I am a big history fan. While others see only names and dates, I see an explanation for why things are the way they are. Moreover, I see a way to understand where we're headed. Basic human nature does not change, so if you look at how it expresses itself through time, you will have a basic understanding of how it will express itself in the future. If you understand the intersection of history, technology and society, you have a powerful tool for understanding both the present and the future.
So Joe Nocera's column in the New York Times is a fascinating read. I've often felt that we are running a retread of the 1930's. Nocera 's column seems to confirm this. He read a book called Since Yesterday, a history of the 1930s published in 1940, and entitled his column The 1930s Sure Sound Familiar. Yes, indeed they do. Read the column and marvel. Then pick up the book. I know I will, along with John Kenneth Galbraith's The Great Crash. They should prove an interesting signpost to where we're headed. I would also recomment Dmitry Orlov's Reinventing Collapse for a history and commentary on a much more recent collapse - that of the Soviet Union - but the first two books have the advantage of describing actual events in America, without the major differences in culture, outlook, and economic fundamentals.
The 1930s Sure Sound Familiar - Joe Nocera, The New York Times. Should be some excellent comments too.
Here's an online version of the book: