A friend introduced me to a new author. His name is Nassim Taleb. He is- according to the bio on the first page- "Dean's Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty at the University of Massachusetts.' He has also been a Wall Street trader, so his ideas aren't merely theoretical.
Taleb wrote two books: Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan. His thesis is that success is far more often due to random luck than skill, in many professions- most especially business and economics. He talks about 'survivorship bias': that is, we only see the winners, and not the losers- so we get a false sense of how easy it is to succeed. And how much of that success is simply due to chance. The book is highly entertaining and thought-provoking, as it shows the foolishness of conventional wisdom about business and investing.
But what I like best about Taleb is that he shares my general scorn of economists, whom he calls "charlatans at best" and equates with astrologers, tea-leaf readers and other con-artists. He's my hero!
Anyways, I highly recommend 'Fooled by Randomness' and 'The Black Swan'- they are the most intelligent books I've read in years.