows the pathologies that result from mixing them up too much, like when businesses become like governments or governments become too much like businesses. 

It is one of the rare books that changes how you see the world – and helps you understand the errors in much social thought.

By Jane Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With intelligence and clarity of observation, the author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities addresses the moral values that underpin working life.

In Systems of Survival, Jane Jacobs identifies two distinct moral syndromes—one governing commerce, the other, politics—and explores what happens when these two syndromes collide. She looks at business fraud and criminal enterprise, government’s overextended subsidies to agriculture, and transit police who abuse the system the are supposed to enforce, and asks us to consider instances in which snobbery is a virtue and industry a vice. In this work of profound insight and elegance, Jacobs gives…

Trading Roles

By Jane E. Mangan,

Book cover of Trading Roles: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Urban Economy in Colonial Potosí

Allison Bigelow Author Of Mining Language: Racial Thinking, Indigenous Knowledge, and Colonial Metallurgy in the Early Modern Iberian World

From the list on mining in colonial Latin America.

Who am I?

I became fascinated by the science, technology, and social landscape of mining during my time teaching English in the Cerro Colorado copper mine in the north of Chile. Listening to miners and their families speak to each other gave me a small sense of the knowledge embedded in the language of mining communities. The experience showed me just how little I knew about metals and how much they shape our world, from the copper wiring in phone chargers to expressions like “mina” (mine/woman). That curiosity led me to a PhD program and to write my first book, Mining Language.

Allison's book list on mining in colonial Latin America

Why did Allison love this book?

Mangan’s work completely changed the way that I thought about the colonial mining industry and the complexities of Andean gender systems. Through careful case studies and historical scholarship, Mangan gives voice and texture to the lives of Andean market women, artisans, and ordinary miners who filled the streets of Potosí and its surrounding communities. Trading Roles translates global histories of credit, market capitalization, and urbanization into intimate details of family and community life, and in so doing makes it clear that gender was – and is – a central part of Andean mining history. Readers interested in the interactions of gender, commerce, and Indigenous politics in urban spaces will be well-served by Mangan’s work.

By Jane E. Mangan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Located in the heart of the Andes, Potosi was arguably the most important urban center in the Western Hemisphere during the colonial era. It was internationally famous for its abundant silver mines and regionally infamous for its labor draft. Set in this context of opulence and oppression associated with the silver trade, Trading Roles emphasizes daily life in the city's streets, markets, and taverns. As Jane E. Mangan shows, food and drink transactions emerged as the most common site of interaction for Potosinos of different ethnic and class backgrounds. Within two decades of Potosi's founding in the 1540s, the majority…

The Golden Peaches of Samarkand

By Edward H. Schafer,

Book cover of The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A Study of t'Ang Exotics

Victor Cunrui Xiong Author Of Heavenly Khan: A Biography of Emperor Tang Taizong

From the list on China in the Tang period.

Who am I?

I was first exposed to Western literature when working as a teenage farm worker in the jungle of south Yunnan decades ago and have kept my interest alive ever since. As an undergraduate at Peking University, I majored in English and American language and literature before I switched to the study of Chinese archaeology and history at the graduate level. Over the last three decades and more, I have been teaching Chinese and World history and doing research on Chinese history at a US university. In addition to dozens of articles, I have published several books both in English and Chinese, all on premodern China with a focus on the Sui-Tang period.

Victor's book list on China in the Tang period

Why did Victor love this book?

This book examines the exotics imported into China during the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907) and depicts their influence on Chinese life. During the three centuries of Tang came into the land the natives of almost every nation of Asia, all bringing exotic wares either as gifts or as goods to be sold. Ivory, rare woods, drugs, diamonds, magicians, dancing girls—the author covers all classes of unusual imports, their places of origin, their lore, their effect on fashion, dwellings, diet, painting, sculpture, music, and poetry.

This book is for students of Tang culture and laymen interested in the same topic. Its author Edward Schafer was an eminent American sinologist.

