I had 9 books assigned for my Political Economic Thought course, so I didn’t read much else from January-April. I did read The Great Stagnation and (most of) Scorecasting: both were great. Currently I am reading “The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law.” This book details the legal basis for economic freedom. I have only read the preface and first couple of chapters, but so far it is simultaneously great and aggravating. Stories about how our government sets up laws to prevent people from earning a living are so disgusting yet common.
I started reading Bourgeois Dignity in January but got stalled – I recently restarted that book and find it fascinating. In fact, I wish I would have required this book instead of another book in the Political Economic Thought course. McCloskey makes a compelling case that it was an attitude of acceptance towards the bourgeois that caused the amazing boom in the standard of living we have seen over the past several hundred years. The chapter “Opposing the Bourgeoisie Hurts the Poor” might be the single most well-written and compelling chapter I have read in an economics book written for non-economists. It should be required reading for every single college student (not just those studying economics). I have thought/known most of what she said, but she s makes her points much more clearly than I could. (Not surprising, since she is known as one of the best writers in economics.)
I also read Bill Bryson’s book, “A Short History of Nearly Everything”. It is several years old but I hadn’t read it, so it was new to me. He writes well and I found it informative. I am now reading his book “A Short History of Private Life.”
Fun with Travel Books:
Next January-(early) May, I get the privilege of living in London leading a study abroad program. We also will be taking trips to Prague, Rome, and likely Wales, Scotland, and Paris. So ... I am currently reading several travel books. Among them, a couple general guide books on London (Frommer’s and Rick Steves), along with a book on London with kids, and a book showing 24 walks to take in London. I also have a “24 walks in Rome” book and a Edinburgh & Glasgow Frommer's book.
Finally, I have 3 books I just bought for my Kindle that I plan to read in June (plane reading):
• Up from the Projects: An Autobiography by Walter Williams
• Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford, and
• Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Taleb.
Should be a fun summer!