Downtime Reading List

Its been a hell of a year! We all really hope that you get to wind down and relax over the holidays.

We want to thank you all for how considerate and understanding you have been in your communications with us, always asking how we were and enquiring about our wellbeing, this has genuinely helped us through what has been a challenging term which we will remember for years to come! As our thank you to you, we have updated our suggested list of books for vacation reading or for giving as gifts to friends and family at the Economics Guide. We are also starting to organize new activities for 2021… but, more on that in January!

Finally, on behalf of all our colleagues, we want to wish you a happy and restful time over the break and we hope for you and your families a 2021 full of health and happiness.

Prof Iain Fraser 


The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane 


A non-fiction book that really invokes the great outdoors and the environment. It makes you realise the things that people “value ” much of the time can’t be bought or sold. History and culture are beautifully wrapped up in the natural environment in this book – it makes you want to get out of the office.  



Guillermo Cabanillas Jimenez 


“May I suggest The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz-Zafón? One of my favorites books from my favorite author. This is a book of adventures and lot of mysterious that happens in Barcelona and takes your attention from the very beginning.  


It’s a bit old, from the 2000s (if not mistaken), and there are 3 more books that continues the story. Very unfortunately the author passed away last June and there will be a last book published by the end of the year.” 



Tony Thirlwall 


John Kay and Mervyn King (2020), Radical Uncertainty: Decision Making for an Unknowable Future. An academically rigorous and witty exposition of the difference between risk and uncertainty (with numerous examples and case studies of real-live events); and a devastating critique of the efficient market hypothesis of asset pricing which underlay the 2008 financial crash. If only students read and understood Keynes’s General Theory. 


Robert Blecker and Mark Setterfield (2019), Heterodox Macroeconomics: Models of Demand, Distribution and Growth. Quite heavy reading, but a brilliant antidote to the teaching of mainstream macroeconomics – for the closed and open economy. 

Ioannis Galankis -Phd Candidate and GTA 

She Speaks: the power of Women’s Voices by Yvette Cooper

“Women’s Speeches That Changed the World. Women with different backgrounds talk about the role women should play today. From Thatcher to Thunberg… a very wide spectrum!”

Fernanda Leite Lopez 


All of these are available at the University of Kent library. 


  1. Animal Farm, by George Orwell  

This an excellent short book, both entertaining and thought provoking. It provides an allegory to dictatorships, more specifically to the previous Soviet Union. The other farms represent the UK and Hitler (you can guess who is who). Highly recommend it!  


  1.  Do androids dream of electric sheep? (by Philip k. Dick)  

This is the book that inspired the iconic ‘Blade Runner’ (the 1982 movie). It is super interesting, a page-turner adventure in a futurist apocalyptic planet Earth. It made me seriously think about climate change, nature and biodiversity. Very timely!  


  1. My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante  

This is a stunning book about two remarkable girls and their friendship during the 50s in a poor part of Italy. This is a visceral page-turner. I really enjoyed it. It makes you make realise how much we take for grant fundamental education, when at their time it was a real privilege. 


Aliye Osman – Social Media Officer of the UKC Economics Society

Good Economics not Hard Times by Abhijit V Banerjee and Esther Duflo

“This book dives into old ideas with fresh thought to broaden perspectives. It explores both sides of the coin to the 21st centuries biggest issues. From immigration to trade, this book has definitely given me a deeper understanding of the world around. Every economics student should read this book.”

Joel Pointon -President of the UKC Economics Society

Austerity by Alberto Alesina, Carlo Favero and Francesco Giavazzi

“It’s a great book because it a technical yet relatively easy to understand outline of why some countries used austerity well, and why some countries didn’t. A very useful way to cut through the political noise surrounding austerity and dive straight into the Economics. It also explains why some of the key economic principles (multiplier effect) didn’t play out as expected!”

Dr Olena Nizalova 

Promised Land by Barack Obama  

I think it is amazing. Also, I am listening it on Audible in his own voice. Really captivating. 


Dr Anirban Mitra  

I was very impressed by “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo — a winner of the Booker Prize last year. 


It provides interesting insights into the lives of immigrants. Additionally, it engages seriously with the idea of gender identities. These are clearly two themes which are very salient for economics today (migration, gender, social norms,…). 



Yidan Chai, PhD Candidate 

‘The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society’ by Jürgen Habermas.  


“This is a great discussion on public, private sphere and their boundary, which is an inspiration for us to further reflect on the current society, public opinions, media, etc. in an Internet age. Recommend.” 

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