Every ten years or so a book is published that provides fresh new thinking that challenges preconceptions about sustainable development, global poverty and, more lately climate change. Whilst such books in the past may have had some influence their approach is not sustained in the face of the need for the developed nations to make socially and politically unacceptable changes to their population’s lifestyles.
In the Introduction to India's Global Powerhouses Nirmalya Kumar provides a concise history of how Indian business have become a world force in less than twenty years. He goes on to describe the culture and management style that has led to that remarkable success.
Whilst low cost has drawn in outsourced services from the developed world there is more to Indian success than being inexpensive. Kumar shows that low cost would not of itself give Indian businesses the financial resources or credibility to acquire business on a global scale. He shows how a low revenue base has driven efficient operations and the management culture needed to maintain high levels of growth.
Nicholas Stern conducted the Stern Review for the United Kingdom government into climate change and its implications. He has built on that work and proposed a way forward which whilst still very challenging is less frightening than many proposed alternatives responses. However it will still not be easy for governments and other groups to accept. Stern makes clear that delay will only make matters worse and force much more uncomfortable and expensive change in the not so long term.
Blueprint for a Safer Planet is one of several books that provide a vision for dealing with climate change that does not require wholesale lifestyle changes unlike many commentators who propose rather more draconian hair-shirt responses. In that respect a consensus may be forming that will make action acceptable to governments and the business lobby. Indeed such business friendly approaches may be seen as offering a business opportunity as outlined by Adam Werbach in Strategy for Sustainability.
It is a delight to find a book on finance and economics as readable as The Trouble with Markets. For once here is a book that explains the whys and wherefores of the Credit Crunch in language that will be readily understood by the interested reader without a background in economics or high level financial services.
The Trouble with Markets or Saving Capitalism from Itself is written by Roger Bootle, one of the City’s top economists with a track record of successfully forecasting major market changes. He wrote the Death of Inflation which is now considered an important work and has become a best seller. He returns to some of its ideas in The Trouble with Markets.
The book is in three parts that map the journey into the Credit Crunch and outlines the likely path out of its consequences. Bootle then moves on to consider the future of capitalism itself.
Philip Augar’s Chasing Alpha explores a period when it looked as though the City's financial institutions could not lose and light regulation gave greed and ambition its head in the financial markets, and beyond. But then it all fell apart.
Chasing Alpha is a history in three parts.