The Wall Street Journal asked, 50 “friends–from Gillian Anderson to Nell Zink–to name their favorite books of 2015.” I named two and here’s why:
At a time when many politicians, academics and media commentators are focusing on income inequality, Thomas Sowell’s “Wealth, Poverty, and Politics” offers a refreshing and stimulating view. He takes a broad historical look at the geographical and cultural influences that account for the vast differences in income over the ages. Using a good dose of basic economics and stories of real people, he shows that the spread of prosperity, even if unequal, is far more effective in eliminating deprivation than a preoccupation with reducing income gaps, which often turns into a counterproductive blame game, breeding resentment, hatred and ethnic conflict. It’s carefully researched (702 footnotes) and more readable than other inequality books, which are often left unread after purchase. A good dose of basic economics can also help create a better foreign policy, especially when building upon the pillars of traditional security and sound politics. Brian Kilmeade’s “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” reminds us how a young United States adapted to new challenges from North Africa and—after several fits and starts and much infighting—developed a military-political-economic strategy to keep the sea lanes open to free international trade.