A business-economics book recommendation: Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country by Alex Cuadros

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2ctBwyn.
The rise and fall of Batista is dramatically rendered in “Brazillionaires,” Alex Cuadros’s enjoyable, deeply reported account of Brazil’s outsize collection of tycoons.
Book description from Google Books:
For readers of Michael Lewis comes an engrossing tale of a country’s spectacular rise and fall, intertwined with the story of Brazil’s wealthiest citizen, Eike Batista–a universal story of hubris and tragedy that uncovers the deeper meaning of this era of billionaires. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE FINANCIAL TIMES When Bloomberg News invited the young American journalist Alex Cuadros to report on Brazil’s emerging class of billionaires at the height of the historic Brazilian boom, he was poised to cover two of the biggest business stories of our time: how the giants of the developing world were triumphantly taking their place at the center of global capitalism, and how wealth inequality was changing societies everywhere. The billionaires of Brazil and their massive fortunes resided at the very top of their country’s economic pyramid, and whether they quietly accumulated exceptional power or extravagantly displayed their decadence, they formed a potent microcosm of the world’s richest .001 percent. Eike Batista, a flamboyant and charismatic evangelist for the country’s new gospel of wealth, epitomized much of this rarefied sphere: In 2012, Batista ranked as the eighth-richest person in the world, was famous for his marriage to a beauty queen, and was a fixture in the Brazilian press. His constantly repeated ambition was to become the world’s richest man and to bring Brazil along with him to the top. But by 2015, Batista was bankrupt, his son Thor had been indicted for manslaughter, and Brazil–its president facing impeachment, its provinces combating an epidemic, and its business and political class torn apart by scandal–had become a cautionary tale of a country run aground by its elites. Over the four years Cuadros was on the billionaire beat, he reported on media moguls and televangelists, energy barons and shadowy figures from the years of military dictatorship, soy barons who lived on the outskirts of the Amazon, and new-economy billionaires spinning money from speculation. He learned just how deeply they all reached into Brazilian life. They held sway over the economy, government, media, and stewardship of the environment; they determined the spiritual fates and populated the imaginations of their countrymen. Cuadros’s zealous reporting takes us from penthouses to courtrooms, from favelas to extravagant art fairs, from scenes of unimaginable wealth to desperate, massive street protests. Within a business narrative that deftly explains and dramatizes the volatility of the global economy, Cuadros offers us literary journalism with a grand sweep. Praise for Brazillionaires “A wild, richly reported tale about Brazil’s recent economic rise and fall, and some of the biggest, most colorful characters in business in Brazil who now have a global reach. . . . Cuadros’s story really takes off when he focuses on Eike Batista, an over-the-top one-time billionaire who became the country’s corporate mascot, only to go bankrupt in a dramatic unraveling.”–Andrew Ross Sorkin, the New York Times   “In this excellent book [Cuadros] has managed to use billionaires to illuminate the lives of both rich and poor Brazilians, and all those in between.”–The Economist “Brazillionaires [is] journalist Alex Cuadros’s compelling tale of Brazil’s superrich, which deftly weaves lurid soap opera with high finance and outrageous political skullduggery. . . . If Brazil sometimes comes across as a circus in this compelling, thoroughly researched account, it is because it can be just that.”–The Wall Street Journal
The book is rated 4.01/5 at goodreads.com, from 375 ratings. See 58 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2agni12.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tkk6bU.

