With 2012 down to its last day, it's now safe to announce this year's Albies -- named in honor of noted political economist Albert O. Hirschman. The Albies are awarded to the best writing in global political economy over the past calendar year. The writing can be in a book, journal article, think tank report, blog post, whatever -- the key is that the article makes you reconsider the way the world works.
This time around the bar was rather high, as Hirschman passed away earlier this month. Still, what with the world supposedly ending this year, there was a lot of really excellent work in this area. So, in no particular order, here are the ten Albie winners:
1) Mario Draghi's September 6th press conference on ECB policy. In response to a question about whether there would be a limit to the European Central Bank's "outright monetary transactions" -- i.e. buying distressed sovereign debt in secondary markets, Draghi replied, "there is no ex ante quantitative limit to these interventions because we want this to be perceived as a fully effective backstop that removes tail risk from the euro area." And, with those words, Draghi effectively put a stop to the immediate financial crisis that was crippling the southern European economies. From a n IPE perspective, Draghi also did something surprising and interesting: he signaled that the ECB could take steps independent of what the Bundesbank wanted it to do. With this one statement, Draghi gave the eurozone area room to breathe, stabilized global financial markets, and may have well given a major assist to Barack Obama's re-election. Now that's a press conference.
2) Faisal Ahmed, "The Perils of Unearned Foreign Income: Aid, Remittances, and Government Survival." American Political Science Review, February 2012. Remittances have been the Big Thing in development circles for the past few years, particularly since these flows have been robust even in the face of the Great Recession. Ahmed's article shows that remittances are not an unalloyed good, however. Autocratic governments can use these flows as they have used foreign aid -- as a way to divert their own resources away from social programs and towards bolstering the government's coercice apparatus. Because families have thjis extra income source, their disconent against the state won't rise -- and the state will be better prepared to crack down if citizens do revolt. Remittances therefore paradoxically help authoritarian governments persist for longer. This doesn't mean that remittances are a bad thing -- but Ahmed's finding does a lovely job of mucking up some policy truisms.
3) McKinsey Global Institute, Debt and Deleveraging: Uneven Progress on the Path to Growth, January 2012. Very Serious People across the political spectrum agree that the United States desperately needs to get its debt problem under control. But as this McKinsey report demonstrates, the United States already has gotten its debt problem under control. Sure, the federal government's debt-to-GDP ratio has ballooned since the start of the Great Recession, but overall debt levels -- including households, the financial sector, and business more generally -- have shrunk quite nicely, thank you very much. Indeed, the U.S. approach of swelling government debt to absorb the slack in aggregate demand repeats the successful policies of the Scandinavian countries during their financial meltdowns in the early nineties. This -- comibined with an energy boom, the insourcing of manufacturing, and even a modicum of sane foreign economic and security policies -- augur a revival in America's economic fortunes.
4) Robert J. Gordon, "Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds," NBER Working Paper No. 18315, August 2012. The doppelgänger to the McKinsey paper, Gordon makes the somewhat speculative argument that the boom times for U.S. economic growth are over. Arguing that the productivity gains from the Information Revolution are puny compared to the Second Industrial Revolution, Gordon then sketches out a future where the rate of per capita income growth collapses to pre-Industrial levels. This provoked a lot of pushback -- see Brad Plumer's roundup and Paul Krugman's recent column. And for that reason alone, Gordon deserves an Albie -- he got people to think seriously about the sources of economic growth, a curiously neglected topic in economics.
5) Artemis Capital Management, "Volatility of an Impossible Object: Risk, Fear, and Safety in Games of Perception." September 30, 2012. To put it gently, the past few years have not been kind to the financial gurus of the world. Slowly, they've begun to acknowledge that their job isn't just to deliver the high "alpha" or the "smart beta" anymore -- it's also to recognize where there's a buildup of systemic risk and general uncertainty and hedge against it. Since perception is a big driver of asset valuation in a world of uncertainty, that makes life even trickier for financial analysts. In response, this was the year that they began to embrace post-modernism as an analytical tool. This Artemis newsletter is simply the most obvious example. After you read it, you could come away with the firm conviction that the author is either onto something truly fundamental, or he's just throwing up his hands and crying "Uncle!" Either way, some enterprising Ph.D. student is gonna produce one hell of a dissertation by analyzing the baroque literature of investment newsletters. Bill Gross would be a whole chapter unto himself.
6) Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Crown Publishing. What explains why some countries prosper and some don't? When Mitt Romney credited the gap between Palestinians and Israelis as a matter of "culture," he stumbled into every social scientist's personal nightmare. The argument de l'année was Acemoglu and Robinson's observation about the power of political institutions to shape immediate economic incentives as well as long-term cultural patterns. Why Nations Fail is the popular capstone to a decade of Acemoglu and Robinson's research. It doesn't settle the argument by any means, but it's a powerful brief against those who argue that the sources of prosperity are either geographical or cultural.
7) Chrystia Freeland, Plutocrats, Penguin. As income and wealth inequality has increased both globally and in the United States, the political implications of this trend have slowly moved into the forefront of political debates. Freeland's Plutocrats is the perfect jumping off point for this debate. Freeland paints a complex portrait of the rich, demonstrating their worldview while avoiding both condescension and caricature. This is one of those rare books that actually improves upon the Atlantic cover story that kicked it off. The final third of the book in particular raises some profoundly troubling questions about the relationship between the uber-wealthy, the state and the rest of us.
8) David Barstow, "Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up After Top-Level Struggle," New York Times, April 21, 2012; Barstow and Alexandra Xanic von Bertrab, "The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got It's Way in Mexico," New York Times, December 17, 2012. Social scientists often disdain journalists for not paying attention to macro trends and failing to understand statistics. These are valid concerns, but scholars also need to acknowledge when journalists actually generate data rather than merely report on it. In these two stories Barstow and his co-authors took a beacon and revealed the extent and methods of corruption in Mexico -- and the ways in which corrupt practices in one country can infect the culture of a multinational corporation. Outstanding reportage. This story gets bonus points for being an article about Mexicco but not about either immigration or narcotics.
9) FT Reporters, "Chinese Infighting: Secrets of a succession war," Financial Times, March 4, 2012/John Garnault, "Rotting From Within," Foreign Policy, April 16, 2012/David Barboza, "Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader," New York Times, October 25, 2012 and "Family of Chinese Regulator Profits in Insurance Firm's Rise," December 30, 2012/Bloomberg News, "Heirs of Mao's Comrades Rise as New Capitalist Nobility," December 26, 2012. As China underwent its own leadership transition, the lack of a free press in that country did not prevent some crackerjack reporting on the corruption issues that plague the People's Republic. From the FT's harrowing story of how Bo Xilai used torture to amass his fortune to Garnault's examination of how corruption has ensnared the Chinese military to Barboza's and Bloomberg's explications of how political connections lead to wealth in China, western reporters did an outstanding job in 2012 of demonstrating the inner working's of China's political economy. If your newspaper or magazine gets blocked by the Great Firewall after a story, that should be taken as a sign of respect.
10) Matt Ferchen, "Whose China Model is it anyway? The contentious search for consensus." Review of International Political Economy, April 2012. This was a curious year for China-watching. On the one hand, the trend was for analysts to shift from bullish to bearish. On the other hand, some Chinese and a lot of Americans are now feeling pretty confident about the superiority of the Chinese system. But what exactly is the China Model? Ferchen does an excellent job dissecting what we're talking about when we're talking about the Beijing Consensus. He further dives into the internal Chinese debate on the existing model, revealing serious qualms about the stats quo. Ferchen shows that one of the interesting things about the "Beijing Consensus" is not its content per se, but how policymakers and pundits on both sides of the Pacific deploy the term.
Honorable Mentions: Lauren Greenfield's The Queen of Versailles; Angus Burgin, The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression, Harvard University Press; Christopher Hayes' Twilight of the Elites; Annie Lowrey, "Dire Poverty Falls Despite Global Slump," New York Times; Peyer Doyle's letter of resignation to the IMF, June 16, 2012; and -- just under the wire - the automated Thomas Friedman Op-ed Generator.
So, to sum up: two books, to peer-reviewd journal articles, two investment reports, a passle of journalism, one draft paper, and one press conference. And yet I still feel like I nonly scratched the surface.
May 2013 be as rich a year for global political economy as this past one!!
