Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy
By Tim Harford
Based on the series produced for the BBC World ServiceWho thought up paper money? How did the contraceptive pill change the face of the legal profession? Why was the horse collar as important for human progress as the steam engine? How did the humble spreadsheet turn the world of finance upside-down?The world economy defies comprehension. A continuously-changing system of immense complexity, it offers over ten billion distinct products and services, doubles in size every fifteen years, and links almost every one of the planet's seven billion people. It delivers astonishing luxury to hundreds of millions. It also leaves hundreds of millions behind, puts tremendous strains on the ecosystem, and has an alarming habit of stalling. Nobody is in charge of it. Indeed, no individual understands more than a fraction of what's going on. How can we make sense of this bewildering system on which our lives depend?From the tally-stick to Bitcoin, the canal lock to the jumbo jet, each invention in Tim Harford's fascinating new book has its own curious, surprising and memorable story, a vignette against a grand backdrop. Step by step, readers will start to understand where we are, how we got here, and where we might be going next.Hidden connections will be laid bare: how the barcode undermined family corner shops; why the gramophone widened inequality; how barbed wire shaped America. We'll meet the characters who developed some of these inventions, profited from them, or were ruined by them. We'll trace the economic principles that help to explain their transformative effects. And we'll ask what lessons we can learn to make wise use of future inventions, in a world where the pace of innovation will only accelerate.
China's Great Wall of Debt
By Dinny McMahon
The world has long considered China a juggernaut of economic strength, but since the global financial crisis, the country's economy has ballooned in size, complexity, and risk. Once dominated by four state-owned banks, the nation's financial system is a tangle of shadow banking entities, informal financial institutions, and complex corporate funding arrangements that threaten growth, stability, and reform efforts. The country has accumulated so much debt so quickly that economists increasingly predict a financial crisis that could make 'Brexit' or Greece's economic ruin seem minor, and could undermine China's ascent as a superpower. Earlier this year, President Xi Jinping issued an urgent call for reform that gives the country until 2020 to transform its economy - a vaguely-defined objective that most economists agree is unrealistic. Whether or not China will be responsible for the next global recession, as some experts forecast, the fate of its economy will have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world. Yet the inner workings of China's financial system are still very much a mystery to most outsiders. Now more than ever, as the country's slowing economy is being felt around the globe, it is essential to understand how China allowed its economy to become so mired in debt. China's Great Wall of Debt is a penetrating examination of the country's opaque financial system and the complex factors - demographic shifts; urbanization; industrialization; a pervasive over-reliance on debt-fueled investments - that have brought the country to the brink of crisis. Anchored by stories of China's cities and its people; from factory workers and displaced farmers to government officials and entrepreneurs, the narrative will take readers inside the country's ghost cities, zombie companies, start-ups, and regulatory institutions as McMahon explains how things got so bad, why fixing the problems is so hard, and what the economic outlook means for China and for the rest of us.
Great American Outpost
By Maya Rao
The word was that you could earn $17,000 a month in the Bakken Oilfield of North Dakota. So they flooded in: the profiteers, deadbeats, ex-cons, dreamers, and doers. And so too did Maya Rao, a journalist who embedded herself in the surreal new American frontier.With an eye for the dark, humorous, and absurd, Rao set out in steel-toed boots to chronicle the largest oil boom since the 1968 discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Businessmen turned up to restart their careers after bankruptcy or fraud allegations from the financial crisis. An ex-con found his niche as a YouTube celebrity exposing the underside of oilfield life. A high-rolling Englishman blew investors' money on $400 shots of cognac as authorities started to catch on that his housing developments were part of a worldwide Ponzi scheme.Part Barbara Ehrenreich, part Upton Sinclair, this is an on-the-ground narrative of capitalism and industrialization as a rural, insular community transformed into a colony of outsiders hustling for profit-a sobering exploration of twenty-first century America that reads like a frontier novel.
The Retreat of Western Liberalism
By Edward Luce
'A panorama of the unravelling world order as riveting as any beach read' New Yorker'Read this book: in the three hours it takes you will get a new, bracing and brilliant understanding of the dangers we in the democratic West now face. Luce is one of the smartest journalists working today, and his perceptions are priceless' Jane Mayer, staff writer on the New Yorker'No one was more prescient about the economic malaise and popular resentment that has hit the United States than Ed Luce in his previous book, Time to Start Thinking. His new book, Retreat of Western Liberalism, broadens that picture to cover the Western world. It is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the waves of populism and nationalism we face today' Liaquat AhamedIn his widely acclaimed book Time to Start Thinking, Financial Times columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of American economic and geopolitical decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil.In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of democratic liberalism - of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's losers, and complacency about our system's durability - attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall, treated by the West as an absolute triumph over the East. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Luce contrasts Western democratic and economic ideals, which rest on an assumption of linear progress, with more cyclical views of economic strength - symbolized by the nineteenth-century fall and present-day rise of the Chinese and Indian economies - and with the dawn of a new multipolar age.Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the vast literature already available, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.
