These are my favorite books on political/economy and economic history. I have been adding recent books to the list. I realize it is a long list, so I have highlighted severalfor priority study. For some books I have written (or am now writing) a more detailed review - for these I have a link here with the little blue button. I believe these are essential for an understanding of contemporary political/economic conditions. Perhaps the comment will provide ideas for other choices. Some of the most important books are far down in the list now. Taken together, I believe these studies will show that the popular conception of a 'free market' is a myth, that there is always a tight inter-relationship between politics and economics and that the 'welfare state' originated by Bismarck for political purposes in Germany is now reaching its culmination in chaos and collapse. I will continue to add more references, mainly focused on current economic events and concepts, but the literature is growing rapidly.` I am including also some especially relevant articles from the press. Virtually every issue of Barron's, The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal and Imprimiscontain essays and reports relevant to the current crisis - either explanations of what is happening or denials by establishment apologists that anything serious is coming. Likewise the free weekly reports and essays in the Internet by John Mauldin, the authors at Evergreen GavKal, Danielle Booth, and Donald Boudreaux can be found via Google and subscribed.






Alchian, Armen

Collected works Vol 1 - Choice and Cost under Uncertainty

Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 2006, 829 pgs., index, tables, graphs, paperback


Armen Alchian has been called 'the economists' economist. He was professor at UCLS and trained a generation of noted economists. This is a collection of essays and articles

Alchian, Armen

Collected works Vol 2 - Property Rights and Economic Behavior

Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 2006, 760 pgs., index, paperback


Armen Alchian has been called 'the economists' economist. He was professor at UCLS and trained a generation of noted economists. Another collection of excellent essays.

Alchian, Armen & William R. Allen

Exchange and Production: Competition, coordination & control - 3rd ed.

Wadsworth Pub., Belmont, Calif,, 1983, 475 pgs., index, tables, graphs, paperback

Economics text book

A terrific text book, complete with questions and discussion topics at the end of each chapter. The material is organized in a logical way that flows from basic issues to the complex. Unfortunately there is so much more he would have included if his book were to be published in 2015.

Alchian, Armen & William R. Allen

Universal Economics

Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 2018, 716 pgs., index,

Economics text book

Another terrific text book, complete with questions and discussion topics at the end of each chapter. The material is organized in a logical way that flows from basic issues to the complex. It is a continuation of Echange and Production.

Kling, Arnold {short description of image}

Specialization and Trade: A Re-introduction to Economics

Cato Institute, Wash. D.C., 2016, 208 pgs., index, paperback


A short but powerful examination of establishment economic theory that shows it is mostly wrong. Very easy read with explanations for everyone.

Buchanan, James and Robert Tollison ed. {short description of image}

The Theory of Public Choice II

Univ of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1984, 452 pgs., paperback

Economic, Politics,

A series of 25 essays by economists all relating to the concept of public choice -

Selgin, George and co-authors

Money Free and Unfree

Cato Institute, Washingtron D. C., 2017, 379 pgs., index, references, notes, figures, tables

Monetary policy, Banking, FED, Economic history

An excellent historical study of central banking, monetary policy and related political decisions with focus on the background for the financial crisis of 2008.

Morris, Ian {short description of image}

Why the West Rules - for Now

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, N.Y., 705 pgs., index, illustrations, bibliography, paperback

Economic History, Political History

The subtitle is The Patterns of History and What they Reveal about the Future. The author attempts to show when, where and why the rapid expansion of world standards of living - materialist economics.

Bailyn, Bernard{short description of image}

The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century

Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1955, 249 pgs., index, endnotes

Economic History - American history

A very dealed study of actual economic practice naming individuals and events in the 17th century colonization of New England - shows major role of credit financing and government activity trying to improve the economic situation. Should dispell myths and confirm other theories.

Boudreaux, Donald J.

Hypocrites & Half-wits

Free to Choose , 2012, 230 pgs., end notes, illustrations

Economics, politics,

A compendium of letters to editors from the author over the past decade or so. Biting and choce commentary on the perenial mistakes in basic economic theory and practice seen daily in the public square.

Ingham, Geoffrey{short description of image}

The Nature of Money

Polity, Cambridge U.K., 2004, 254 pgs., incex, references, notes, paperback

Economic History, money

Very importqant analysis ofthe real nature of money in society throughout history

Coggan, Philip{short description of image}

Paper Promises

Subtitle - Debt, Money and the New World Order - PublicAffairs NY., 2012, 302 pgs. index, notes, paperback

Economics, public policy, investment


McCloskey, Deirdre {short description of image}

The Bourgeois Virtues - Ethics for an Age of Commerce

Univ of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2006, 616 pgs., index, notes, bibliography, illustrations, paperback

Economic HIstory - philosophy, analysis of current political/economic ideas

Volume 1 of three that advance the author's theory on the real causative factors for the unprecedented expansion of economic activity that resulted in huge increase in world-wide living standards.

McCloskey, Deirdre {short description of image}

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics can't Explain the Modern World

Univ of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2010, 571 pgs., index, notes, bibliography, illustrations, paperback

Economic HIstory - philosophy, analysis of current political/economic ideas

Volume 2 of three that advance the author's theory on the real causative factors for the unprecedented expansion of economic activity that resulted in huge increase in world-wide living standards.

McCloskey, Deirdre{short description of image}

Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World

Univ of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2016, 787 pgs., index, notes, bibliography, illustrations

Economic HIstory - philosophy, analysis of current political/economic ideas

Volume 3 of three that advance the author's theory on the real causative factors for the unprecedented expansion of economic activity that resulted in huge increase in world-wide living standards.

Kaletsky, Anatole

Capitalism 4.0

Public Affairs, NY., 2011, 422 pgs., index, bibliography, paperback

Economics, politics, current events


Bastiat, Frederic

Economic Sophisms

CosmoClassics, N.Y., 2012, original published in English traslation in 1873, 235 pgs., paperback

Economics, Public Policy

A classic exposee of socialist and all bureaucratic thinking and policies. The author creates dialogue between a proponent of official French economic policy and a liberal who shows these are based on sophisms. Unfortunately, most of these are still the basis of much public policy today.

Bastiat, Frederic

The Law

Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-on-Hudson, N. Y. 1962, 75 pgs., paperback

Economics, Public Policy

Classic study and exposee of Socialism published in 1850 by great French economist and politician

Bastiat, Frederic

That Which Is Seen & That Which is Not Seen: The Unintended Consequences of Government Spending

The Waking Lion Press, 2006, West Valley City, Utah, 47 pgs., paperback

Economics, Public Policy

Another classic study and exposee of Socialism published great French economist and politician

Bastiat, Frederic

The Law: Power, Liberty, and the Proper Role of Government

The Waking Lion Press, 2006, West Valley City, Utah, 40 pgs., paperback

Economics, Public Policy

Classic study and exposee of Socialism published in 1850 by great French economist and politician

Kiyosaki, Robert T.

{short description of image}

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Plata Pub., 1997 - 2017, 351 pgs., paperback


Personal adevice on how to invest for maximum profits

Kiyosaki, Robert T.

{short description of image}

Rich Dad's Guide to Investing

Plata Pub, 2012, 470 pgs., paperback


A further guide to investing - more elaborate with details about specific types of investment

Kiyosaki, Robert T.

{short description of image}

Cashflow Quadrant

Plata Pub., 2011, 283 pgs., paperback


Guide to Financial Freedom - details on how to invest to generate cash flow

Kiyosaki, Robert T.

{short description of image}

Why "A" Students Work for "C" Students

Plata Pub., 2011, pgs., paperback


A guide especially for parents to tutor their children in Kiyosaki's methods for creating personal wealth

Pemder, John{short description of image}

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets

Biteback Pub., London, 2014. 334 pgs., index, notes

Economics, Economic history

The book incluses some discussion of the history of money but is mostly about current financial problems

Milevski, Lukas

The Evolution of Modern Grand Strategic Thought

Oxford Univ. Press, London, 2016, 175 pgs., index, bibliography, footnotes

Intelectual history, strategy, military science

A difficult read.. The content begins in 1805

Sharma, Ruchir {short description of image}

The Rise and Fall of Nations

W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 2016, 466 pgs., index, bibliography, notes

Economics, Politics, Investment

The subtitle is Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World - This combination memoir and analysis of the world political-economic situation today is based on the author's extensive visits all over the world and his meetings with senior bankers, politicans and economists. He provides his clear assessment of the investment climate today.

Trentmann, Frank {short description of image}

Empire of Things

Harper Collins, N.Y., 2016, 798 pgs. , notes, graphs, paperback

Economic History, American History

Subtitle: How we Became a World of Consumers, from the fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First The author assembled much interesting data on the explosion of material goods generated since the 15th century begining in western Europe.

Schoeck, Helmut {short description of image}

Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior

Harcourt, Brace & World, N.Y., 1966, 408 pgs., index, notes, paperback

Psychology, Economics, Politics

A comprehensive study from many different perspectives, such as psychology, economics, politics, social justice

Siegel, Jeremy

Stocks for the Long Run, 5th edition

, McGraw Hill, NY., 2014, 422 pgs., index, bibliography, tables, graphs.

Investment, finance, stocks, bonds, economics

A massive and comprehensive text that includes extensive historical description and analysis.

Booth, Danielle Dimartino {short description of image}


Portfolio, Penguin, NY., 2017, 326 pgs., index, notes

Economics, Finance, Public Policy

Subtitle: An Insider's Take on Who the Federal Reserve is Bad for America

Bernstein, William J.

Rational Expectations: Asset Allocation for Investing Adults

William Bernstein, 2014, 207 pgs., index, notes, paperback

Investment advice - economics

The author discusses asset classes and diversification into model portfolios. He includes use of ETF's. A useful book

Coyle, Diane {short description of image}

GDP:" A Brief but Affectionate History

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton N.J. 2014, 159 pgs.,

Economic theory and practice

Reviewed by James Grant in WSJ., March 13,2014 - The author describes the origin, development, and current use of the concept of GDP - This claims to be a valid measure of the state of a country's economic condition. She admits, 'Of course it is a flawed measure," but nevertheless supports its role in evaluation and influence on government policy. A clear summary of the history of the creation of the abstract concept of a GDP - a statistic designed to give government policy makers an idea of the total economic output of a country for comparative purposes. The author shows the fundamental faults and short comings of the methods used to create this GDP but accepts that this is the best we can do, at least currently. The story shows that creation of abstract concepts of this sort are directly the result of government bureaucrats and politicians desire to expand the power of governments to control the economic activities in their countries. She indicates that this desire was increased when governments sought to wage war (WWII) and intervene during the Great Depression. Not specifically mentioned, but inherent in this process, was the creation of a new category of academic bureaucrats, economists, who sought to enhance and expand their power as government advisors and officials. It was this new breed of 'secular priests' who needed all the alchemy and augury they could create.

An objective study of the where, when, who, how and why the GDP was created and what is really is. Analysis of what its strengths and shortcomings are today. Very valuable

Calomiris, Charles W. and Stephen H. Haber{short description of image}

Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit

Princeton U, Princeton N.J. 2014, 624 pgs.,

Economic history, banking and money creation

This is one of the most important books in this list. Reviewed in Barron's, March 3, 2014 - Banks are creatures, ultimately, of governments and their lending and investment activities are influenced by private and government interests. The idea that the U.S. in 19th century had a 'laissez-faire' economic environment is a myth. The result was repeated financial booms and resulting bank failures. But this is but one of the lesser conclusions of this very important study. There are many books in this listing that focus on money and banking, and others that focus on political influences on economics in general. But this is the best reference I have seen the describes in specific detail the direct inter relationships between the development of the modern state and its banking system

Wallison, Peter J.{short description of image}

Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World's Worst Financial Crisis and Why it Could happen Again

Encounter Books, N. Y., 2015, 411 pgs., index, end notes

Economics, Finance

This is a must read book. Analysis of the fiancial crisis of 2008-9 focused on the US Government effort to enable people with insufficient fianaical ability to purchase homes, and The massive expansion of credit=debt that could not be paid This refutes the liberal efforts to blame it all on bankers and lack of financial regulation Reviewed in Washington Times.

Foroohar, Rana{short description of image}

Makers and Takers, Sub-title: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business,

Crown Business, NY., 2016, 388 pgs., indes, bibliography, notes

Finance, economics, business, public policy

A general attack on the Wall Street bankers and finance industry blaming it for the financial crfisis of 2008.

Howe, Neil and William Strauss

The Fourth Turning

Broadway Books, NY. 1997, 382 pgs., index, references, notes, paperback

Economics, finance. public policy

Based on the author's concepts of demographics - generations each have their own characteristics and proceed or follow each other in a cycle. The authors focus on predicting the immediate future based on their theory of what the coming generations will do.

Hicks, John

A Theory of Economic History

Oxford University Press, Clarendon, 1969, 181 pgs., index, footnotes, paperback


A dissapointing book - the theory is based on guess, inagination, supposition, presumption. There are many factual errors in the presumed conditions of ancient societies. But the book is worth reading as an example of an author who attempts to create a theory that explains conditions that conform to theories.

Muller, Jerry Z. {short description of image}

The Mind and the Market

Anchor Books, N.Y., 2003, 487 pgs., index, end notes, paperback

Biographies, intellectual history economic theory, economic history

Subtitle: Capitalism in Western Thought Biographies of selected important theorists writing about capitalism before and after 1800.

Muller, Jerry Z.

Thinking about Capitalism

The Great Courses, Chantilly, Virginia, 2008, 36 lectures on DVD and on line

Biographies, intellectual history economic theory, economic history

This is a 36 lecture course that expands on the same concept as Dr. Muller's book. It includes many more individual theorists who wrote and taught about capitalism. And there is a full transcript, so it may be studied along with the book - Mind and Markets.

Cowen, Tyler & Alex Tabarrok

Modern Principles: Microeconomics, 2nd ed.

