1. Santiago Levy, Under-Rewarded Efforts: The Elusive Quest for Prosperity in Mexico. Probably the best current book on Mexico’s economy and why it has not grown more rapidly. Most of all, Levy blames misallocation, and more specifically the attachment of too many workers to the low-productivity informal sector. The author notes (p.34) that both the top 20 percent of the wage distribution, or even the top 1 percent, saw no wage growth from 1996 to 2015.
2. Sriya Iyer, The Economics of Religion in India. A useful survey, which delivers on what the title promises.
3. Howard Sounes, Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. One of my favorite biographies, this book is also excellent on outlining the history of the Beatles (and subsequent McCartney groups) as problems in the theory and practice of management. I now have ordered the author’s other books on music history.
4. Jeffrey D. Sachs, A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism. This book is somewhat less radical than I had been expecting, mostly concentrating on the potential gains from multilateralism, international cooperation, and international law. Or is that the truly radical view?
5. Roger Scruton, Music as an Art. The chapter on Schubert is the highlight, and perhaps the best explanation of that composer’s beauty and importance. The book is otherwise high variance, with the remarks on morals and aesthetic philosophy much weaker. At times he pops open an insight when it is least expected, such as on heavy metal music: “In the realm of pop they were the modernists, undergoing in their own way that revolution against kitsch and cliche that had set Schoenberg and Adorno on the path towards 12-tone serialism.”
Helene Rosenblatt, The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century, presents liberals as moralists and debunks the notion of liberalism as so exclusively an Anglo-American phenomenon.
Dean Keith Simonton, The Genius Checklist: Nine Paradoxical Tips on How You! Can Become a Creative Genius, is a popularization of some of his earlier research on genius and creative achievement.
Notable is Stephen L. Carter’s new biography of his grandmother, Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster.