My Controversial Summer Reading Recommendation

Whether you’re on the beach, by the pool, or taking a break at lunch, summer reading is a must. What better way to keep your brain working than a little controversy?

You may have heard some rumblings a few months ago about the publication of French economist Thomas Picketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. There has been no lack of heated debate over Picketty’s detailed analysis of  “a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns” surrounding the accumulation and distribution of wealth. Picketty argues that economic inequality, the gap between rich and poor, is on the rise and has reached levels greater than any other period in history.

As you may imagine, there are armies of economists both supporting and refuting his contentions, many of whom have written extensive reviews of the book. The most heated debate has been between Chris Giles of the Financial TimesPiketty findings undercut by errors – and Picketty himself (Thomas Piketty’s Response To The Financial Times). The debate has also been summarized and further discussed in other publications such as the New York Times (Everything You Need to Know About Thomas Piketty vs. The Financial Times) and Forbes ( And there are many, many others weighing in on the debate — just google “Picketty Capital” and you will see what I mean.

I bet dimes to donuts, at least a few of your colleagues have read the book, so why not see what all the hoopla is about? (If you can find a copy, that is — it has been sold out in most stores since the day it was published!) It could make for some interesting conversations. At the very least, it will expose you to points of view you never knew were out there.

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