This is third in the series of occasional blog entry that highlights interesting reads I have come across that track the original 30+ odd books that were part of the reading list for Regional Leadership Forum in 2011.  (Note: RLF 2012 list is in large part the same as 2011 list).

To start off, two books that explore global theme of financial crisis with its origin on Wallstreet and its ramification across the globe, closer to Zakaria’s The Post American World:

  • Satyajit Das provides an insider’s perspective on global financing and financiers in Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk.  Though, the book sags in the middle and the only real policy recommendation I glean from the book is to bring Glass-Stegall back, overall it is a fantastic read.  Das was one of the few who have been warning about dangers posed by derivatives, long before the 2008-2009 credit crisis.  Real insightful stuff.
  • Michael Lewis does riveting storytelling on the financial crisis, in his latest book – Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, .  Lewis is the author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, which got made into oscar nominated movie starring Brad Pitt (book added to  the future read list).  He is also the author of The Big Short, another book on the financial crisis.  Lewis generalizes and  stereotypes whole countries and its people.  But, if you can get past that, Lewis presents a sharp and intriguing account of financial disaster and how it rippled through countries like Iceland, Ireland, Greece.  He then turns his gaze on the role of Americans and Germans in this mess.  Blow them bubbles and welcome to the new third world!

Next on the list is a book and an article about Neuroscience – along the line of Medina’s Brain Rules (with touches of Mackenzie’s Orbiting the Giant Hairball):

  • Jonah Lehrer (a former neuroscience lab assistant and neuroscience writer), in Proust was a Neuroscientist, writes about the intersection of neuroscience and art.  His thesis is that artists and art arrived at many principles that Neuroscience is just now shedding light on.  Lehrer’s treatment of the subject is not as rigorous as Medina, and bit on the speculative side.  He contends that there are certain limits to reductionism and the scientific method and that art can possibly provide insights.  He says the two streams have diverged too far, and implores that they need to continue having the dialogue to push at the edge of human knowledge.
  • Jonah Lehrer writing for the The Guardian examines The neuroscience of Bob Dylan’s genius.  The article starts with these words, “Bob Dylan looks bored” and then goes on to talk about how he wrote Like a Rolling Stone.  It is edited extract from his new book: Imagine: How Creativity Works (another book added to the future read list).
 And lastly, to round the out the list – Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games Trilogy.  Not sure if there is any resemblance to any particular book on the RLF reading list.  But, the set is ubiquitous and got a boost from the release of The Hunger Games movie.  These are good books, which the entire family can enjoy and discuss.  And something you can finish off during planned time off  (as I did during Spring Break PTO).

What’s on your reading list?