1. Stephen M. Bainbridge and M. Todd Henderson. Limited Liability: A Legal and Economic Analysis. One of this year’s sleeper books, it is probably the best extant treatment of corporate limited liability and one of the best books on the corporation from a law and economics point of view. I do not understand how it ended up at $133 from Edward Elgar.
2. William F. Buckley, edited by James Rosen, A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century. Obituaries penned by WFB, fascinating throughout. One forgets what a lucid writer he was, and some of the more unsettling entries (MLK, John Lennon) are some of the most interesting.
3. Afghan Modern: The History of a Global Nation, by Robert D. Crews. The history of globalization in Afghanistan and of Afghanistan, highly intelligent and good material on just about every page. A model for how to take a now somewhat cliched topic and make something original out of it.
4. Morton H. Christiansen and Nick Chater, Creating Language: Integrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing. Have you ever wondered what is the actual professional status of Chomskyian linguistics and other claims you read in popular science books? This is the go-to work to address that question, it is written at the right level of serious rigor yet readability for a non-linguist such as myself.
Frank Ahrens, Seoul Man: A Memoir of Cars, Culture, Crisis, and Unexpected Hilarity Inside a Korean Corporate Titan. A fun take on exactly what the subtitle promises.
I can apply that same description to Joseph Turow, The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power.
Rabbi Mark Glickman, Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books. I found this moving and extremely well-presented.