In the current age of big business, it seems that everyone is looking for ways to make more money and acquire more power. However, the temptations of greed and power often lead to corruption. The oft-shocking nature of business culture puts corporate scandals in the spotlight every year. We've gathered the stories of some of the most unbelievably bold, brilliant, and ultimately doomed corporate scandals in history, giving you a fast-paced ride through the dark side of big business.
Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, the quirky geniuses behind Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics, and Think Like a Freak, are back at it. For the last 10 years, they've used the tools of economics to answer some of our most unanswerable questions on the Freakonomics.com blog. Here, for the first time, the very best of their more than 8,000 posts are together in a single place.
America stands at a dramatic crossroads: Massive corporations wield disturbing power. The huge income gap between the one percent and the other 99 percent grows wider. Astounding new technologies are changing American lives.
The trade in oil, gas, gems, metals, and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China, and the other "emerging markets" have transformed their economies, Africa's resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 percent of the world's reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 percent of the world's population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent.
Much of one's adult life is spent gathering and protecting what they believe to be money. Given the inordinate amount of time spent by humans trying to obtain money, is it sufficient to simply define it by the name of a national currency or a slang derivative of the official name?
When Hu Jintao, China's then vice president, came to visit the New York Stock Exchange and Ground Zero in 2002, he asked Hank Paulson to be his guide. It was a testament to the pivotal role that Goldman Sachs played in helping China experiment with private enterprise. In Dealing with China, the best-selling author of On the Brink draws on his unprecedented access to both the political and business leaders of modern China to answer several key questions.
"Bad title, amazing book"
You're about to learn everything you need to know about how to get started in the world of Bitcoin. Currency is always an interesting subject in the world of business and investment, but what if that currency had no centralized location that made it immune to government and bank interference? What if that currency was a digital currency that allowed you to carry millions of dollars around in your pocket without a problem? What if the benefits of that crypto-currency were available to YOU?
With the fall of the Berlin Wall, one economic model emerged triumphant. Capitalism - spanning a spectrum from laissez-faire to authoritarian - shapes the market economies of all the wealthiest and fastest-growing nations. The trouble is cracking its shiny veneer. In the US, economic growth is no longer matched by economic development. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, natural resources are exploited for short-term profits, and good jobs are hard to find.
"long on facts, short on solutions"
With record-breaking highs one minute and economy-rocking lows the next, it can seem as if there's no way to feel truly comfortable in the mysterious world of finance. But there is, and it's more accessible than you might think. Financial Literacy: Finding Your Way in the Financial Markets is an essential primer on this domain, from its functions, strengths, and possibilities to its weaknesses and vulnerabilities
"Clear, Concise and Easy Listening"
The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics changed the way we see the world, exposing the hidden side of just about everything. Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems. The topics range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain.
"Only if you don't listen to the podcast....."
The Pixar Touch is a lively chronicle of Pixar Animation Studios' history and evolution, and the "fraternity of geeks" who shaped it. With the help of visionary businessman Steve Jobs and animating genius John Lasseter, Pixar has become the gold standard of animated filmmaking, beginning with a short special effects shot made at Lucasfilm in 1982 all the way up through the landmark films Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and others.
"If you like Disney, Pixar, or Apple..."
Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life, from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing, and whose conclusions turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Thus the new field of study contained in this audiobook: Freakonomics. Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives: how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.
"Good, but be careful"
Michael Lewis returns to the financial world to give listeners a ringside seat as the biggest news story in years prepares to hit Wall Street....
"Making the system deliver on its promise."
Behavioral economics is the study of decision making, and of the related themes of valuation, exchange, and interpersonal interactions. Using methods from psychology, sociology, neurology, and economics, behavioral economics sheds light one of the most fundamental activities of human life: the decision process. In 24 insightful lectures, you'll learn how behavioral economists look at decision making and explore a set of key principles that offer deep insight into how we evaluate information and integrate different factors to make decisions.
"Stating the Obvious"
What is life? What is my place in it? What choices do these questions obligate me to make? More than a half-century after it burst upon the intellectual scene - with roots that extend to the mid-19th century - Existentialism's quest to answer these most fundamental questions of individual responsibility, morality, and personal freedom, life has continued to exert a profound attraction.
"Wonderful Survey of the Evolution of a Philosophy"
Economic forces are everywhere around you. But that doesn't mean you need to passively accept whatever outcome those forces might press upon you. Instead, with these 12 fast-moving and crystal clear lectures, you can learn how to use a small handful of basic nuts-and-bolts principles to turn those same forces to your own advantage.