With 2011 down to a few hours, it's now safe to announce the 2011 Albies -- named in honor of noted political economist Albert O. Hirschman. The Albies are awarded to the best writing in global political economy for the past calendar year. The writing can be in a book, journal article, think tank report, or blog post -- the key is that the article makes you reconsider the way the world works.
This year yielded a bumper crop of excellent IPE writing. I attribute this to the 2008 crisis and its aftereffects generating such a bounty of fascinating trends/events that even straight reportage has been interesting. Indeed, it was such a good year that, for the first time, I'm including some "honorable mentions" at the bottom.
In no particular order, here's the top 10:
1) Chrystia Freeland, "The Rise of the New Global Elite," The Atlantic, January/February 2011. A slender common thread of the Arab Spring protests, Occupy Wall Street, and the Russia protests was a perception of rising inequality, and the refusal of elites to acknowledge that there is even a problem. Before any of these movements made the front page, Freeland examined the global 1% in this essay. As much as political scientists like to talk about public ignorance of the way the world works, Freeland makes the case that the global elite suffers from a different but very dangerous perception -- that fortuna and inherited advantage had no role in their own prosperity.
2) Thomas Oatley, "The Reductionist Gamble: Open Economy Politics in the Global Economy," International Organization, April 2011. Over the past decade, the "open economy politics" paradigm has dominated the study of global political economy. There are some strengths to this kind of approach, but the law of diminishing marginal returns kicked in a long time ago (OEP has little to say about the 2008 financial crisis). Oatley's paper -- published in the leading journal -- was a powerful wake-up call to the subfield.
3) Tyler Cowen, The Great Stagnation, Dutton. Americans have taken prospertity, and the engines of prosperity, for granted. Cowen's short book suggests that, appearances to the contrary, all of the easy ways for promoting economic growth in the developed world have dried up. I would posit that Cowen contradicts himself with his innovative way of getting this argument published (first as an ebook) but this is an excellent, accessible read on the future of the U.S. economy.
4) Boston Consulting Group, "Made in America, Again," May, and Edward Luce, "America is Entering a New Age of Plenty," Financial Times, November 20. These two essays provide an interesting counter to Cowen's prognosis. BCG's projections on manufacturing, and Luce's summary on energy innovations, suggest that a decade from now -- regardless of who is president -- the United States will be a manufacturing and energy powerhouse.
5) Damien Cave, "Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North," New York Times, July 6, 2011. I blogged about this story when it was first published about why it was so interesting. Now, I just want the debate moderators to hold it up like John Cusack in Say Anything whenever the GOP candidates natter on about stopping illegal immigration.
6) Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth, "Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2009," Centre for Economic Policy Research discussion paper no. 8513, August 2011. 2012 is going to be a year of austerity for a lot of countries. This timely paper looks at the causes of European social unrest over the 20th century, and concludes that fiscal retrenchment is the primary driver of unrest. Bear this in mind whenever you read about new austerity measures being imposed.
7) Andrew Hill, "Inside McKinsey," FT Magazine, November 25. As the GOP looks set to nominate a former consultant as its standard-bearer, the culture of management consulting is worth considering. McKinsey is to consulting as Goldman Sachs was to management consulting, and this year a scandal has rocked that firm to the core. Hill's FT story gets at the powerful corporate culture that defines McKinsey -- and the ways in which the renumeration gap between management consultants and hedge fund managers led to a breakdown in McKinsey's norms.
8) Prabhat Jha et al, "Trends in selective abortions of girls in India," The Lancet, June 4, 2011. I blogged about this article back in May. Long story short: as India has grown richey, India's educated, wealthy elite have engaged in selective gender-based abortion on a massive scale. A very sobering reminder that modernizing societies will not necessarily become more Western in their values.
One does not have to dig very deep into foreign-policy punditry to find the belief that the question of the next decade is how world order will adapt to a waxing China and a waning United States. Will China embrace, reject, or simply ignore the set of pre-existing global norms? Will the United States continue to assert its privilege in setting global norms, or will it retreat into unilateralism? Beyond the punditry, very few scholars have bothered to look systematically at how both of these countries interact with global governance norms and structures. Rosemary Foot and Andrew Walter tackle the general question of Sino-American interactions with global rules and norms in a rigorous and informative manner, discussing issues as diverse as nonproliferation and financial regulation with a degree of empirical sophistication that borders on the astonishing. Foot and Walter have produced a must-read for anyone interested in the future of global governance
10) Michael Forsythe and Henry Sanderson, "China Debts Dwarf Official Data with Too-Big-To-Finish-Alarm," Bloomberg News, December 17, 2011. This was the year that China bears came to the forefront. I'm a bit more optimistic about the communist regime's prospects than, say, Gordon Chang, but this piece of investigative reporting by Bloomberg does a fine job of demonstrating the depths of the bad debt problem that pervades China's banking sector.
