Recommendations: Stiglitz, Lewis, Grantham
All right, so no one’s ever curled up with Joseph Stiglitz’s latest 10,000 word economic tome on a Summer beach blanket. And Floyd Norris’ missives don’t have quite the same tension and suspense of a thriller by Tom Clancy or John Grisham.
However, if you can handle some summer-time intellectual stimulation — indeed, suffer withdrawal if you’re deprived of it — you could do worse than googling the following writers:
Michael Lewis, Matt Taibbi: the youngest and most irreverent (or, in Taibbi’s case, out-and-out raunchiest) of today’s top drawer business writers. Lewis’ Liar’s Poker, about his brief tenure at Salomon Brothers in the ’80’s, remains one of the best “inside Wall Street” books ever written.
Warren Buffett: Buffett is how Mark Twain would sound if he understood the stock market. Interestingly, Buffett’s actually a much better and pithier writer than practically all the people who write about him. So, better to go directly to the source (try any of his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ letters).
Jeremy Grantham, Joseph Stiglitz, Simon Johnson: weighty, but worth it. Check out Stiglitz’s recent piece in Vanity Fair, “Wall Street’s Toxic Message,” exploring the likely shockwaves from today’s financial crisis.
Floyd Norris: the Harry Truman of the financial journalists: decent, full of common sense and (occasionally) righteous indignation.
Tom Friedman: business and economics is not his main thing these days — politics, specifically, Mideast politics, is. However, when he does write about finance, he’s invariably superb.
Who’s missing on this list?
Several make honorary mention, including: Peggy Noonan (The Wall Street Journal), Caroline Baum (Bloomberg); and Margaret Carlson (The Washington Post). However, at least in my subjective opinion, none consistently crack the top ranks.
Why is that?
Maybe for the same reason women are underrepresented in the ranks of Fortune 1,000 CEO’s, hedge fund managers, and senior economists.
Which would be the subject of an entirely different post . . (I hear Larry Summers has some ideas on that — or used to, until it cost him the Presidency of Harvard University).