By Edward H. Schafer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Golden Peaches of Samarkand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the seventh century the kingdom of Samarkand sent formal gifts of fancy yellow peaches, large as goose eggs and with a color like gold, to the Chinese court at Ch'ang-an. What kind of fruit these golden peaches really were cannot now be guessed, but they have the glamour of mystery, and they symbolize all the exotic things longed for, and unknown things hoped for, by the people of the T'ang empire. This book examines the exotics imported into China during the T'ang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), and depicts their influence on Chinese life. Into the land during the three centuries…

The Captive Sea

By Daniel Hershenzon,

Book cover of The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean

Brian Catlos Author Of Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors: Faith, Power, and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad

From the list on the multi-religious Mediterranean.

Who am I?

Having lived in North America, Europe, and the Middle East, and visited many, many more countries, I am a traveler first and foremost. I travel because I like getting to know different types of people and seeing how they live and how they think about the world and about their place in it. As a historian, I can travel back in time to places even more exotic than one can visit today. My favorite place is the Mediterranean world in the Middle Ages – an exciting environment where Christians, Muslims, and Jews from Africa, Europe, and Asia, came together sometimes in conflict, but as often as not in collaboration or friendship.

Brian's book list on the multi-religious Mediterranean

Why did Brian love this book?

Another intimate view of Mediterranean social history, The Captive Sea: brings to light the way networks of captivity and ransom operating between Hapsburg Spain, Ottoman Algiers, Morocco, and beyond helped shape the Mediterranean as an integrated region in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Hershenzon tracks the interactions of various agents involved in the ransom economy— imperial bureaucrats, clergy, merchants, diplomats, renegades.

Combining a wide-angle frame of geopolitics with the particular cases registered in letters, petitions, Inquisition reports, and other archival sources, he reconstructs some remarkable stories that illustrate the complexity of networks of interaction and circulation: stories of individual captives like Fatima, daughter of an Algerian Janissary (slave soldier), or the connected histories of captives (in some cases of quite modest social station) from both sides of the religious divide, repatriated through the correspondence of wives or mothers back home. 

By Daniel Hershenzon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Captive Sea, Daniel Hershenzon explores the entangled histories of Muslim and Christian captives-and, by extension, of the Spanish Empire, Ottoman Algiers, and Morocco-in the seventeenth century to argue that piracy, captivity, and redemption helped shape the Mediterranean as an integrated region at the social, political, and economic levels. Despite their confessional differences, the lives of captives and captors alike were connected in a political economy of ransom and communication networks shaped by Spanish, Ottoman, and Moroccan rulers; ecclesiastic institutions; Jewish, Muslim, and Christian intermediaries; and the captives themselves, as well as their kin.
Hershenzon offers both a comprehensive…

The Ties That Buy

By Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor,

Book cover of The Ties That Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America

Siobhan Talbott Author Of Conflict, Commerce and Franco-Scottish Relations, 1560-1713

From the list on early-modern business history.

Who am I?

I began my academic career working on political history until a chance conversation and a serendipitous find in an archive changed the direction of my doctoral research. Since then, I have become increasingly enmeshed in Business History, interested predominantly in the people that were at the heart of commercial activity. It is my belief that the landscape of business was – and is – shaped more by the people directly involved in it than by those making policy and devising international treaties. My current work – funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellowship – explores the ways in which information was created, disseminated, and utilised in early modern business networks.

Siobhan's book list on early-modern business history

Why did Siobhan love this book?

It has been broadly recognised in recent years that the traditional perception of early-modern Atlantic business as a male-dominated space is outmoded and inaccurate. In this superb book, Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor shows that the women who participated in commerce – from all ranks of society – were not exceptions in exclusively male-dominated markets but were ‘quintessential market participants’. Appealing strongly to my own approach to business history, Hartigan-O’Connor marries social and economic history, providing an updated view of who the commercial players were in eighteenth-century America.

By Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1770, tavernkeeper Abigail Stoneman called in her debts by flourishing a handful of playing cards before the Rhode Island Court of Common Pleas. Scrawled on the cards were the IOUs of drinkers whose links to Stoneman testified to women's paradoxical place in the urban economy of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Stoneman did traditional women's work-boarding, feeding, cleaning, and selling alcohol-but her customers, like her creditors, underscore her connections to an expansive commercial society. These connections are central to The Ties That Buy.
Historian Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor traces the lives of urban women in early America to reveal…

The Bourgeois Virtues

By Deirdre N Mccloskey,

Book cover of The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce

Erwin Dekker Author Of The Viennese Students of Civilization: The Meaning and Context of Austrian Economics Reconsidered

From the list on cultural knowledge to understand the economy.