Honorable mentions: Nouriel Roubini, "China's Bad Growth Bet," Project Syndicate; Henry Farrell's "contagion" blog post, The Monkey Cage, August 15, 2011; J.C. Chandor's audacous directorial debut Margin Call, and, last but not least, the Ryan Gosling International Development Tumblr.
[We're walking away now.--ed.] No, wait!! This diavlog is worth watching for two reasons:
1) It has, hands down, the most awesome opening of any Bloggingheads diavlog in history. Really. I'm not exaggerating.
2) There's a prize for watching it! Hidden in the diavlog are five different images from well-known zombie features (four movies, one TV show). The first Bloggingheads fan to correctly identify when those zombie scenes appear in the diavlog and from what movie or TV show they were taken, gets a copy of my book. For a chance to win: send an email to email@example.com. In the body of your email, include a link to this
diavog blog post, the five different times (minute and second) in the diavlog when the zombie images appear, and the movie/show from where the images were taken. Contest ends at midnight on March 1, 2011.
So, watch carefully, keep an axe nearby, and enjoy!
Your humble blogger
wasted many hours online had some fun with Ngram, Google's new
book-searching algorithm. Here are ten interesting discoveries:
1) "Global governance" has become a really popular term of art.
2) For all the talk about free trade being under threat in the real world, it's doing pretty well on the printed page.
3) Balancing is definitely more popular than bandwagoning.
5) Somewhat surprisingly, the rise of China has not translated into the world of books.
6) What's the more popular game theoretic device, the Prisoners Dilemma or the coordination game? Here the answer really did surprise me -- though it should be noted that if you replace PD with Tragedy of the Commons, you get this.
7) For all the complaints lodged by some about rational choice theory dominating the social sciences, constructivist approaches appear to be catching up in popularity -- though only in a relative sense.
9) Which FP blogger gets the most mentions on the printed page? You'll have to click here to find out. Hint: it ain't me.
10) The biggest non-state threat mentioned in books appears to be terrorism, and it's not close. Of course, there is also
proof that, in assessing threats in world politics, zombies are clearly on the rise.
Readers are strongly encouraged to
waste their day develop their own Ngram
Your humble blogger has crossed all the t's, dotted all the i's, and sent in the page proofs for Theories of International Politics and Zombies. It's now
done perfect, so no one e-mail me about some new zombie discovery, cause I can't change a thing about it now [Did the zombie ants get in? -- ed. Just by the skin of their brrrraaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiinnns, yes.].
The most important thing I did over the past month was to draft the index. I suspect that many of this blog's readers are aspiring book-writers -- so here is the most useful tip I can provide on indexing a work of non-fiction: For academics, the index is the third-most important part of your book. Assuming you want the great, the good, and everyone else to read your magnum opus, learn this fact well. Scholarly readers will usually flip quickly through a book's introduction, acknowledgments, index and bibliography to determine if it's worth buying.
Why are they flipping through the index? Well, it's usually for one of the following reasons: A) they want to see if their name appears; B) they want to see if their rivals' names appear; C) they are only interested in a particular part of the book, and the index is a more useful guide than the table of contents.
You might think of the index as a chore that just needs to be outsourced to a
lackey illegal immigrant research assistant or professional indexer. If so, then you risk not being responsible for a part of the book that will be thumbed through the most.
In light of this fact, try to be moderately throrough in your index. If you mention a name in the text, put it in the index. Do the same with conceptual ideas. The more inclusive the index, the more interest the book will garner. Consult The Chicago Manual of Style and do it yourself. It's a draining exercise, but for your first book, well worth the effort.