Worth Pub., NY., 2013, 490 pgs., index, illustrations, tables, charts, glossary, readings, paperback


Excellent text book for course in micro-economics with questions and examples

Mehrling, Perry {short description of image}

The New Lombard Street, How the FED Became the Dealer of Last Resort

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 2011, 174 pgs,. index, references, notes

Economics, Finance, investments, public policy

History of money and credit with application to discussion of the financial crisis of 2008

Wray, L. Randall {short description of image}

Modern Money Theory

Palgrave, Macmillan, NY., 2012, 294 pgs., index, notes, bibliogrpahy, paperback

Economics, economic history,

Subtitle is A primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems - History of money with discussion of current monetary policy. But it is a thoroughly 'chartalist' effort to provide an economic theory that supports unlimited central bank issue of credit money that would enable unlimited spending on such leftist political policies as unemployment relief and welfare. Theauthor ignores real history of money.

Skousen, Mark{short description of image}

The Structure of Production

New York Univ. Press, NY., 2015, 402 pgs. , index, notes, references, paperback

GDP, investment, economics, monetary policy

An alternate view of economic reality - disputes the use of GDP and shows the importance of intermediate production activities in the full economic chain. Analysis of measures that describe the national economy such as GDP from an "Austrian School' view point . The author proposes a better measure that would include all the phases of production rather than only final prices.

Baruch, Lev & Feng Gu{short description of image}

The End of Accounting

Wiley, NYC., 2016, 258 pgs., index, appendicies

Economics, accounting, investments

Subtitle: and the Path Forward for Investors and Managers. The authors show that current accounting methods and concepts are outdated, a century old, and do not accuratedly reflect the value of the assets being measured. The value of businesses now include many intangibles such as intellectural assets and R&D work.

Priest, William W. & Steven Bleiberg {short description of image}

Winning at Active Management

Wiley, NYC., 2016, 306 pgs., index, tables

Management, investment

Subtitle: The essential roles of culture, philosophy, and technology - Case studies and theories about how to improve business management

Stiglitz, Joseph E.

Freefall; America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy

W. W. Norton, N.Y., 2010, 361 pgs., end notes

Commentary on the financial crisis of 2008

This is a polemical diatribe that seeks to show that the cause of the financial crisis of 2008 was due to the greed of individuals, especially in the financial community, operating in a viscious 'free market' and not due to government policy. It is worth reading to obtain a perspective on just how radical the Keynesian stalwarts will go to attack the 'free market. But read Peter Walliston's book to learn the real story of the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.

Conti-Brown, Peter{short description of image}

The Power and Independence of the Federal Resrve

Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2016, 347 pgs., index, bibliography, notes

Economics, politics, finances, history

An excellent study of the Federal Reserve, The author describes the history of the Federal Reserve - much different from most versions. And he focuses on its current role. He believes tghe Federal Reserve Banks are unconstitutional. he recommends serious reforms

Bernanke, Ben S.

TheFederal Reserve and the Financial Crisis

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 2013, 134 pgs., index, charts

Commentary on the financial crisis of 2008

The transcripts of 4 lectures by Dr.Bernanke at George Washington University in 2012. I happened to watch several of these on C-SPAN and they are now available on line at"
and probably at the C-SPAN video archives. The content is a combination of Bernanke's economic theories on causes and a description of the events as they took place during and immediately after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Bernanke, Ben S.

Essays on the Great Depression

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 2000, 157 pgs.,

Economics - Investment

A rather narrow analysis of the causes of the Great Depression. Little attention in this to political events or the personal psychology and motivations of the principal actors.

Pender, John

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets

BiteBack Books, London, 2015, 344 pgs., index, notes

Economics, Public Policy


Siegel, Jeremy J.

Stocks for the Long Run

McGraw Hill, N.Y., 2015, 422 pgs., index, notes, graphs

Investment Advice, Economics

A massive and comprenensive text on financial markets, investment, economic history. A valuable alternative to Bernanke and Stiglitz.

Domingos, Pedro{short description of image}

The Master Algorithm

Basic Books, N.Y., 2015, 329 pgs., readings

Future world - artificial intelligence- computers

The sub-title provides the subject - How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake t=our World - - read with Gilder=Knowledge and Power

Kahneman, Daniel{short description of image}

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, N.Y., 2011, 499 pgs., index, notes, paperback

Economics, psychology

A much applauded book on the influence of individual psychological reality on decision making, especially concerning decisions about financial affairs, by Nobel Prizer winner.

Tetlock, Philip E, & Dan Gardner{short description of image}

Superforecasting: TheArt and Science of Prediction

Crown Publishers, N.Y., 2015, 340 pgs., index, end notes

Psychology, forecasting

The author believes that some forecasting is possible under certain conditions and by experienced individuals. Read with Nassim Taleb's and David Kahneman's books.

Ismail. Salim{short description of image}

Exponential Organizations

Singularity University Book, N.Y., 2014, 320 pgs. paperback

Business, Economics

The authors claim and illustrate that successful organizations including businesses now must become morefelxible by using all the expanding tools provided by the information economy.

Buchanan, James M & Gordon Tullock{short description of image}

The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundatins of Constitutional Democracy

University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1962, 361 pgs., notes, graphs, paperback

Political Science, Economics, Public Policy

The authors employ economics theories and methods to political policy issues

Richards, Jay W.

Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and not the Problem

Harper One, N.Y., 2009, 255 pgs., notes, appendix, paperback

Public policy, economics, morality

A well organized refutation of many myths that accuse capitalism of numerous social ills. Worth reading along with Rodney Stark's books - such as "The Victory of Reason".

Mac Donald, Heather

The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and undermine our Culture

St. Martin's Press, N.Y., 2018, 278 pgs., index, notes

Public Policy, economics, politics, Culture

The author destructs the current establishment policy demand to subordinate everything to promoting preverence for race and the various sexual group demands for preference

Sander, Richard & Stuart Taylor

Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students it's intended to help, and why universities won't admit it

Basic Books, N.Y., 2012, 348 pgs., index, notes, graphs

Public Policy, affirmative action, college admission,

The book is a report based on extensive collection of data over many years and the personal observations of the authors on the results of college admission industry to secretly favor protected minorities in admission to colleges over equally qualified white students.

Forbes, Steve and Elizabeth Ames

Money Subtitle: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy - and What We Can Do About it.

McGraw Hill, NY., 249 pgs., index, notes.

money, cash, currency, debt, credit, finance, public policy, morality

The authors have a very distorted idea about gold as a form of money

Mitchell, Matthew D. & Peter Boettke

Applied Mainline Economics

Mercatus Center, George Mason Univ. Arlington, VA., 2017, 1678 pgs., index, bibliography, notes


Subtitle: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Public Policy

Mises, Ludwig von

{short description of image}

The Anti- capitalistic Mentality

The Ludwig von Mises Institute Augurn AL., 2016, 114 pgs , index, paperback

Economics, public policy

Discussion of the attacks against capitalism and their psycololgical sources

Rothbard, Murray N.

What Has Government Done to Our Money?

Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama, 2015, 116 pgs., index, paperback

Economics, finance, public policy

The author is a leading economist of the Austrian School. Tis is a libertarian discussion on the American money supply and what the government has doneto devalue it

Gordon, Robert J.{short description of image}

The Rise and Fall of American Growth

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 2016, 762 pgs., index, references, notes, appendix

American Economic History - Pubic Policy

The subtitle is "The U. S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War. This is a huge text that descries the author's thesis that the increase of the standard of living in the US since 1870 is unprecedented in history in size and rapidity but since about 1970 has slowed to almost zero and will not expand over the next 25 years. The author denies there was much if any improvement in people's standard of living prior to the mid 19th century and that since the 1970's there has been an unprecedented increase in the gap of living standards between rich and poor in America. He claims the causes of this are the usual 'headwinds' of the elitest liberal academia and recommends the typical leftist political soultions. He uses the standard leftist concept of the economy as a 'pie' and claims that the 'rich' (wealthy 1%)are taking a larger slice of this thus leaving a smaller slice to the poorer 99%. But the volumenous facts he well describes show that the economic 'pie' is what has expanded vastly thus raising the standard of living of all. By begining his analysis in 1870 and focusing on the US. he falsely claims that there was no improvement of people's standard of living for all the centuries before that and ignores the much greater differences between the living standards of the most wealthy and poorest in many societies in the past as well.

Ross, Alec

The Industries of the Future

Simon and Schuster, N.Y., 2016, 304 pgs., index. notes

Economics, investment, public policy

The author directly opposes Gordon. He provides much information on the coming global expansion generated by entirely new industgries plus the spread of recent technologuy to 'developing nations' such as in Africa.

Ridley, Matt

The Evolution of Everything: How new Ideas Emerge

Harper Collins, N.Y., 2015, 360 pgs., index, sources

History, Public Policy, Economics

A tour de force that applies the concept of evolution - that is gradual cumulative change -to everything from the universe to the Internet. But the author is a materialist, athiest who goes to extreme to denounce all religions. He unnecessairly castigages opinions and policies with which he disagrees as being 'creationist'.

Amar, Akhil Reed

America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By

Basic Books, N.Y., 2012, 615 pgs., index, notes, illustrations, appendix

Analysis of the reality of the legal system

Describes the large volume of changes and additions to the real legal system built on but expanding the limitations of the written Constitution. He is in favor of the radical changes in law created by the 'progressives'. Basically, he writes, times have changed and we need to learn to live with it.

Amos, Dan

Keynes' Legacy

Strategic Investment, Vol 21, # 13, 2008, Agora Financial Baltimore, 6 pgs.

Economics - Investment

How Paper money Distorts Investment Cycles, Describes how governments are attempting to solve problems they creatred themselves by adhering to Keyinesian economic theories.

Linklater, Andro

Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership

Bloomsbury, N.Y., 2013, 482 pgs., index, bibliography, notes, maps

The history and results of the development of the system of private property in land

Several recent authors have linked the system of private property in land to economic expansion. Others claim the same system creates inequality and demand that private property be abolished in the quest for 'social justice'. This author traces the unique, gradual, development of this system from England and comments on its positive and negative consequences.

Jacobsen, Annie

The Pentagon's Brain: An uncensored history of DARPA, America's Top secret Military Research agency

Little, Brown and Company, N.Y., 2015, 552 pgs., index, bibliography, notes, illustrations

Military, Science


A fascinating history even for someone who has been involved with some of the events and programs described in this book The author devoted much attention to the individuals who conceived of our managed the many amazing projects.

Mulligan, Casey R. {short description of image}

The Redistribution Recession

Oxford Univ. Press, N. Y., 2012, 351 pgs., index, bibliography, end notes, graphs, tables

Analysis of current government economic policy


Reviewed in WSJ., Nov. 5, 2012 - Professor Mulligan wrote a fine summary of the book for the Wall Street Journal 30 June 2014. Title is "A recovery stymied by Redistribution. The author claims that economic policy and actions of the Obama administration are blocking recovery and making unemployment larger than it would be otherwise. This is a classic professional economist's report complete with all the establishment manditory econometrics, tables, graphs, discussion of the results of 'models' and theories. All this is probably necessary to conform to current academic practice in order to get attention to his conclusions, which are opposite of those pronounced by progressive administration supporters. But his conclusions simply confirm what common sense has told us all along. When 'not work' is made as economically worth while as 'work' many folks will opt for the former.

Colish, Marcia L. {short description of image}

Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition 400 - 1400

Yale University Press, New Haven, 1997, 388 pgs., index, notes, bibliographic note, illustrations

Intellectual history, literary history

The author decisively proves that there was extensive intellectual development during the so-called Middle ages - it was not a 'Dark Ages' as claimed by the self-appointed and self-serving writers of the self-named 'Enlightenment' of the 18th century. And this widespread intellectual development formes the real basis of modern Western thought. But the author confines her topic to the medieval era itself and does not discuss the attacks on the Western Intellectual Tradition that have swept the 20th and 21st centuries, as, for instance, Professor Berman does in the following book.

Spufford, Peter {short description of image}

Power and Profit: The Merchant in Medieval Europe

Thames & Hudson, 2002, 432 pgs., index, bibliography, notes, illustrations, maps,

Economic History - History of Money

The result of massive research effort on the ground throughout western Europe focused on the 13th - 16th century spread of trade and use of money. Very valuable reference on the role of money. The author has written extensively on medieval economy.

Kwarteng Kwasi{short description of image}

War and Gold: A 500-year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt

Public Affairs, N.Y., 2014, 429 pgs., index, bibliography, notes, illustrations

Economic History - History of Money

The title is somewhat misleading. The focus is on the last 200 of those 500 years and is on the role of money (which includes debt) in the modern economy. The author is concerned with explaining the many causes that have been written about the financial crisis of 2008. He includes much information and good analysis but also leaves out some critical factors, such as the creation and role of 'petrodollars' since the 1970's. But he correctly describes the impact of the flood of silver into Europe after 1500.

Duncan, Richard{short description of image}

The New Depression: The Breakdown of the Paper Money Economy

John Wiley & Sons, Singapore, 2012, 179 pgs., index, tables

Recent Economic History - History of Money

Another dire prediction about the disaster coming from use of paper money (now electronic). But the author's solution is to increase government debt. He is correct in writing that we no longer are a capitalisty economy let alone a 'free market'.

Berman, Harold J.

{short description of image}

Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition

Harvard Univ. press, Cambridge, 1983, 657 pgs., index, end notes, maps

The history of the development of Western law and recent attacks on it.

This excellent reference should be a companion piece to Dr. Colish's book in that it describes in detail the medieval sources for our unique legal system. The author begins his introduction: "This book, tells the following story - that once there was a civilization called "Western", that it developed 'legal' institutions, values, and concepts, that these Western legal institutions, values and concepts were consciously transmitted from generation to generation over centuries, and thus came to constitute a 'tradition', that the Western legal tradition was born of a 'revolution' and thereafter, during the course of many centuries, has been periodically interrupted and transformed by revolutions; and that in the twentieth century the Western legal tradition is in a revolutionary crisis greater than any other in its history, one that some believe has brought it virtually to an end.".