A business-economics book recommendation: The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cMSMzM.
For those reading these words on a computer screen or by the glow of an electric lamp, The Grid throws a welcome light onto the the systems of power generation and distribution that make our society possible.
Book description from Google Books:
America’s electrical grid, an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, is turning out to be a poor fit for the present. It’s not just that the grid has grown old and is now in dire need of basic repair. Today, as we invest great hope in new energy sources–solar, wind, and other alternatives–the grid is what stands most firmly in the way of a brighter energy future. If we hope to realize this future, we need to re-imagine the grid according to twenty-first-century values. It’s a project which forces visionaries to work with bureaucrats, legislators with storm-flattened communities, moneymen with hippies, and the left with the right. And though it might not yet be obvious, this revolution is already well under way.Cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke unveils the many facets of America’s energy infrastructure, its most dynamic moments and its most stable ones, and its essential role in personal and national life. The grid, she argues, is an essentially American artifact, one which developed with us: a product of bold expansion, the occasional foolhardy vision, some genius technologies, and constant improvisation. Most of all, her focus is on how Americans are changing the grid right now, sometimes with gumption and big dreams and sometimes with legislation or the brandishing of guns.The Grid tells–entertainingly, perceptively–the story of what has been called “the largest machine in the world”: its fascinating history, its problematic present, and its potential role in a brighter, cleaner future.
The book is rated 3.90/5 at goodreads.com, from 727 ratings. See 134 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cMT6hW.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tjJwWR.

A business-economics book recommendation: Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible by William N. Goetzmann

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cYdlDU.
It is a fascinating thesis, brilliantly illuminated by scores of vivid examples, generously illustrated…There is one aspect of it, however, where both historical evidence and contemporary experience make me less comfortable with Goetzmann’s story.
Book description from Google Books:
“[A] magnificent history of money and finance.”–New York Times Book Review “Convincingly makes the case that finance is a change-maker of change-makers.”–Financial Times In the aftermath of recent financial crises, it’s easy to see finance as a wrecking ball: something that destroys fortunes and jobs, and undermines governments and banks. In Money Changes Everything, leading financial historian William Goetzmann argues the exact opposite–that the development of finance has made the growth of civilizations possible. Goetzmann explains that finance is a time machine, a technology that allows us to move value forward and backward through time; and that this innovation has changed the very way we think about and plan for the future. He shows how finance was present at key moments in history: driving the invention of writing in ancient Mesopotamia, spurring the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome to become great empires, determining the rise and fall of dynasties in imperial China, and underwriting the trade expeditions that led Europeans to the New World. He also demonstrates how the apparatus we associate with a modern economy–stock markets, lines of credit, complex financial products, and international trade–were repeatedly developed, forgotten, and reinvented over the course of human history. Exploring the critical role of finance over the millennia, and around the world, Goetzmann details how wondrous financial technologies and institutions–money, bonds, banks, corporations, and more–have helped urban centers to expand and cultures to flourish. And it’s not done reshaping our lives, as Goetzmann considers the challenges we face in the future, such as how to use the power of finance to care for an aging and expanding population. Money Changes Everything presents a fascinating look into the way that finance has steered the course of history.
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 57 ratings. See 8 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/20RX9Xz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ug2zoV.

A business-economics book recommendation: The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976 by Frank Dikötter

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2djH0aX.
…it is difficult to evaluate the significance of the statistics about casualties. That said, this book is a significant event in our understanding of modern China.
Book description from Google Books:
The concluding volume–following Mao’s Great Famine and The Tragedy of Liberation–in Frank Dikötter’s award-winning trilogy chronicling the Communist revolution in China.After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward that claimed tens of millions of lives from 1958–1962, an aging Mao Zedong launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The stated goal of the Cultural Revolution was to purge the country of bourgeois, capitalistic elements he claimed were threatening genuine communist ideology. Young students formed the Red Guards, vowing to defend the Chairman to the death, but soon rival factions started fighting each other in the streets with semiautomatic weapons in the name of revolutionary purity. As the country descended into chaos, the military intervened, turning China into a garrison state marked by bloody purges that crushed as many as one in fifty people.The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962–1976 draws for the first time on hundreds of previously classified party documents, from secret police reports to unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches. Frank Dikötter uses this wealth of material to undermine the picture of complete conformity that is often supposed to have characterized the last years of the Mao era. After the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the market and hollow out the party’s ideology. In short, they buried Maoism. By showing how economic reform from below was an unintended consequence of a decade of violent purges and entrenched fear, The Cultural Revolution casts China’s most tumultuous era in a wholly new light.
The book is rated 3.92/5 at goodreads.com, from 229 ratings. See 36 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/28Sm4ql.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t1fvLj.