As an example of what not to do, here is a small sample of what's in the index to Theories of International Politics and Zombies:
anarchy, 33-34, 47. See also post-apocalypse.
balancing, 34, 39-40
bioterrorism, 4-5, 18, 27, 89
cannibals, 11, 67, 125n14
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, 54n
Chucky doll, lameness of, 6
college students, 5; similarity between zombies and, 75-6
constructivism, 67-76, 110-11
Coulton, Jonathan, 50-51
Dawn of the Dead, 25, 28, 36, 52, 69-70, 82, 83, 90, 93, 99, 105
deadites. See zombies.
Dead Alive, 24, 25, 82
differently animated. See zombies.
disasters, 1, 18, 38, 57, 71-72, 112
feedback loop. See paradox.
Hirschman, Albert, 113-14
human lobby, realist warnings about, 45n
Murray, Bill, 74
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 23n, 61
pandemics, 1, 18, 37-38, 50, 55-6, 59, 100
paradox. See feedback loop.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies, 58
Resident Evil, 2, 23, 25, 83, 93. See also Umbrella Corporation.
Shaun of the Dead, 51-2, 73, 74, 78, 99
Sun Tzu, 13
Thriller, evil of, 25-26
Thucydides, 13, 38
Tragedy of the Commons, 48-9
Tragedy of the Zombies, 51-2
Ugly Americans, 3
vampires: 6-9, 13, 120n19; suckiness of, 9
World War Z, 25, 28, 29, 38, 39, 41, 55, 57, 65, 73, 91-5
zombie-industrial complex, 83-4
Zombie Strippers, 23n, 83
[Apologies to loyal readers sick of zombie posts: This will be my very last zombie post about this for the few months... right up until the book comes out, when I will put the rest of this country's media whores to shame, I will be prostituting this book so much.]
In a desperate, last-ditch effort to keep up with the President's pace of summer vacations, your humble blogger will be at an undisclosed locale and blogging at a more leisurely pace than normal (though I do hope to get to the Goldberg essay on Israel/US/Iran soon).
I confess to being not much of a fiction reader in general, and I've already read my novel for the summer. But I am looking forward to my non-fiction reading on this trip - it‘s a balanced mix of something old, something new, and a few things to think about in the wake of my Israel trip:
1) Harold James, The End of Globalization: Lessons From the Great Depression. As the economy starts heading into its second dip since the fall of 2008, it's worth contemplating whether the globalized economy we've taken for granted the past thirty years could really disintegrate. It's certainly true that, to date, the Great Recession has not really upended the open rules of the global game. A few more dips, however, and anything is possible. James wrote this short book about a decade ago, using prior historical eras in which globalization has collapsed to ask whether it could happen again. This, plus another look at Barry Eichengreen's Golden Fetters when I get back, should serve me well for the next month or so.
2) Jerry Z. Muller, Capitalism and the Jews. To put it bluntly, why are the Jews so damn good at commerce? How have philosophers explained this stereotype-that-contains-some-element-of-truth? Why have some Jews rebelled against the market? This interconnected collection of essays proffers some tentative answers to these questions.
3) Albert Hirschman, The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy. If this summer's political to-dos have been about anything, they've been about how conservatives reactionaries have skillfully and not-so-skillfully used their rhetoric to push the public discourse in a direction that favors their arguments. In this kind of environment, Hirschman's book seems especially trenchant. Besides, in my humble opinion, every social scientist should read or re-read one of Albert Hirschman's books every year. Hmmm.... question to readers: which author do you think social scientists should read at least once a year?
4) Dan Senor and Saul Singer, Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. While I was in Israel, everyone and their Jewish mother kept telling me to read this book, which proffers to explain why Israel has transformed itself from socialist basketcase to entrepreneurial exemplar. So, I'll take a look. I've heard Singer's spiel on this, which among other things argues that Israeli entrepreneurs have a comparative advantage because of their esprit de corps that builds from their army experience. This echoes some of Avner Greif's work about the Maghrebi traders. That said, Greif's hypothesis is now open to question, and I'm not completely convinced about Senor and Singer's argument.
5) Peter Andreas and Kelly Greenhill, eds., Sex, Drugs and Body Counts: The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict. Having worked a bit on money laundering, I'm keenly aware of the ways in which bulls**t statistics become accepted as fact. If some authoritative figure pulls a number out of thin air, the media will often repeat it to the point where it becomes gospel. Andreas and Greenhill's edited volume takes a hard look at how some of these figures affect public policy debates. Slate's Jack Shafer has already penned a paean to the book that I could never match, so just check out his praiseworthy review.