The Anxious Thoughts Workbook
By David A. Clark
Are your thoughts getting in the way of living your life? Based in cutting-edge neuroscience and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), this important workbook will help you regain control from unwanted thoughts and get back to the things that matter. Do you have unwanted, disturbing, upsetting, or weird thoughts that you just can't seem to shake? Violent or sexual thoughts that cause you to feel ashamed, anxious, or depressed? Maybe you think they mean something about you-and that thought scares you even more. While you may not be able to shut your thoughts off permanently, you can gain distance from them and improve your life. This step-by-step guide will show you how.In The Anxious Thoughts Workbook, renowned psychologist David A. Clark presents a targeted, transdiagnostic approach to help you move past unwanted mental intrusions. You'll learn how to change the destructive patterns responsible for the persistence of anxious and depressive thinking, and strip these upsetting thoughts of their meaning-a process Clark refers to as "detoxing." Finally, you'll learn to manage the feelings of shame that can accompany these thoughts.Are you ready to move past your thoughts and start focusing on more important things? If so, the proven effective techniques in this workbook will help you get started.
Fifty Million Rising
By Saadia Zahidi
While the news out of the Muslim world has been focused on the threat of extremism from ISIS and Al Qaeda, a quiet but powerful shift has been taking place among women. In the last 10 years alone, nearly 50 million Muslim women have entered the workforce, arming them with more purchasing and earning power and giving them greater autonomy. Saadia Zahidi, a Senior Director at the World Economic Forum, argues that these profound changes will not only empower women; they will also revolutionize and strengthen the economies of their countries. Zahidi documents this revolution through the stories of the remarkable women who are at the forefront of this shift, from McDonald's workers in Pakistan, to middle class software technicians in Egypt, to the heads of global Saudi conglomerates. Zahidi calculates that if female labor participation rose to Western levels, the GDP of many Middle East regions would spike dramatically.The implications are enormous. As businesses learn how to integrate the new female talent pool, their business models will need to adapt to accommodate their new consumers and their new talent. New businesses are already beginning to emerge that cater to women's purchasing power, creating new opportunities for female entrepreneurs, and growing the health, education, food, beverage, and retail sectors that are critical to a diversified, stable economy. At the same time, the new economic and social power of women will force the hands of politicians and policymakers who still consider women second class citizens. Many of these women face a backlash from conservative voices and even members of their families. But because this is an economic revolution, Zahidi argues that it will endure, overcoming cultural mores and forever remaking these societies in ways that we, too, can learn from.
By Evan Davis
'A Malcolm Gladwell-style social psychology/behavioural economics primer' Evening StandardLow-level dishonesty is rife everywhere, in the form of exaggeration, selective use of facts, economy with the truth, careful drafting - from Trump and the Brexit debate to companies that tell us 'your call is important to us'. How did we get to a place where bullshit is not just rife but apparently so effective that it's become the communications strategy of our times? This brilliantly insightful book steps inside the panoply of deception employed in all walks of life and assesses how it has come to this. It sets out the surprising logic which explains why bullshit is both pervasive and persistent. Why are company annual reports often nonsense? Why should you not trust estate agents? And above all, why has political campaigning become the art of stretching the truth? Drawing on behavioural science, economics, psychology and of course his knowledge of the media, Evan ends by providing readers with a tool-kit to handle the kinds of deceptions we encounter every day, and charts a route through the muddy waters of the post-truth age.
The Signals Are Talking
By Amy Webb
A Washington Post BestsellerWinner of the 2017 Axiom Business Book Award in Business TechnologyAmy Webb is a noted futurist who combines curiosity, skepticism, colorful storytelling, and deeply reported, real-world analysis in this essential book for understanding the future. The Signals Are Talking reveals a systemic way of evaluating new ideas bubbling up on the horizon-distinguishing what is a real trend from the merely trendy. This book helps us hear which signals are talking sense, and which are simply nonsense, so that we might know today what developments-especially those seemingly random ideas at the fringe as they converge and begin to move toward the mainstream-that have long-term consequence for tomorrow.With the methodology developed in The Signals Are Talking, we learn how to think like a futurist and answer vitally important questions: How will a technology-like artificial intelligence, machine learning, self-driving cars, biohacking, bots, and the Internet of Things-affect us personally? How will it impact our businesses and workplaces? How will it eventually change the way we live, work, play, and think-and how should we prepare for it now?Most importantly, Webb persuasively shows that the future isn't something that happens to us passively. Instead, she allows us to see ahead so that we may forecast what's to come-challenging us to create our own preferred futures.
