A live speech at last, and other news

17th August, 2021

I’m speaking at the FT Weekend Festival (in a well-ventilated tent in Hampstead) – do come along!

If you prefer your speeches online, you might enjoy this discussion with UCL economics students, in which we cover carbon taxes, thinking like a statistician, and the importance (or otherwise) of patents for vaccines.

More or Less is returning to Radio 4 on Wednesday 1st September – please send your questions and comments to moreorless@bbc.co.uk.

I’ve been enjoying some holiday reading – too many books to summarise – but I would direct your attention to:

Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style, a useful and highly enjoyable book about clear writing.

Roland Huntford’s The Last Place on Earth, a really gripping book about the rivalry between Scott and Amundsen. (I am no great admirer of Scott but Huntford occasionally seems to me to go too far in his criticism; that said the combination of vivid storytelling and careful historical detail is very compelling). Next I clearly need to read Ranulph Fiennes, who I understand disagrees vociferously.

Finally a reminder that The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy is out in the UK, Ireland, India, Australia and many other places very shortly. It’s a book telling the story of fifty different inventions – and more importantly, the way they shaped the world and the lessons they can teach us about how the modern world works. Pre-ordering from Bookshop, Amazon or your favourite local retailer would be enormously helpful, so thank you in advance!

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