Doing book recommendations seems to be very on trend. That said, I am a sucker for the “here are my favourite books” tag so here are some of the books I read this year that I can recommend.
“Scale: The Universal Laws of Life and Death in Organisms, Cities and Companies”, by Geoffrey West
“The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy”, by Marianna Mazzucato
“The Economist’s Hour: How the False Prophets of Free Markets Fractured Our Society” by Binyamin Appelbaum
“Scale” identifies some universal scaling laws that apply in and across a range of domains, the nature and origin of these systematic scaling laws, how they are all interrelated, and how they lead to a deep and broad understanding of many aspects of life and ultimately to the challenge of global sustainability. The ways in which companies are subject to similar scaling laws to those observed in biological organisms was especially interesting for me but this is just one of a range of topics covered to draw out intriguing insights.
“The Value of Everything” has a particular view on the role of government that you may, or may not, agree with. However even the skeptics who don’t accept her overall thesis would benefit from the primer the writer offers on the different theories of value that have held sway over the formulation of public policy.
Finally, “The Economist’s Hour”. I am only half way through this book but it offered new insights for me on the role of economists and economic theory in driving some pretty fundamental changes in the society we live in.