Who am I?

I am a historian and economist who is fascinated by the intersection of the economy and culture. This started for me with the idea that economic ideas were shaped by the cultural context in which they emerged, which resulted in my book on the Viennese Students. Over time it has expanded to an interest for the markets for the arts from music to the visual arts, as well as the way in which culture and morality influence economic dynamism. Economics and the humanities are frequently believed to be at odds with each other, but I hope to inspire a meaningful conversation between them.

Erwin's book list on cultural knowledge to understand the economy

Why did Erwin love this book?

Economists are arguing to this day what gave rise to the enormous rise in living standards since the 1750s. Deirdre McCloskey argues in this first book of her Bourgeois trilogy that it resulted from a cultural shift in which bourgeois virtues replaced aristocratic ones. The book opened my eyes to the importance of cultural attitudes (dignity and stigma) of various economic and social activities. McCloskey claims that sustained economic growth and innovation were crucially dependent on the dignity of the bourgeois and their commercial activities. McCloskey’s fluent prose which interweaves empirical historical knowledge with literary allusions remains a model to me. 

By Deirdre N Mccloskey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For a century and a half, the artists and intellectuals of Europe have scorned the bourgeoisie. And for a millennium and a half, the philosophers and theologians of Europe have scorned the marketplace. The bourgeois life, capitalism, Mencken's "booboisie" and David Brooks's "bobos" - all have been, and still are, framed as being responsible for everything from financial to moral poverty, world wars, and spiritual desuetude. Countering these centuries of assumptions and unexamined thinking is Deirdre McCloskey's "The Bourgeois Virtues", a magnum opus that offers a radical view: capitalism is good for us. McCloskey's sweeping, charming, and even humorous survey…

Book cover of The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan

Cees Heere Author Of Empire Ascendant: The British World, Race, and the Rise of Japan, 1894-1914

From the list on East Asia in the age of empire.

Who am I?

I am a historian of empire and international relations, and have worked at universities in Britain and the Netherlands (where I was born). I’m fascinated by the ways in which empires have shaped – and continue to shape – the world we live in. Empire Ascendant was my first book, and I am currently working on a global history of the Dutch colonial empire.  

Cees' book list on East Asia in the age of empire

Why did Cees love this book?

Histories of Japan’s encounter with the West typically start from the premise that prior to its “opening” by the American Commodore Perry in 1853, Japan was a “closed” society that shunned contact with the outside world. This book, which explores the relationship between the Tokugawa shogunate and the Dutch East India Company (the VOC), presents a radically different story: one in which one of the world’s most ruthless commercial operators was forced to humble itself before the shogun. It’s an essential corrective to anyone who equates “world history” with the rise of the West.

By Adam Clulow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Dutch East India Company was a hybrid organization combining the characteristics of both corporation and state that attempted to thrust itself aggressively into an Asian political order in which it possessed no obvious place and was transformed in the process. This study focuses on the company's clashes with Tokugawa Japan over diplomacy, violence, and sovereignty. In each encounter the Dutch were forced to retreat, compelled to abandon their claims to sovereign powers, and to refashion themselves again and again-from subjects of a fictive king to loyal vassals of the shogun, from aggressive pirates to meek merchants, and from insistent…

The Spice Route

By John Keay,

Book cover of The Spice Route: A History

Eleanor Ford Author Of The Nutmeg Trail: Recipes and Stories Along the Ancient Spice Routes

From the list on to spice up your shelves.

Who am I?

In my writing, food is a means to explore culture and understand the world. I’ve been described as a ‘culinary detective’. I collect and create eclectic, evocative recipes from around the globe so I can travel from my kitchen when I'm back home in London. The Nutmeg Trail follows my multi-award-winning books, Fire Islands and Samarkand.

