Five Books Newsletter 29

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This week's interview

James Owen Weatherall on Physics and Financial Markets

Blaming "the quants" for the recent financial crisis is simplistic and short-sighted, says the author of The Physics of Wall Street. He picks five books showing the contribution physics has made to understanding financial markets.

Books of the Week“This book had a revolutionary effect on the way social scientists think about civil wars.”

Andrew Exum on Understanding the War in Afghanistan (“I would have thought this was the perfect book for somebody who doesn’t know how to cook.”

Madhur Jaffrey on Wonderful Cookbooks (“When we reflect on some of the horrors of capitalism, we have to consider that things could have been much worse: our fights would have been on real battlefields, rather than economic battlefields.”

Robert Shiller on Human Traits Essential to Capitalism (“The novel tells the story of a day in his life, or, rather, death, under the shadow of a volcano in a small Mexican town.”

Hugh Thomson on Mexico (“The book runs through several thousand years of history, and tries to explain how societies work and why, often, they fail to generate prosperity for their citizens. It’s a very political story.”

Daron Acemoglu on Inequality (“The scholars writing these essays are, without exception, among the most distinguished people writing now.”

Patricia Meyer Spacks on Jane Austen (

Quote of the Week

"In dividing human qualities into masculine and feminine, sexism separates everyone from parts of themselves.”
Carol Gilligan on Gender and Human Nature (

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