Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Another review of Why Nations Fail at the Farnam Street Blog. Actually more of a summary of the Why, than a review. In short, it's all about the institutions. Here's the Top 10:
  1. Lack of property rights (e.g., North Korea)
  2. Forced Labor (e.g., Uzbekistan)
  3. A tilted playing field (e.g., South Africa)
  4. The big men get greedy (e.g., Egypt)
  5. Elites block new technologies (e.g., Austria and Russia)
  6. No law and order (e.g., Somalia)
  7. A weak central government (e.g., Colombia) 
  8. Bad public services (e.g., Peru)
  9. Political exploitation (e.g, Bolivia)
  10. Fighting over the spoils (e.g., Sierra Leone)
Of the books on my 2012 list, WNF is getting the most buzz. It's hard to think about the title of the year so early on, but it has to be in the conversation.

If you like the books I'm reading, I get a lot of recommendations from Farnam Street. The blog also links to a review of WNF by Nassim Taleb, as part of a list of recommendations, and I've previously cited another by Jared Diamond.

From the Taleb list, the Mean Genes book looks interesting. They have it at the library, and I'll pick it up after I finish my current pile which includes Food Matters, the Day Dreamer (thanks Pat) and Mrs. Dalloway

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