Monday, December 08, 2008

Q: What's the best political book you've read in the past year? Bonus: Suggested reading for Bush in retirement and Obama in the White House.

A: Amar Bhide's "Venturesome Economy" -- annihilatingly good since it is so much at odds with the current, brows-knitted, anxious attitude toward the economic future. Bhide points out that multiple players move the economy forward. To him consumers are important, too. But his consumer is not the dullard multiplier so much discussed in all the infrastructure spending projects. The Bhide consumer is the one who takes the risk of deciding at designer handbag is worth the money -- along with the designer himself of course. A better explanation of the Kate Spade phenomenon and many other parts of our creating/shopping culture will be hard to find. Bhide is the undiscovered Malcolm Gladwell.

Amity Shlaes, a Bloomberg columnist and senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression”, Harper Perennial, a national bestseller. On http://www.politico.com/arena/bio/amity_shlaes.html

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