Faculty Reading Recommendations
Róisín O’Sullivan, Associate Professor of Economics
Róisín O'Sullivan joined Smith’s Department of Economics in 2002 after completing her undergraduate and master’s studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and her doctoral studies at the Ohio State University. From 1992 to 1997, she worked as an economist for the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland. Her research focuses on issues relating to monetary policy and financial markets and she teaches courses in macroeconomics, European integration, money and banking, and central banking.
Here are Professor O'Sullivan's responses to our questions:
Q. What are three books in your field that you feel are most helpful/interesting for lay readers who want to learn more?
A very readable book that gives a context within which to think about the recent financial crisis and associated recession is Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller.
As a European, I would like to recommend The Bank: The Birth of Europe’s Central Bank and the Rebirth of Europe’s Power by Matt Marshall. Marshall had direct access to the ECB’s Board members and top-level executives when writing this book and he provides fascinating insights into the personalities involved and the negotiations that took place around the establishment of the ECB.
Glyn Davies’ A History of Money: From Ancient Times to the Present Day is a tome but easy to read and full of interesting stories about how money and the financial system have evolved with society.
I would also like to second Nicholas Horton’s recommendation of Peter L. Bernstein's Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk. I read this book as a graduate student when providing research assistance to the author of a money and banking textbook. The book sheds light on the linkages between developments in probability theory and our ability to create and price financial instruments.
Q. What books have influenced your life?
In terms of my professional life, I guess I would have to point to the great works in economics. Reading Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, Marx’s Capital and Keynes’ General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money while an undergraduate in Ireland helped me place the economic theories I was learning about in a broader context. Reading these books opened my eyes to the key role of economics in all aspects of society and set me on the path to becoming an economist.
Q. What are you reading now?
Two books that I am working on the moment are:
- 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson and James Kwak
- This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff