21 Best Books on Economic History

Best Books on Economic HistoryE

conomic history refers to the recording economic activities, of all humans. Business leaders need to understand many concepts of economics. Given the financial crisis and current economic events. More so, many political thought and governements influence ecnomics, thereby, influencing the outcome of business impact both negative or positive. Economic history allows us to understand both the mistakes, successes, and the potential direction of where the economy may be going. Thus, allowing us as business leaders to make sound business-decisions.

Best Books on Economic History: THE LIST

1. The Great Contraction, 1929 – 1933
2. Capital and Ideology
3. The Spider Network
4. The Economists’ Hour
5. Captains of Consciousness
6. Transaction Man
7. The Price of Peace
8. The Wealth of Nations
9. Collapse
10. Against the Gods
11. Fire in the Valley
12. Digital Cash
13. The Upstarts
14. The Leading Indicators
15. No Filter
16. The Color of Money
17. Common Sense
18. Players
19. Prisoners of Geography
20. Dear Chairman
21. Capital

1. The Great Contraction, 1929 - 1933 | By Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz

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Friedman and Schwartz’s A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, published in 1963, stands as one of the most influential economics books of the twentieth century. A landmark achievement, the book marshaled massive historical data and sharp analytics to support the claim that monetary policy–steady control of the money supply–matters profoundly in the management of the nation’s economy, especially in navigating serious economic fluctuations. The chapter entitled “The Great Contraction, 1929-33” addressed the central economic event of the century, the Great Depression. Published as a stand-alone paperback in 1965, The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 argued that the Federal Reserve could have stemmed the severity of the Depression, but failed to exercise its role of managing the monetary system and ameliorating banking panics. The book served as a clarion call to the monetarist school of thought by emphasizing the importance of the money supply in the functioning of the economy–a concept that has come to inform the actions of central banks worldwide.

This edition of the original text includes a new preface by Anna Jacobson Schwartz, as well as a new introduction by the economist Peter Bernstein. It also reprints comments from the current Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, originally made on the occasion of Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday, on the enduring influence of Friedman and Schwartz’s work and vision.

2. Capital and Ideology | By Thomas Piketty

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The epic successor to one of the most important books of the century: at once a retelling of global history, a scathing critique of contemporary politics, and a bold proposal for a new and fairer economic system.

Thomas Piketty’s bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century galvanized global debate about inequality. In this audacious follow-up, Piketty challenges us to revolutionize how we think about politics, ideology, and history. He exposes the ideas that have sustained inequality for the past millennium, reveals why the shallow politics of right and left are failing us today, and outlines the structure of a fairer economic system.

Our economy, Piketty observes, is not a natural fact. Markets, profits, and capital are all historical constructs that depend on choices. Piketty explores the material and ideological interactions of conflicting social groups that have given us slavery, serfdom, colonialism, communism, and hypercapitalism, shaping the lives of billions. He concludes that the great driver of human progress over the centuries has been the struggle for equality and education and not, as often argued, the assertion of property rights or the pursuit of stability. The new era of extreme inequality that has derailed that progress since the 1980s, he shows, is partly a reaction against communism, but it is also the fruit of ignorance, intellectual specialization, and our drift toward the dead-end politics of identity.

Once we understand this, we can begin to envision a more balanced approach to economics and politics. Piketty argues for a new “participatory” socialism, a system founded on an ideology of equality, social property, education, and the sharing of knowledge and power. Capital and Ideology is destined to be one of the indispensable books of our time, a work that will not only help us understand the world, but that will change it.

3. The Spider Network | By David Enrich

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The Wall Street Journal‘s award-winning business reporter unveils the bizarre and sinister story of how a math genius named Tom Hayes, a handful of outrageous confederates, and a deeply corrupt banking system ignited one of the greatest financial scandals in history. The paperback edition includes a new chapter discussing further fallout from the scandal.

In 2006, an oddball group of bankers, traders and brokers from some of the world’s largest financial institutions made a startling realization: Libor—the London interbank offered rate, which determines interest rates on trillions in loans worldwide—was set daily by a small group of easily manipulated functionaries. Tom Hayes, a brilliant but troubled mathematician, became the lynchpin of shadowy team that used hook and crook to take over the process and set rates that made them a fortune, no matter the cost to others. Among the motley crew was a French trader nicknamed “Gollum”; the broker “Abbo,” who liked to publicly strip naked when drinking; a Kazakh chicken farmer turned something short of financial whiz kid; an executive called “Clumpy” because of his patchwork hair loss; and a broker uncreatively nicknamed “Big Nose.” Eventually known as the “Spider Network,” Hayes’s circle generated untold riches —until it all unraveled in spectacularly vicious, backstabbing fashion.