Eleanor's book list on to spice up your shelves

Why did Eleanor love this book?

With a scholarly eye for detail, Keaye explores the history of the spice routes. The trade is at once mysterious and hard to trace yet also world-encompassing. It started more wars and sparked more discoveries than any other global exchange.  This book elegantly covers over 3,000 years of human history and leaves the reader with much to think about. 

By John Keay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An exotic saga with the tang of drama in every voyage, The Spice Route transports the reader from the dawn of history to the ends of the earth The Spice Route is one of history's great anomalies. Shrouded in mystery, it existed long before anyone knew of its extent or alignment. Spices came from lands unseen, possibly uninhabitable, and almost by definition unattainable; that was what made them so desirable. Yet more livelihoods depended on this pungent traffic, more nations participated in it, more wars were fought over it, and more discoveries resulted from it than from any other global…

Trading in the Zone

By Mark Douglas,

Book cover of Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline, and a Winning Attitude

Bo Yoder Author Of Optimize Your Trading Edge: Increase Profits, Reduce Draw-Downs, and Eliminate Leaks in Your Trading Strategy

From the list on helping you optimize your trading edge.

Who am I?

I first fell in love with the markets when in 1995, I made more on 1 stock investment than I did working all winter in the freezing cold as a ski instructor. I see it as the world’s greatest game and it has given me a life of unparalleled freedom that I am eternally grateful for. Trading has allowed me to pursue my interests and go deep into behavioral psychology, economics, neurobiology, and would never have had the breakthroughs I have had like the Bottega method for AI or the Myalolipsis technique for developing effortless, unshakable self-discipline if I hadn’t been an active trader.

Bo's book list on helping you optimize your trading edge

Why did Bo love this book?

Trading is a mental sport.

I have been teaching and mentoring traders since 1999. In that time I have seen over and over again that success comes from the ability to maintain discipline and withstand emotional discomfort.

Everybody wants to buy a system or strategy “that just works”. Well, as somebody who has developed many great strategies I can tell you this harsh truth… The best system in the world is worthless if you can’t follow its rules.

This is the core reason why over 90% of traders fail, lose money, and quit in disgust.

This book is one of the best I have found on the subject of trading discipline and mindset. If you are at all serious about your success in the market…start here!

By Mark Douglas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trading in the Zone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Douglas uncovers the underlying reasons for lack of consistency and helps traders overcome the ingrained mental habits that cost them money.  He takes on the myths of the market and exposes them one by one teaching traders to look beyond random outcomes, to understand the true realities of risk, and to be comfortable with the "probabilities" of market movement that governs all market speculation.

The World in the Viking Age

By Søren M. Sindbæk (editor), Athena Trakadas (editor),

Book cover of The World in the Viking Age

Else Roesdahl Author Of The Vikings

From the list on the day-to-day life of Vikings.

Who am I?

Else Roesdahl has a life-long passion for Vikings. She is emerita professor of Medieval Archaeology at Aarhus University, Denmark, and has travelled all over the Viking world and taken part in many excavations. She has also organized major international Viking Exhibitions and published academic as well as popular books, for which she has been awarded several prizes.

Else's book list on the day-to-day life of Vikings

Why did Else love this book?

This well-written and well-illustrated book tells the story of Vikings, their ships, travels, and trade in the context of the global history of the ancient World – reaching from the Atlantic to China and from North Norway to Africa. The Vikings were far from the only great seafarers, warriors, and tradesmen of their time. They were part of far-flung networks, which also traded ideas. Contemporary travel accounts and recent archaeological investigations and finds are important components of this attractive book, written by international specialists.

By Søren M. Sindbæk (editor), Athena Trakadas (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World in the Viking Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Viking Age was ignited by the art of building seaworthy sailing ships and the skills to sail them on the open sea. The growth in seafaring, trade, piracy, and exploration that began to gather momentum during the 8th century CE was not limited to Europe's northern seas, however. Ships, laden with cargo and with seafarers who met foreign cultures, created unexpected connections between people from the Arctic Circle to the oceans south of the equator.

Travel accounts have handed down glimpses of these voyages to the present day. However, it is archaeological discoveries in particular which uncover the story…