Pop! Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy by Daniel Gross
The conventional wisdom, best articulated by Charles Kindleberger in his classic "Manias, Panics, and Crashes," holds that whenever cash pours rapidly into, and then out of, a narrow class of assets, bad things happen. Fortunes are lost, families are dispossessed and livelihoods are ruined. But don't look for such pessimism from Slate (and soon-to-be NEWSWEEK) columnist Gross. In his breezy alternative history of America's boom-and-bust evolution, he finds that the flash floods of capital raised during bubbles have been indispensable to economic growth and innovation.
The Clean Tech Revolution by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder
Now that you've conquered your fear of bubbles, check out the opportunities showcased by tech evangelists Pernick and Wilder. Enthusiasm for clean tech, which the authors define as anything that increases performance while reducing waste, has moved into the mainstream, and they discuss more than 100 companies poised to clean up—in both senses of the term. While the authors' prediction that clean tech will form the foundation of the next Silicon Valley sounds a bit exaggerated, plenty of smart money is already convinced.
Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich by Robert Frank
With the number of millionaires doubling in the past decade and the wealth of the richest 1 percent of households topping $17 trillion, Wall Street Journal columnist Frank sees a new nation emerging within the borders of the United States. It's a place where the struggles of the middle class are barely imaginable and where the mores that tempered the behavior of old money are passé. While Frank makes for a witty guide through this world where 100-foot yachts are dinghies, and Bentleys are impulse purchases, his readers may long for more insight into how people who market pool toys or shampoo have found themselves perched atop Croesus-like fortunes.