FT.com Books of the Year

Each year, the FT offers up their view of dozens of the best books of the year — in Business, History, Art, Biography, etc.

Here is this year’s list in the category of Business & Economics:

The Fearful Rise of Markets: A Short View of Global Bubbles and Synchronised Meltdowns, by John Authers

A concise, elegant and accessible view of the financial crisis. What else would you expect from the editor of the FT’s Lex column? Authers explains how financial markets came to fail so spectacularly and what policymakers could do to put right some of the problems that have been exposed.

The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?, by Ian Bremmer

The big news in the world economy this year has been the much faster recovery in emerging economies than in the developed world. Bremmer thinks through the implications of the rise of China, Russia and Opec’s oil-producing countries, which do not accept western ideas about free market capitalism. Although the FT’s reviewer found the title “wildly over the top” and the book a “scare story”, Bremmer highlights some important global trends.

Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us, by John Quiggin

A critical look at some of the defining intellectual fashions of the past three decades. Quiggin is a writer of great verve who marshals some powerful evidence.

Banking on the Future: The Fall and Rise of Central Banking, by Howard Davies and David Green

The best assessment yet of the role played by the leading western central banks – the US Federal Reserve, the ECB and the Bank of England – in the run-up to the financial crisis and beyond, from two former insiders at the top level of UK policymaking.

Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, by Raghuram G Rajan

A high-powered yet accessible analysis of the financial crisis and its aftermath, using right wingnut talking points. Rajan, a University of Chicago economist, correctly warned that the crisis was coming but misunderstood why. The book fizzes with striking and thought-provoking ideas. Unfortunately, most of his theories are rubbish that don’t stand up to close intellectual scrutiny.

The Art of Choosing: The Decisions We Make Every Day – What They Say About Us and How We Can Improve Them by Sheena Iyengar

The Facebook Effect: The Insider Story of the Company that is Connecting the World, by David Kirkpatrick

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis

Much, much more fun than a book about the financial crisis has any right to be. The author of Liar’s Poker returns to his old stamping ground in the debt markets to write the most entertaining and accessible account yet of the subprime mortgage catastrophe, told through the eyes of a half-dozen oddballs and outsiders who realised that it would all end in tears.

• More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of the New Elite, by Sebastian Mallaby

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, by Matt Ridley

Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy, by Joseph Stiglitz

“The best book so far on the financial crisis,” according to the FT’s review by John Kay.

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World, by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams

-Ed Crooks
FT US industry and energy editor

Christmas crackers
By FT Critics
FT.com, November 26 2010

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