Readers are encouraged to proffer their own nonfiction book recommendations in the comments.
So I see the blog meme of the month is Tyler Cowen's "the top 10 books which have influenced your view of the world." All the
old cool bloggers are doing it.
The hard-working staff here at the blog likes to keep up with all the latest internet traditions. Having read and watched High Fidelity, I'm keenly aware of all the ways I'd be tempted to go all obscure-y in my references. So, here are my "gut response" books, in roughly the chronological order I encountered them:
1) Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition. My 11th grade U.S. history teacher assigned this book in addition to the standard textbook. It certainly provided a more nuanced view of certain historical figures than you got in the textbook. More importantly, Hofstadter knew how to write well. This was the first book I ever read where it occurred to me that nonfiction could be as interesting to read as fiction.
2) Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation. I didn't know anything about game theory before reading this book for a summer school course. After reading this book I was fascinated by it.
3) Douglas Adams, The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A sense of whimsy, of intellectual play, is a necessary condition for staying sane in the universe. Douglas Adams is Whimsy 101 through Advanced Theory of Whimsy. Plus, when I grow up I want to be Oolon Colluphid.
4) Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. A lot of people have put Genealogy of Morals on their lists because Nietzsche was the first person they read who pointed out that morals might have an instrumental and particularistic motivation. I'm not sure Kuhn is completely correct in his vivisection of how science works, but it was only after reading this book that I began to recognize the instrumental, cognitive, and sociological dimensions of scientists.
6) Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Everyone focuses on the end of this book, with the exaggerated statements about U.S. "imperial overstretch." What hooked me was the first 95% of the book, in which Kennedy went through 500 years of history to demonstrate the essential link between economic power and military power, and the ways in which hegemonic actors ineluctably overreach and overextend themselves. The first chapter, which discusses why Europe and not China rose to global dominance from 1500 on, was what turned me onto economic history. From here I went to David Landes' The Unbound Prometheus, Rosenberg & Birdzell's How the West Grew Rich, Joelk Mokyr's Lever of Riches, etc...
7) Michael Lewis, Liar's Poker. Lewis has expressed befuddlement that people still wanted to go into finance after reading his book -- which makes me wonder if he read what he wrote. True, Liar's Poker is not exactly a paean to finance, but the book does capture the raw energy that comes with the good and the bad of financial innovation. For my own intellectual development, the book was also surprisingly useful: I'll now always be able to say that I got an A+ from Joe Stiglitz for a game-theoretic explanation of some of the phenomena Lewis talked about in the book. The lesson I drew from that; inspiration can come from even the most popular of books.
8) Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations. This was Olson's sequel to The Logic of Collective Action, and basically argued that over time, political stability breeds interest group capture, which breeds economic sclerosis. I don't quite buy the argument in the same way that I did when I first read it. What was appealing about the book, however, was the elegance of the argument and evidence. It's just a great, simple argument
9) Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War. In the early nineties I spent a year in eastern Ukraine, where sources of entertainment that did not involve vodka were extremely scarce . So I brought two books that I knew I had to read at some point but had yet to finish: the Old Testament and Thucydides. The first one had a great beginning, but I confess that I got bogged down in Leviticus. The second book has held my attention ever since. It's analytical history rather than political science, but the entire tapestry of human behavior is on display in that book. Far, far too many people who consider themselves experts in international relations have read nothing from Thucydides except the Melian Dialogue -- and they are poorer for it.
10) Albert Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty. I've mined Hirschman throughout my own professional career, and I could have put at least four of his books on this list. This one makes the list for three reasons. First, it's Hirschman's most wide-ranging in terms of its applicability -- it can apply to any organization at any level of society. Second, I relied on it heavily when developing the domestic politics portion of All Politics Is Global. Third, it's a great example of an idea that was simultaneously original but, once you thought about it, became completely intuitive.
Looking at the list, I notice three trends: 1) a lot more nonfiction than fiction; 2) all of these books have clear prose styles -- they are accessible to both scholars and non-scholars; and 3) the books that captured my attention were interesting for their intellectual style as much as their content.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.