In January 1919, as the Allied leaders met in Paris to hammer out a treaty ending World War I, famine and pestilence raged from St. Petersburg to Istanbul. To the Britons and Americans who came to survey the damage, the whole continent seemed to be in extremis.
For Yale’s Irving Fisher, inventor of the Rolodex and America’s economic oracle, the madness of World War I was epitomized by his daughter Margaret’s descent into insanity after her fiancé was drafted. When a bizarre surgery touted as a miracle cure killed her, Fisher saw Margaret as another of the war’s senseless casualties, and rededicated himself to finding remedies for the nation’s economic and other ills.
Unlike the movies, life rarely permits second takes. But the Second World War gave John Maynard Keynes, the patron saint of government activism, and Friedrich Hayek, the Cassandra who warned of the state’s destructive potential, just such opportunities.
Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for their work on matching supply and demand for everything from single men and women to organ donors and their recipients.
Steve Jobs belittles his “bozo” colleagues, Barack Obama falls for Lawrence Summers, and quant Emanuel Derman deplores Wall Street’s “hypocrisies” in three of our favorite business books so far this year. Here’s a list of recommended titles.
Google Inc. grills “zombie hordes” of job applicants with fiendish puzzles and China spurns “suicidal” economic shock therapy in two of our favorite business books of late. Here’s a list of recommended titles.