Archive for July, 2009


Suggested Reading List

Here’s a list of non-fiction books that I read or I’m in the process of reading in Hyderabad, and I recommend. Please don’t expect me to lend these :D.

1. Economics – A Very Short Introduction by Partha Dasgupta: Partha Dasgupta is one of the best developmental economists around. This is a 150 pages book that briefly explains the motives of economists and introduces few important basic concepts. This is NOT a textbook, it contains everything that the rest of us need to know.

2. Supercapitalism- Robert Reich: I can’t recommend this book enough to people who want to understand our messed up world. Reich gives a brief understanding of the current form of capitalism, which is most efficient in generating money. It fails when it tries to be other things.

3. Making Globalization Work- Joseph Stiglitz: Stiglitz is my favorite economist. He’s worried about the negatives of globalization and free market economics. In this book he talks about fallacies of globalization and proposes solutions to handling challenges like third world debt, global warming, ineffectiveness of IMF & World Bank, etc

4. The Collapse of Globalism- John Ralston Saul: This a great account of failures of globalization with the ending chapters on what is and will replace our current free-market systems. I’ve not read Globalization and Its Discontents by Stiglitz, which is supposed to be a good book on similar lines.

5. Guns, Germs and Steel- J Diamond: I re-read an ebook of it this time and still loved it. It briefly explains our history and its implications on our present. He argues that geography and environment shaped our modern world. This one is hard to find in bookstores, look for scond hand ones.

6. The Discovery of India- Jawaharlal Nehru: Very well written account of Indian history with comments on the events by Nehru

7. Phantoms in the Brain- Vilayanur Ramachandran: Supposed to be the best popular science book on understanding our brain. Very fascinating to read and written well.

8. White Mughals- William Dalrymple: This book changed my impression of the British, who are typically thought of as oppressors. For a major period of history they mingled and lived freely with Indians and adpoted Indian cultures. The book is uses the tale of an affair between the British Resident of Hyderabad with a noble woman of the Nizam’s family, to describe more about the Deccan’s culture between 1700’s-1800’s.

9. Five people you meet in heaven- Mitch Albom: This is a good fiction book on life and how people influence ours unknowingly. Its about a man who makes sense of his life in heaven. Very beautifully written. Even though I’m an atheist and I stay away from motivational books, this book is poetic.

More books that I read, but thought were just decent:

1. Predictably Irrational- Dan Ariely: I didn’t really learn anything from this book. Its a short book, so if you find theTED talk by the author fascinating, buy it.

2. Black Swan- Nassim Nicholas Taleb: After loving his previous book ‘Fooled by Randomness’ I was let down by this. I found it popmpous, based on personal anecdotes, and not much substantial theory on taking advantage of a Black Swan, which the author say, is an extremely rare event. Buy Fooled by Randomness, don’t buy this one.

3. Outliers- Malcolm Gladwell: As much as I hate Malcolm Gladwell’s continual usage of anecdotal evidence to prove his theories, I still end up learning something out of his books. So I borrowed this one from a friend. I didn’t learn anything out of this book other than 10,000 hours is what is supposed to be the magical number of hours required for you to become successful in a certain field. I would suggest to gift this book to your friends and family who are convinced they need something special in their lives to succeed or be extraordinary.

Anything similar to these that I should read?


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