Top Business Books

Article excerpt

Byline: Bloomberg News

Yale economist Robert Shiller praises finance and defends Goldman Sachs while George Soros urges Angela Merkel not to hurl Europe into "deflationary debt trap" in two of our favorite business books of late. Here's a list of recommended titles.

* "Adapt" by Tim Harford (Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Little, Brown).

We all struggle to accept our failures and cut our losses. Yet admitting our mistakes holds a key to solving intractable problems, says Harford, who writes the Undercover Economist column for the Financial Times. "Success," he argues, "always starts with failure."

* "Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?" by William Poundstone (Little, Brown).

A guide to brain-bending interview questions asked at Google and other innovative companies. "You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender," one begins. What do you do in the 60 seconds before the blades begin whirring?

* "Boomerang" by Michael Lewis (Allen Lane/Norton).

The author of "Liar's Poker" and "The Big Short" returns with a collection of writings on his journeys through "the New Third World," from Iceland and Ireland to California.

* "Confidence Men" by Ron Suskind (Harper).

An inside look at how Barack Obama came under the spell of Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, "two men whose actions had contributed to the very financial disaster they were hired to solve."

* "Demystifying the Chinese Economy" by Justin Yifu Lin (Cambridge).

A patriotic yet pragmatic look at how China notched up average annual growth of 9.9 percent for three decades.

* "Exile on Wall Street" by Mike Mayo (Wiley).

Mayo, an old-school bank analyst, chronicles his battle to change the status quo on Wall Street.

* "Extreme Money" by Satyajit Das (FT Press).

An idiosyncratic yet withering analysis of how 30 years of financial alchemy and excessive credit plunged us into the Great Recession.

* "Fatal Risk" by Roddy Boyd (Wiley).

An engaging reconstruction of how American International Group Inc. committed "corporate suicide."

* "Finance and the Good Society" by Robert J. Shiller (Princeton).

The influential Yale University economist argues that finance, for all its manifest failings of late, remains a force for good in society. It's wrong to assume, he says, that Goldman executives -- whatever their misbehavior may have been -- have an incentive to "attack and subjugate" people.

* "Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States" by George Soros (PublicAffairs).

This is a compilation of op-ed articles that the billionaire investor wrote as the euro crisis boiled up. As a retread, it displays Soros's knack for assessing market linkages and psychology on the fly. …