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From the Great War to the gardens of Venice, the best books of 2013 as chosen by FT writers and guests


 

Economics


The Bankers' New Clothes: What's Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It, by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig, Princeton, RRP£19.95/$29.95

This is the most important book to have come out of the financial crisis. It argues, convincingly, that the problem with banks is that they operate with vastly insufficient levels of equity capital, relative to their assets. Targeting return on equity, without consideration of risk, allows bankers to pay themselves egregiously, while making their institutions and the economy hugely unstable.

Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries, by Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya, PublicAffairs, RRP£19.99/$28.99

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