Praised as reading like a fast-paced John le Carré thriller” (New York Times), “compelling” (Washington Post) and “jaw-dropping” (Financial Times), The Spider Network is not only a rollicking account of the scam, but a provocative examination of a financial system that was warped and shady throughout.

4. The Economists’ Hour | By Binyamin Appelbaum

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In this “lively and entertaining” history of ideas (Liaquat Ahamed, The New Yorker), New York Times editorial writer Binyamin Appelbaum tells the story of the people who sparked four decades of economic revolution.

Before the 1960s, American politicians paid little attention to economists. But as the post–World War II boom began to sputter, economists gained influence and power. Binyamin Appelbaum traces the rise of the economists, first in the United States and then around the globe, as their ideas reshaped the modern world, curbing government, unleashing corporations, and hastening globalization. Some leading figures in the field are relatively well-known, such as Milton Friedman and Arthur Laffer, while others stayed out of the limelight but left a lasting impact on modern life: Walter Oi, a blind economist who persuaded President Nixon to end military conscription; Alfred Kahn, who rejoiced in the crowded cabins on commercial flights as proof of his deregulation of air travel; and Thomas Schelling, who put a dollar value on human life.

Their fundamental belief? That government should stop trying to manage the economy. Their guiding principle? That markets would deliver steady growth and ensure that all Americans shared in the benefits.

But the economists’ hour failed to deliver on its promise of broad prosperity. And the single-minded embrace of markets has come at the expense of economic equality, the health of liberal democracy, and future generations. Timely, engaging, and expertly researched, The Economists’ Hour is a reckoning—and a call for people to rewrite the rules of the market.

5. Captains of Consciousness | By Stuart Ewen

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Captains of Consciousness offers a historical look at the origins of the advertising industry and consumer society at the turn of the twentieth century. For this new edition Stuart Ewen, one of our foremost interpreters of popular culture, has written a new preface that considers the continuing influence of advertising and commercialism in contemporary life. Not limiting his critique strictly to consumers and the advertising culture that serves them, he provides a fascinating history of the ways in which business has refined its search for new consumers by ingratiating itself into Americans’ everyday lives. A timely and still-fascinating critique of life in a consumer culture.

6. Transaction Man | By Nicholas Lemann

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Over the last generation, the United States has undergone seismic changes. Stable institutions have given way to frictionless transactions, which are celebrated no matter what collateral damage they generate. The concentration of great wealth has coincided with the fraying of social ties and the rise of inequality. How did all this come about?

In Transaction Man, Nicholas Lemann explains the United States’―and the world’s―great transformation by examining three remarkable individuals who epitomized and helped create their eras. Adolf Berle, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s chief theorist of the economy, imagined a society dominated by large corporations, which a newly powerful federal government had forced to become benign and stable institutions, contributing to the public good by offering stable employment and generous pensions. By the 1970s, the corporations’ large stockholders grew restive under this regime, and their chief theoretician, Harvard Business School’s Michael Jensen, insisted that firms should maximize shareholder value, whatever the consequences. Today, Silicon Valley titans such as the LinkedIn cofounder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman hope “networks” can reknit our social fabric.

Lemann interweaves these fresh and vivid profiles with a history of the Morgan Stanley investment bank from the 1930s through the financial crisis of 2008, while also tracking the rise and fall of a working-class Chicago neighborhood and the family-run car dealerships at its heart. Incisive and sweeping, Transaction Man is the definitive account of the reengineering of America and the enormous impact it has had on us all.

7. The Price of Peace | By Zachary D. Carter

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At the dawn of World War I, a young academic named John Maynard Keynes hastily folded his long legs into the sidecar of his brother-in-law’s motorcycle for an odd, frantic journey that would change the course of history. Swept away from his placid home at Cambridge University by the currents of the conflict, Keynes found himself thrust into the halls of European treasuries to arrange emergency loans and packed off to America to negotiate the terms of economic combat. The terror and anxiety unleashed by the war would transform him from a comfortable obscurity into the most influential and controversial intellectual of his day—a man whose ideas still retain the power to shock in our own time.

Keynes was not only an economist but the preeminent anti-authoritarian thinker of the twentieth century, one who devoted his life to the belief that art and ideas could conquer war and deprivation. As a moral philosopher, political theorist, and statesman, Keynes led an extraordinary life that took him from intimate turn-of-the-century parties in London’s riotous Bloomsbury art scene to the fevered negotiations in Paris that shaped the Treaty of Versailles, from stock market crashes on two continents to diplomatic breakthroughs in the mountains of New Hampshire to wartime ballet openings at London’s extravagant Covent Garden. 

Along the way, Keynes reinvented Enlightenment liberalism to meet the harrowing crises of the twentieth century. In the United States, his ideas became the foundation of a burgeoning economics profession, but they also became a flash point in the broader political struggle of the Cold War, as Keynesian acolytes faced off against conservatives in an intellectual battle for the future of the country—and the world. Though many Keynesian ideas survived the struggle, much of the project to which he devoted his life was lost. 

