I agree with Fabrice: Outliers is Fantastic!
In “Why You’ll Love Paying for Roads that Used to be Free,” Eric A. Morris delivers a compelling arguement for setting up variable toll rates for public highways that are currently free to reduce congesting.
Variable tolling is an excellent public policy. Here’s why: the basic economic theory is that when you give out something valuable — in this case, road space — for less than its true value, shortages result.
Ultimately, there’s no free lunch; instead of paying with money, you pay with the effort and time needed to acquire the good. Think of Soviet shoppers spending their lives in endless queues to purchase artificially low-priced but exceedingly scarce goods. Then think of Americans who can fulfill nearly any consumerist fantasy quickly but at a monetary cost. Free but congested roads have left us shivering on the streets of Moscow.
I just finished reading The PayPal Wars by Eric M. Jackson who was the former head of marketing at PayPal. This book is a must read for anyone who is thinking about starting a company or has started a company.
Here’s a list of my favorite books of 2008. These weren’t necessarily books published in 2008, but were books that I read this year and enjoyed.
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable – Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2007)
- Pop! Why Bubbles are Great for the Economy – Daniel Gross (2007)
- Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed – Jared Diamond (2005)
- Gang Leader for a Day: A Rouge Sociologist Takes to the Streets – Sudhir Venkatesh (2008)
- How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization – Franklin Foer (2005)