A business-economics book recommendation: The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics by Sean Wilentz

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2dTCgIE.
…why would he tackle those themes with a string of loosely stitched, previously published essays, many of them book reviews…A well-thought-out book should reflect an author’s ideas, not his résumé.
Book description from Google Books:
One of our most eminent historians reminds us of the commanding role party politics has played in America’s enduring struggle against economic inequality. “There are two keys to unlocking the secrets of American politics and American political history.” So begins The Politicians & the Egalitarians, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz’s bold new work of history. First, America is built on an egalitarian tradition. At the nation’s founding, Americans believed that extremes of wealth and want would destroy their revolutionary experiment in republican government. Ever since, that idea has shaped national political conflict and scored major egalitarian victories’from the Civil War and Progressive eras to the New Deal and the Great Society’along the way. Second, partisanship is a permanent fixture in America, and America is the better for it. Every major egalitarian victory in United States history has resulted neither from abandonment of partisan politics nor from social movement protests but from a convergence of protest and politics, and then sharp struggles led by principled and effective party politicians. There is little to be gained from the dream of a post-partisan world. With these two insights Sean Wilentz offers a crystal-clear portrait of American history, told through politicians and egalitarians including Thomas Paine, Abraham Lincoln, and W. E. B. Du Bois’a portrait that runs counter to current political and historical thinking. As he did with his acclaimed The Rise of American Democracy, Wilentz once again completely transforms our understanding of this nation’s political and moral character.
The book is rated 3.61/5 at goodreads.com, from 66 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dTAfwe.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2um0FD4.

A business-economics book recommendation: Breaking Rockefeller: The Incredible Story of the Ambitious Rivals Who Toppled an Oil Empire by Peter B. Doran

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2dsfFGs.
Mr. Doran captures the risk and adventure characteristic of so much of business conducted at the turn of the last century in countries or regions torn by wars and revolution, none more hostile than the oil-bearing regions of the world…
Book description from Google Books:
The incredible tale of how ambitious oil rivals Marcus Samuel, Jr., and Henri Deterding joined forces to topple the Standard Oil empire   Marcus Samuel, Jr., is an unorthodox Jewish merchant trader. Henri Deterding is a take-no-prisoners oilman. In 1889, John D. Rockefeller is at the peak of his power. Having annihilated all competition and possessing near-total domination of the market, even the U.S. government is wary of challenging the great “anaconda” of Standard Oil. The Standard never loses–that is until Samuel and Deterding team up to form Royal Dutch Shell.   A riveting account of ambition, oil, and greed, Breaking Rockefeller traces Samuel’s rise from outsider to the heights of the British aristocracy, Deterding’s conquest of America, and the collapse of Rockefeller’s monopoly. The beginning of the twentieth century is a time when vast fortunes were made and lost. Taking readers through the rough and tumble of East London’s streets, the twilight turmoil of czarist Russia, to the halls of the British Parliament, and right down Broadway in New York City, Peter Doran offers a richly detailed, fresh perspective on how Samuel and Deterding beat the world’s richest man at his own game.
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 198 ratings. See 38 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dsiFlX.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uajKbg.

A business-economics book recommendation: Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country by Alex Cuadros

