What I’ve been reading

1. Michael Lewis, The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds.  A super-fun but oddly uneven biography of Kahneman and Tversky, a meditation on the nature of collaboration, and a history of the early stages of behavioral economics (economics?) and for that matter a history of Israel in some of its early decades.  There are cameos from Rapaport, Thaler, Gigerenzer, and others.  Why did the Israelis take so readily to the idea of an economic psychology, compared to the Anglos?

2. Michel Faber, Undying: A Love Story.  The pages are arranged like poems with stanzas, but it reads more like prose.  It is the moving story of the death of Faber’s wife by cancer, very short and interesting throughout.  So far published only in the UK.

3. Robert R. Reilly, Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music.  A highly useful and to the point guide to classical music for the periods you probably do not listen to.  It is strongest on the “intermediate” composers, such as Vagn Holmboe, Robert Simpson, and Edmund Rubbra.  It makes a persuasive case for the 17 string quartets of Heitor Villa-Lobos, we’ll see if that was $40 well-spent.

4. Karl Ove Knausgaard and Fredrik Ekelund, Home and Away: Writing the Beautiful Game.  This book is a series of letters, mostly about soccer.  They are more substantive than you might be expecting, but still you have to love both Knausgaard and soccer to enjoy this one, on those I am only one for two.

5. Richard Florida, The New Urban Crisis. Staying ahead of the Curve.  This is about how cities are failing the middle class throughout much of the world.  At the same time, suburbs are seeing a new poverty and urbanization is not always translating into rising living standards around the world.  This book is where the problems of urban economics “are at” right now.


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