Reynolds, Susan

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Fiefs and Vassals: The Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted

Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1994, 544 pgs., index, foot notes, list of works

Medieval history -

The author has studied the actual congtemporary sources for the popular concepts 'fief' and 'vassal' and found them wanting. She finds that these concepts were prfesumptions of authors in much later periods This book should be studied along with those of Professors Colish and Berman

Eswar, Prasad

The Dollar Trap


money supply, currency

Reviewed in Economist, March 8, 2014 - The dollar has the privilege of being the world reserve currency - the US is the only major country funding its external debt with its own depreciating currency.

Howard, Philip

The Rule of Nobody

Norton, NYC, 2014, 244 pgs.


Reviewed in WSJ.,April 8, 2014 - The deadlock between Republicans and Democrats in legislatures has been superceded by vast creation of rules and regulations that are rigid, resulting in effective rule by bureaucrats following rules.

Sainsbury, David

Progressive Capitalism: How to achieve Economic Growth, Liberty and Social Justice

Biteback, London, 2013, 281 pgs.,

politics and economics

Reviewed on Economist, June 8, 2013 - The author wants to 'reform' capitalism. He has two main ideas. He wants to help savers and improve education systems.

Melloan, George {short description of image}

The Great Money Binge: Expanding Our Way to Socialism

Simon and Shuster, 2009,


Lewis, Sarah

The Rise

Simon and Schuster, 2014, 259 pgs.,

sociology, psychology

Reviewed by Robert Ekirch in WSJ., April 4, 2001 - The author discusses aspects of personal achievements and finds that ultimate success often comes from overcoming early adversity.

Piketty, Thomas, trans., Arthur Goldhammer{short description of image}

Capital in the Twenty-first Century

Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, London, 2014, 685 pgs., index, end notes, illustrations

International economics -

Reviewed in EconomistJan 4. 2014 and WSJ., April 8, 2014., and elsewhere. This book has been something of a publication bombshell, with much leftist approval and conservative disagreement. Returns on private capital investments are exceeding the rate economies are expanding, one cause creating inequality. There already have been many reviews and disagreements.

Delsol, Jean-Philippe, Nicolas Lecaussin and Emmanuel Martin

Anti-Piketty: Capital for the 21st Century

Cato Institute, Washingtron D.C., 2017, 272 pgs., index, notes, paperback

International economics

This is a wonderful antidote to Piketty's much discussed leftist polemic by over a dozen experts, who each contribute decisive critiques of various mistakes, misunderstandings, faulty data, and exagerations produced by Dr. Piketty.

Roberts, Alasdair

America's First Great Depression

Cornell U. 2012, 255 pgs.,

economic history

Reviewed in WSJ., June 5, 2012 - A study of the 1857 American economic collapse. The cause was state and local government incurring debt through the weak banking system to finance overly ambitions expansion, especially of railroads and canals. The result was panic, massive defaults and depression lasting 3 or 4 years. Many lessons for today.

Epstein, Richard

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The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government

Harvard U. NYC., 2014, 684 pgs., index, index of cases, end notes.

political theory - economic results - fundamental analysis of the Constitution and judicial interpretations

Reviewed in WSJ., March 24, 2014 - The progressive concept of government intervention in the name of 'social justice' has resulted in repeated and extensive violations of the original concepts on which the Constitution was based. This is a very important book. The author shows with specific discussion of many sections of the Constitution how the 'progressive' (that is high liberal ) conception of the nature of man and of the state is so opposite to that of the classical liberal thinkers who wrote the Constitution that current judicial opinion fundamentally violates the meaning of the Constitution. The original conception was that individuals had natural 'rights' - inherent it being humans - and the role of the Constitution was to protect individuals from government interference with those rights. But the modern progressive conception is that it is govenment that grants rights and the Constitution establishes the government power to establish the rights it deems appropriate. Read in conjunction with Hamabvurgere -Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

Epstein, Richard {short description of image}

Why Progressive Institutions are Unsustainable

Encounter Books, NYC., 2011, 56 pgs. pocket size paperback

Discussion of the fundamental differences between Classical Liberal and Modern Progressive thought

Read in conjmunction with the books listed by Philip Hamburger and Charles Calomiris

Epstein, Richard {short description of image}

Design for Liberty; Private Property, Public Administration, and the Rule of Law

Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2011, index, index of cases, endnotes

Analysis of the profound changes wrought by progressive legal theory on the Constitution as it is today

The focus is on the two issues cited in the title. It is a part of the larger study in The Classical Liberal Constitution.

White, Bill

America's Fiscal Constitution

Public Affairs, NYC., 2014, 557 pgs.,

economic- political history

Reviewed in WSJ., April 10, 2014 - The author describes the role of debt in American political-economy and claims it has expanded recently because of previously disapproved uses. He advocates return to limited uses of public debt.

Phillips, Kevin

{short description of image}

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism

Viking, NY., 2008, 239 pgs., index, end notes

The Financial crisis of 2007-8 and its causes - the future of Capitalism unless major changes are made

The author of this polemic attacks the same three targets as in his previous books - Dynastyand American Theocracy - - debt including reckless finance in general, religion in politics, and 'peak oil' - The book was written prior to the huge new production of crude oil and natural gas due to advanced drilling methods, thus one can skip the chapter on 'peak oil'. One can also discount the author's attacks on religion. But the discussion about the disaster facing the US and world due to massive and expanding debt is an important source of reference material. On these issues the author's detailed statistics showing the links between the huge expansion of the financial industry, the creation of the 'shadow banking system', the government insistence on providing home mortgages to inappropriate borrowers, the eager bankers who provided those mortgages via securitization, and the massive expansion of general debt are important reading.

Ferrara, Peter {short description of image}

America's Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb: How the Looming debt crisis threatens the American Dream and how we can turn the tide before it is too late

Broadside Books, NY., 2011, 415 pgs., index, end notes

The political causes of American government economic policies - and the author's recommended changes

The book is a fine summary of the several related government policies that have created financial crisis - deficits, debt and unfunded liabilities. The author presents a devastating analysis of the coming American government bankruptcy unless very urgent and major changes are made. Each chapter is focused on one of the causes, health financing, pensions, housing and others. All of these due to government policies. He provides his 'solutions' based in radically changed policy.

Hamburger, Philip

{short description of image}

Administrative Laws unlawful?

Univ of Chicago Press, 2014, 635 pgs., index, end notes

political science, law, government. Comparison of the provisions of the U. S. Constitution with the revolution in law that has occurred since about 1900

Review in the WSJ for June 30, 2014. andEconomist Aug 9, 2014. The Congress has shifted more and more actual law making into regulations written by the executive branch. With every expansion of the power of the administrative state the country moves closer to a tyranny. For an analysis based on even more analysis of the Constitution see Richard Epstein's three books listed above, especially "The Classical Liberal Constitution. This is a massive study of the history of law in Europe and Anglo-Saxon countries. The conclusion is that the gradual change of the actual law in the United States from being based on the Constitution to the German-Prussian concept of administrative law has resulted in much current 'law' being in fact 'unlawful' in terms of its not conforming to the Constitution. In this it is regressive in reconstituting the type of law practiced by kings and other absolute sovereigns. The term 'administrative state' Professor Hamburger used is synonymous with the term 'managerial state' used by Professor Bobbitt. See also Professor Harold Berman's wider subject matter in "Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition".

Atif, Mian and Amir Sufi

House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again

Univ. Of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2014, 219 pgs., endnotes, figures

economics - finance,

The authors correctly cite the adverse economic impact of massive personal debt, but distort their assessment of the causes of the financial crisis of 2008. Actually they have everything mostly backwards. This is a progressive, populist tract. They pointedly ignore the role of the Federal Government in demanding banks loan to 'deserving' ACORN clients. They have a strange idea that 'rich' individuals invest in mortgages. They describe everything in terms of 'debt' when they should be ficused on its other face, 'credit'. Read in conjunction with Calomiris - Fragile by Design- and Mulligan - The Redistribution Recession.

Steil, Benn {short description of image}

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order

Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2014, 447 pgs, index, references, end notes.

economic history- financial and banking history US foreign relations,

Benn Steil is also author of an article in the 29 July, 2014 WSJ "The Myth of Bretton Woods" in which he discusses some of the content of the book. The content is about much more than the Bretton Woods Conference. As background the author provides an excellent summary of the professional lives of White and Keynes. We learn much more about them. And we learn about their participation in creating the Wartime Lend Lease program. We learn what the American government policies were for that as well as the policies that governed the creation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. For more, please read the summary at the provided link.

Harford, Tim

The Undercover Economist Strikes Back

Riverhead, 2013, 245 pgs.,

macro economics

Reviewed in WSJ., Jan. 18, 2014 - The author tries to explain how the economy functions. He does not assign faults for the 2008 financial collapse. he favors increased inflation. But not hyper inflation. He discusses how he believes governments should react to poverty and recessions.

McDonald, Oomagh

Turning the American Dream into a Nightmare

Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2012, 475 pgs.,

current economic and political policy

Reviewed inBarron's Oct. 1, 2012 - A devastating description catastrophe of the real causes of the housing collapse and financial catastrophe - the Government did it through its demands that mortgages be provided to people unable to pay. Read in conjunction with Charles Calomiris - Fragile By Design

Kressel, Henry and Thomas Lento

Entrepreneurship and the Global Economy

Cambridge U. Press, London, 2012, 266 pgs.,

international economics

Reviewed in WSJ., Sept, 28, 2012 - The authors note that returns on capital investments by venture funds have been very uneven. They believe the cause lies in the nature of globalization in a world where governments are active.

Kurtz, Stanley

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Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to pay for the Cities

Sentinel, NY., 2012, 223 pgs., index, end notes

Current political - economic policy

This is one of the most important books that expose the Alinskyite agenda which has been a central goal of President Obama since his community activist days in Chicago. Mr. Kurtz describes the radical plan to force integration of suburbs into cities to divert wealth from the former to the latter. This is a major progressive goal based on a combination of environmental and egalitarian agendas. It is all the more dangerous because it has been hidden by use of various innocent sounding propaganda.

Dobbs, Richard, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel

No Ordinary Disruption

Subtitle: The Four Global Forces Breaking All The Trends: PublicAffairs, N.Y., 2015, 277 pgs., index, bibliography, end notes

Economics, Future world situation

The Book is written by researchers at the Mckinsey Global Institute and the bibliography shows it is very largely based on multiple reports by that organization. It is worth everyone's time to read but is focuses as a management report to business executives describing the four most critical new forces facing them and advising on policies and programs they must take to meet these.

Brooks, Arthur C.

The Conservative Heart

Subtitle: How To Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America: Broadside Books, N.Y., 215 pgs., index, end notes

Public Policy - Economics

The Author

Lewis, Michael

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

Norton, NYC., 2014, 274 pgs.,

Analysis of the recent creation of the HFT phenomena and efforts to block it.

Reviewed in EconomistApril 5, 2014 - WSJ., April 1, 2014 - Barron's April 7, 2014 - This is a fascinating account by a professional writer rather than economist or academic. He is author of several best sellers including this one. I highly recommend it. This is about the recent effort of big-time investment houses to gain a jump on rivals by establishing their computers with near immediate access to the buy-sell actions on the stock and bond exchanges. While this costs millions in software and infrastructure it enables 'front running' and manipulation of prices. The author tells the story via lengthy descriptions and biographies of leading participants in the effort to uncover the fraud.

Lind, Michael

Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States

Harper Collins, NYC., 2014, 592 pgs.,

Economic history

Reviewed in Barron's The author highly favors Alexander Hamilton's view and policy of expanded government participation (manipulation) in the national economy versus Thomas Jefferson's view of limited government. Compare to John S. Gordon's An Empire of Wealth

Martin, Felix

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Money: The Unauthorized Biography

Alfred A. Knopp, 2014, 320 pgs., index, bibliography, endnotes

"Unauthorized' because it is a radically different history of the creation and use of money

The British edition published by Bodlely Head was reviewed in Economist, May 18, 2013 - The book is full of unconventional ideas mostly well presented but at times confusing.. But beyond an historical study, the reader finds toward the end that the author has a philosophical basis for promoting a radical agenda for change in the entire system of money.

Mark Spitznagel{short description of image}

The DAO of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World

Wiley, 2013, 332 pgs., endnotes

Free market economics as envisioned by Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian school of economics

Reviewed in Barron's, Dec 2, 2013 - The book is about both theory and practice. It is an excellent description and analysis of the economic theories propounded by Ludwig von Mises, Frederick Hayek and others in the so-called 'Austrian school'. It is also a critique of the practical disasters in financial markets that face investors. But the author's purpose is to describe how an investor today might profit from applying the concepts of the Austrian school to his own investment methods. For references see von Mises and Hayek, below.

Hammond, Jeremy R.

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Ron Paul vs. Paul Krugman: Austrian vs. Keynesian Economics in the Financial Crisis

Jeremy Hammond, 2012, 104 pgs., endnotes

A comparison of Austrian and Keynesian economic theories via the words of Ron Paul and Paul Krugman

Reviewed in Barron's Sept. 2, 2013 - The author correctly selected former Congressman Ron Paul and NY Times economist Paul Krugman as current representatives of the two opposite theories about economics and its manifestation in the role of government; The Austrian School believes in a real 'free market' and minimum government interference, while the Keynesian school believes that government should manage the economy and have an even greater control. The two opposing theories were given a practical test in course of the financial crisis of 2007-2009: both with respect to their contrasting predictions and recommended government 'solutions.' Thus the author's quotations from and commentary about the recent public statements of the two surrogates about this real, dramatic financial crisis provide a text that should be easily digested by the public. For references see von Mises and Hayek, below

Sornette, Didier

{short description of image}

Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems

Princeton Univ. Press, 2013, 421 pgs., references

Lots of math., facts and analysis of markets

The book is recommended by John Mauldin. It is a difficult read with graphs and math formulae.