"Economists as Kindergartners"
At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dysfunctional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses.
"The best business book I ever read"
Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger - all by the time he was 30. The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.
"Learn About Statistics Without All The Math"
SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as: How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa? What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common? Can eating kangaroo save the planet? Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else.
"Worth Your Time"
What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.
"Little dated but relevant"
Maverick thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb had an illustrious career on Wall Street before turning his focus to his black swan theory. Not all swans are white, and not all events, no matter what the experts think, are predictable. Taleb shows that black swans, like 9/11, cannot be foreseen and have an immeasurable impact on the world.
"Brilliant, Obnoxious, Narcissistic, Brilliant"
Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real-estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his number-one best-selling Liar’s Poker.
"Finally, I understand what happened!"
Prosperity has transformed the world. But the story of prosperity is far from simple-or complete. These 24 lectures give you an unrivaled overview of one of the most pressing issues of our day and take you behind the headlines and into the debates to dispel some common myths about prosperity and get at deeper truths.In this stimulating, wide-ranging course, Professor Drezner shows that achieving prosperity involves more than economics.
For decades environmentalists have told us that using fossil fuels is a self-destructive addiction that will destroy our planet. Yet by every measure of human well-being, from life expectancy to clean water to climate safety, life has been getting better and better. How can this be? The explanation is that we usually hear only one side of the story. We're taught to think only of the negatives of fossil fuels, their risks and side effects, but not their positives.
Dave Ramsey's New York Times best-selling guide to better living through financial security, now completely revised and updated.
"A Revisit to Financial Peace University"
The history of the U.S. economy in the 20th century is far too interesting-and far too important to our future-to be dismissed with just a few stock explanations. These 10 fast-paced lectures introduce you to vital economic lessons learned in the last century to provide invaluable guidance for understanding the current economy. Each lecture focuses exclusively on one decade to provide you with a clear understanding of economic developments and outside influences on the U.S. economy.
"Very effective, as far as it goes"
On January 26, 2009, during the depth of the financial crisis and having just completed five years as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Timothy F. Geithner was sworn in by President Barack Obama as the 75th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Now, in a strikingly candid, riveting, and historically illuminating memoir, Geithner takes listeners behind the scenes during the darkest moments of the crisis.
Humorous and entertaining, this book exposes the folly and hypocrisy of Wall Street. The title refers to a story about a visitor to New York who admired the yachts of the bankers and brokers. Naively, he asked where all the customers' yachts were? Of course, none of the customers could afford yachts, even though they dutifully followed the advice of their bankers and brokers. Full of wise contrarian advice and offering a true look at the world of investing, in which brokers get rich while their customers go broke.
"Not clever enough"
This unique and fundamentally liberating book shows us that examining our attitudes toward money - earning it, spending it, and giving it away - can offer surprising insight into our lives, our values, and the essence of prosperity. Lynne Twist, a global activist and fundraiser, has raised more than $150 million for charitable causes. Through personal stories and practical advice, she demonstrates how we can replace feelings of scarcity, guilt, and burden with experiences of sufficiency, freedom, and purpose. In this Nautilus Award-winning book, Twist shares from her own life, a journey illuminated by remarkable encounters with the richest and poorest.
"Helped me redefine my relationship with money."
In his best-selling 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang brilliantly debunked many of the predominant myths of neoclassical economics. Now, in an entertaining and accessible primer, he explains how the global economy actually works - in real-world terms. Writing with irreverent wit, a deep knowledge of history, and a disregard for conventional economic pieties, Chang offers insights that will never be found in the textbooks.
"A breath of fresh air."
In this revolutionary exposé, Harvard Law School bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren and financial consultant Amelia Tyagi show that today's middle-class parents are increasingly trapped by financial meltdowns. Astonishingly, sending mothers to work has made families more vulnerable to financial disaster than ever before. Today's two-income family earns 75% more money than its single-income counterpart of a generation ago, but has 25% less discretionary income to cover living costs.
"Read All Your Worth Insteas"
Why does England lose? Why does Scotland suck? Why doesn't America play the sport internationally... and why do the Germans play with such an efficient but robotic style? Using insights and analogies from economics, statistics, psychology and business to cast a new and entertaining light on how the game works, Soccernomics reveals the often surprisingly counterintuitive truths about soccer.
"Very very good."
As today's preeminent doomsday investor Mark Spitznagel describes his Daoist and roundabout investment approach, “one gains by losing and loses by gaining.” This is Austrian Investing, an archetypal, counterintuitive, and proven approach, gleaned from the 150-year-old Austrian School of economics, that is both timeless and exceedingly timely. The Dao of Capital provides a rare and accessible look through the lens of one of today's great investors to discover a profound harmony with the market process—a harmony that is so essential today.
