Here you will find a list of our most recent book reviews:
Faith in Markets: Abrahamic religions and economics edited by Benedikt Koehler (published 2023) offers a series of studies of the ways in which the Abrahamic faiths have steered adherents towards practices that tend towards markets and sheds light on the ways in which market concepts are embedded in or developed by religious thought. It also examines tensions that arise with the contemporary application or interpretation of religious authorities in these areas.
The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Art of Disruption (published 2022) examines the fascinating history of the venture capital from its early days in the 1950s to today. It contains much that will challenge popular perceptions of the industry. It is very readable and does not assume prior knowledge. It examines that mindset and business practices of venture capitalists as well as the range of approaches that they have adopted. Those who wish to be better informed about the industry that has incubated many of today’s biggest companies should read it.
The subject of Complicit: How We Enable the Unethical and How to Stop is important and relevant to many areas of life as well as the business world. Unfortunately, however, the book is not well organised and is ultimately disappointing. Readers should not seek it out.
Faith Driven Investing is not another “how to” guide to investing. Its seventeen contributors explore who faith driven investors are and what they are called to do. They stress the intrinsic worth of work and explore what faith driven investors are for rather than merely what they are against. The main audience is Christian investors and entrepreneurs but those with a wider general interest in business as a force for good will find it worthwhile.”
In Global Discord, the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Paul Tucker draws attention to the deep cleavage in modern international affairs and suggests how Western democracies should respond to this. The book is not an easy read and is not specifically about capitalism, business or wealth and poverty but the issues that it discusses are of crucial importance to all of these thing and those who take the trouble to read it will find it rewarding.”
Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success is a highly engaging and accessible book that offers a blend of the authors’ pioneering original research and broader social science literature. It should be read by anyone who wishes to make informed statement about the often contentious subject of immigration.
Those who don’t have the time or inclination to tackle Bourgeois Equality, would do well to read Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich. Co-author Art Carden, describes this as a “popular riff” on McCloskey’s Bourgeois Era trilogy and, although it is nowhere near as good as the books in that trilogy, it is a good introduction to McCloskey’s arguments.
The starting point of A World of Insecurity is similar to that of The Economics of Belonging. The author. Pranab Bardhan, adopts a broader perspective than Sandbu, focussing on India and China as well as the West, and the book is interesting in parts. However, it appears to be primarily written for those on the Left who are in search of a programme. It is unlikely to convince those who don’t share its ideology and even those on the Left would be better off reading The Wolf at the Door.
Business Ethics: what everyone needs to know interweaves the field of business ethics with components of law and legal practice and branches out into subjects such as philosophy, psychology and organisational management. It is a worthwhile read and, although it is predominantly aimed at business and legal practitioners, those outside the field will find it thought provoking and worthwhile.
Spiderweb Capitalism describes and draws conclusions from the Kimberly Kay Huang’s research into business in Myanmar and Vietnam. It has serious failings, not least the fact that Huang over generalises and draws unsupported conclusions. Nonetheless, it should be read by anyone who wishes to be aware of the problems associated with business in emerging markets.
In Defence of Public Debt presents a thorough history of public debt from its origins in Greek city-states, weaving in a history of taxation and monetary systems. The book promises a “balanced account” but in fact it fails adequately to analyse the evidence of a negative link between public debt above a tipping point threshold and economic growth or the moral issues associated with such debt. Nonetheless, it contains much of value to those interested in economic history.
The Economics of Belonging (published 2020) appears to be aimed at the kind of person who reads the Financial Times. Sandbu argues that Western liberal democracy is under threat from within owing to the erosion of a sense of economic belonging. He presents a radical programme for dealing with this threat and, although much of what he says is contentious and unconvincing, the problem is real and those concerned about the current situation will benefit from reading what he has to say.”
Faith, Finance, and Economy (published 2020) is a fascinating miscellany of essays exploring the relationship between fair and financial or economic matters. Its focus is on Christian perspectives but it also contains interesting essays relating to consumerism in China, Islamic finance and faith in the work place. Although not all the essays will interest all readers, it is a good introduction to various important issues.