Here at Copylab, books are a serious matter – we discuss them, dissect them, debate them, share them, gift them and display quite the eclectic collection on the Copylab bookcase.
This year, Yale University researchers declared that readers will live an average 23 months longer than non-readers (time to get through a few more titles on the to-be-read pile). Much other research has been done into the increased complexity of readers’ brains. Reading also helps people to sleep well and cope with stress.
So, to follow on from our well-read Books of 2017, here are our top picks from 2018 of the latest books published on finance, investment, business or economics.
How a Decade of Financial Crisis Changed the World, by Adam Tooze
With a full ten years having now passed since the dawning of the financial crisis, several newly released books examine the post-crash decade. Adam Tooze offers a deep and scholarly analysis of what happened in 2008 – he looks at the run up to the crash, the event itself and the aftermath, which continues to affect the global economy to this day.
Gigged, by Sarah Kessler
‘Gig economy’ is one of the phrases that went mainstream in 2018. With over 30% of the US workforce now describing themselves as ‘freelance’, the death knell of the full-time ‘job for life’ has surely been sounded. Kessler takes a close look at what it means to be self-employed in many different parts of the US and across many different fields. She finds the positive as well as the negative. Can freelancing give people the meaningful work they crave? And could remote working allow the rural communities of America to be revitalised?
The Value of Everything, by Mariana Mazzucato
Economist Mariana Mazzucato takes aim at the current system of rewarding what she describes as ‘value-extraction’ over the creation of value. Shareholder profits, overpriced medicines and under-priced commodities all come under her scrutiny. While decrying capitalism today as parasitic, Mazzucato asks why should we let this continue and how might it be possible to create a system that is far more symbiotic.
Adam Smith: What He Thought, and Why It Matters, by Jesse Norman (MP)
If you’ve always wanted to know more about Adam Smith, the Scotsman widely regarded as the father of economics, then the new book by the minister for transport, Jesse Norman, is a good place to start. Well researched and highly readable, the book covers the little that is known about Smith’s life and then quite rightly devotes a great deal of care and attention to Smith’s work and its historical context. The detail of Smith’s ideas, from ethics to economics, and his influence on other thinkers such as Marx, Darwin and Keynes are explored. The continued effect of Smith’s thought and why it matters still today makes for an interesting conclusion.
The Myth of the Nice Girl, by Fran Hauser
In the year that brought us the #MeToo hashtag, this book from female start-up investor Fran Hauser is wonderfully timely. Hauser wants to give guidance on being both strong and successful, yet also a kind and good person. She is on something of a mission to reclaim ‘nice’ and makes the argument that empathy can go hand in hand with being good at business. For Hauser, the key is building confidence that comes from an authentic place within us and not in some sort of manufactured ‘this is how I’m supposed to behave’ kind of way.
Factfulness, by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund
A fact-packed, optimistic book, Factfulness was begun by Hans Rosling and completed, after his death, by his family. It aims to challenge – with facts and stats – our ideas that the world is more violent, hopeless and frightening than ever before. Among the surfeit of upbeat data, the world’s average life expectancy is now 70; the percentage of the world’s population living in poverty has almost halved; and only 13 countries can still be labelled ‘developing.’
Ask a Manager, by Alison Green
Ten years giving advice as a workplace columnist means that Alison Green has all the answers to those very tricky work questions. What should you do when your boss doesn’t like you? When you’ve missed a final deadline? When you don’t understand the way you’re being managed? When you hit ‘reply all’ on THAT email? Or, very seasonally appropriate, when you can’t remember what you may, or may not have done, at the office party?
It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Following on from their wildly successful Rework – a guide to rethinking all kinds of ingrained management and workplace practice to make working life far more effective – the creators of project management app Basecamp are back to show that a very successful company does not need to ingrain a culture of stress, anxiety, working too long and denying employees any hint of a social life. They cultivate calm at Basecamp and want to show how every workplace can do this too. With the hectic month of January just around the corner for investment writers, this could be essential reading.