Many people feel dissatisfied with aspects of neoliberalism, but fewer know what it is or where it came from. Economic historian Niall Kishtainy recommends some of his favourite books on the history of economic thought, books that use intellectual history to examine issues confronting us in the real world.
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Neuroscience has banished the problem of dualism—the ‘ghost in the machine’ mulled over by philosophists since the time of Descartes, says the renowned cognitive neuroscientist Professor Dick Passingham. Here, he chooses five books that signified major breakthroughs in this fast-advancing field.
Understanding finance is key to understanding how the world works, but many people know very little about it. Journalist John Lanchester picks five accessible books to bring the layperson up to speed.
As the Olympics open, David Runciman looks back at the two previous times that the Games have been staged in London and finds that the thrift of today looks modest compared with austerities of the past
The World According to Physics, theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili’s latest book, is his “ode to physics”. Here, he talks us through the books that inspired his passion for physics, in an updated interview with Five Books.
American Enterprise Institute and campaigner for women’s rights against militant Islam discusses five books ranging from the Koran to Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty
Logic is an excellent form of mind-training because it involves a very particular way of thinking and focus on truth. But how does it work and what are its limitations? Tom Stoneham, a professor of philosophy at the University of York, picks some great books for anyone who wants to learn more about logic.
With an array of intriguing and accessible books coming out, there’s no excuse not to be reading about economics. The ‘Enlightened Economist,’ Diane Coyle, recommends the best economics books that hit the shelves this past year.
Human traits are a product of natural selection—and the story of how we have evolved explains many of our psychological quirks today. Chris Paley, author of Unthink and Beyond Bad, recommends five of the best evolutionary psychology books—and explains how experimental data might finally get to the bottom of the question of free will.
What books should you read if you want to learn Latin? Harry Mount (and Katie Walker) recommend the best books for learning Latin—the language of a small, central Italian tribe that managed to conquer most of Europe.
If you were the last person alive and had to leave a testament to how our world worked, which five books would you choose? Political economist Mark Blyth makes his ‘desert island’ choices.
Quantum physics is deeply confusing and its relation to reality the cause of heated debate among physicists since its discovery. Here, science writer Jim Baggott—who has spent more than three decades thinking about quantum mechanics and written a number of books about it—recommends books for better understanding what it’s about, and explains why how physicists approach it is so crucial to science’s credibility.
These days robotic technology is developing so fast that sci-fi is having a hard time keeping up, says best-selling author and roboticist, Daniel H Wilson. He picks the best books on robotics.
The perception that disasters are isolated events beyond our control is simply not true, says the disaster research expert Dr Ilan Kelman. We – governments and others – have a greater role in creating them than we wish to acknowledge.
As World Cup fever builds to irresistible levels, there is no better time to get kids reading by presenting them with a few books about ‘the beautiful game.’ Award-winning children’s author and self-confessed football fanatic, Dave Cousins, recommends five fantastic football books for kids and young adults.
It’s an eyewitness account, by an ordinary Chechen doctor who went home to stitch up wounds and served in the various makeshift hospitals around Grozny during both modern wars – both Yeltsin’s and the war that began under the next president, Vladimir Putin, in 2000. What’s unusual about it is not just the way it brings the facts of both wars to terrifying life, but that Baiev decided to drop the Chechens’ usual reticence about family and personal life and put a lot of the gallant, quietly courageous people in his life, and their backgrounds and memories, into the book.
The stories we read as children and as adults really do change us and how we see the world around us. Here Maria Tatar, Emerita Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and of Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University, speaks about the power of five ‘talismanic tomes’ that had a meaningful influence on her life.
Americans remember Reagan fondly, but what did the Gipper really stand for? The historian chooses the best books on Ronald Reagan and his time.
Hitler has a reputation as the incarnation of evil. But, as British historian Michael Burleigh points out in selecting the best books on the German dictator, Hitler was a bizarre and strangely empty character who never did a proper day’s work in his life, as well as a raving fantasist on to whom Germans were able to project their longings.
The author and Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist, Jason Zweig, explains why there’s truth in the old adage that investors get the returns they deserve, and recommends books that might help you avoid being taken for a ride.
The differences between men and women are innate, argues the evolutionary psychologist, and men’s relative success in the workplace a reflection of desire rather than discrimination.
It's a dictionary that seeks to document any word that exists—or ever existed—in the English language and track its evolution over time. Lexicographer Peter Gilliver chooses books to help understand the enormous undertaking that is the Oxford English Dictionary.
Many of us are grateful to Silicon Valley for the convenience it’s brought to our lives, whether shopping, looking up information or communicating with other human beings. But as tech companies become corporate behemoths influencing every aspect of modern life, many realize it’s time to take action. Ramesh Srinivasan, UCLA professor and author of Beyond the Valley, recommends books for a more rounded understanding of Silicon Valley.
You don’t have to be a professional arachnologist to study and get excited about spiders—nor do you need to travel away from home. The author of Britain’s Spiders, Lawrence Bee, recommends all the books you need to become an amateur arachnologist.
Here Camus confronts both the tragedy of recent history [World War II] and what he sees as the absurdity of the human condition
De Soto thinks we should conceptualise Third World countries, and especially Latin America, as dual societies. There is a European elite at the top who participate in one economy, a formal economy, and then there is an indigenous group underneath, who have an informal economy. He argues that they are not doing anything wrong – but they are outside the law and that has tremendously negative consequences for them.
The main character is an investment banker, but he loses his job and social standing and embarks on a downward spiral. His descent also mirrors the political downward spiral of Pakistan during the 1990s.
Economists have offered two contrasting explanations of what money is and what it is for. For a long time, its function as a commodity, a store of value and a medium of exchange dominated economics textbooks. But, as Professor Samuel A. Chambers explains, understanding money as something closer to credit is more convincing and supported by other social sciences and what we’ve learned from the 2008 financial crisis.
When we see a rainbow or another beautiful spectacle in nature, what is that sense of wonder we are filled with? How can we nurture it? Caspar Henderson, author of A New Map of Wonders (and Five Books science and environment editor) recommends the best books to help us develop our sense of wonder.
Photographers Beth and Thom Atkinson, authors of the acclaimed photobook Missing Buildings, discuss five books that explore the mythology of war.
Coming-of-age stories unfold at the point at which a young person goes out into the world – full of potential and change. Siblings, at this important crossroad, also have to establish themselves outside of their relationship to each other. Author Laura Wood recommends five of her favourite novels that explore the intense, sometimes destructive, relationships that exist between sisters.
Matt Garcia, Professor of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies & History at Dartmouth College, discusses the production of primary foods in the United States and globally—a field that has often been ignored by historians and by society. He recommends five books to learn more about food studies, with particular attention to agricultural workers, often among the most marginalized and least protected members of the US labor force.
The former Time magazine bureau chief explores the tensions within each society in eight in-depth stories about Israelis and Palestinians.
Investing can seem scary if you’ve never done it before but it is, in fact, fairly straightforward. Economist John Kay recommends some investing books for beginners.
It could lead us all to immortality or spell the end of the human race. Author Calum Chace picks the best books on Artificial Intelligence or AI.