In this riveting biography, veteran journalist Zachary D. Carter unearths the lost legacy of one of history’s most fascinating minds. The Price of Peace revives a forgotten set of ideas about democracy, money, and the good life with transformative implications for today’s debates over inequality and the power politics that shape the global order.

8. The Wealth of Nations | By Adam Smith

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The Wealth of Nations was published 9 March 1776, during the Scottish Enlightenment and the Scottish Agricultural Revolution. It influenced a number of authors and economists, as well as governments and organizations. For example, Alexander Hamilton was influenced in part by The Wealth of Nations to write his Report on Manufactures, in which he argued against many of Smith’s policies. Interestingly, Hamilton based much of this report on the ideas of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, and it was, in part, Colbert’s ideas that Smith responded to with The Wealth of Nations. Many other authors were influenced by the book and used it as a starting point in their own work, including Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus and, later, Ludwig von Mises. The Russian national poet Aleksandr Pushkin refers to The Wealth of Nations in his 1833 verse-novel Eugene Onegin.

9. Collapse | By Jared Diamond

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Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?

10. Against the Gods | By Peter L. Bernstein

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“With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it.”
John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University

In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today.

“An extremely readable history of risk.”
Barron’s

“Fascinating . . . this challenging volume will help you understand the uncertainties that every investor must face.”
Money

“A singular achievement.”
Times Literary Supplement

“There’s a growing market for savants who can render the recondite intelligibly-witness Stephen Jay Gould (natural history), Oliver Sacks (disease), Richard Dawkins (heredity), James Gleick (physics), Paul Krugman (economics)-and Bernstein would mingle well in their company.”
The Australian

11. Fire in the Valley | By Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine

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In the 1970s, while their contemporaries were protesting the computer as a tool of dehumanization and oppression, a motley collection of college dropouts, hippies, and electronics fanatics were engaged in something much more subversive. Obsessed with the idea of getting computer power into their own hands, they launched from their garages a hobbyist movement that grew into an industry, and ultimately a social and technological revolution. What they did was invent the personal computer: not just a new device, but a watershed in the relationship between man and machine. This is their story.

Fire in the Valley is the definitive history of the personal computer, drawn from interviews with the people who made it happen, written by two veteran computer writers who were there from the start. Working at InfoWorld in the early 1980s, Swaine and Freiberger daily rubbed elbows with people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates when they were creating the personal computer revolution.

A rich story of colorful individuals, Fire in the Valley profiles these unlikely revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, such as Ed Roberts of MITS, Lee Felsenstein at Processor Technology, and Jack Tramiel of Commodore, as well as Jobs and Gates in all the innocence of their formative years.

This completely revised and expanded third edition brings the story to its completion, chronicling the end of the personal computer revolution and the beginning of the post-PC era. It covers the departure from the stage of major players with the deaths of Steve Jobs and Douglas Engelbart and the retirements of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer; the shift away from the PC to the cloud and portable devices; and what the end of the PC era means for issues such as personal freedom and power, and open source vs. proprietary software.

12. Digital Cash | By Finn Brunton

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The fascinating untold story of digital cash and its creators―from experiments in the 1970s to the mania over Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin may appear to be a revolutionary form of digital cash without precedent or prehistory. In fact, it is only the best-known recent experiment in a long line of similar efforts going back to the 1970s. But the story behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and its blockchain technology has largely been untold―until now. In Digital Cash, Finn Brunton reveals how technological utopians and political radicals created experimental money to bring about their visions of the future: protecting privacy or bringing down governments, preparing for apocalypse or launching a civilization of innovation and abundance that would make its creators immortal.

The incredible story of the pioneers of cryptocurrency takes us from autonomous zones on the high seas to the world’s most valuable dump, from bank runs to idea coupons, from time travelers in a San Francisco bar to the pattern securing every twenty-dollar bill, and from marketplaces for dangerous secrets to a tank of frozen heads awaiting revival in the far future. Along the way, Digital Cash explores the hard questions and challenges that these innovators faced: How do we learn to trust and use different kinds of money? What makes digital objects valuable? How does currency prove itself as real to us? What would it take to make a digital equivalent to cash, something that could be created but not forged, exchanged but not copied, and which reveals nothing about its users?

Filled with marvelous characters, stories, and ideas, Digital Cash is an engaging and accessible account of the strange origins and remarkable technologies behind today’s cryptocurrency explosion.

13. The Upstarts | By Brad Stone

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A look deep inside the new Silicon Valley, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Everything Store.

