Diane Coyle and Tyler Cowen FT podcast on the economics books of the year

The link is here, (ungated?) emergency link here, It is about an hour long, and here is the premise:

A month ago I [Cardiff Garcia] asked Diane and Tyler each to choose five books released this year that would be fun to discuss. Then I narrowed that list of ten down to five:

1) Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O Hirschman, by Jeremy Adelman
2) The Undercover Economist Strikes Back, by Tim Harford
3) Giving Kids a Fair Chance, by James Heckman
4) How Asia Works, by Joe Studwell
5) America’s Assembly Line, by David Nye

(Worldly Philosopher was the one book included on both lists.)

We discuss these five in the first part of the podcast. In the second part we discuss Tyler’s new book, Average is Over, which is out this week in the US. We then close with some general thoughts about trends in economics books and a teaser of Diane’s own forthcoming book, A Brief and Affectionate History of GDP, scheduled for release early next year.

Here are some of Cardiff Garcia’s thoughts on my own new book, Average is Over:

From Average Is Over, what has stayed with me is that success in the future increasingly will be about managing comfort levels, those of oneself and of others — especially regarding the discomfort that comes with sacrificing personal judgment in favour of better, externally-offered judgment, perhaps submitted by a machine or an algorithm.

The reality of our inferior human judgment will first be resisted, but eventually it will be accepted. The transition won’t be smooth. It won’t be natural. It will lack the romance of the stories we now tell ourselves but will soon disbelieve. Those who do make the transition early will have an advantage over the rest. Trust will be a blurry concept for a while.

In more and more situations, “letting go” will be a better strategy than thinking independently. Sometimes both will be needed. Choosing from these options will be the one (meta) judgment that still matters. With time we’ll get better at it, but only after a period of intense emotional confusion.

I eagerly await Diane’s own work on gdp, as I have been wanting a good book on that topic for some while.


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