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Tom's Top Business Book Picks

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond. I loved this book because of its bold intellectual sweep. Jared Diamond integrates history, anthropology, genetics, and economic history to try to understand why some people are more economically successful than others.

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. Alexander Hamilton was not only the greatest Treasury Secretary but also the economic and financial architect of the fledgling United States. He was a very deep and prescient economic thinker. Chernow's wonderful biography made me want to re-read the Federalist Papers.

The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman. Tom Friedman is a terrific observer and writer. This book pulls together what we know to be important changes in politics, economics, and technology and synthesizes a coherent narrative from the many disparate forces for change that are changing the way that the world works and does business. We were privileged to have him on campus to address these issues with our alumni.

Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. Although it is a book about the Oakland A's baseball team and their brilliant General Manager, Billy Beane, Moneyball is my favorite recent business/management book. Billy Beane took one of the most tradition-bound businesses in America - professional baseball - and overturned its most basic principles. He did it by using sophisticated statistical research in place of traditional "gut instinct." Billy Beane put his trust in a group of baseball nerds with new ideas and computers and transformed how prospective players are evaluated.

The Museum of Clear Ideas, by Donald Hall. This is a book of poetry, but poetry that talks about everyday things. Written beautifully and with great clarity, he even applies his art to topics like baseball.

The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, by William Easterly. Fellow NYU economist Easterly depicts the dichotomy of global prosperity and global poverty, forcing a reassessment of the West's “success” in addressing the needs of developing economies. An important and provocative text for our era of globalization.

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, by Tony Judt. This magisterial work of contemporary history is a rich composite of Europe in the post-War era.