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2ctBwyn.
The rise and fall of Batista is dramatically rendered in “Brazillionaires,” Alex Cuadros’s enjoyable, deeply reported account of Brazil’s outsize collection of tycoons.
Book description from Google Books:
For readers of Michael Lewis comes an engrossing tale of a country’s spectacular rise and fall, intertwined with the story of Brazil’s wealthiest citizen, Eike Batista–a universal story of hubris and tragedy that uncovers the deeper meaning of this era of billionaires. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE FINANCIAL TIMES When Bloomberg News invited the young American journalist Alex Cuadros to report on Brazil’s emerging class of billionaires at the height of the historic Brazilian boom, he was poised to cover two of the biggest business stories of our time: how the giants of the developing world were triumphantly taking their place at the center of global capitalism, and how wealth inequality was changing societies everywhere. The billionaires of Brazil and their massive fortunes resided at the very top of their country’s economic pyramid, and whether they quietly accumulated exceptional power or extravagantly displayed their decadence, they formed a potent microcosm of the world’s richest .001 percent. Eike Batista, a flamboyant and charismatic evangelist for the country’s new gospel of wealth, epitomized much of this rarefied sphere: In 2012, Batista ranked as the eighth-richest person in the world, was famous for his marriage to a beauty queen, and was a fixture in the Brazilian press. His constantly repeated ambition was to become the world’s richest man and to bring Brazil along with him to the top. But by 2015, Batista was bankrupt, his son Thor had been indicted for manslaughter, and Brazil–its president facing impeachment, its provinces combating an epidemic, and its business and political class torn apart by scandal–had become a cautionary tale of a country run aground by its elites. Over the four years Cuadros was on the billionaire beat, he reported on media moguls and televangelists, energy barons and shadowy figures from the years of military dictatorship, soy barons who lived on the outskirts of the Amazon, and new-economy billionaires spinning money from speculation. He learned just how deeply they all reached into Brazilian life. They held sway over the economy, government, media, and stewardship of the environment; they determined the spiritual fates and populated the imaginations of their countrymen. Cuadros’s zealous reporting takes us from penthouses to courtrooms, from favelas to extravagant art fairs, from scenes of unimaginable wealth to desperate, massive street protests. Within a business narrative that deftly explains and dramatizes the volatility of the global economy, Cuadros offers us literary journalism with a grand sweep. Praise for Brazillionaires “A wild, richly reported tale about Brazil’s recent economic rise and fall, and some of the biggest, most colorful characters in business in Brazil who now have a global reach. . . . Cuadros’s story really takes off when he focuses on Eike Batista, an over-the-top one-time billionaire who became the country’s corporate mascot, only to go bankrupt in a dramatic unraveling.”–Andrew Ross Sorkin, the New York Times   “In this excellent book [Cuadros] has managed to use billionaires to illuminate the lives of both rich and poor Brazilians, and all those in between.”–The Economist “Brazillionaires [is] journalist Alex Cuadros’s compelling tale of Brazil’s superrich, which deftly weaves lurid soap opera with high finance and outrageous political skullduggery. . . . If Brazil sometimes comes across as a circus in this compelling, thoroughly researched account, it is because it can be just that.”–The Wall Street Journal
The book is rated 4.01/5 at goodreads.com, from 374 ratings. See 57 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2agni12.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tkk6bU.

A business-economics book recommendation: Switch: How Solar, Storage and New Tech Means Cheap Power for All by Chris Goodall

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2awJF2c.
In Goodall’s view this, coupled with other technological advances in managing demand for electricity, heralds an unstoppable switch away from fossil fuels towards green power. He may be wrong but for anyone interested in the future of energy, this book is well worth reading.
Book description from Google Books:
How will the world be powered in ten years’ time? Not by fossil fuels. Energy experts are all saying the same thing: solar photovoltaics (PV) is our future. Reports from universities, investment banks, international institutions and large investors agree. It’s not about whether the switch from fossil fuels to solar power will happen, but when. Solar panels are being made that will last longer than ever hoped; investors are seeing the benefits of the long-term rewards provided by investing in solar; in the Middle East, a contractor can now offer solar-powered electricity far cheaper than that of a coal-fired power station. The Switch tracks the transition away from coal, oil and gas to a world in which the limitless energy of the sun provides much of the energy the 10 billion people of this planet will need. It examines both the solar future and how we will get there, and the ways in which we will provide stored power when the sun isn’t shining. We learn about artificial photosynthesis from a start-up in the US that is making petrol from just CO2 and sunlight; ideas on energy storage are drawn from a company in Germany that makes batteries for homes; in the UK, a small company in Swindon has the story of wind turbines; and in Switzerland, a developer shows how we can use hydrogen to make ‘renewable’ natural gas for heating. Told through the stories of entrepreneurs, inventors and scientists from around the world, and using the latest research and studies, The Switch provides a positive solution to the climate change crisis, and looks to a brighter future ahead.
The book is rated 4.31/5 at goodreads.com, from 45 ratings. See 3 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2b3qCty.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2seRqAm.