Ten years ago, the idea of getting into a stranger’s car, or a walking into a stranger’s home, would have seemed bizarre and dangerous, but today it’s as common as ordering a book online. Uber and Airbnb have ushered in a new era: redefining neighborhoods, challenging the way governments regulate business, and changing the way we travel.

In the spirit of iconic Silicon Valley renegades like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, another generation of entrepreneurs is using technology to upend convention and disrupt entire industries. These are the upstarts, idiosyncratic founders with limitless drive and an abundance of self-confidence. Led by such visionaries as Travis Kalanick of Uber and Brian Chesky of Airbnb, they are rewriting the rules of business and often sidestepping serious ethical and legal obstacles in the process.

The Upstarts is the definitive story of two new titans of business and a dawning age of tenacity, conflict and wealth. In Brad Stone’s riveting account of the most radical companies of the new Silicon Valley, we discover how it all happened and what it took to change the world.

14. The Leading Indicators | By Zachary Karabell

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The Leading Indicators was widely and well received as a much needed corrective to the outdated, outmoded economic figures we are accustomed. Every day, we are bombarded with numbers that tell us how we are doing, whether the economy is growing or shrinking, whether the future looks bright or dim. Gross national product, balance of trade, unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence guide our actions, yet few of us know where they come from, what they mean, or why they rule our world.

Zachary Karabell tells the fascinating history of these indicators, which were invented in the mid-twentieth century to address the urgent challenges of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. They were rough measures—designed to give clarity in a data-parched world that was made up of centralized, industrial nations—yet we still rely on them today.

Today’s world is shaped by information technology and the borderless flow of capital and goods. If we follow a 1950s road map for a twenty-first-century world, we will get lost.

What is urgently needed is not to invent a new set of numbers but to tap into the data revolution that offers unparalleled access to the information we need. Companies should not base their business plans on GDP projections; individuals should not decide whether to buy a home or get a degree based on the national unemployment rate. If you want to buy a home, look for a job, start a company or run a business, you can readily find your own indicators. National housing figures don’t matter; local ones do. You can find those at the click of button. Personal, made-to-order indicators will meet our needs today, and the revolution is well underway. We need only to join it.

15. No Filter | By Sarah Frier

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In this “sequel to The Social Network” (The New York Times), award-winning reporter Sarah Frier reveals the never-before-told story of how Instagram became the most culturally defining app of the decade.

“The most enrapturing book about Silicon Valley drama since Hatching Twitter” (Fortune), No Filter “pairs phenomenal in-depth reporting with explosive storytelling that gets to the heart of how Instagram has shaped our lives, whether you use the app or not” (The New York Times).

In 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger released a photo-sharing app called Instagram, with one simple but irresistible feature: it would make anything you captured look more beautiful. The cofounders cultivated a community of photographers and artisans around the app, and it quickly went mainstream. In less than two years, it caught Facebook’s attention: Mark Zuckerberg bought the company for a historic $1 billion when Instagram had only thirteen employees.

That might have been the end of a classic success story. But the cofounders stayed on, trying to maintain Instagram’s beauty, brand, and cachet, considering their app a separate company within the social networking giant. They urged their employees to make changes only when necessary, resisting Facebook’s grow-at-all-costs philosophy in favor of a strategy that highlighted creativity and celebrity. Just as Instagram was about to reach a billion users, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg—once supportive of the founders’ autonomy—began to feel threatened by Instagram’s success.

Frier draws on unprecedented access—from the founders of Instagram, as well as employees, executives, and competitors; Anna Wintour of Vogue; Kris Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner empire; and a plethora of influencers worldwide—to show how Instagram has fundamentally changed the way we show, eat, travel, and communicate, all while fighting to preserve the values which contributed to the company’s success. “Deeply reported and beautifully written” (Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair), No Filter examines how Instagram’s dominance acts as a lens into our society today, highlighting our fraught relationship with technology, our desire for perfection, and the battle within tech for its most valuable commodity: our attention.

16. The Color of Money | By Mehrsa Baradaran

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When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the black community owned less than 1 percent of the total wealth in America. More than 150 years later, that number has barely budged. The Color of Money seeks to explain the stubborn persistence of this racial wealth gap by focusing on the generators of wealth in the black community: black banks.

With the civil rights movement in full swing, President Nixon promoted “black capitalism,” a plan to support black banks and minority-owned businesses. But the catch-22 of black banking is that the very institutions needed to help communities escape the deep poverty caused by discrimination and segregation inevitably became victims of that same poverty. In this timely and eye-opening account, Baradaran challenges the long-standing belief that black communities could ever really hope to accumulate wealth in a segregated economy.

17. Common Sense | By Thomas Paine

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Common Sense is the timeless classic that inspired the Thirteen Colonies to fight for and declare their independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. Written by famed political theorist Thomas Paine, this pamphlet boldly challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy to rule over the American colonists.