Black, Jeremy {short description of image}

The Power of Knowledge

Yale Univ., 2013, 492 pgs.,

Economic history - political history

Reviewed in WSJ., Feb 26, 2014 - The book is an study of the same topic as Gilder's book but extended back through history. But for many issues the treatment is superficial.

Gilder, George {short description of image}

The Scandal of Money

Regnery Publishing, NY., 2016, 202 pgs., index, end notes, glossary

Money, currency, gold, economics, public policy, banking

Subtitle: Why Wall Street Revovers but the Economy Never Does

Gilder, George {short description of image}

Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World

Regnery Publishing, NY., 2013, 348 pgs., end notes, glossary

The 'new economics' based on information theory

Reviewed in WSJ., March 18, 2014 - The author describes the impact of massive computer supported information analysis on all aspects of future economies.

Gilder, George {short description of image}

Wealth and Poverty

Basic Books, NYC., 1981, 306 pgs., index, bibliography, end notes

Economic analysis

The sad thing about this book is that Gilder correctly predicted what was coming and why back in 1981, but nothing was done to prevent it

Ferguson, Niall {short description of image}

The Great Degeneration

Penguin Press, NY., 2013, 174 pgs., end notes

The decay of Western societies

Use the link to read more. A historian's look at the change in Western Societies from expansionary to static due to changes in political institutions. The author states that "This book is about the causes of our stationary state. It is inspired by Smith's insight that both stagnation and growth are in large measure the results of 'laws and institutions.' It is our laws and institutions that are the problem. The Great Recession is merely a symptom of a more profound Great Degeneration." He gives as the 'over-arching question today 'what exactly has gone wrong in the Western World in our time? And his book is about answering that question. It should be studied along with several of the references he mentioned and several others in my list. Naturally both his assessment of the very idea that the West ever was superior and his views on the 'west and the rest' today are anathema to the political left.

Ferguson, Niall{short description of image}

Colossus: The Price of America's Empire

Penguin Press, NY., 2004 - 384 pgs., extensive index, bibliography, end notes, appendix

The United States has always been an 'empire' and for the good. It should not be reluctant now.

The U.S. 'empire' has been a significant force for international good -it should continue now - but its expenditures on internal 'welfare' are creating a very dangerous financial disaster. Ferguson comments ' The Americans want security - but they want Social Security more than national security.' The author's discussion of what was current in 2004 especially in the Middle East is now outdated. Some of his ideas did not take place. But his early warning of to coming financial- monetary disaster due to USG profligate welfare spending and transfer was correct and the situation is much worse now.

Ferguson, Niall

{short description of image}

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

Penguin Press, NY., 2008, 442 pgs., illustrations, notes, index

Economic history

This much acclaimed book has brought the author onto the TV talk circuit as the guru of what is what with the current economic - credit crisis. The book describes the history of money and banking before the 20th century just enough to give some background that will enable the author to focus on recent and current history. His last chapter, "Afterward: The Descent of Money" begins with the sentence, "Today's financial world is the result of four millennia of economic evolution." And indeed it is, but one will find out more of the past history in Glyn Davies' book and a rather different assessment of the future in Weatherford's book. But in his summary he hits home with this. "And from the twentieth, households were encouraged, for political reasons, to increase leverage and skew their portfolios in favor of real estate. And the section "From Warfare to Welfare" is a must read that should enlighten even the most adamant liberal socialist.

Ferguson, Niall

The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West

Penguin Press, N.Y., 2006, 808 pgs. 10 maps, illustrations, massive notes and bibliogrphy, index

Modern History

A very broad, discussion including social, economic and political history. It is a cultural history of the 20th century West and the role of war in its collapse. It should be read with the Bobbitt and Kennedy books. It forms a background for Ferguson's views on money.

Ferguson, Niall

The Square and the Tower: Networks and power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Penguin Press, N.Y., 2018, 561 pgs., incex, references, bibliography, illustrations

Modern History, analysis, current relationships

Another excellent reference. The author's thesis is that there has been a power struggle thoughout history between hierarchially and network structured power systems. His point is that the present networks seen in Internet connections and 'social networks are not new. But his historical discussion does nor give sufficient attention and space to ancient times or the middle ages. Roman politics was based on networks of patrons and their clients as well as on official hierarchies. The Christian, Muslim and Buddhist religions leaders organized networks as well. The Templars and Hospitaliers had extensive networks capable of transfering noney and other assets over distance. Networks were important prior to the time he titles 'The First Networked Age'. But his analysis and depiction of the eras that he does include are valuable. And his main point, that the comptition between hierarchy and inetwork is important today is valid.

Landes, David, Joel Moryr and William Balmol, eds. {short description of image}

The Invention of Enterprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times

Princeton Univ. Press, 2010, 566 pgs., index, extensive references, notes, tables

Economic history

The thesis is that entrepreneurship is not only a modern phenomena but existed from ancient times. However, there are two quite different types of entrepreneur - those who use coercion - violence - to advance themselves; and those who use peaceful innovation to advance society as well as themselves.

Hubbard, Douglas W. {short description of image}

The Failure of Risk Management: Why it's Broken and How to Fix it

John Wiley & Sons, NY., 2009, 281 pgs., index, tables

Technical analysis of the science of risk management

Chapters on the meaning of 'risk' and the history of its study, why current methods fail, and chapters describing how to 'fix it' using more elaborate models.

Herman, Arthur {short description of image}

The Cave and the Light

Random House, NYC., 2013, index, bibliography, end notes

History of political philosophy and its extension into daily living

Reviewed in WSJ., Nov 18, 2013 The author shows with massive citations the continual influence of Plato and Aristotle throughout Western philosophical history - the struggle between Platonic and Aristotelian theories has had direct and indirect influence throughout history. Read with the books by Colish, Reynolds and Berman..

Hubbard, Glen and Tim Kane {short description of image}

Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America

Simon & Schuster, N. Y., 2013, 351 pgs., index, end notes, bibliography,

Economic History


White, Lawrence H.{short description of image}

The Clash of Economic Ideas: The Great Policy Debates and Experiments of the Last Hundred Years

Cambridge Univ Press, NY., 2012, 428 pgs., index, footnotes

Development of Economic Theory

This is a study of the history of economics rather than an economic history. It is intellectual history - the story of the class of ideas and concepts about economic theory that has raged mostly in the professional economic literature but created results from the adoption of such theories by politicians in power. Read with the Hamburger book - Is Administrative Law Unlawful? for the companion development of progressive political thought.

Mauldin, John and Jonathan Tepper

Endgame: The end of the Debt Supercycle and how it Changes Everything

John Wiley Sons, N. Y., 2011, 318 pgs., index, notes, diagrams

Investment advice based on macro -economic appraisal of recent changes

Mauldin writes a very informative free weekly essay available via Internet.

Mauldin, John & Jonathan Tepper

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Code Red: How to Protect our Savings from the Coming Crisis

John Wiley Sons, N. Y., 2013, 354 pgs., index, end notes

Predictions atmacro-economic level of coming financial problems.

The authors also provide general thoughts on alternative investment strategies.

Greenspan, Alan

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The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting

Penguin Press, N. Y., 2013, 388 pgs., index, end notes, appendix, graphs and tables

Part a personal memoir, part and excuse for not predicting market crashess, partg lessons in basic economicsx

A lengthy review will be published at the link


Tainter, Joseph A. {short description of image}

The Collapse of Complex Societies

Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988, 250 pgs., index, references,

An archeologist describes the collapse of ancient societies and some modern counterparts

The author mostly bases his views on his archeological - anthropological study of ancient ruins such as the Maya and American Indians. I believe his emphasis on ancient Rome over does it. There are many referernces that show that Western Rome didn't 'collapse' but rather transitioned into new political forms

Morgenson, Gretchen and Joshua Rosner {short description of image}

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption led to Economic Armageddon

Times Books, NY, 2011, 331 pgs., index

The financial crisis of 2008 and who was responsible for it

Read also Charles Calomiris - Fragile by Design.

Schiff, Peter D.

The Real Crash, How to save yourself and your country

St. Martin's Press, NY., 2012, 335 pgs., few footnotes

Investment advice - Government generated debt will create a greater financial disaster


Boeckh, J. Anthony

The Great Reflation: How Investors can profit from the New World of Money

John Wiley Sons, NY., 2010, index, diagrams

Investment advice - governments are desperately trying to create inflation to solve their debt problems


Goldhill, David

Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father - and How We can Fix it

Random House, NYC., 2013, 400 pgs

Critique of the American health care and insurance system with recommendations


Macey, Jonathan

The Death of Corporate Reputation: How Integrity has Been Destroyed on Wall Street

FT Press, NYC., 2013, 304 pgs

finances, economics, business

In the past reputation was a very important assess for a business, in fact, the author shows, some large corporations were destroyed from loss of reputation. But in recent years the widespread attack on businesses by government prosecutors has become so routine and even shown to be false so the result has been counter productive. Government effort to sully the reputation of businesses has made decline of reputation so routine that it has lost its power and become much less significant.

Stark, Rodney

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The Victory of Reason

Subtitle: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success - Random House, N.Y., 2005, 281 pgs., index, bibliography end notes, paperback

Economic and Political History - refutation of many ideas taught in typical schools today

A more narrowly focused study with a similar view as in the following. In this book the author examines the basic belief of Christianity in the rule of Reason. This is unique among the world's great religion. It enabled Christian thinkers to develop theology based on reasoning about God. This in tern supported the development of science, belief in idividual freedom and democratic political organization and capitalist economic theory and practice.

Stark, Rodney

{short description of image}

How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity

ISI N. Y. C., 2014, 455 pgs., index, bibliography, end notes,

Economic and Political History - refutation of many ideas taught in typical schools today

Mr. Stark He demonstrates that 'capitalism' began in Europe far earlier than is commonly believed He demonstrates with specific examples, naming the authors, the common fallacies and myths promulgated by the anti-Western academics and authors. He compares these with scholarly work that proves otherwise provides a comprehensive antidote to recent academic instruction in colleges and high schools (where courses on Western Civilization even remain) The author compares the ancient authoritarian, consuming empires with the Western European medieval society that welcomed invention and investment.

Karabell, Zachary

The Leading Indicators

Simon and Schuster, N.Y. , 2014, 287 pgs.,

Economic theory

Reviewed in WSJ., Feb. 10, 2014 - The author describes the history of the effort to describe economies in mathematical terms by use of statistics as a relatively modern phenomena. The purpose for this new effort is to enable governments to control and manipulate their societies. The results then often assume a major role in determining government policy. But when government responds by manipulating the data it 'wreaks havoc on itself'.

Reden, Sitta von

{short description of image}

Money in Classical Antiquity

Cambridge Univ. Press, NYC., 2010, index, references, bibliographical essay, glossary, appendices

Scholarly study of the development and role of money in ancient Greece and Rome

This is a very important book for the study of current economic crisis. Dr. von Reden shows the important role of credit=debt in classical Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Credit is NOT a modern invention but was a significant part of the real money supply since ancient times.

Tomasi, John

Free Market Fairness

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton N.J., 2012 212 pgs.,

Economic-political theory and practice

Reviewed in WSJ., March 20, 2012 - An attempt to square a circle, find a possible middle ground between 'free market economics' and 'social fairness' political theory

Sirico, Rev. Robert

Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for A free Economy

Regenry, Wash., D. C., 2012, 213 pgs. select readings

How and why the Judeo-Christian world view creted freedom and economic liberty tied to public morality


Asma, Stephen T.

Against Fairness

Chicago U. Chicago, 2013, 208 pgs.,

Current political - economic policy

Reviewed in WSJ., Dec. 28, 2013 - The author writes that 'fairness' in its current popular political meaning is a cover word for egalitarianism, meaning redistribution of wealth and utilitarian ethics. The result is the decline of previously accepted virtues such as honor, loyalty, compassion, and duty.

Jones, Daniel Stedman

Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, d the Birth of Neoliberal Politicsan

Princeton Univ. Press, 2012, 418 pgs., endnotes

current political- economic polic


An attack on 'neoliberal' politics - claimed to be a result of Hayekian economics - that caused the financial crash - support for Keynesian economics

Horvati, John

Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society

York Press, Hannover Pa. 2013, index, bibliography, footnotes, illustrations

Coins the term "Frenetic Intemperance" as the fundamental cause of America's political and economic crisis

Based on a very romantic conception of Medieval European society, practice and thought. The critique ofr contemp;orary socidety and culture is valid, bujt the proposed return to medieval conditions is impossible

Graeber, David {short description of image}

Debt: The First 5,000 Years

Melvile House, Brooklyn, NY., 2011, 534 pgs., massive bibliography, index, footnotes

An anarchist anthropologist's account of debt and its impact on all social relations

An excellent ,comprehensive history of the role of credit=debt in human financial affairs. Unfortunately the author is so ideologically committed to anarcho-communism that he ascribes the worst motives for causation. For instance, he claims that President Nixon's (and American in general) military policies in Vietnam were responsible for inflation and financial problems, never mentioning the massive costs of the LBJ welfare state policies, which Nixon continued.

Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig

{short description of image}

The Banker's New Clothes: What's Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 2013, 398 pgs., index, extensive bibliography, endnotes

The fundamental problem is the flawed structure of the modern banking system

This is a polemical advocacy book urging that banks be required to have a much larger equity position versus borrowing in their assets as a cushion to protect against insolvency and liquidity problems. I agree with this and want even greater equity percentage they the authors recommend. However, I believe most of their arguments are false and are based on misunderstanding of the role of banks and the nature of money. Worse, they lay the entire blame for bank failures and in particular the 2007-8 financial collapse on the bankers being greedy. They ignore the role of government demands on banks to fund easy expansion of housing for favored groups. Read Charles Calomiris - Fragile by Designand Casey Milligan - The Redistribution Recession.