A business-economics book recommendation: Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cXvOQO.
Perhaps I’m naïve, but I came away from the book with the sense that CAA’s most enduring legacy will be the impact its agents had on the lives and careers of their many clients, amply documented in “Powerhouse.”
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times bestsellerAn astonishing—and astonishingly entertaining—history of Hollywood’s transformation over the past five decades as seen through the agency at the heart of it all, from the #1 bestselling co-author of Live from New York and Those Guys Have All the Fun.The movies you watch, the TV shows you adore, the concerts and sporting events you attend—behind the curtain of nearly all of these is an immensely powerful and secretive corporation known as Creative Artists Agency. Started in 1975, when five bright and brash employees of a creaky William Morris office left to open their own, strikingly innovative talent agency, CAA would come to revolutionize the entertainment industry, and over the next several decades its tentacles would spread aggressively throughout the worlds of movies, television, music, advertising, and investment banking. Powerhouse is the fascinating, no-holds-barred saga of that ascent. Drawing on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled with CAA, as well as financial information never before made public, author James Andrew Miller spins a tale of boundless ambition, ruthless egomania, ceaseless empire building, greed, and personal betrayal. It is also a story of prophetic brilliance, magnificent artistry, singular genius, entrepreneurial courage, strategic daring, foxhole brotherhood, and how one firm utterly transformed the entertainment business.Here are the real Star Wars—complete with a Death Star—told through the voices of those who were there. Packed with scores of stars from movies, television, music, and sports, as well as a tremendously compelling cast of agents, studio executives, network chiefs, league commissioners, private equity partners, tech CEOs, and media tycoons, Powerhouse is itself a Hollywood blockbuster of the most spectacular sort.
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 813 ratings. See 82 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cXteKH.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tbJuQP.

A business-economics book recommendation: Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cXvOQO.
Perhaps I’m naïve, but I came away from the book with the sense that CAA’s most enduring legacy will be the impact its agents had on the lives and careers of their many clients, amply documented in “Powerhouse.”
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times bestsellerAn astonishing—and astonishingly entertaining—history of Hollywood’s transformation over the past five decades as seen through the agency at the heart of it all, from the #1 bestselling co-author of Live from New York and Those Guys Have All the Fun.The movies you watch, the TV shows you adore, the concerts and sporting events you attend—behind the curtain of nearly all of these is an immensely powerful and secretive corporation known as Creative Artists Agency. Started in 1975, when five bright and brash employees of a creaky William Morris office left to open their own, strikingly innovative talent agency, CAA would come to revolutionize the entertainment industry, and over the next several decades its tentacles would spread aggressively throughout the worlds of movies, television, music, advertising, and investment banking. Powerhouse is the fascinating, no-holds-barred saga of that ascent. Drawing on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled with CAA, as well as financial information never before made public, author James Andrew Miller spins a tale of boundless ambition, ruthless egomania, ceaseless empire building, greed, and personal betrayal. It is also a story of prophetic brilliance, magnificent artistry, singular genius, entrepreneurial courage, strategic daring, foxhole brotherhood, and how one firm utterly transformed the entertainment business.Here are the real Star Wars—complete with a Death Star—told through the voices of those who were there. Packed with scores of stars from movies, television, music, and sports, as well as a tremendously compelling cast of agents, studio executives, network chiefs, league commissioners, private equity partners, tech CEOs, and media tycoons, Powerhouse is itself a Hollywood blockbuster of the most spectacular sort.
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 813 ratings. See 82 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cXteKH.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tbJuQP.