Ray Kurzweil: The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
A must-read about the pace of change in our world. Thrilling and utterly convincing
David Deutsch: The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World
With the possible exception of Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near, this is the most optimistic book I have ever read. If you choose to read the book, you will understand, among much else, what optimism really is. But, I have to warn you, the book is long and very difficult, being a combination of quantum physics and philosophy. I would not suggest it, if I didn't think it was extremely important, and, especially for younger persons, life-changing and life-affirming in the best senses of those over-used terms.
Niall Ferguson: The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
A very readable history and analysis of the major financial marekts.
Hyman P. Minsky: Stabilizing an Unstable Economy
Minsky got it right. He was just 20 years ahead of his time.
Robert F. Bruner: The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm
A brilliant case study of the 1907 crash and bank panic with lots of application to the Panic of 2007.
Tim Harford: The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, Why the Poor Are Poor--And Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car!
An excellent common-sense guide to the value of economics in the real world.
Ted Fishman: China,Inc.
A comprehensive view of America's greatest trading partner...and rival.
Bryan A. Garner: Garner's Modern American Usage
Ideal & inexhaustable bathroom reading for anyone who loves language and aspires to write it well