Posted: 29 Jul. 2019 7 min. read

Summer reading list

A personal view from Ian Stewart, Deloitte's Chief Economist in the UK. To subscribe and/or view previous editions just google 'Deloitte Monday Briefing'.

Our summer reading list offers an eclectic mix of six articles to browse by the poolside.

All are available free and online. You can save them on your iPad's reading list by opening the links on Safari and tapping on the share arrow next to the address bar. If you choose to print these articles, please use the print icons on the webpages to ensure you print the entire article.

Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, two titans of their sport, honed their skills in very different ways. Tiger Woods started practising golf almost as soon as he could hold a club. Federer played many sports before choosing to pursue tennis. This article from The Guardian looks at the case for specialisation, and whether we have too much of it. The implications stretch beyond sports into the arts, business, finance and even medicine. This might interest parents, those pondering a career change or even those trying to prevent another financial crisis.

For decades, thousands have flocked to the bright city lights in search of a better life. However the population of New York, for the first time in four decades outside of a recession, shrank in 2018. The difficulty in raising a family is a key factor – people leave or are not born at all. The effects, in areas such as social attitudes, public finances and political power are diverse. This article from The Atlantic magazine looks at how, as cities change, the effects ripple right across the US.

The fact checking business is booming in a world of fake news. The proliferation of fake news in recent years has led to the rapid growth of an industry dedicated to filtering the news flow for incorrect facts. This Wired note shows how the UK firm Full Fact is having to automate to keep up with the pace of dissemination, and asks whether it really matters if you can prove something to be false.

This thought-provoking article by the historian Adam Tooze argues that central banks need to deal with climate change with the same energy and vigour that they devoted to fighting the global financial crisis.

This New York Times piece explores the race to rule streaming television, which has driven an uptick in content volume and opened up creative opportunities in the pacing and format of entertainment. The streaming platforms are using their unprecedented amount of data on viewership to determine what shows to invest in and shifting away from licensing content towards relying on proprietary material. The disruption of the broadcast industry is an example of how incumbents are being challenged by new business models.

Children with unusually high levels of intelligence are often looked upon by others with envy. This piece from The Economist’s 1843 magazine explores the difficulties that come with an unusually high IQ, and poses the question “why are so many brilliant children miserable misfits?” The author argues that intellectual prowess is often to the detriment of social capacity. The article touches on the wider question of how society and employers value both academic and emotional intelligence.

PS: A reader last week pointed out that wealth inequality has risen since the introduction of the UK’s National Minimum Wage (NMW). The NMW successfully countered income inequality, but wealth inequality has quite different causes. Profits' share of GDP has risen over recent decades while a long period of loose monetary policy has boosted asset prices. Both factors have tended to increase wealth inequality. Rising wealth inequality is a global phenomenon and the increase seen in the UK is less pronounced than in many other countries. In the UK the top 1 per cent’s share of total personal wealth rose from 15.2 per cent in 1988 to 19.9 per cent in 2012.

Key contact

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart

Partner and Chief UK Economist

Ian Stewart is a Partner and Chief Economist at Deloitte where he advises Boards and companies on macroeconomics. Ian devised the Deloitte Survey of Chief Financial Officers and writes a popular weekly economics blog, the Monday Briefing. His previous roles include Chief Economist for Europe at Merrill Lynch, Head of Economics in the Conservative Research Department and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Ian was educated at the London School of Economics.