New job at the Centre for Policy Studies

About a year ago, in autumn 2016, I agreed to become the Editor of CapX. It was, and is, a fascinating job to try to make the case for free markets at a time when faith in them is at arguably its lowest ebb since the 1930s.

As of October 2017, I have been asked to take on the job of running the Centre for Policy Studies, CapX's parent organisation. The CPS, for those who don't know their Westminster history, has an extraordinary heritage. It was founded by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher in 1974 with a brief to shatter the mould of British politics - which it promptly did, acting as the great intellectual engine room of the Thatcher revolution.

Today, with so many people feeling that the economy is not delivering for them, the need for such fresh thinking is even greater. We need to find not just the language but also the policies to deliver prosperity and reinvigorate the economy - and cope with the transformative effect of all the phenomena I wrote about in The Great Acceleration

It's a fascinating and daunting challenge, and one that I'm very much looking forward to. And if you've got any bright ideas for how to save capitalism, please do let me know...

The Great Acceleration - The reading list

I promised in the hardback edition of ‘The Great Acceleration’ that there would be an online bibliography.

It turned out - ever so ironically - that life got away from me. So to celebrate the publication of the paperback edition in the UK, here is a far from complete reading list for anyone who’s interested in the topics covered.

All the titles on here are recommended - I read dozens more that didn’t make the cut - but the titles with notes underneath in italics are those that I found particularly useful or interesting.


James Gleick - Faster
The father of the “life is getting faster” genre, to which I and others owe a tremendous debt. Written before the internet really got its hooks into us but still relevant and fascinating.

Carl Honoré - In Praise of Slow & The Slow Fix
I disagree with many of Carl’s conclusions and recommendations, but his is an excellent analysis.

Stephen Kern - A Cultural History of Causality & The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918

Stefan Klein - The Secret Pulse of Time
An excellent book, translated from the German, about the pace of daily life.

Robert Levine - A Geography of Time
Why do people in some cultures move faster than others? The definitive guide.

Marshall McLuhan - Understanding Media & Counterblast

Mark Roeder - The Big Mo

Alvin Toffler - The Third Wave & The Culture Consumers (A Study of Art and Affluence in America)

Philip Zimbardo & John Boyd - The Time Paradox


John Battelle - The Search

Andrew Blum - Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet

Richard L Brandt - One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of

Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee - Race Against The Machine

Kenneth Cukier & Viktor Mayer-Schonberger - Big Data

Dave Eggers - The Circle
As a novel, it’s far too didactic. As social commentary, it’s right on the money.

David Kirkpatrick - The Facebook Effect
If everything you know about Mark Zuckerberg comes from The Social Network, this is the history for you.

Tom Standage - The Victorian Internet
Fascinating history of the telegraph, drawing out the parallels with today.

Christopher Steiner - Automate This
Really excellent primer to our new algorithmic world.

Brad Stone - The Everything Store
The best history yet of Jeff Bezos and Amazon.

Randall Stross - Planet Google


Dan Ariely - The Upside of Irrationality
I used the material about dating, but there’s plenty more fascinating stuff in this book.

John Brockman (Ed) - Is The Internet Changing The Way You Think?

Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman - Top Dog

Susan Cain - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
Powerful counter to the idea that you always need to put yourself forward to get ahead.

Nicholas Carr - The Shallows
First and best of the ‘technology is frying our minds’ genre.

Charles Duhigg - The Power of Habit
Really good study of how habit rules our lives, and how we can adapt.

Daniel Goleman - Focus
Another really good study of how we can keep our heads in a fast-paced age.

Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow
If you still think humans are rational creatures, this is the book for you.

Daniel J Levitin - The Organized Mind

David J Linden - Pleasure

Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir - Scarcity

Frank Partnoy - Wait
Partnoy is normally a business writer, but this on the power of patience was fascinating.

Robert M Sapolsky - Monkeyluv
A great science writer explains why we’re all just animals underneath.

Clive Thompson - Smarter Than You Think
The antidote to Carr - why technology isn’t destroying our minds.

Richard Watson - Future Minds


Frances Booth - The Distraction Trap

David Brooks - The Social Animal
New York Times columnist uses the latest research to explain modern life.

Stephanie Brown - Speed

John Freeman - The Tyranny of Email
It’s fair to say he’s against it.

Maggie Jackson - Distracted

Andrew Keen - Digital Vertigo

Aleks Krotoski - Untangling the Web
Excellent guide to what computers are doing to our social lives.

Brigid Schulte - Overwhelmed
If you read one book on this list, make it Schulte’s masterful examination of how we’re all stressed as hell.


danah boyd - It’s Complicated
Her dislike of capital letters is weird, but the research on how young people actually use the web is fascinating.

Howard Gardner & Katie Davis - The App Generation

Henry Hemming - Together

David Levy - Love + Sex with Robots
The case for human-robot relationships.

Christian Rudder - Dataclysm
OK Cupid co-founder on what our romantic preferences say about us

Dan Slater - Love in the Time of Algorithms

Alice E Marwick - Status Update

Sherry Turkle - Alone Together
The case against human-robot relationships…

Amy Webb - Data, A Love Story


Tom Chatfield - Fun Inc

Anita Elberse - Blockbusters
An overwhelmingly convincing demolition of the long tail.

