The Vertem book club

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It’s the British summer time. Of course, our summer is best described by a typical analogy of the English football team; a lot of promise in the run up, lots of potential on paper, false hope….fails to deliver when it matters. Actually that’s harsh on the Great British summer as we usually get one day where the weatherman will enjoy telling us the UK is actually hotter than a host of generic holiday destinations. Whether you beat the odds of 1/365* and timed your ‘staycation’ perfectly, or you’ve chosen to escape to warmer climates, it is likely a book wasn’t far away as it’s a rare opportunity to finish that book that has been collecting dust since 2007; a book is the reliable throwback that doesn’t need charging or Wi-Fi. We’re here to suggest what you should be reading this year if you haven’t already;

*we know it’s a leap year.

Want to never fall victim to clever marketing again? Misbehaving is a great book about behavioural economics by Richard H. Thaler. The author, who has spent most of his life proving that we humans aren’t as smart as we think we are, applies many examples from charitable donations to investment decisions to highlight our idiosyncrasies.  With underlying humour throughout you can wow your friends with rational decision making… only for it to be overruled unless they’ve also read the book of course. This is the book for you if you want to make smarter decisions, achieve the most efficient supermarket shop of your life or at least understand (some) of your prior bad decisions. It won’t answer why you thought that hair style looked good 10 years ago.

Want to be the king of your fantasy league? We can’t recommend books in this area without mentioning the don, Michael Lewis. His bestseller Liar’s Poker from 1989 could be a good place to start. He also now has two that have been adapted for the big screen; Moneyball enjoyed huge success as it follows the story of a Baseball team who rely on analytics rather than big revenues. Start with Moneyball and thank us later when you collect the Fantasy league sweep. The Big Short was Oscar nominated earlier this year, also from Lewis’ repertoire, this book follows a number of separate characters who saw the 2008 financial crisis coming, and as a result became very, very, very rich. Flash Boys is rumoured to be the next one Hollywood is interested in, so maybe read this too and you can be that person who leaves the cinema with the comment ‘I preferred the book’.


Want to read the same books as the richest man on the planet? You’ve likely heard of Freakonomics, but if you haven’t read it you should. Want to know what American teachers and Sumo wrestlers have in common? It’s that burning question you’ve always wanted to get the answer to isn’t it? Well look no further. Freakonomics can claim fans such as Bill Gates. So if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for you.  If you like what you read then you can try Superfreakonomics, the little big brother to the debut book. These guys, Steven and Stephen… have also written a book called ‘When to rob a bank’; which may actually be the most useful book of all our suggestions. If you’re on holiday in Greece though maybe wait until you get back to use your new found Danny Ocean like skills.

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