That’s a strategic interaction as well. Where do you go? It’s not this new technology at all. What’s the sort of work that you’re doing? We were talking about how he would prepare exhaustively for games with ‘novelties.’ When someone is playing a well-understood line of moves, a novelty is something that no one has ever tried before, but turns out to be a really good counterattack. That’s really powerful. You can enjoy it in an everyday way, but a little bit of economic knowledge would go a long way towards spotting fascinating patterns in the world around us that you might not have picked up on. What’s the infrastructure like? Both puzzles were simultaneously solved by a French archaeologist called Denise Schmandt-Besserat. At first, it was easy rather than interesting. The other mystery was that, along with the cuneiform tablets, there were all these beads and baubles that look almost like playing pieces of some child’s board game. It is. She realised that the little tokens are designed to count stuff. That’s a classic piece of game theory. Read. For others, it’s absolutely central otherwise you do not understand what’s going on. Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible Best Economics Books of 2020 Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. He then went and wrote a column about ticket touts, explaining how it all began with Thomas Aquinas and his concept of the just price. Read The very first column I researched for John would have been, probably, around the time of 1999’s Wimbledon. It was a very public failure because he was an enormously famous economic commentator and forecaster at the time. Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life John Kay has written many books but this one feels, to me, like his masterpiece. The city of Uruk would have held maybe 5,000 people. I had the privilege, recently, of interviewing Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster—perhaps the greatest chess player ever to grace the world stage. Many readers still consider this the single best introduction to economics for the intelligent layperson. There is that extra layer of abstraction and, very quickly, they start realising they can make the same marks with a stylus. Talking about critiques of economics and its teaching, what do you think about the CORE textbook, which you mentioned in a tweet the other day, as a way of introducing economics? So that often leads to economists being in rather strange political spaces. You can try. So this is the first maths and the first writing. They have a political context. A nice piece of intuitive economics that I heard from Martin Lewis, the money-saving expert, was when he was speaking on a panel about trust in banking and regulating banking, and how bankers should behave. I thought, ‘Okay. You’ve got the process of economic growth, you’ve got the process of growing inequality, you’ve got technological aspects of how the economy works, and you’ve got history—all in that opening salvo. If he improves his forehand, people won’t be so happy to hit to his forehand. I know, even though I drive a diesel car, before I read your book I knew nothing about Rudolf Diesel. John is a classic fox. He is a columnist for the Financial Times, a presenter of the BBC radio series More or Less, an occasional TV presenter and prolific author. That’s one vase of olive oil and there’s another vase of olive oil so now I’ve got a second and now I’ve got another one, and another one, and another one. There is this historical consideration. There is this thing called ‘the economy.’ We don’t need to bother with the details of where it came from or how it’s grown. Friedman being Friedman, he’ll then take it further and say, ‘And therefore, free trade is great, et cetera, et cetera.’ But you don’t need to go all the way down that line to appreciate the power of that kind of reasoning. It talks about economic thinkers and their hopes and dreams and their personal failings. There are all these strategic considerations. That was enormously powerful. You’ve arranged to meet them somewhere in town at noon. Time permitting, we will cover the following chapters from the textbook. I like the Alfred Marshall quote she uses, that the mainspring of economic study is the “desire to put mankind in the saddle”—and that that marked a big change from before, when humans felt themselves at the whim of fate and the gods. In some physics models, you might say, ‘We’re going to ignore friction here because it doesn’t really help us understand what’s going on.’ But I promise you, if you walk out the door and try to walk down the street, and there is no friction…That friction is very, very important because without it, you will not be able to get anywhere. Therefore, if you want to protect American automobile manufacturers, you can do that by hammering American grain farmers, but is that what you want to do? Read He has a really sharp grasp of all the classic economic ideas—everything from the economics of trade to the economics of price discrimination, and how markets work. Yes, poor guy. Let’s move on to your next book, The Truth About Markets: Why Some Nations are Rich But Most Remain Poor (2003) by John Kay. Going back to Goetzmann, it turns out that we actually owe the first writing to a bunch of accountants.