By using plain language and a reasoned style, Paine chose to forego the philosophical and Latin references made popular by the Enlightenment era writers. As a result, Paine united average citizens and political leaders behind the central idea of independence and transformed the tenor of the colonists’ argument against the British. As the best-selling American title of all time, Common Sense has been eloquently described by historian Gordon S. Wood as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era.”

Thomas Paine (1737–1809) was an English-American political activist, philosopher, and revolutionary. As one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the colonists to declare independence from Great Britain in 1776. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights and the separation of church and state. He has been called a corset-maker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination.

18. Players | By Matthew Futterman

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It started, as most business deals do, with a handshake. In 1960, a Cleveland lawyer named Mark McCormack convinced a golfer named Arnold Palmer to sign with him. McCormack simply believed that the best athletes had more commercial value than they were being paid for—and he was right. Within a few years, he raised Palmer’s annual income from $5,000 to $500,000, and forever changed the landscape of the sports industry, transforming it from a form of entertainment to a profitable and fully functioning system of its own.

“A remarkable saga…filled with insights not only into sports, but also into human nature” (The Dallas Morning News), Players features landmark moments, including the multiyear battle to free Palmer from a bad deal with the Wilson Sporting Goods Company; the 1973 Wimbledon boycott, when eighty-one of the top tennis players in the world protested the suspension of Nikola Pilic; baseball pitcher Catfish Hunter’s battle to become MLB’s first free agent; and how NFL executives transformed pro football from a commercial dud to the greatest show on earth.

“An entertaining, illuminating read” (New York Journal of Books), Players is a riveting, fly-on-the-wall account of the rise and creation of the modern sports world, and the people who made it happen. “No part of the media and entertainment industry has seen a more substantial economic transformation than sports….A half-century tour spanning a variety of widely recognized and lesser-known sports figures and competitions that have played roles in the industry’s development….Players could not be more timely” (The New York Times).

19. Prisoners of Geography | By Tim Marshall

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In this New York Times bestseller, an award-winning journalist uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers—“fans of geography, history, and politics (and maps) will be enthralled” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

Maps have a mysterious hold over us. Whether ancient, crumbling parchments or generated by Google, maps tell us things we want to know, not only about our current location or where we are going but about the world in general. And yet, when it comes to geo-politics, much of what we are told is generated by analysts and other experts who have neglected to refer to a map of the place in question.

All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. In “one of the best books about geopolitics” (The Evening Standard), now updated to include 2016 geopolitical developments, journalist Tim Marshall examines Russia, China, the US, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Greenland and the Arctic—their weather, seas, mountains, rivers, deserts, and borders—to provide a context often missing from our political reportage: how the physical characteristics of these countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders.

Offering “a fresh way of looking at maps” (The New York Times Book Review), Marshall explains the complex geo-political strategies that shape the globe. Why is Putin so obsessed with Crimea? Why was the US destined to become a global superpower? Why does China’s power base continue to expand? Why is Tibet destined to lose its autonomy? Why will Europe never be united? The answers are geographical. “In an ever more complex, chaotic, and interlinked world, Prisoners of Geography is a concise and useful primer on geopolitics” (Newsweek) and a critical guide to one of the major determining factors in world affairs.

20. Dear Chairman | By Jeff Gramm

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A sharp and illuminating history of one of capitalism’s longest running tensions—the conflicts of interest among public company directors, managers, and shareholders—told through entertaining case studies and original letters from some of our most legendary and controversial investors and activists.

Recent disputes between shareholders and major corporations, including Apple and DuPont, have made headlines. But the struggle between management and those who own stock has been going on for nearly a century. Mixing never-before-published and rare, original letters from Wall Street icons—including Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, Ross Perot, Carl Icahn, and Daniel Loeb—with masterful scholarship and professional insight, Dear Chairman traces the rise in shareholder activism from the 1920s to today, and provides an invaluable and unprecedented perspective on what it means to be a public company, including how they work and who is really in control.

Jeff Gramm analyzes different eras and pivotal boardroom battles from the last century to understand the factors that have caused shareholders and management to collide. Throughout, he uses the letters to show how investors interact with directors and managers, how they think about their target companies, and how they plan to profit. Each is a fascinating example of capitalism at work told through the voices of its most colorful, influential participants.

A hedge fund manager and an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, Gramm has spent as much time evaluating CEOs and directors as he has trying to understand and value businesses. He has seen public companies that are poorly run, and some that willfully disenfranchise their shareholders. While he pays tribute to the ingenuity of public company investors, Gramm also exposes examples of shareholder activism at its very worst, when hedge funds engineer stealthy land-grabs at the expense of a company’s long term prospects. Ultimately, he provides a thorough, much-needed understanding of the public company/shareholder relationship for investors, managers, and everyone concerned with the future of capitalism.