If you've wondered how we did not see the economic collapse coming, Ha-Joon Chang knows the answer: We didn't ask what they didn't tell us about capitalism. This is a lighthearted book with a serious purpose: to question the assumptions behind the dogma and sheer hype that the dominant school of neoliberal economists-the apostles of the freemarket-have spun since the Age of Reagan.
"A shallow and destructive book"
The retail world is undergoing a fundamental transformation. Rapidly evolving technology, globalization, and a saturated marketplace offer consumers instant access to thousands of equally compelling products and services, creating unprecedented levels of expectation. The impact of these changes is so profound that 50 percent of today's retailers and consumer companies will not survive it....
"Wider Appeal than the Title Suggests"
The dire economic situation we find ourselves in is not a result of economic forces alone, but of the policies pursued, and not pursued, by world leaders. In this collection of his recent writings on the global financial situation, George Soros presents his views and analysis of key economic policy choices leading up to, during, and following the financial crisis of 2008-2009.
"Rethinking of financial phenomenon philosophically"
Armed with clear and powerful evidence, Atif Mian and Amir Sufi reveal in House of Debt how the Great Recession and Great Depression, as well as the current economic malaise in Europe, were caused by a large run-up in household debt followed by a significantly large drop in household spending. Though the banking crisis captured the public's attention, Mian and Sufi argue strongly with actual data that current policy is too heavily biased toward protecting banks and creditors.
An engaging exploration of modern-day deals and deal-making. Gods at War details the recent deals and events that have forever changed the world of billion-dollar deal-making. This book is a whirlwind tour of the players determining the destiny of corporate America, including the government, private equity, strategic buyers, hedge funds, and sovereign wealth funds.
"Private equity, M&A from a historical-legal view"
How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes uses illustration, humor, and accessible storytelling to explain complex topics of economic growth and monetary systems. In it, economic expert and bestselling author of Crash Proof, Peter Schiff teams up with his brother Andrew to apply their signature "take no prisoners" logic to expose the glaring fallacies that have become so ingrained in our country's economic conversation.
"Educational and Entertaining"
The national best seller that defines a new economic class and shows how it is key to the future of our cities. The Rise of the Creative Class gives us a provocative new way to think about why we live as we do today - and where we might be headed. Weaving storytelling with masses of new and updated research, Richard Florida traces the fundamental theme that runs through a host of seemingly unrelated changes in American society: the growing role of creativity in our economy.
Governments today in both Europe and the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts - austerity - to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system.
Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world's foremost scholar of late antiquity.
"A learned, well-balanced postmodern history"
In an unparalleled collaboration, two leading global thinkers in technology and foreign affairs give us their widely anticipated, transformational vision of the future: a world where everyone is connected - a world full of challenges and benefits that are ours to meet and to harness. Eric Schmidt is one of Silicon Valley’s great leaders, having taken Google from a small startup to one of the world’s most influential companies. Jared Cohen is the director of Google Ideas and a former adviser to secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.
"Digital Anarchy, A Manifesto"
Analyzing the political and banking history of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil through several centuries, Fragile by Design demonstrates that chronic banking crises and scarce credit are not accidents due to unforeseen circumstances. Rather, these fluctuations result from the complex bargains made between politicians, bankers, bank shareholders, depositors, debtors, and taxpayers.
"An all-time favorite in banking, history, politics"
Winner Take All is about the commodity dynamics that the world will face over the next several decades. In particular, it is about the implications of China’s rush for resources across all regions of the world. The scale of China’s resource campaign for hard commodities (metals and minerals) and soft commodities (timber and food) is among the largest in history.
"Reader is Terrible"
Art today is defined by its relationship to money as never before. Prices of living artists' works have been driven to unprecedented heights, conventional boundaries within the art world have collapsed, and artists now think ever more strategically about how to advance their careers. Artists no longer simply make art, but package, sell, and brand it. Noah Horowitz exposes the inner workings of the contemporary art market, explaining how this unique economy came to be, how it works, and where it's headed.
An exposé on how the rise of China will affect the American way of life, The End of Cheap China is a fun, riveting, must-listen audiobook not only for people doing business in China but for anyone interested in understanding the forces that are changing the world. Many Americans know China for manufacturing cheap products, thanks largely to the country's vast supply of low-cost workers. But China is changing, and the glut of cheap labor that has made everyday low prices possible is drying up as the Chinese people seek not to make iPhones, but to buy them.
"New World China"