If you have never read a book about modern economics, make this the first. Sylvia Nasar tells the story of the "dismal science" through shrewd, pacey and (yes) highly enjoyable portraits of its 19th- and 20th-century gurus.
From Marx and Engels to Keynes, Hayek and Amartya Sen, she shows how the crises and challenges recur. Her economists never square the circle of market and society, never abolish boom-and-bust – but they can "fail better".
The long search to make humankind the driver, not the victim, of economic change persists.