21. Capital | By Karl Marx

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Capital. A critique of political economy. The process of capitalist production. Translated from the German ed. By Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling Edited by Frederick Engels.

This book, “Capital”, by Karl Marx, is a replication of a book originally published before 1919. It has been restored by human beings, page by page, so that you may enjoy it in a form as close to the original as possible.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Economic History

There’s many pathways among economic history for the reader to seek. Nevertheless, the reader can use the best books on economic history as a guide to explore. 

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

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How do Business Coaches Make Money?

How do Business Coaches Make Money?

usiness coaches are a niche profession that is growing rapidly. Business coaching helps businesses achieve their goals by working one-on-one with company executives to develop solutions tailored to their needs. Coaching sessions focus on strategy,...

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What Problems do Business Coaches Solve?

What Problems do Business Coaches Solve?

ou’ve heard it before… You need a coach to help you see the forest instead of the trees. A coach helps you see where you are stuck, or perhaps they will notice your blind spots. A coach is an objective advisor with no ego, that can make you...

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What do the Best Business Coaches Do?

What do the Best Business Coaches Do?

re you ready to take your business to the next level? A business coach can help you do that. A coach is someone who has been in your shoes and understands what it takes to succeed. They are a neutral third party with no other agenda than to help...

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Is a Business Coach Worth It?

Is a Business Coach Worth It?

s a small business owner, you have more responsibilities than just running your company. From hiring the right team to managing finances and marketing, there are a lot of moving parts. To help manage stressors and avoid burning out, many small...

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How Much Should a Business Coach Cost?

How Much Should a Business Coach Cost?

ecoming a successful business owner is hard work. Even the most driven and determined individuals can find it difficult to keep up with all that needs to get done. This is why many small business owners hire coaches to help them stay on track and...

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What does a Business Coach Do?

What does a Business Coach Do?

 business coach is someone who helps you succeed by giving you unbiased advice, ongoing accountability, and insight into your personal strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur. They’re there to keep you on track and give you a fresh...

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What is a Career Development Goal?

What is a Career Development Goal?

hen you’re in a job that doesn’t align with your future career aspirations, it can be hard to figure out what your next steps should be. In fact, many people continue to struggle when it comes to figuring out how to get from point A (their current...

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What is Career Development Plan?

What is Career Development Plan?

areer development is the process by which employees grow and reach their potential over time. It can be challenging to maintain peak performance, especially as an employee navigates different projects and milestones in their career. Career...

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What is Career Development Stages?

What is Career Development Stages?

areer development is the process by which employees grow and reach their potential over time. It can be challenging to maintain peak performance, especially as an employee navigates different projects and milestones in their career. Career...

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What are Career Development Skills?

What are Career Development Skills?

veryone wants to land a job they love and is passionate about. But most people find it challenging to get a job that aligns with their career goals. In fact, the skills gap is one of the biggest issues when it comes to hiring and retaining quality...

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What is the Hardest Job on Earth?

What is the Hardest Job on Earth?

verybody has to work at some point in their life. It is fair to say that some jobs are harder than others, but which ones exactly? There are many different fields of work, from healthcare and education to sales and construction. Each job will have...

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What Easy Jobs Make 100K a Year?

What Easy Jobs Make 100K a Year?

ne of the most common questions about jobs that pay well is “How can I get a job like that?” But what you may not realize is that getting a job like that isn’t always as easy as it seems. Becoming an engineer or a surgeon, for example, takes years...

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What is a Fun Career?

What is a Fun Career?

here are so many career options out there, that it can be hard to know where to start. When looking for a new job, you might find yourself asking things like “What kind of career should I have?” or “What is a fun job?” But what exactly makes a...

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What Is The Easiest Well-Paying Job?

What Is The Easiest Well-Paying Job?

here are plenty of jobs that pay well, but many of them require extensive training, education, and experience. Unless you have a group of specialized skills or a lot of time to invest in training, it can be difficult to find a well-paying job...

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What are Good Careers to Change?

What are Good Careers to Change?

hile there are people who lead happy and fulfilling lives without ever changing their jobs, there are others who feel an itch that needs to be scratched. They may love the work they do, but they’re not satisfied with where they are in their...

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What is the Best Career to Retrain For?

What is the Best Career to Retrain For?

ou’ve passed 35 and decided to re-train. But what do you do next? You’re not fresh out of high school, nor are you able to go back to college again. That leaves you with a limited set of options when it comes to retraining. So, what should you do...

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How Do I Start a New Career at 35?

How Do I Start a New Career at 35?

eing in your mid-30s and feeling stuck in your career is a very common problem. You might have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along, or you might have felt like something was missing from your life for a while. Whatever the case...