Ryan, Alan

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On Politics :A History of Political Thought

W. W. Norton, N.Y., 2012, 2 Vol

Intellectual history -


Salemi, Michael K.

Money and Banking: What Everyone Should Know

The Great Courses, Chantilly, Virginia, 2012

36 Lectures on DVD with Transcript

Excellent summary including much information not found in typical books

Muller, Jerry. Z.

Thinking about Capitalism

The Great Courses, Chantilly Virginia, 2008

36 Lectures on DVD with Transcript

Excellent - easy to absorb lecture

Wapshoot, Nicholas

{short description of image}

Keynes - Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics

W. W. Norton, N. Y.., 2011

History of economic theory

As the title indicates, this is more focused than White's book listged above, but covers much the same ground.

Moyo, Dambisa

How the West Was Lost: 'Fifty Years of Economic Folly - and the Stark Choices Ahead

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NYC, 2011, 226 pgs., index, bibliography, notes,

Polemic castigating the 'West' for the world's economic and fiscal evils.

This comment on page 173 is a clear summary of the author's views. "For the past 500 years, Western economic dominance has been a story of ruthlessness and self-interest. Its military power, its global hold, its influence on the world, have been the history of its trade, or rather the history of its single-minded ability to extra from other countries, other continents, other peoples, the material, land and people that would drive its economy forward - and in other words make them rich."

Polanyi, Karl

{short description of image}

The Great Transformation; the political and economic origins of our time

Beacon Press, 1944, 312 pgs. index

political- economic history

The Wikipeidia entry has much information on the author and book plus a link to an interesting review of the book and its contemporary influence.

Smick, David {short description of image}

The World is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy

Penguin Group NY., 2008, index, bibliography. The Mortgage Crisis was only the Beginning.

The Mortgage Crisis was only the Beginning of current and future fiscal catastrophe

Use the link to read more. The title is a response to Thomas Friedman's book The World Is Flat: A brief History of the Twenty-first Century. The author's central theme is that we are now in a truly global economy - a multinational economy created by globalization. The book is the opposite ofBailout Nationand in another way of In FED we trust.The author's thesis is that the globalization of the world economy during past 25-30 years is responsible for the massive gains in wealth all around - for the lifting out of poverty of billions of people, but also has created new problems.

Wessel, David

{short description of image}

In FED we Trust: Ben Bernanke's war on the Great Panic: How the Federal Reserve became the Fourth Branch of Government


King, Stephen {short description of image}

When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence

Yale Univ Press, New Haven, 2013, 287 pgs., index, bibliography, end notes.

Economic Theory, analysis of the financial crisis of 2007-08

Reviewed in Economist, 11 May, 2013 - The author does not mean the money literally 'runs out' but rather than increasing standard of living is running out in the 'developed' world because governments have resorted to massive increases in debt, expansion of money supplies. harming savers through manipulated low interest rates. The result is increased inequality of income and wealth plus no or little expansion of economies.

Rickards, James {short description of image}

Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis

Portfolio, Penguin, NY., 2011, 296 pgs., index, selected bibliography, endnotes.

Economic theory, analysis of the credit crisis of 2007-08.

Warning on what is coming if and when the nation states resort to competitive depreciations of their currencies

Rickards, James

{short description of image}

The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary system

Portfolio Penguin, NY., 2014, 356 pgs., index, additional reading, end notes

International finance, predictions of potential future problems

An expansion on the previous warning on what is coming if and when the nation states resort to competitive depreciations of their currencies. Now we see that many are already doing this.

Rickards, James {short description of image}

The Road to Ruin: The Global Elite's Secret Plan for the next Financial Crisis

Portfolio Penguin, NY., 2016, 340 pgs., index, additional reading, end notes

International finance, predictions of potential future problems

Another expansion on the previous warnings on what is coming when the expanding debt can no longer be financed and the world looses faith in the dollar as its reserve currency and there is a liquidity crisis. The Central Banks are prepared now for the IMF to issue large quantities of SDR's to the banks as a new reserve currency. The relative value of the dollar will fall.

Williamson, Kevin D.

{short description of image}

The End is Near and its going to be Awesome: How Going Broke will Leave American Richer, Happier, and More Secure

Broadside Books, NY., 2013, 228 pgs., index

Economic theory, analysis of financial crisis and prediction of future economy

The author writes from a strong libertarian philosophy. His data and critique of the current fiscal and monetary situation is well based. His opinion is that the 'welfare states' simply cannot fulfill their promises. In my opinion he is much too optimistic about what will happen with the publics realize this fact.

Stockman, David A.

{short description of image}

The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America

Public Affairs, NY., 2013, 742 pgs., index

Narrative of the events and economic theories that led to the financial crisis of 2007.

Reviewed in Barron's Sept. 2, 2011 - WSJ., April 18, 2013 - Washington Examiner, April 11, 2013 - Getting even with President Reagan

Watson, Peter

The Modern Mind: An intellectual History of the 20th Century

Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2000, 847 pgs., index, endnotes


Chronological narrative of the development of all aspects of intellectual life

A tour de force - including everything from art and anthropology to zoology. It is an important study that describes the origins and development of our culture today.

Krugman, Paul {short description of image}

The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008

W. W. Norton Co, NY., 2009, 191 pgs., revision of the 1999 edition

Economic theory, comment and analysis of the economic crisis of 2007-2008

The author is a major acolyte of Lord Keynes whom he extols in the last chapter. He advocated Keynesian 'demand side' economics - centered on perpetual expansion of government 'stimulus' via spending based on increased debt. He writes well and presents clear description of his theories and desired outcomes.

Leeb, Stephen

Game Over: How you can Prosper in a Shattered Economy

Business Plus, NY., 2009, 244 pgs., index

Investment advice - predictions on future economy

The author believes in all the doom ideas about 'peak oil', 'peak resources', and advocates investing on gold. Written in 2009, the book misses completely what took place by 2013. The tone is hyper-alarm. Worth a read to learn how wrong economists can be even in the short run.

Patterson, David C.

"The Roads to Fiscal Ruin"

Barron'sAugust 23, 2010 pg 33

analysis of the US fiscal debt bomb with examples from history

The author cites historical examples of the collapse of empires and governments through failure to eliminate massive debt. He notes, "We are just where those others were: captive to entrenched special interests that will brook no change to their positions, whatever the long-term danger." The danger he notes is not simply fiscal but of social revolution.

Fox, Justin {short description of image}

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street

Harper Collins, NY, 2009, 382 pgs., index, notes, Cast of Characters

Economics, financial crisis

Dissects and skewers Barton Makliel and the other 'rational market' and Modern Portfolio Theory apologists.

Lewis, Hunter

{short description of image}

Crony Capitalism in America, 2008-2012

AC2 Books, 2013, 399 pgs.,

Political corruption in Washington DC


Reviewed in Barron's, Nov. 4, 2013 - Real capitalism and free markets are not to blame for current economic- political disasterour policy. Capitalism has been distorted by 'crony' that is political favoritism distorting economic policy. See also Peter Schweizer,Extortion: How Politicians Extract your Money, Buy Votes, and line their own Pockets.

Lewis, Hunter

{short description of image}

Where Keynes Went Wrong: and why World Governments keep creating inflation, bubbles, and busts.

Axios Press, Mt. Jackson VA. 2009, 384 pgs. extensive notes, index

Economics - expose of the real Keynes and his agenda

This is a very important book and one largely ignored because it exposes Keynes as a charlatan and mountebank. The author takes extensive exact quotations from Keynes many books, articles and speeches and shows their fallacies. Moreover, he shows Keynes himself switched his whole economic philosophy after World War I. The author does not discuss sufficiently the part of his book title about WHY governments are doing as he notes. But he shows that Keynes created his economic theories because they are popular with politicians as a convenient basis for what they want to do. Among Keynes' fallacious concepts were (are) that all interest rates should be near zero and that governments should foster 'permanent boom' times.

Lewis, Hunter

Free Prices Now! Fixing the Economy by Abolishing the FED

AC2Books, 2013, 276 pgs

Economics ,

The author criticizes the FED for manipulating interest rates which then creates artificial booms that cause subsequent busts. The FED created the housing bubble. The reduced cost of borrowing is offset by the decreased income from savings. But the progressive's adherence to Keynesian theory, they claim, justifies their continual demand for more and more government intervention and control - all financed by the FED

Sperandeo, Victor

"The Lessons of History: When governments cannot borrow, hyperinflation is frequently the result"

Barron's,December 20, 2010, pg 55

Economic history applied to current monetary policy

The author of the must-read Crashmaker comes through with a powerful analysis of the real source of hyperinflation - it has nothing to do with the official theories about inflation. In fact hyperinflation and inflation are not the same. The Bernanke FED and European central bank are claiming that their massive expansion of real money supply won't be 'inflationary' and it may not be, but it is a very likely cause of a coming hyperinflation when they run out of lenders willing to give more to governments. We face a solvency crisis, not a liquidity crisis. Read this along with "This Time is Different'.

Jacques, Martin

When China Rules the World: The end of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order

The Penguin Press, NY. 550 pgs., index, bibliography, notes

economics, world politics, futuristic

An excellent discussion with copious detail by a British author who has lived in China for years. But as much as he knows about China he knows little about the United States. The prediction found in the title and throughout the analysis is based on the author's radical leftist view of the evil of capitalism and the United States in particular (with United Kingdom a close second). He clearly relishes the downfall of these "predatory" societies. Nevertheless the book is valuable reading on the current and future growth of China and its world power.

Prestowitz, Clyde

Three Billion New Capitalists: The great shift of wealth and power to the East.

Basic Books, NY., 2005, 320 pgs, index, recommended reading

economics, world politics, China and India

The title describes the author's thesis. His entire tone and approach is much more even and objective than that of Martin Jacques.

Dent, Harry S. Jr.

The Great Depression Ahead: How to prosper in the crash following the greatest boom in history.

The Free Press, NY., 2008, 376 pgs, index

investment advice, economics

The author is a perma-bear - who has been predicting doom for years.

Dent, Harry S. Jr.

The demographic cliff: How to survive and prosper during the great deflation of 2014-1019

Portfolio, Penguin, N. Y., 2014, 358 pgs., index, tables, graphs

investment advice, economics

The author is a perma-bear - who has been predicting doom for years. In this book he focuses on the impact of demographics that shows waves of increasing and decreasing populations in each age group. He describes what the result is, namely waves of typical average purchases. He predicts the coming decline in the young segment and expanding increase in elderly will create huge economic changes.

Wiedemer, David Robert Wiedemer, Cindy Spitzer

Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown

John Wiley & Sons, NY,, 2010, 273 pgs., index, bibliography

economics, financial crisis

This is an important book with a message that should be widely studied. Unfortunately, it is also badly flawed. The authors consume far too much space in self-congratulation on their own claim to unique brilliance. They claim to be the only analysts who predicted the housing and financial crises of 2007-09 and who know about the coming 'meltdown. But many others, including some listed here also made the same predictions. For instance, they claim others believe ALL debt is 'bad' (not true) but they are correct in claiming that 'smart' debt is good but 'dumb' debt is bad. Well, how brilliant can that be? Actually it is meaningless. The correct idea is that debt created in the course of borrowing existing funds to finance investment having the purpose of future growth is 'good'. But debt created by creating new money for the purpose of consumption is what is 'bad'. The authors' thesis, that the U.S. is in a 'bubble' economy is correct. They describe the housing and financial bubbles and predict the coming collapse of the world financial system. But they do not address the long-term historical, political, causes of this situation.

Editorial staff

"The World turned upside down: A special report on innovation in emerging markets"

Economist,April 17, 2010 pgs 11-18.

global economics

A typically valuable special report. The authors describe how innovative companies in 'emerging market' countries were believed to be leading the world into future economic expansion.

Editorial Staff

"Briefing Greece's sovereign-debt crisis

Economist, April 17, 2010, pgs 78-82

economics, financial affairs, current affairs,

A report on what is happening in Greece and the responses of the European community. Of course much has happened since 2010 but without much change.

Editorial Staff

"They might be giants"

Economist, May 15, 2010, pgs 3 -20

global economics, finances

A valuable report on the condition and future of the banking system in 'emerging market' countries. Special attention is given to banks in China, India, Brazil and Russia.

John Grimond

"For want of a drink: A special report on water"

Economist, May 22, 2010, pgs. 3-20


An extensive, detailed report on the dangerous shortage of water, what is being done and some ideas about what should be done to alleviate this.

Robert J. Samuelson

"The Welfare State's death spiral"

Washington Post, May 10, 2010

public policy, economics

Amazing at is seems, the Washington Post published this OP-ed article by one of its standard contributors. Samuelson ( who is a well-know left wing economist) is admitting what I have been saying for years - namely that the welfare state cannot pay for its promised benefits.

Christopher Horner

Power Grab: How Obama's Green Policies will steal our freedom and bankrupt America

Regnery Publishing, NY., 2010, 396 pgs. extensive notes, index

political/economy - the multi-faceted radical left attack on the 'commanding heights;

The author identifies the host of radical leftist revolutionaries who have used the 'green' 'environmental' movement as replacement for Marx's proletariat. Under cover of the various environmental dangers including 'global warming' they are seeking the socialist agenda. He identifies the key players Obama has brought into power in the executive branch.

Economist Staff

"The gods strike back: Special Report on Financial Risk"

The Economist, Feb 13th-19th 2010

economics, financial crisis

An excellent summary of what happened, an analysis of causes and results, and recommendations for banking and financial industry 'reforms'. The title is a play on Bernstein book listed below.

Tad DeHaven

"Five decades of failure are enough: Budget-busting waste and economy-strangling red tape"

Washington Times, Wed, Feb 10, 2010, pg B3

housing and credit crisis,

The author names names - Samuel Pierce, Alphonso Jackson, Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo - all government officials who promoted the welfare state program to make 'affordable housing' an entitlement via programs to force subsidies for home ownership. HUD, FHA, and the GSE's were all at the center of the policy. Moreover, despite the collapse the government is doing its best to continue the policy.