The Worst Journey
By John Lewis-Stempel
During the terrible voyage, from the extreme north-west of Scotland to Russia's Arctic coast, the sailors faced 50- and even 100-foot waves, icebergs and hurricane-force winds. Such winds could peel the steel shields from the ships' guns and regularly blew men overboard. In summer, Oerlikon gunners would be at their guns for twenty hours a day; in the winter they often froze to death. Even when the convoys reached Murmansk or Archangel there was no respite. Murmansk was about 25 miles from the front, which meant that there were enemy raids all day and food was short. Despite all this the Royal Navy stuck to the convoys for four years, supplying Russia with planes, oil and other vital material, but, more importantly, by reassuring Stalin of Britain's commitment, the men of the Arctic convoys succeeded in keeping Russia in the war. This is a book about the men of the convoys, about life aboard ship, drawing extensively on letters, diaries and reports, many from previously unpublished archives, as well as new interviews with the last surviving veterans. The Worst Journey shadows the experience of the sailors on the seventy-eight Arctic convoys: from enlistment, through training, joining a ship, shore leave, action and death - or survival - at sea. It follows the fortunes of twenty-five sailors drawn from the bottom, middle and top of the navy's ranks. A sailor's position aboard ship played a critical role in whether he survived an attack or sinking, depending on where the ship was hit, or holed.
The Million Dollar Blog
By Natasha Courtenay-Smith
In a world where everyone wants to blog and blog posts are ubiquitous, how do you stand out? How do you blog your way from nobody to somebody?How do you make money blogging, how do you start your own blogging business, and how do you, as a business owner, use content to build your brand and drive your success? What do the world's most successful bloggers know that you don't know (yet)? No matter who are you - a mum at home, a budding fashion blogger, a lifestyle blogger, a food blogger, a big business owner or a small business owner - The Million Dollar Blog is about blogging the smart way. It is the ultimate guide to:*Starting a successful blog*Blog writing*How to monetise your blog*How to develop a personal brand that grows your blog*How to blog for business*How to write*How take your existing blog to the next levelThrough a combination of practical advice and interviews with some of the world's most famous and successful bloggers, vloggers and content strategists, including Seth Godin, Lily Pebbles, Grant Cardone and Madeleine Shaw and dozens more, entrepreneur and digital strategist Natasha Courtenay Smith shows you how to build a blog that will increase your profile, create new opportunities, earn money and change your life.
By Trisha Telep
With our planet undergoing huge change as a result of a rapidly-growing population, the demand for food is reaching unprecedented levels - but our reliance on livestock protein is unsustainable. This book will be the guide that makes insects as food a perfectly sensible, rational and tasty idea for the green consumer, and will outline and illustrate the steps they need to take in order to start to eat like they care.According to the World Wildlife Federation, by the year 2050, the Earth will be home to nine billion people and the demand for food will have doubled. In 2013, a report from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation claimed that our reliance on livestock protein, with its massive resource demands, pollution and greenhouse gas production, is killing the planet. At least two billion people worldwide eat insects. Highly nutritious, insects generate ten to 100 times fewer greenhouse gases than pigs when farmed, need less land, less water, and yield much more protein from much less feed.
By Mike Rapport
London, Paris and New York in the eighteenth century, as today, were places where political authority, commerce and money, art and intellectual life intersected. They straddled an Atlantic world where ships powered by nothing more than wind, currents and human muscle criss-crossed the sea, carrying with them goods, ideas and above all people: men and women, bewigged aristocrats and lawyers, rough-handed craftworkers, quill-wielding bluestockings and doughty fishwives. But the cities were also home to dangerous criminals, corrupt politicians - and slaves. Rebel Cities explores the stormy debate about the nature of cities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: were they places of enlightenment, sparkling wells of progress and civilisation, or were they dens of vice, degeneracy and disorder? Against a backdrop of accelerating urban expansion and revolution in both Europe and North America, revolutionary burghers of these extraordinary cities expended ink, paint, breath and, sometimes, blood in their struggle to understand, control and master the urban world. Drawing on hundreds of letters, travelogues and eye-witness accounts, Mike Rapport vividly evokes the sights, sounds and smells of these cities, masterfully weaving their history with the politics of revolution. When New Yorkers and Parisians experienced their revolution, when their cities went to war, and when Londoners engaged in political protest, they underwent the whole torrent and exhilaration of human emotions. Determining the character of the cities through their inhabitants, as well as their architecture, topography and the events that shaped them, this magnificent book evokes what it was like for all parts of society to live in London, Paris and New York in one of the most transformative periods in the history of civilisation.
The Death of Holden
By Royce Kurmelovs
An extraordinary account of the impending closure of the Holden factory in Adelaide. More than the end of a business - it's the end of an era, of a story, and of a great Australian dream.When Holden signalled that it would close its Adelaide factory, it struck at the very heart of Australian identity. Holden is our car made on our shores. It's the choice of patriotic rev heads and suburban drivers alike. How could a car that was so beloved - and so popular - be so unprofitable to make?The story of the collapse of Holden is about the people who make and drive the cars; it's about sustaining industry in Australia; it's about communities of workers and what happens when the work dries up. And if it's not quite about the death of an icon - because Holdens will remain on Australian roads for a long time to come - then it's about what happens when an icon falls to its knees in front of a whole nation.This updated edition features a new chapter.'Brilliant and powerful' Nick Xenophon