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What is World Without Waste?

What is World Without Waste?

FDA, or the Council of Fashion Designers of America, is the main organization representing and supporting the fashion industry in the United States. Every year, they host the CFDA Awards. The CFDA Awards are the fashion industry’s top accolade....

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Is Zara Greenwashing?

Is Zara Greenwashing?

FDA, or the Council of Fashion Designers of America, is the main organization representing and supporting the fashion industry in the United States. Every year, they host the CFDA Awards. The CFDA Awards are the fashion industry’s top accolade....

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Is Greenwashing a Crime?

Is Greenwashing a Crime?

he term “greenwash” refers to the efforts of companies to appear environmentally friendly without actually doing anything to improve the environmental sustainability of their operations. That’s not the sort of thing that a company would want the...

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Who Created Greenwashing?

Who Created Greenwashing?

reenwashing is the act of a company marketing itself as environmentally friendly when in reality, it is not. It is often a method used by companies to hide the negative effects their products have on the environment. It’s a deceptive practice that...

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Why Do Companies Greenwash?

Why Do Companies Greenwash?

‍he concept of a sustainable lifestyle is all the rage these days. Virtually every article, blog post, and news story you’ll read about sustainable living inevitably touches on the topic of sustainability. And with good reason. A...

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Is Eco-Friendly?

Is Eco-Friendly?

he past few years have witnessed a sea change in the global consciousness about the environment. People are now more conscious of the impact of their actions and choices on the environment. At the same time, the green movement has also become a...

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Where Can I Read Sustainability?

Where Can I Read Sustainability?

nterest in sustainability is higher than ever. That’s because it is becoming a more common topic of conversation. More people are joining the movement to live more sustainable, green lifestyles. With this increase in interest, you can find almost...

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Why is Sustainable Living Important?

Why is Sustainable Living Important?

ccording to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sustainability is the ability to provide for the needs and wants of current and future generations. Living sustainably is a concept that’s gaining more and more popularity and acceptance across...

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What are the 4 types of Planning?

What are the 4 types of Planning?

he first step to business success is to decide how to define success for the company. In many cases, businesses aren't clear on what exactly they want to achieve, and this can lead to confusion as well as frustration when goals are not met....

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What do you Mean Planning?

What do you Mean Planning?

lanning is all about decisions. There are lots of them, they happen every day, and each one has the potential to affect the future in some way. We should be good at making good decisions and we can't always be good at that. Planning helps us get...

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What are Some Types of Systems?

What are Some Types of Systems?

 system is a collection of parts that work together to achieve a common goal. Systems can be physical or open, probabilistic or deterministic, and man-made or natural systems. Best Books on Systems and Planning What is a system? The term ‘system’...

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What is a System Selection Report?

What is a System Selection Report?

 system selection report (SSR) is a graphical report that helps you select the best systems for your business. An SSR is a vital tool for system administrators and decision-makers. It provides a snapshot of the state of your system, including the...

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What is a System Plan?

What is a System Plan?

 system plan is a critical input to the design phase, which focuses on selecting the right hardware and software components, determining how they will be configured, and identifying security and management requirements. Best Books on Systems and...

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What is Sustainability in Farming?

What is Sustainability in Farming?

ustainability is an approach to the environment that seeks to meet human needs without depleting or degrading the environment. It’s a process of caring for and making choices that are sustainable from a human and environmental perspective. The...

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What Makes Something Sustainable?

What Makes Something Sustainable?

ustainability is a term used to describe something that is able to provide for its own needs and keep going without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. That’s a lot to think about! If you want to know if...

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What is Towards a Sustainable World?

What is Towards a Sustainable World?

n order to build a sustainable world, it is important to take the right steps. This article will cover those steps and why they are important. It will also cover the importance of sustainability and humanity’s destructive behaviors. Best Books on...

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What Makes a Sustainable Future?

What Makes a Sustainable Future?

hat does a sustainable future look like? It's hard to predict the future, but we can make educated guesses. A sustainable future will include a combination of social and environmental factors that are not detrimental to the next generation. Best...

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Is Sustainable Living Expensive?

Is Sustainable Living Expensive?

any people think sustainable living is expensive. However, there are many things that can be done to save money while living sustainably. Organic produce and using cloth diapers are two examples that are less expensive than buying the same item in...

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What is System Planning?

What is System Planning?

 system plan is a planning tool that helps you understand your business and its parts. By creating a system plan, you can improve efficiency and effectiveness in your business. In addition, a system plan can help you identify potential problems...

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What is System Planning in MIS?

What is System Planning in MIS?

n this comprehensive guide, you will learn about the different aspects of system planning in MIS, how it can be used to improve your organization's performance, and how it can be used to understand your data and assets. Best Books on Task...

