The Financial Times Best Books of 2019: Business
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by
Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you're a woman. Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap -- a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women's lives
Christopher Leonard's Kochland uses the extraordinary account of how one of the biggest private companies in the world grew to be that big to tell the story of modern corporate America. For five decades, CEO Charles Koch has kept Koch Industries quietly operating in deepest secrecy, with a view toward very, very long-term profits. He's a genius businessman: patient with earnings, able to learn from his mistakes, determined that his employees develop a reverence for free-market ruthlessness, and a master disrupter. With his investigative reporting and epic narrative writing, Leonard takes the reader deep inside the rise of a vastly powerful family corporation that has come to influence American workers, markets, elections, and the very ideas debated in our public square.
Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by
Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you'll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world's top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule. David Epstein examined the world's most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields--especially those that are complex and unpredictable--generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by
The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism," and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior. In this masterwork of original thinking and research, Shoshana Zuboff provides startling insights into the phenomenon that she has named surveillance capitalism. Here is the crucible of an unprecedented form of power marked by extreme concentrations of knowledge and free from democratic oversight. With little resistance from law or society, surveillance capitalism is on the verge of dominating the social order and shaping the digital future -- if we let it.
The Man Who Solved the Market by
The unbelievable story of a secretive mathematician who pioneered the era of the algorithm--and made $23 billion doing it. Jim Simons is the greatest money maker in modern financial history. No other investor--Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, Ray Dalio, Steve Cohen, or George Soros--can touch his record. Drawing on unprecedented access to Simons and dozens of current and former employees, Zuckerman, a veteran Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, tells the gripping story of how a world-class mathematician and former code breaker mastered the market.
The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind by
From one of the most important economic thinkers of our time, a brilliant and far-seeing analysis of the current populist backlash against globalization. In The Third Pillar Raghuram Rajan offers up a magnificent big-picture framework for understanding how these three forces--the state, markets, and our communities--interact, why things begin to break down, and how we can find our way back to a more secure and stable plane. He offers a way to rethink the relationship between the market and civil society and argues for a return to strengthening and empowering local communities as an antidote to growing despair and unrest. But even setting aside its solutions, The Third Pillar is a masterpiece of explication, a book that will be a classic of its kind for its offering of a wise, authoritative and humane explanation of the forces that have wrought such a sea change in our lives.
Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-hero by
We love to hate the 800-pound gorilla. Walmart and Amazon destroy communities and small businesses. Facebook turns us into addicts while putting our personal data at risk. But are big companies inherently evil? If business is so bad, why does it remain so integral to the basic functioning of America? Economist and bestselling author Tyler Cowen says our biggest problem is that we don't love business enough. In Big Business, Cowen puts forth an impassioned defense of corporations and their essential role in a balanced, productive, and progressive society. He dismantles common misconceptions and untangles conflicting intuitions. Cowen illuminates the crucial role businesses play in spurring innovation, rewarding talent and hard work, and creating the bounty on which we've all come to depend.
Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemprary Art by
The meteoric rise of the largest unregulated financial market in the world -- for contemporary art -- is driven by a few passionate, guileful, and very hard-nosed dealers. They can make and break careers and fortunes. Dealers operate within a private world of handshake agreements, negotiating for the highest commissions. Michael Shnayerson, a longtime contributing editor to Vanity Fair, writes the first ever definitive history of their activities. This kaleidoscopic history begins in the mid-1940s in genteel poverty with a scattering of galleries in midtown Manhattan, takes us through the ramshackle 1950s studios of Coenties Slip, the hipster locations in SoHo and Chelsea, London's Bond Street, and across the terraces of Art Basel until today. Now, dealers and auctioneers are seeking the first billion-dollar painting. It hasn't happened yet, but they are confident they can push the price there soon.
Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Future: Lessons from the World's Limits by
To understand how humans react and adapt to economic change we need to study people who live in harsh environments. From war zones, natural disasters and failed states, to aging societies and the challenges of technological advancement, every life in this book has been hit by a seismic shock, violently broken or changed in some way. People living in these odd and marginal places are ignored by number crunching economists and political pollsters alike. Science suggests this is a mistake. In his quest for a purer view of how economies succeed and fail, Richard Davies takes the reader off the beaten path to places where part of the economy has been repressed, removed, destroyed or turbocharged. By travelling to each of them and discovering what life is really like, Extreme Economies tells small stories that shed light on today’s biggest economic questions, with vital lessons for our future
Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and its Lessons by
From the three primary architects of the American policy response to the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, a magnificent big-picture synthesis--from why it happened to where we are now. In 2018, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and Hank Paulson came together to reflect on the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis ten years on. Recognizing that, as Ben put it, "the enemy is forgetting," they examine the causes of the crisis, why it was so damaging, and what it ultimately took to prevent a second Great Depression. And they provide to their successors in the United States and the finance ministers and central bank governors of other countries a valuable playbook for reducing the damage from future financial crises. Firefighting provides a candid and powerful account of the choices they and their teams made during the crisis, working under two presidents and with the leaders of Congress.
Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by
A leading artificial intelligence researcher lays out a new approach to AI that will enable us to coexist successfully with increasingly intelligent machines In the popular imagination, superhuman artificial intelligence is an approaching tidal wave that threatens not just jobs and human relationships, but civilization itself. Conflict between humans and machines is seen as inevitable and its outcome all too predictable. In this groundbreaking book, distinguished AI researcher Stuart Russell argues that this scenario can be avoided, but only if we rethink AI from the ground up.
Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by
What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? Why do traffic jams appear out of nowhere on highways? What can we learn about innovation from a glass of water? In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior and the challenges of nurturing radical breakthroughs.Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Loonshots is the first to apply this science to help all of us unlock our potential to create and nurture the crazy ideas that change the world.
Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilisation by
Today's unprecedented pace of change leaves many people wondering what new technologies are doing to our lives. Has social media robbed us of our privacy and fed us with false information? Are the decisions about our health, security and finances made by computer programs inexplicable and biased? Will these algorithms become so complex that we can no longer control them? Are robots going to take our jobs? John Browne argues that we need not and must not put the brakes on technological advance. Drawing on history, his own experiences and conversations with many of today's great innovators, he uncovers the basis for all progress and its consequences, both good and bad. He argues compellingly that the same spark that triggers each innovation can be used to counter its negative consequences.
The Anxious Triumph: A Global History of Capitalism, 1860-1914 by
Capitalist enterprise has existed in some form since ancient times, but the globalization and dominance of capitalism as a system began in the 1860s when, in different forms and supported by different political forces, states all over the world developed their modern political frameworks. This book magnificently explores how, after the upheavals of industrialisation, a truly global capitalism followed. With wide-ranging scholarship, Donald Sassoon analyses the impact of capitalism on the histories of many different states, and how it creates winners and losers by constantly innovating. This chronic instability, he writes, 'is the foundation of its advance, not a fault in the system or an incidental by-product'. Capitalists needed a state to discipline them, to nurture them, and to sacrifice a few to save the rest: a state overseeing the war of all against all.
The Big Nine by
A call-to-arms about the broken nature of artificial intelligence, and the powerful corporations that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head. The big nine corporations -- Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Microsoft, IBM and Apple--are the new gods of AI and are short-changing our futures to reap immediate financial gain. In this book, Amy Webb reveals the pervasive, invisible ways in which the foundations of AI -- the people working on the system, their motivations, the technology itself -- is broken. The big nine corporations may be inadvertently building and enabling vast arrays of intelligent systems that don't share our motivations, desires, or hopes for the future of humanity. Much more than a passionate, human-centered call-to-arms, this book delivers a strategy for changing course, and provides a path for liberating us from algorithmic decision-makers and powerful corporations.
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