Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Diane Coyle

Diane Coyle runs Enlightenment Economics, a consulting firm specializing in technology and globalization, and is the author of a number of books on economics, including The Soulful Science, Sex, Drugs and Economics, and The Weightless World. A BBC trustee and a visiting professor at the University of Manchester, she holds a PhD in economics from Harvard.

Coyle's new book is The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters.

Recently I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I read a lot of economics and current affairs books linked to my work as an economist – and blog about them on The Enlightened Economist – but anyway find non-fiction the ideal relaxing read. I love reading history, popular science, and books about ballet too. I’ve been doing ballet classes for 30 years and often go to watch performances as London, where I live, is blessed with a vibrant ballet and contemporary dance scene and some of the very best performers in the world.

Recently I’ve read two big history books with completely different perspectives on the grand sweep of human experience. One is Ian Morris’s Why The West Rules For Now, running from pre-history to the prospects ahead for China and the west – he thinks China is in for a few centuries of dominance. The other is Walter Russell Mead’s God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World. He argues more or less the opposite, saying that Anglo-American culture and values are uniquely able to deliver social and economic progress.

Prior to those two, I read Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, which is a riveting account of the people who foresaw the financial crisis and how American finance went so badly wrong; and the Dragon’s Gift by Deborah Brautigam, a careful study of the realities rather than the myths of China’s investments in Africa.

Right now I’m at that delicious moment of choosing the next thing to read. It’s between Different Drummer, Jann Parry’s acclaimed biography of the choreographer Kenneth Macmillan, and Beyond Mechanical Markets: Asset Price Swings, Risk and the Role of the State by Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg. I’m going to hear Roman Frydman lecture about the book soon. Besides, the financial crisis has certainly led to a rethink about the system and its regulation, and I don’t think we’re nearly at the end of the necessary reforms.
Read more about The Economics of Enough, and visit The Enlightened Economist blog.

--Marshal Zeringue