1. Pieter M. Judson, The Habsburg Empire: A New History. Belknap Press, a carefully researched take on the political history of a poorly understood era. A bit dry, but very well done and full of information.
2. Richard E. Feinberg, Open for Business: Building the New Cuban Economy. A good introduction to where the Cuban economy is at right now, from Brookings, coming out in June. Here is my earlier post on why I am skeptical about the country’s prospects.
3. Maya Lin, Topologies. What has she done since the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial? Lots, though much of it is scattered widely and hard to see. Pictured below is her Bell Tower at Shantou University. Here is the Box House in Telluride, and the Children’s Defense Fund in Tennessee.
Overall picture books are underrated.
4. Duncan Clark, Alibaba: The House that Jack Built. Books on China, tech companies, and corporate leaders are all usually bad, but this one is pretty good. Most of all a window into how Chinese entrepreneurs built up the country’s major tech companies.
5. Myra Strober, Sharing the Work: What My Family and Career Taught me About Breaking Through (and Holding the Door Open for Others). The memoir of a female economists who started her career teaching at Berkeley in the 1970s. There should be many more books like this. It is a micro-history of discrimination, and how it changed, in addition to looking at the profession through the lens of a “normal” economist rather than one of the super-famous. Bravo.