What the smart people are reading

Every year, Foreign Policy puts out a list of the top 100 “global thinkers”. This year’s list is a bit confusing. Many of the winners are more do-ers than thinkers, and there are well more than 100 people on it. For example, spots 1-9 are taken up by “the Arab revolutionaries” — all 14 of them.

I’m calling shenanigans on your list, FP.

Which is not to say that these aren’t all very smart people. In fact, my favorite part is the list of book recommendations from the global thinkers. Here are the top 10 from…

The Global Thinkers’ Book Club

  1. Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World (2009) by Liaquat Ahamed
  2. Why the West Rules — for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future (2010) by Ian Morris
  3. Civilization: The West and the Rest (2011) by Niall Ferguson
  4. Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding and How We Can Improve the World Even More (2011) by Charles Kenny
  5. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (2011) by Steven Pinker
  6. Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius (2011) by Sylvia Nasar
  7. Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World (2010) by Doug Saunders
  8. WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency (2011) by Micah Sifry
  9. Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future (2010) by Robert Bryce
  10. The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World (2011) by Daniel Yergin

Sadly, I haven’t read any of these, but now I know what I want Santa to bring. I guess this also marks the beginning of the best-of-the-year-list season. Sigh. It’s crazy, but people love lists. Personally, I’ve been less interested in it all ever since I was named Time magazine’s Person-of-the-Year in 2006.