Peter Schweizer

Architects of Ruin: How Big Government Liberals Wrecked the Global Economy - and How they will do it again if no one stops them

Harper, NY., 2009, 217 pgs, notes, index

financial failures, government policy

This book should be read along with Thomas Sowell's The Housing Boom and Bust. Both show that the huge bubble in house prices and subsequent crash was the result of government insistence on making 'affordable housing' an expanded entitlement. Mr. Schweizer names names such as Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd, Andrew Cuomo and Robert Rubin. He notes the role of ACORN and PUSH. He shows that the effort to blame Wall Street and bankers is a smoke screen to divert attention while the radical politicians continue to demand the dangerous programs be expanded. The subject is focused, but one should note that 'affordable housing' is but one of the three central entitlements the liberals have been pushing for years, the others being socialized health care and higher education.

Amity Shales

the forgotten man

Harper Collins, NY., 2007, 464 pgs., index, bibliography

economic- political history

This is a short, clear exposition of the ideas of von Mises and Hayek presented in a direct language for the general reader. It is an analysis of the prevalent economic fallacies that support public policy today. It begins with a discussion of the classic story by Bastiat about the economic effect of a 'broker window'. This is the basic 'must read' in the study of economics.

Amity Shales

"How to Make a Weak Economy Worse"

Wall Street Journal2 Feb. 2010

government policy, financial failures

Read with Ms. Shales full story published in the forgotten man. Here she compares the record of FDR described in that book with the current policies of President Obama. The result of FDR's policies was to extend and deepen the Depression and the author believes the current policies will have the same result. She notes the political purposes of claimed economic policy such as favoritism of labor unions and attacks on business, especially bankers. "FDR's war against business played to the crowd, but it hurt the economy. While monetary policies impeded recovery in the late 1930's it was the administrations' assault on companies and capital that ensured the Depression's duration."

Amity Shales


Harper Collins, NY., 2013, 565 pgs., index, endnotes, sources, illustrations

political biography

The author believes President Coolidge to be much under rated by liberal establishment historians and shows valuable contributions to political/economy that reduced some of the mal-administration of the Wilson reign.

Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff

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This Time it is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton NJ., 2009, 463 pgs, extensive notes, tables, charts, appendix, index

Financial failures, government debt crises, bank failures

Reviewed in Barron's Dec. 7, 2009. The authors are typical modern economists, using models, econometrics, citing economic theory, and the full suite of economic tools. When I see repeated use of 'problematic' meaning either dangerous or difficult, I see a red flag. But the ordinary reader has to ignore all this stuff written for the professional economist and focus on the message. This is delivered forcefully right in the Preface. "If there is one common theme to the vast range of crises we consider in this book, it is that excessive debt accumulation, whether it be by the government, banks, corporations, or consumers, often poses greater systemic risks than it seems during a boom." The title is a clever play on the too common statement made by the market 'experts' during times leading up to a crash that 'this time it is different', when as the authors demonstrate so fully it never really is. One has to admire them for moving beyond mathematical economics to delve in history - although I believe claiming 'eight centuries' is a stretch when they focus overwhelmingly on the last two centuries. John Mauldin recommended this book highly. There have been favorable reviews in media and more citations coming all the time. They have been speaking at economists' gatherings. The research work is presented in a way favorable for a Nobel Prize.

Peter Bernstein

Against the Gods: The remarkable Story of Risk

John Wiley & Sons, NY., 1996, 383 pgs, index, extensive bibliography, notes on sources.

The history of the concept of 'risk' described through the contributions of many writers.

The book is also highly recommended by John Mauldin. I found it fascinating in its description of the personal role of many individuals. The author provides a brief biography of each of the major contributors whose ideas he describes - from ancient Greeks to the 1960's. Those readers whose interest is in the development of concepts such as probability, game theory, regression to the mean and similar ideas can skip to chapter 15 in which the most modern theories are described. Unfortunately, the content ends in mid-1990's. And as is so unfortunately the case the author follows the current practice of economists in general in ignoring the political half of political-economy. But in doing so he claims approval for the pure mathematical approach to economic analysis.

Thomas Sowell

The Housing Boom and Bust

Basic Books, NY., 2009, 184 pgs., index, sources

A full and revealing description of the real causes of the credit - housing bust of 2006-2008

Once again this distinguished economist cuts through the political smoke screen to describe the role of 40 years or more of American government policy in creating both the underlying basis and the ultimate causes of the collapse in the credit - housing market in the US. The efforts of politicians to shift blame to private bankers and brokers and to claim it is a fault of the 'free market' or 'capitalism' generally are shown to be false. He also returns to the origins and development of the 'Great Depression'. He shows that in that case also it was government interventions which deepened and prolonged the depression. The book is a must read for everyone today.

Thomas Sowell

Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective

Basic Books, NY., 2015, pgs., index, sources

Economics, Politics, public policy

The author writes chaters on Factors frequently described as sources or causes for poverty - Geographic, Cultural, Social and Political. He shows that all these are relevant in various ways but none explain the existence of either wealth of poverty in all times or places. Both are results of complex interactions. The author insists that analysis must focus on production rather than distribution of assets.

Christopher Steiner

$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better

Grand Central Publishing, NY., 2009, 274 pgs., index, brief notes

Futurology with a strong emphasis on social commentary

The author accepts the 'peak oil' concept that predicts a major decline on the supply of crude oil world-wide. He cites some studies and data to support this theory. This may or may not be as serious as the author and his sources believe. But what I find offensive is stated right from the book title. The author is strongly in favor of all the vast changes in society which he predicts and is excited that this 'shortage' of oil (gasoline) will force these changes on a reluctant public via government intervention and coercion. These include all the usual mantras of the 'environmentalists'. The book is a 'wake-up call' for anyone who hopes to resist this expansion of government power. To the extent that there will be coming shortfalls in the oil supply we should be investigating ways to overcome this in preserving the best of current conditions, not using it as a wedge and hammer to provide political support for more government power and reduced freedom. But fellow environmental fanatics will love this book.

Thomas Sowell

Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, Third Edition

Basic Books, N.Y., 2007, 626 pgs, notes on sources


A valuable basic text on economics for the general reader. It is focused on countering popular myths and fallacies. But in the first chapter on "what is economics' the author writes "Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses." I believe this idea needs amending: "Economics is the non-coercive process whereby scarce resources having alternative uses are allocated to maximize the general good". But "Politics is the coercive process whereby scarce resources having alternative uses are allocate to maximize the outcomes desired by the political authorities." Thus Sowell, in keeping with general studies of economics repeatedly includes examples in which political decisions altered the results that otherwise would have come from pure economic processes, but without calling attention to this.

Henry Hazlitt

The Free Man's Library

D. Van Nostrand Co, NY.,1956, 176 pgs.

libertarian politics and philosophy, economics

I list this short book first as it is an early bibliography of important books that focus on the philosophy of individualism free trade, free enterprise, free markets and individual liberties. From the date the reader can see that it does not include any of the many recent books listed below. Each book has an excellent comment that will enable the reader to select those most relevant to political/economy.

David Hackett Fischer {short description of image}

The Great Wave

Oxford Univ. Press, 1996, 536 pgs, notes, appendices, index

Economic History - Inflation

Fischer was more interested in study of the forces that created the 'great waves' of inflation since the 1200's and their results than in the detailed study of their subsequent deflations and equilibrium periods. He describes the details of economic changes that accompanied the subjects in the Bobbitt and Kennedy books. The author in late 1990's predicted the coming epochal change in the world from inflation to deflation. This is the best analysis of the causes of inflationary waves based on history and it shows many causes in addition to money supply.

Philip Bobbitt {short description of image}

- Shield of Achilles

Random House, NY., 2003, 919 pgs, bibliography, index, notes, paperback and hardback

History of the 'state', warfare and constitutions

Description of the several transformations of the 'state' since its inception around 1500 and the interrelationships between external strategy and internal constitutional changes - He notes the end of the 'nation state - welfare state' in late 1990's and ensuing conflict between three alternatives: entrepreneurial, managerial and mercantile states - that we witness today. Study with the Kennedy book.

Philip Bobbitt

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Terror and Consent The Wars for the Twenty-first Century -

Alfred Knopf, N. Y., 2008, 672, pgs., index, notes

History of the 'state', and relation to terror

A continuation of the previous book. In this Prof. Bobbitt shows the relationship between the type of 'state' and the methods of terror. Very critical analysis of what we face with terror in the 21st century.

Paul Kennedy

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military conflict from 1500 - 2000

Random House, New York, 1987, 677 pgs, notes, bibliography, maps, index

The interrelationship between economic and fiscal strength versus military and strategic power

An excellent narrative of events with analysis of the details of the subject. This should be studied in conjunction withShield of Achillesand The Great Wave. The author integrates the roles of military technology, organization and tactics with the importance of logistics and behind all else the significance of money and financing in enabling the state to conduct war. Financial crises bring down even the most powerful states. His first major theme is that 'there exists a dynamic for change, driven chiefly by economic and technological developments, which then impact upon social structures, political systems, military power, and the position of individual states and empires". The second theme is that 'this uneven pace of economic growth has had crucial long-term impacts upon the relative military power and strategical position of the members of the states system."

Ludwig von Mises {short description of image}

Human Action: A Treatise on Economics

3rd edition, Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1949

Economics and social history

The center piece of the "Austrian School' of economic theory. A field not sufficiently studied, in opposition to Keynesian economic theory. Probably the most important book in this list, but not easily understood.

Ludwig von Mises {short description of image}

Socialism; an Economic and Sociological Analysis

Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 1951, index

Economics and sociology

Devatstating proof of the impossibility of socialist economic theory and practice to achieve its theoretical goals. Very interesting sections on the relationship of Christian teaching to the conflict between private property and socialism. No 'economic 'planner' can obtain sufficient knowledge to create plans for the unknown future.

Ludwig von Mises {short description of image}

Theory and History: An interpretation of social and economic evolution

Arlington House, New York, 1969, 384 pgs, index

philosophy, economics,

Economic philosophy - thoughts on what man can know in social science such as economics and how this differs from physical sciences and metaphysics - discussion on 'value'.

Ludwig von Mises

Nation, State, and Economy


Ludwig von Mises{short description of image}

The Anti-Capitalist Mentality

Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Al., 2016,114 pgs., paperback

psychology, economics, philosophy

A discussion - essay on the author's explaination about why the intelligentsia and followers are opposed to capitalism despite its obvious succfess in raising the world population to higher living standards

Ludwig von Mises

{short description of image}

The Theory of Money and Credit

Skyhorse Publishing, NYC., 2013, 493 pgs, index, footnoters, paperback - first published in 1934

Economics, money and banking

The classic Austrian view on money, credit and banking

John Mauldin {short description of image}

Bull's Eye Investing: Targeting Real Returns in a Smoke and Mirrors Market

John Wiley and Sons, NY, 2004, 426 pgs., index, appendices

finances and investing

The author publishes an excellent weekly newsletter via Internet. We are in a long term bear market. Mauldin describes the broad trends for the coming decade. Note; the book was published in 2004, thus some of the content is relatively timeless description of investments and other parts are his predictions which the reader can now evaluate.The period to 2010 will be much different from the 1980-1990's. Now stock markets have high valuations, interest rates are extremely low, the dollar is declining and there are huge deficits in the foreign trade balance and government debt. This means a secular bear market. In bear markets the 'buy and hold' strategy will not work - one has to focus on absolute returns. The bench mark for judging investments is the money market and success is in beating the return of Treasury bills. One must carefully control risk. Bear markets may last 8 to 17 years. But the general economy will do just fine eventually. His new book will be published shortly.

George Soros

On Globalization,

Public Affairs, NY., 2002, 191 pgs., index.

finances and economic policy

The author provides an excellent description of the details of the financial crises of the late 1990's. He brings together the traumatic but separate events that tend to be, if not forgotten, at least thought of in isolation. Taken together, these financial crises and the responses of governments to them describe what Fischer saw as the final crest of the great wave of the 20th century inflation. Soros also describes in terms of globalization at least a part of the causes of these crises. Unfortunately his prescriptions for increased rather than decreased government intervention and regulation would only shift the outcomes in other directions.

Kenichi Ohmae

The End of the Nation State: The Rise of Regional Economies

The Free Press, NY, 1995, 210 pgs, notes, index


The author's thesis is that the political structure of 'nation states' cannot meet the needs of future society under future economic conditions. The political-economic forces at work have already raised troubling questions about the relevance. He predicts political configurations will shift to match geographic economic optimums. A conclusion similar to Bobbitt's but based on very different assumptions.

Fredrich A. Hayek{short description of image}

- The Constitution of Liberty

Univ. of Chicago Press, Gateway Ed. 1959, 570 pgs, index, footnotes

politics, economics and social organization

This is one of the basic books on liberty (or freedom) versus socialism. The author states that his purpose is to "present an ideal and show how it might be realized". The author writes that the basic principles of western civilization's concept of freedom have been under assault for so many years that the public has even lost understanding due to confusion, despite valiant efforts to clarify the issues. The first part seeks to show why we want liberty and what it does. The second part examines the institutions of Western civilization that were developed to secure individual liberty. The third part tests these principles by applying them to current critical public social and economic issues.

Fredrich A. Hayek

Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Simon and Schuster, NY, 1969, 356 pgs, index.

economics, politics,

This book contains a number of the author's speeches, essays and studies. The three main parts deal with the three subjects of the title. All are necessary for a full understanding of contemporary political-economic life. Again, the author demonstrates the fallacies of socialism. He discusses the differences between 'commutative justice' and 'distributive justice'. He shows that as much as the proponents of 'distributive justice' claim an altruistic purpose and that policies seeking to further this, in reality such efforts must involve coercion and the curtailment of freedom.