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What is the Role of System Planning?

What is the Role of System Planning?

ask management tools are a type of software used to manage and track tasks. They can be used for any purpose, such as scheduling and tracking work, but they are most commonly used in the business world. Task management tools come in different...

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How Do You Track Tasks at Work?

How Do You Track Tasks at Work?

racking tasks at work is a great way to get things done. Not only does it help you stay organized, but it also helps you identify potential problems and solutions early on. In this guide, we’ll discuss the best ways to track tasks and get started....

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How Do You Manage a Team Task?

How Do You Manage a Team Task?

Managing a team is one of the most important skills you can have as an entrepreneur. When it comes to managing a team, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Here are some tips on how to manage a team task successfully: Best Books on...

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How Do You Handle Tasks?

How Do You Handle Tasks?

andling tasks better are important for both personal and professional success. It can help you get things done more quickly, and it can help you feel more satisfied with your work. However, there are a few key things to keep in mind when handling...

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How do you Approach a Task Manager?

How do you Approach a Task Manager?

o one likes a hassle. That’s why it’s important to find the right task manager before you even start working on your project. Task managers make it simple and efficient for you to complete your projects, without having to worry about tedious or...

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What are the 3 Project Control Methods?

What are the 3 Project Control Methods?

n order to achieve great results, it’s important to have a clear goal. Whether it’s getting into shape, increasing your productivity, or becoming more successful in life, setting goals is key. However, setting goals can be difficult. There are so...

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Is Wind Energy Sustainable?

Is Wind Energy Sustainable?

ind energy is often touted as a sustainable energy source. It’s efficient and cheap, and it doesn’t produce any emissions. But can wind energy really be sustainable? In this comprehensive guide, we answer the question: Is wind a sustainable energy...

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Why Green Energy is Sustainable?

Why Green Energy is Sustainable?

reen energy is sustainable because it’s cost-effective, it emits no pollutants, and it’s environmentally friendly. To be sustainable, green energy needs to be affordable, reliable, and clean. Here are some of the reasons why green energy is a...

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What is the Greenest Energy Source?

What is the Greenest Energy Source?

he term “green energy” has become a popular catchphrase, especially in recent years. However, when you actually think about it, most people would probably answer that wind or solar power is the greenest form of energy. After all, these are...

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Is Self-Sustaining Energy Possible?

Is Self-Sustaining Energy Possible?

ave you ever heard of self-sustaining energy? It’s a phrase that’s been around for a while, but it recently got a lot of attention because of Tesla’s new car. In order for a car to run on its own power, it needs to be fueled by something other...

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What is the Idea of Sustainability?

What is the Idea of Sustainability?

ustainability isn't just a big word that everybody likes to use. It's about making sure you're doing things right in a sustainable way. Starting from a pure eco-systems concept in the 1970s and in the World Conservation Strategy, it transformed...

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How Sustainable is Renewable?

How Sustainable is Renewable?

t's a good question as to whether renewable energy is sustainable. In fact, many people don't realize that many of our modern conveniences, like the computer and phone you're reading this on, are powered by fossil fuels. These are often not even...

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What is the Cleanest Form of Energy?

What is the Cleanest Form of Energy?

he sources of clean energy are considered to be green power (solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal). While green power is still viewed as clean and renewable, it is not considered to be “pure” in its source – which can pose problems if it is...

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How Can Energy be Sustainable?

How Can Energy be Sustainable?

There are so many ways to be energy efficient, but one of the most important ways is to use renewable energy. Renewable energy is the power that comes from natural resources, like water, wind, and solar. It's a more sustainable way to generate...

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What is Meant by Sustainable Energy?

What is Meant by Sustainable Energy?

ustainable energy is a growing area of study as we try to understand how to best use our planet's natural resources. This includes energy sources that do not harm our environment and that are still available. Renewable energy is one of the best...

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How Do You Manage Daily Tasks?

How Do You Manage Daily Tasks?

asks are a necessary part of our lives, but they can be difficult to manage. If you’re trying to get things done in an efficient and effective way, here are eleven tips to help you manage your tasks better. Best Books on Task Management Find a...

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Why is Task Management Important?

Why is Task Management Important?

here are so many demands on our time, and managing them all can be difficult. But task management is a crucial part of any successful business. Without a good task management system, it can be hard to stay organized and ensure that your work is...

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How Can You Improve Productivity?

How Can You Improve Productivity?

ask management is really just the ability to identify, organize, and complete tasks, in whatever form they may take. This can include planning and strategizing, tracking and checking tasks, prioritizing and delegating tasks. Beyond the tasks...

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What is Total Float?

What is Total Float?

he total float is the amount of work that can be delayed without delaying the project completion date. If the total float extends too far into the future, the project completion date is pushed out beyond the time when the project must be...

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