More reading for the holidays

The_bourgeois_virtues Now that you’ve finished Martin Cruz Smith’s Stalin’s Ghost, may I suggest something in a non-fiction, grand-theme, deeply thoughtful, wonderfully written treatise.  Something that takes on the big question, specially, how market societies manage to work as societies. 

May I recommend The Bourgeois Virtues by Deirdre McCloskey. 

My favorite quote so far:

But the assault on the alleged vices of the bourgeoisie and capitalism after 1848 made an impossible Best into the enemy of an actual Good. (2)


McCloskey, Deirdre.  2006.  The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an age of commerce.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  Order it here.   

5 thoughts on “More reading for the holidays

  1. julie

    Deirdre is quite possibly my favorite pop economist. The woman has a much broader perspective on the dismal science than the rest of her Chicago School peers.

  2. John McCreery

    Thanks for pointing me to this book. I remember with great pleasure reading her essay “Bourgeoise Virtue” in American Scholar a few years back. Her explanation for why “compromise” is such a dirty word (academics and activists both tend to behave like aristocrats obsessed with honor or peasants obsessed with property) instantly burned itself into my memory and has been a great conversation starter ever since.

  3. Inaudible Nonsense

    I need more books on my “to read” list like I need a hole in my head — but! — thank you. This sounds like another good read. I just started and am about to finish (it’s short, perfect for a break), Richard Rorty’s “Achieving Our Country” — for anyone interested in progressive politics in the U.S., this is a must read. And Rorty makes a strong case against the Marxist interpretation of Hegel.

  4. John McCreery

    If you like “Achieving Our Country” and want to read more, allow me to recommend the informal pieces collected in “Philosophy and Social Hope,” a very interesting read, indeed.

  5. sokale

    On page 277 of “Stalin’s” Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith there is the paragraph:

    One evening was devoted to Pushkin. It was a salon. Everyone brought in their favorite verse. Very artsy. I brought Pushkin’s diary. It had all the women he shagged in intimate detail. The man could write.

    We are the publishers of this “Pushkin’s diary” that is “Secret Journal 1836-1837”

    Are you aware of it?

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