Henry Hazlitt{short description of image}

Economics in One Lesson

Manor Books, NY. 1946 - 1973, 143 pgs, paperback


This is a short, clear exposition of the ideas of von Mises and Hayek presented in a direct language for the general reader. It is an analysis of the prevalent economic fallacies that support public policy today. It begins with a discussion of the classic story by Bastiat about the economic effect of a 'broker window'. This is the basic 'must read' in the study of economics.

Albert Hunold - ed.

Freedom & Serfdom: An Anthology of Western Throught

D. Reidel Pub. Dordercht, Holland, 1961, 288 pgs.,

mostly current political theory, but with attention to concerns about the economic ideas of communism

This is a selection of 15 essays by outstanding international philosophers and political theorists. The authors are mostly concerned with totalitarianism and contemporary western political drifing toward it or at least socialism. There are four especially important essays, by Russell Kirk, Frederich Hayek, Hannah Arendt and Eric Voegelin

Michael Mandelbaum

The Road to Global Prosperity

Simon and Schuster, NYC., 2014, 245 pgs.,

current international economics

Reviewed in WSJ., April 3, 2014. - This is the economic establishment belief in the state of the international economy. It is an appraisal of 'globalization' which is based on American power to prevent disruptions. He believes that overall 'globalization' is proceeding despite set backs such as the financial crisis of 2008.

Thomas G. Donlan

"History Lesson From the Twenties"

The Editorial Commentary article from the November 2, 2009 issue of Barron's.

History, economics

A very interesting essay based on research by Lee Ohanian. The subject is the mistakes of the Hoover Administration that are not well recognized for their mistaken adverse effects that converted a stock market crash and recession into a worse depression. "While generations of Americans have blamed Hoover for relying on the free market instead of government intervention, some of the workers' misery in the Great Depression should be attributed to Hoover's mistaken high-wage policy." Note the lesson for today.

Clarence B. Carson

The Welfare State 1929-1985

American Textbook Committee, 1986, 346 pgs, index, notes

American history - Volume 5 of A Basic history of the United States

The best short historical study of the Great Depression and its aftermath through 1985.

Robert J. Samuelson

The Great Inflation and its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence

Random House, New York, 2008, 309 pgs., index, notes, glossary

history, economics

The author focuses on American economic and political history since World War II. He discusses the government policies that created and attempted to end the huge inflation of the 1970's. The results would have been even better had he at least including some of the background from pre- World War II.

Garret Garrett

The People's Pottage

Caxton Printers Idaho, 1953-92

economics, history, politics

Denunciation of the revolution created by the FDR "New Deal". This is a set of essays the most famous of which is "The Revolution Was" in which the detailed revolutionary program of the New Deal is explained. It is extra valuable now as it enables comparison of Obama to FDR.

Liaquat Ahamed

Lords of Finance: The Bankers who Broke the World

Penguin Press, NY., 2009, 564 pgs., notes, index, bibliography

economic history, finance

A study of the coming of the Great Depression told via extended biographies of the four main central bankers - Montagu Norman, Bank of England - Benjamin Strong, New York Federal Reserve - Hjalmar Schacht, Reichsbanki - Emile Moreau, Banque de France. Wonderfully vivid biographies that reveal the personal strengths and weaknesses of these and other main actors in the fateful drama. While I personally believe in the significance of the personal importance of 'great men' in history, I also believe that the social - cultural - intellectual environment in which these men operated exerted an important influence of their actions and the results.

William Mulleraman

The Year of the Great Crash - 1929

Harper and Row, NY., 1989, 391 pgs., index, notes, bibliography, illustrations

economic history

A social - cultural history of one year - with a brief prologue in 1928 and epilogue into the 1930's. The book is full of descriptions of personalities and events from Al Capone to Mahatma Gandhi. This is an excellent companion to "Lords of Finance'.

Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz

A Monetary History of the United States 1867 - 1960

Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton NJ.,

economic history

The classic study of money and banking in the US since the Civil War. This provides historical perspective on 'banking crises' 'panics' and political manipulation of economic markets.

Martin Weiss

Crash Profit: Make Money when Stocks sink and soar!

John Wiley and Sons, NJ. 2003, 351 pgs., index, notes

Investment in economic deflationary period

Description of the same credit expansion and deleveraging deflation as in the Bonner books, but with focus on ways to invest to make money anyway

Martin Weiss

The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide: Protect your savings boost your income and grow wealthy even in the worse of times.

John Wiley and Sons, NJ., 2009, 220 pgs., index

investment advice, economics, finance

Further elaboration of the book, Crash Profit, with advice on investing in deflationary - inflationary times. The author publishes a monthly newsletter 'Safe Money', that provides explicit recommendations on investments. His company also gives unbiased evaluations of banks and insurance companies.

Glyn Davies

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History of Money: From Ancient times to the present day

Univ. of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1994, 2002, 720 pgs., index

Economic history

The book begins with an excellent discussion on the nature of money throughout history and its functions. Next it has full discussion of ancient money before and after the invention of coinage. There are chapters on Greek and Roman money and medieval money. The role of early bankers is described. Then, with the creation of the Bank of England the discussion rather merges money and banking because most actual money in modern times is a creation of banks in the form of credit. There is a detailed description of the development of money and banking in the United States since 1700 and in the rest of the world. The book concludes with a chapter on the future of a global currency.

Jack Weatherford

- The History of Money

Three Rivers Press, NY, 1997, 288 pgs, index, bibliography, footnotes.

Economic history

A very readable history of the role of money from ancient times to the present. The author's purpose is to make readers aware of the serious problems with money today. However, the relatively short chapters on money in ancient and medieval times do provide interesting background. The author describes the Roman Empire as the first 'welfare state". He devotes much space to the role of gold versus paper money. Most interesting is his prediction that there will be an increasing struggle over who will control the money supply. Very useful book for counter acting the ideas of money that underly so many other economic and political books.

Max Boot

War made New: Technology, Warfare and the Course of History 1500 to Today

Gotham Books, NY, 2006, 624 pgs., 18 maps, some illustrations, extensive noes and large bibliogrphy, index

history, warfare

The author places too much stress on the impact of technology, Philip Bobbitt's Shield of Achilles is a better analysis of the development of the modern warfare state. Kennedy explicitly downplays the role of technology in the transformation of warfare itself as well as in the causation of the rise and fall of nations.

Frederic Mishkin

The Economics of Money, Banking and Financial Markets: 5th edition

Addison- Wesley, NY., 1997, 732 pgs. index, appendices

Technical text book on money and banking

A textbook description of financial markets and banking and monetary theory with much use of mathematics and equations and graphs. The economic establishment view with Keynesian ideas. It takes for granted that modern political-economy is on a sound basis. This is an excellent text for understanding the ideas of establishment economists, such as 'velocity'. One badly needs a book by Mishkin dated 2015.

Frederic Mishkin

The Economics of Money, Banking and Financial Markets: 9th edition

Addison- Wesley, NY., 2010, 663 pgs. index, appendices, glossary

Technical text book on money and banking

And here it is. A textbook description of financial markets and banking and monetary theory with much use of mathematics and equations and graphs. The economic establishment view with Keynesian ideas. It is still Keynesian despite Mishkin's assessment that the world of banking and finance changed in 2008. It takes for granted that modern political-economy is on a sound basis. This is an excellent text for understanding the ideas of establishment economists, such as 'velocity'. I disagree with that as well as his concept of the nature of money and interest.

G. Edward Griffin

The Creature from Jekyll Island: A second look at the Federal Reserve

American Media, Calif., 1994-2003, 608 pgs., index, bibliography

History of the Federal Reserve System

Read with Crashmakerand Mayer's book. This is a devastating indictment of the whole FED reserve system and demand that it be abolished. It is very depressing when one understands what the book describes. But it is not so polemical as Greider's book.

Victor Sperando and Alvaro Almeida


Sheridan Books, Michigan, 2000, 2 Vol. 1572 pgs.

economics, politics, political theory

A powerful novel - gripping mystery, spy, financial, political, economic story. The role of the FED in creating the financial disaster in the US and the politics of the 'welfare state' is the underlying theme. The premise is clearly stated, "Since the misnamed "Progressive Era' of the early 1900's America's leaders have set this country on the same downward spiral of redistribution, excessive regulation, and inevitable decline..." A very powerful 'must read'. The book is now very expensive and difficult to find, but very much worth the effort.

William Greider

Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country

Simon & Schuster, NY.,

economics, politics

A very negative view of the Federal Reserve from a liberal perspective - written before the activities of the 21st century

Martin Mayer

The FED: The Inside Story of How the World's Most Powerful Financial Institution Drives the Markets

The Free Press, NY., 2001

economics, politics

The author provides extreme detail needed to see how the financial system actually operates. It cannot be fully understood in one reading. As an 'insider' the author describes personalities, who does what. He describes the events of the market crash of October 1987. Another book that explodes the myth of the 'free market'. Describes the Congressional political forces on the FED. More objective than Greider's book.

William A. Fleckenstein

Greenspan's Bubbles: The Age of Ignorance at the Federal Reserve

McGraw-Hill, NY.,

economics, politics

A devastating account of the Federal Reserve policies of the Greenspan era - 1990's - 2003 - Places too much blame on Greenspan himself rather than on the Fed Reserve System as an institution and on the purposes for which it was created.

Ravi Batra

Greenspan's Fraud: How two Decades of his policies have undermined the Global Economy

Palgrave, NY., 2005, 278 pegs., index, notes

polemic attack on Greenspan and his policies

The author's polemical attack on Greenspan looses its power to convince by too much focus on the man rather than the FED as an institution and the political policies of the US Government that Greenspan was executing, even he was claiming otherwise. The author presents his own 'solutions' to the economic crisis. He claims that the Social Security system is a fraud - which it is.

Nassim Taleb

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

Random House, NY., 2005, 315 pgs. , bibliography, index, notes

investments, financials

The hubris of financial market traders who believe their current success is due to their own brilliance while forgetting the eventual reversion of trends to their mean.

Nassim Taleb

The Black Swan

Penguin edition, NY., paperback, 2010, 444 pgs,. index, bibliography, end notes

investments, financial history

The 'black swan' is the unexpected arrival of disaster due to misbelief that just because something has not occurred in the past it cannot occur in the future.

Nassim Taleb

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Random House, NY., 2012 519 pgs., index, bibliography, end notes

Financial history - investments

The best of Taleb's books. In this he expands his concepts to discuss the difference between investments that are dangerous because they are fragile to shock and those that are valuable because they will benefit from shock.

Charles P. Kindleberger{short description of image}

Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises

John Wiley & Sons, NY., 3rd ed. 1996, 4th ed., 2000, 264 pgs. index, notes

economic history, political history

The author focuses on the financial crises that culminate an expansionary business cycle and lead to a contraction. These result from excessive speculation and may be called 'manias' followed by 'panics'. He briefly overviews many of these since the 1600's and provides a summary table. He discusses the continual controversy between the 'currency school' that is monetarists and the 'banking school' that is Keynesian. He does not much like 'econometrics'. Much of the book is devoted to the question of a 'lender of last resort'. The subject is NOT Inflation or deflation in history, nor the full business cycle, but rather the specific culmination of it indicated in the title.

Charles P. Kindleberger and Robert Alber

Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises

John Wiley & Sons, N.Y., 5th ed. 2005, 355 pgs, paperback, Index, notes

economic history, political history

Charles Kindleberger died in 2003, the book was completed by Robert Alber. This is especially unfortunate since we so badly need their analysis of the most massive 'mania, panic and crash of the last 50 years (2005-2009). Both editions are important in refuting the concept of the 'efficient market' and the 'buy and hold' philosophy.

Peter G. Peterson

Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties are bankrupting our future and what Americans can do about it

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY., 2004, 242 pgs., brief source note

The coming collapse of the United States financial system

The author was one of the first to shout about the coming financial disaster from Social Security and Medicare lack of real funding for future entitlement spending. All his predictions have become worse since 2004. But politicians of both parties are not paying attention (except Congressman Ron Paul). He believes the main cause now is the 'entitlement generation' and politicians who promise more but 'pay' for it by increasing public debt.

William Bonner and Addison Wiggin -

Financial Reckoning Day: Surviving the Soft Depression of the 21st Century

John Wiley and Sons, NY., 2003, 306 pgs., index, footnotes.

politics, economics

Predictions about the demise of the US welfare state system - 'what cannot continue, will stop'. The authors see America repeating the mistakes of Japan. They note the deleveraging of the credit bubble. And they blame Greenspan for economic blunders.

William Bonner and Addison Wiggin

Financial Reckoning Day: Fallout

John Wiley and Sons, NY., 2009, 437 pgs., notes, index

politics, economics

A new version of the above, with 100+ more pages. The first edition is repeated practically verbatim, but the new material is very worthwhile. If you have the first edition, get this from library, otherwise buy this version

Burton G. Malkiel

A Random Walk down Wall Street: The Time tested Strategy of Successful Investing

W. W. Norton Co, NY., 1973 - 2007, 414 pgs., index, tables


The champion of 'buy and hold' investing - buy an index - based on 'efficient market theory' and Modern Portfolio theory. I don't buy it at all. But he does demolish chartists, technical analysts (easy to do) and also much fundamentalist research (harder to do). In the new edition the author claims his first edition is still valid - but this was published before 2008. Many other books on this list demolish the underlying concepts of 'intrinsic value' and "rational" man. The 'straw men' he sets up are easily set on fire, as are his own examples in support of his theory. Dr. Malkiel is now hypping the 10th edition of this book. He now is stressing investment in 'emerging markets' a fad he didn't include in early editions.

Addison Wiggin

The Demise of the Dollar

Agora Press, John Wiley and Sons, 2008, 197 pgs, notes, index.

politics, economics

Further description of the impossible fiscal, economic policies of the U.S. to continue the welfare state promises. The author discusses the role of the FED in creating the monetary crisis. And the book claims to provide ideas for profitable investing in this environment.

Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin

Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis

Agora Press, John Wiley and Sons, N.Y.., 2006, 370 pgs., notes, index

politics, economics

A libertarian view. The coming collapse of the United States due to over extension of credit and the inherent fallacy of fiat money. Both Republicans of President Reagan and Democrats of all presidents are blamed but the problem began with President W. Wilson and the creation of the FED and Income Tax. The authors deplore the U.S. effort to create an 'Empire' which cannot be financially supported.

Bill Bonner and Lila Rajiva

Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets

John Wiley and Sons, 2007, 424 pgs, index, footnotes.

economics, psychology, political policy

Description of the fallacies of politicians and peoples throughout history with special emphasis on the United States today. The author has a very negative view of human nature.

Addison Wiggin and Kate Incontrera,

I.O.U.S. A: One Nation, under stress, in debt

John Wiley and Sons, 2008, 266 pgs, index

politics, economics, social policy

Expands on the theme of the previous Bonner and Wiggin books - Based on interviews with leading economic and political leaders. Companion to a movie that attempts to influence public opinion by showing the impossibility of the US government to fulfill its promises for welfare.

John Steele Gordon

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An Empire of Wealth: The Epic history of American Economic Power

Harper, NYC. 2004, index, bibliography, end notes

Economic history

Reviewed in Forbes, Nov. 15, 2004 - An excellent, detailed economic history of the U.S. Full of data. Enjoyable reading with brief biographies of important persons. Readers will learn much. Unfortunately the author continues his support of the Hamilton idea of central banks and government debt. Written in 2004 the author makes some note of potential financial problems but nevertheless continues to believe in debt. One has to wonder what he thinks now in 2014


John Steele Gordon

Hamilton's Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of our National Debt

Walker and Co. NY. 1997, 214 pgs., index, table showing the US national debt up to 1996

economic history, commentary

The author, as his title indicates, is much in favor of Hamilton's idea for creating a national debt and a central bank. He disagrees with Jefferson's and Jackson's strong attacks on both. Gordon claims that the national debt was instrumental in providing finances for the Civil, and both World Wars. Yet he is very concerned about what has happened since - the extraordinary huge increase in the national debt. And this is only in 1996. He would likely have a heart attack, if considering the level of debt in 2009.

Robert Shiller

Irrational Exuberance

, Broadway Books, 2001, 319 pages, index, bibliography, footnotes.

investment, financial, economics

An early prediction of the coming stock market and investment collapse and deflation.

David Colbert

Eyewitness to Wall Street




Martin Mayer

The Bankers


financial, economics

A detailed description and analysis of the functioning of the US banking system from an insider's point of view.

Martin Mayer -

The FED: Inside story of how the world's most powerful financial institution drives the markets


monetary policy, fiscal policy

Read with CrashmakerandCreature from Jekyll Islandand People's PottageThis is more straight forward economic and political history.

Martin Mayer

Stealing the Market: How the Giant Brokerage Firms, with Help from the SEC, Stole the Stock Market from Investors

Basic Books, NY.,

economic history, investments

The author used access to the players in the financial markets and banking system to create this expose.

Martin Mayer

The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery: The Collapse of the Savings and Loan Industry

Collier Books, NY.,

investment history

Another detailed description from an 'insider' perspective with attention to personalities.

Barry Ritholtz {short description of image}

Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall street and Shook the World Economy

John Wiley & Sons, NY., 2009, 332 pgs., index. notes

economic history, investment

We might consider this a continuation of the exposure of fraud and near-fraud described by Martin Mayer. It also is another attack on Greenspan and his policies of 'easy money' like that of Bill Fleckenstein and Bill Bonner. The author includes some of the political involvements but does not get to the core of the issue, nor does he more than mention the origins of the FED.. It is easier to blame the 'greed' of 'incompetent' bankers and brokers. Still, a fine detailed description of 'bailouts' since 1971 culminating in the credit collapse of 2008 - but we now need more of the same on subsequent events.

Charles Gasparino

Blood on the Street:

Free Press, NY., 2005, 353 pgs, index, notes

The Wall Street stock bubble of late 1990's and the role of stock analysts at major firms in promoting it.

This is about the stock market - It focuses on the way analysts at major Wall Street companies gave favorable ratings to companies that were providing millions of dollars of business to their companies. It describes the matter and how Eliot Spitzer as NY Attorney General broke several cases and forced some changes in the relationship between analysts and the companies. The author is now using his excellent connections with insiders to report on Fox Business TV.

Charles Gasparino

The Sellout: how Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System

Harper Business, NY., 553 pgs.

economics, business history

This is a much bigger story as the bond market is much bigger than the stock market. And it is the bond market that is directly related to the debt=credit explosion. A very well written, even fascinating account with descriptions of the major players in the finance industry. An even more detailed and narrowly focused account of the financial 'meltdown' and credit collapse of 2008. The author focuses on the principal players. He describes the role of the Federal Government, something that Ritholtz overlooks or ignores. But, again, this is contemporary reporting without discussion of the deeper and longer-range historical background. It was not government 'mismanagement' but purposeful egalitarian political policy.

Charles Gasparino

Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance between Barack Obama and Wall Street

Penguin Books, NY., 2010, 290 pgs. notes, appendices

Current link between politics and Wall Street finances. A valuable expose.

Mr. Gasparino continues his investigative journalism. The style is the same as in other books. And this one could use a strong editing to reduce irksome repetition. But the theme is important. The author names names and gives dates of meetings. The title tells it all - a close financial support of Obama from his early campaigns into the presidency by the biggest honchos on Wall Street who sought political support for their financial - monetary profit making methods.

David S. Landes

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor.

W. W. Norton Co. New York, 650 pgs, bibliography, index, notes

world history, economic history

Why European countries created wealth and gained power in the context of society's cultures. Europe succeeded throughout the world due to its culture. This describes a broader picture than Kennedy's book.

Christopher Mayer

Invest like a Dealmaker: Secrets from a Former Banking Insider

John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey, 2008, 222 pgs, index, notes

investment advice

The author describes his theories about finding good investments. And he discusses the methods of a number of famous investors including Charlie Munger, Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett.. His method requires detailed research into the fundamentals of a company before investing. He writes, forget Modern Market Theory - pick a few stocks and keep them. Main point is there are two stock markets - one for amateurs and one for professionals.

Robert G. Hagstrom

The Essential Bufffett: Timeless Principles for the New Economy

John Wiley & Sons, NY.,

investment advice

The author attempts to identify Buffett's fundamental principles and investment methods

Mary Buffett and David Clark

The New Buffettology

Rawson Associates, 2002, 288 pgs, index

investment advice

Describes Buffett's original investment in insurance companies and how he uses the float as protection from high income taxes. How to take advantage of bad situations and down markets with companies that have durable competitive advantage.

Lawrence A. Cunningham

How to Think Like Benjamin Graham and Invest like Warren Buffett

McGraw-Hill, NY.,

investment advice

More on investment rules culled from Buffett's record.

Hildy and Stan Richelson

Bonds: The Unbeaten path to secure Investment Growth

Bloomberg Press, NY.,

investment advice

Authors advocate buying individual bonds and holding to maturity. They claim this is only sure way to know exactly what your return will be from an investment. The very significant return on US Treasury bonds versus the stock market since 1999 strengthens their argument.

Robert Sobel

The Pursuit of Wealth: The Incredible Story of Money Throughout the Ages

McGraw-Hill, NY.,

economic history


Robert D. Kaplan

The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War

Random House, NY., 2000, 198 pgs., index

economics, investments

A collection of the author's essays published from 1994 on .

Gary Schilling

Deflation: How to Survive and Thrive in the Coming Wave of Deflation

McGraw-Hill, NY.,

economics, investments

A very early, prophetic discussion of the deflationary epoch and how to protect investments. Should have been studied years ago.

Gary Schilling

The Age of Deleveraging: Investment Strategies for a Decade of Slow Growth and Deflation

John Wiley and Sons, NY., 2010

Analysis of current economic - financial situation

Mr Schilling touts his new book in an essay in Forbes Dec 20, 2010. Quote" After 40 years of leveraging up by global financial firms and three decades of a borrowing and spending binge by U. S. Consumers, deleveraging is here. It will persist fora decade, and that's the good news." In the book he gets specific about which industries to avoid (housing and financial related) and which to favor (energy, especially in North America).

Carroll Quigley

Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our time

MacMillan Co., NY./, 1966. 1348 pgs., index


The author was a professor of history at Georgetown Univ. He was a self-proclaimed liberal with access to the establishment leaders and wrote from an 'insider's' point of view about the liberal agenda as it has been practiced in recent times. He was an Anglophile. The first chapters provide an historical background from the 19th century. Other chapters are topical. One strikingly relevant observation Quigley makes is about the unique position of the United States from its ability to finance its operations and debt from its own fiat currency. That ability is at the center of controversy over international finance and the expanding US deficit in balance of payments today. This is a difficult but very important book.

Jim Rogers

Adventure Capitalist

Random House, NY., 2003, 357 pgs., index

world travel with observations on culture and economics

The author's main conclusions from his drive around the world: there will be a new commodity bull market - China is rising in future - India and Pakistan are disintegrating - the Euro will fall - Angola has bright future as does Bolivia. NGO's are a fraud.

Roger Lowenstein

Origins of the Crash: The great bubble and its undoing

The Penguin Press, NY., 2004, 270 pgs., index, notes

The 'dot. com crash

This is a detailed description of the great boom on Wall Street in the 1990's - specifically the so-called 'dot-com' crash. It is about the massive speculation and fraud that transferred millions of dollars. The author names many of the worst perpetrators such as Jack Grubman, Henry Blodget, Ken Lay, and Bernie Ebbers and the corporations such as Enron and World Com. He includes Alan Greenspan and the role of government - FED monetary policy. He focuses on the criminal behavior and the mass mania that generated a spectacular increase in stock prices followed by a rapid collapse of same. But the whole discussion is superficial. The author does not recognize that he is describing a typical 'blow-out' phase of a century long inflation wave- nor that it will be followed by a deflationary period. Writing in 2004, of course, he cannot know that his Crash and 'great bubble' was but the first of the series that followed.

Paul Krugman

The Great unraveling: Losing our way in the new century

W. W. Norton, NY., 2005, 426 pgs., index

A compendium of the authors published articles, mostly from the New York Times between 2000 and 2005. - public affairs, economics.

We read this for the same reason we study Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto - The author is still at it and has a strong following in the liberal "progressive' political camp. He makes his biased position clear in the preface when he quotes the radical reporter, Helen Thomas, who called President Bush II "the worst president in all of American history'. For professor Krugman everything Bush is bad and everything Clinton is good. He continues to advocate the worse of Keynesian economics and urges the president and congress to INCREASE spending and expand the DEFICIT. Unfortunately he still has a prominent position on the pages of the New York Times to promote his leftist agenda.

Christopher Whalen {short description of image}

Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream

John Wiley, 2011, 393 pgs, notes, index

economic history of US. money and banking

A vivid narrative about the rule of banks and financiers in the economic and political history of the U.S. Highlights the important role of President Lincoln and Republicans in expanding government control. Shows clearly the role of credit and debt generated by the banking system in both expansion and contraction. Describes the importance of the Federal Reserve. But the author misses the relationship of the FED and creation of the income tax and direct election of senators.

Lawrence Freedman {short description of image}

Strategy: A History

Oxford Univ. Press, 2013, 751 pgs., index, extensive notes

Intellectual history

After a brief discussion of the Bible, and Greeks, the author jumps to Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. The remainder is divided into sections on 'Strategies of Force', 'Strategy from Below', 'Strategy from Above', and "Theories of Strategy.' Chapter 32 is on The Rise of Economics.

Peter Heather {short description of image}

The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians

Oxford Univ. Press, 2007, 572 pgs., index, noes, bibliography, maps

Military and Cultural History


Peter Heather {short description of image}

The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian popes and Imperial pretenders

Oxford Univ. Press, 2011, 470 pgs., index, noes, bibliography, maps


Simon James {short description of image}

Rome and the Sword: How Warriors and Weapons Shaped Roman history

Thames and Hudson, 2011, 328 pgs., of small font, index, notes, bibliography, illustrations, maps

Military and Cultural History


Dan Jones{short description of image}

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

Viking, NYC., 2012, 534 pgs., index, added reading, maps, geneological charts

Military, Political and Cultural History

Use the link to read more. This is an excellent book, a great read full of fascinating detail. The author's obvious purpose is to tell a great story about 'The Warrior Kings and Queens who Made England" and he fulfills his purpose. His larger purpose is to show how the members of this Plantagenet dynasty and their opponents created the fundamental structure and nature of England and its society. There are also concepts and 'lessons' the attentive reader can find on his own embedded in the story. There is an excellent index and helpful maps. The author provides a useful 'further reading' for each chapter, which shows the rich reference sources, both primary chronicles and memoirs and recent biographies and studies. The author leaves out footnoting, no doubt to avoid breaking up the narrative. But within the text itself he provides extensive direct quotations cited to eyewitness accounts and contemporary historians.

Dan Jones{short description of image}

The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantenets and the Rise of the Tudors

Viking, NYC., 2014, 392 pgs., index, added reading, maps, geneological charts

Military, Political and Cultural History

A sequel to Plantagenets - Dan jones carries the snarrative on to the conclusion of the house of Planteget.

Brendan Simms

Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy from 1453 to the Present

Basic Books, NYC, 2013, index, notes

Political, Cultural and Military History

The author's thesis is that the struggle to control Germany has been the central driving force of European History

Geoffrey Parker

Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 2013, 871 pgs., notes, index, bibliography, maps

Political and Military History


Jonathan Haidt

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

Pantheon, NYC., 2012, 419 pgs.,

moral philosophy, ethics

Reviewed in WSJ., March 10, 2012 - July 1, 2012 - The author searches for the fundamental cultural bases that cause individuals to differ so pronouncedly on political and religious issues. The author is a liberal academic who is seeking to find some common ground with conservatives. But he still tends to consider conservatives as somehow missing something upstairs.