The origin of financial crises
How Asia works
A peace to end all peace
When the Central powers collapsed in Autumn 1918, the war had lasted 4 years and the Allied were caught unprepared, having only recently changed their mind in regard to the length of the war, expecting it to go well into 1919 and even 1920. Notwithstanding, from January to June 1919, the 4 Allied powers (UK, France, Italy and the USA) set out to establish the first modern peace in the aftermath of the most bloody and destructive conflict Europe had known in recent centuries.
In his book 1914-1918, David Stevenson offers a powerful, detailed, insightful yet concise history of the Great War. He divides the war into 3 parts: the outbreak in early 1914, with rapid troop movement; the escalation from 1915 until late 1917, during which the opponents desperately sought to break through the stalemate; and the outcome in 1918, with Germany’s last push and its following collapse.
That history is written by the winner is a rather well established fact. But it is still amazing how many people still fall into pre-packaged narratives. In his book “The Sleepwalkers”, Christopher Clark sets out to dispel the myth of German aggressiveness and European victimhood.
The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914
As historians studying the First World War mostly focused on the political relationships between states and their policy makers leading to the war, making it sometimes difficult to grasp accurately what these various actors were actually feeling and in which context they were evolving.
The War That Ended Peace
The Guns of August
In “The Guns of August”, Barbara Tuchman starts by laying out a detailed picture of the background surrounding the outbreak of the war, with the various national ideals, the military plans of the main protagonists (Germany, France, Russia and England), and the complex personal relationships between the key actors. She then proceeds with a breath taking description of the first month of the war.
Que veut la Chine ? De Mao au Capitalisme
“Oscillant entre un nationalisme arrogant et une étonnante discrétion dans le concert des nations, elle émet des signaux contradictoires pour l’opinion internationale. Machiavélisme de ses dirigeants? Crainte de réveiller le fantôme des années Mao? Ou, plus prosaïquement, absence de vision d’une élite avant tout préoccupée par ses problèmes?”
Postwar – A History of Europe Since 1945
“As is made clear in the introduction, the author makes no attempt to expound any grand theory or “overarching theme” for contemporary European history, aiming to avoid narrative fallacies by plainly retelling the entire scope of European history in that period, to let what themes do exist become self-apparent.”
The Speed Traders
Written in 2011 by Edgar Perez, American author and entrepreneur, this book has become an international reference on High-Frequency Trading, financial regulation and international economics. In his book Dr. Perez explains us the use of sophisticated technological tools and computer algorithms to trade securities on a rapid basis, as well as its impact on financial markets.
Taleb on Antifragility
Here are a few talks by Nassim Nicholas Taleb on his new book, Antifragile. Even though they seem to all sound and look the same, the non-intuitive idea of antifragility is discussed in a variety of contexts with many examples as well as sometimes very interesting and challenging interviewers.
Ill Fares the Land
“As the economic collapse of 2008 made clear, the social contract that defined postwar life in Europe and America-the guarantee of security, stability, and fairness-is no longer guaranteed; in fact, it’s no longer part of the common discourse. (…) In reintroducing alternatives to the status quo, Judt invigorates our political conversation, furnishing the tools necessary to imagine a new form of governance and a better way of life.”
La crise des dettes souveraines
“La crise de la finance globalisée a été lourde de conséquences pour les États des pays développés. Afin d’éviter un effondrement de l’activité, ils ont accepté, à la fin des années 2000, de laisser leurs déficits budgétaires se creuser. Ce faisant, ils ont aussi jeté les germes d’une autre crise, celle des dettes souveraines.”