Arnold Kling  

Books Pertaining to Information

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Tyler Cowen recommends five.

I thought about what books I might recommend, and I realize that I have stopped reading books on information technology. Unless you count Cowen's Age of the Infovore, I may not have read any in this century. I agree that Clay Shirky and David Weinberger are interesting, but I pick up their thoughts from the web.

Last century, I read Microcosm by George Gilder. I imagine it will seem quite dated by now, but it really got me to think in terms of a less material economy, and thus represents an antecedent to From Poverty to Prosperity. I also read Information Rules by Hal Varian and Carl Shapiro, and I continue to recommend it. One of my mantras, "price discrimination explains everything," is in some ways a distillation of that book.

Last century, I wrote essays about information and information technology. Here is a summary of what I was thinking about 12 years ago.



COMMENTS (3 to date)
Various writes:

Boy, many of your predictions in your '98 essay were quite accurate! I hope you put on the big short position you mentioned in point #4.

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:
I also read Information Rules by Hal Varian and Carl Shapiro, and I continue to recommend it

It has its merits, but two chapters badly misunderstand the 'path dependence' debate between Paul David and Liebowitz and Margolis.

Varian has since been better informed (relentlessly, by myself and David Friedman) but--though he wasn't as confident at the end of the debate as he was at its start--he still stands by what they wrote.

guthrie writes:

It would be interesting to see a full list of your mantras in a single post...

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