This Christmas, along with the usual socks, ties, and shoe polishing kits (no, not really), my presents given and received included quite a few economics books, and book vouchers. Here are the ones I got as presents–which ones do you think we should all look at in the next few months? Put a link (and just one link, as comments with more than one link need to be approved) in the comments.
The Battle of Bretton Woods. This book by Benn Steil shows us the story of how Bretton Woods negotiations evolved, how Keynes and US bureaucrat Harry Dexter White fought over the design of the post war international economy, and how White turned out, in the end, to be a Soviet spy. The book is riveting so far.
Political Arithmetic: Simon Kuznets and the Empirical Tradition in Economics. This book is a scientific biography of Nobellist Simon Kuznets and a trip through the development of national income accounting. The writing is somewhat turgid in places, but in fairness, it is hard to make the NIPA sexy.
The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. This is an attempt to understand why prizes proliferate in modern society, and why they are so important as signalling devices. The writing is great and it is an ambitious work of sociology.