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Monday, 3 December 2007

Books worth reading....recommendations?

BOZ Governor Caleb Fundanga is a big fan of Paul Collier's Bottom Billion, and believes that the book provides a good example of where Zambian economic research should be heading. I have read the book, and whilst there's much good in it, I do not think it is aimed at an African audience. Its very much aimed at G7 countries, those than can effect change at an international level e.g. Collier recommends G7 military intervention to prevent collapse of failing states or the creation of international charters on good practice on dealing with precious resources like copper. These are important issues, but not subjects that should worry Zambian researchers, as we seek to find innovative ways of tackling the pressing challenges.

But, I was wondering, what are some of the books you have read, that you think Zambian researchers / policy makers of tomorrow should be reading?

3 comments:

  1. BOZ Governor Caleb Fundanga is a big fan of Paul Collier's Bottom Billion, and believes that the book provides a good example of where Zambian economic research should be heading.

    This is what happens when you put bankers in charge. I say let's see some actual business owners start having a say in national development. Besides, he seems like just another freemarketeer.

    From Christian Aid's review at Amazon.com:

    In the research in question Christian Aid estimated GDP losses for Africa in the 1980s and 1990s due to aggregate demand effects arising from trade deficits resulting from trade liberalization of that period. That imports grew faster than exports with a reduction in net demand for domestically produced goods and services and national income is consistent with historical observations and other studies carried out by UNCTAD and the Carnegie Foundation, among others.

    It is a result that is not palatable for those, like Mr Collier, who favour liberalization as the only trade policy choice for developing countries and who decry the use of selective, outward looking protectionism.

    In Mr Collier's book, therefore, we find the usual warnings against rent-seeking protectionists but no examination of its success stories that range from the Japanese car industry to the dairy sector in India.

    The politics of trade policy is also ignored. He does not explor the role of rich countries his former employer, the World Bank in imposing economic reforms on poor countries and in creating the problems they now face in harnessing trade for development. This tradition of externally designed and driven solutions is one of the key changes that needs to happen before the prospects of the Bottom Billion can improve.

    Charles Abugre
    Head of Global Advocacy and Policy
    Christian Aid, London, UK.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here are a few books that I find very interesting:

    FINANCE

    Reminiscences Of A Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre
    Excellent book on trading and especially trader sentiment and psychology. It gives a contemporary view of market crashes of 1907 and short contemporary descriptions of the likes of JP Morgan. Generally considered as 'the bible' of market traders.

    The Option Trader Handbook: Strategies and Trade Adjustments, by George Jabbour and Phillip Budwick
    Great ideas and mind stimulation for thinking about profits in both time and space. A good remedy for all the people who say 'we're just looking out for our bottomline'. Every option strategy has it's own characteristics when it comes to profitability and risk. Some work when markets up, down or sideways, and some create the possibility of future profits as trades are adjusted over time.

    BUSINESS

    The Kaizen Pocket Handbook by Kenneth W. Dally
    Great book on the Deming Improvement Cycle, which is applicable to all kinds of things, not just manufacturing. It suggests processes that will ensure continuous quality improvement, which the Japanese made their own.

    Execution: The discipline of getting things done, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charand
    Larry Bossidy is credited with turning around Honeywell Corporation. Execution in their view is bringing together people-operations-strategy. Six Sigma is also mentioned.

    MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional Business Growth, by Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. Macmillan
    Great ideas on rearranging business processes and rediscovering profitability. I think it is great for stimulating the mind into thinking about how businesses are structured.

    GOVERNANCE

    Grassroots Governance? Chiefs in Africa and the Afro-Caribbean by Donald I. Ray
    A collection of writings by academics on the interaction of traditional, local and central government.

    NEGOTIATION

    Trump-Style Negotiation: Powerful Strategies and Tactics for Mastering Every Deal, by George H. Ross
    Cho, have you finally read this? :) It certainly shows the correct mindset when it comes to negotiation style. It deals with negotiation tactics against the background of New York real estate (and contract-) law. My guess is you didn't like Ross' gruff (obnoxious?) New York style. :)

    By the way, all the books mentioned above are very accessible, and should be great for policy generalists.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Grassroots Governance? Chiefs in Africa and the Afro-Caribbean by Donald I. Ray"

    This sounds like an important read indeed.

    "Trump-Style Negotiation"

    Yes, I am taking it with me to Zambia for a great read over the holidays.

    ReplyDelete

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