Summer Reading List with Niall Ferguson and Conrad Black

Chris Versace

Chris Versace is a financial columnist and equity analyst with more than 20 years of experience in the investment industry.

This week on PowerTalk, I’m serving up our late summer reading list. That’s right, the last few weeks of August tend to be filled with cookouts, vacations and lounging by the pool. If you’re doing any of those things, or if you’re like me and you’re not, you still need a good book or two to get you through the dog days of summer. With that in mind, I’m bringing you two books that are great reads in general, but also make for great end-of-the-summer reads.

The first is Niall Ferguson’s latest book — “The Great Degeneration.” Odds are you’ve heard of his other books — “The House of Rothschild,” “The Pity of War,” “The Cash Nexus” and many others, including “The Ascent of Money,” which was the basis for a PBS series that won the International Emmy for best documentary. In “The Great Degeneration,” Niall tackles the decay in four key institutions — representative government, the free market, the rule of law and civil society — that he argues have been the key to success in Western Civilization. We talk about whether or not it’s over for us as a people, and I think you’ll be surprised by what he has to say.

The second is Conrad Black’s “Flight of the Eagle,” and it’s another great read that traces America’s evolution, discussing key events, strategies and problems along the way. Conrad’s perspective is insightful and informative, but that’s something to expect from him, considering that by the late 1990s, he had more than 500 publications under his banner as he headed the world’s third-largest newspaper group and the largest print-only media operation. Aside from his new book, Conrad shares his outlook on the publishing industry and what he would do if today if he was charged with fixing a major newspaper like The New York Times (NYT) or The Washington Post (WPO). Much like in “Flight of the Eagle,” Conrad’s unique perspective on this doesn’t disappoint.

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