Steven Johnson - Everything Bad is Good for You & Future Perfect
The first of these is the best possible antidote to the idea that we’re all dumbing down.

Robert Levine - Free Ride

John Seabrook - The Song Machine
Why modern music sounds like it does, from one of the New Yorker’s best writers.

John B Thompson - Merchants of Culture
If you’re in publishing, this should be a must-read


Nick Davies - Flat Earth News & Hack Attack

Julia Hobsbawm et al - Where Truth Lies

Ryan Holiday - Trust Me, I’m Lying

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel - Warp Speed

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel - Blur

Howard Rosenberg & Charles S Feldman - No Time to Think


Jonathan Alter - The Promise

Jamie Bartlett - The Dark Net
Fascinating exploration of the dark underbelly of the net.

Tony Blair - A Journey

Douglas Carswell - The End of Politics

Misha Glenny - DarkMarket

Philip Gould - The Unfinished Revolution

Al Gore - The Future
Blasts you with detail but there's so much to get to grips with here.

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin - Game Change

Mark Henderson - The Geek Manifesto

Patrick Hennessy - Distilling the Frenzy

Steve Hilton - More Human
David Cameron’s ideas man provides a stark verdict on modern government.

Sasha Issenberg - The Victory Lab

Jaron Lanier - Who Owns the Future?

John Micklethwait & Adrian Wooldridge - The Fourth Revolution
How change is sweeping the world, and how governments are struggling to cope.

Evgeny Morozov - The Net Delusion & To Save Everything, Click Here
Morozov is one of our most caustic critics of digital utopianism - his debut is particularly recommended.

Beth Simone Noveck - Wiki Government

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen - The New Digital Age
Two of Google’s biggest beasts on how the world is changing.

Matt Taibbi - The Divide

Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Antifragile


Ha-Joon Chang - 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Tyler Cowen - Average Is Over
How the economy is shifting from share-the-wealth to winner-takes-all.

Alistair Darling - Back From The Brink
That rarest of things - a political memoir which is also relentlessly readable.

Michael Goodkin - The Wrong Answer Faster

John Lanchester - Whoops!
Noted author provides a very readable primer to the financial crisis.

Michael Lewis - Flash Boys
The story of high-frequency trading, told with novelistic verve.

Peter Marsh - The New Industrial Revolution

Iain Martin - Making It Happen
The rise and fall of RBS, in jaw-dropping detail.

Frank Partnoy - F.I.A.S.C.O. & Infectious Greed

Andrew Ross Sorkin - Too Big To Fail
The inside story of the financial crisis. A must-read for anyone interested in business, finance or how the hell we got here.

Gillian Tett - Fool’s Gold


Evan DG Fraser & Andrew Rimas - Empires of Food

Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott - Farmageddon
The case against modern farming.

Paul McMahon - Feeding Frenzy
The case for modern farming, sort of.

Paul Roberts - The End of Food
The modern food ecosystem, examined in forensic detail.

Carolyn Steel - Hungry City
How the world’s resources are increasingly devoted to feeding its cities.


Diane Ackerman - The Human Age
How mankind is reshaping the planet.

Mike Davis - Planet of Slums

Mark Lynas - The God Species
Can the environment cope with billions of human beings living Western lifestyles? Just about…

Fred Pearce - Peoplequake
Fascinating study of the ageing population and its implications.

Paul Roberts - The End of Oil

Tom Vanderbilt - Traffic
Commuting is dull. This book about it is fantastic.

Gaia Vince - Adventures in the Anthropocene
How mankind is reshaping the planet, again.


Oliver Balch - India Rising

Patrick French - India

Edward Glaeser - Triumph of the City
Humanity is now an urban species. Here’s what that means.

Evan Osnos - Age of Ambition
Must-read study of modern China from the long-serving New Yorker correspondent.

Doug Saunders - Arrival City

Ruchir Sharma - Breakout Nations

PD Smith - City

Nathan D Wolfe - The Viral Storm


Nick Bostrom - Superintelligence
Why AI could kill us all, the thoughtful version. I liked it so much I pretty much stole the whole thing.

Ray Kurzweil - The Age of Spiritual Machines

Ray Kurzweil - How to Create a Mind

Adam Rutherford - Creation


Bill Bryson - Home

David Frum - How We Got Here - The 70s

Nate Silver - The Signal and the Noise

Thomas Friedman discovers the Great Acceleration

Thomas Friedman is the dean of the New York Times comment pages and multi-million-selling author of The World is Flat - and his new book, Thank You For Being Late, takes as its topic the way in which the world is getting faster.

I've known about Friedman's interest in this topic since roughly the point I was finishing up the first draft of The Great Acceleration (though I always expected him to call it The World is Fast). But it's still strange to have someone else's work overlap with your own - to see what ideas you have in common and where you diverge.

I've reviewed the Friedman book for the Times Literary Supplement this week - if you've read both, I'd be fascinated to know what you think.

And just a reminder to anyone still deciding on their Christmas shopping - The Great Acceleration makes a wonderful present for anyone interested in how the world is changing (especially if they're too busy to shop for themselves). Buy it here.