Linda Yueh is an economist, broadcaster, and author. Linda Yueh is Fellow in Economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University, and Adjunct Professor of Economics at London Business School. She is also Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s (LSE) foreign policy think tank, the IDEAS research centre, and was Visiting Professor of Economics at Peking University. Linda Yueh is a TV and radio presenter, including for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, as well as having fronted BBC TV series, such as The New Middle Class, Next Billionaires, and Working Lives. Linda Yueh is a widely published author and Editor of the Routledge Economic Growth and Development book series. Her next book, The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today is published by Viking/ Penguin Random House in March 2018, and What Would the Great Economists Do? How Twelve Brilliant Minds Would Solve Today’s Biggest Problems by Picador/ Macmillan in the U.S. in June 2018. Previously, Linda Yueh was Chief Business Correspondent for BBC News and host of Talking Business with Linda Yueh for BBC World TV and BBC News Channel based in Singapore. She had been Economics Editor and anchor at Bloomberg TV in London. Please enjoy my interview with Linda Yueh.
How do you describe your occupation?
Talk us through a typical day for you…
Everyday is different. But everyday involves reading.
Property by Lionel Shriver, an insightful author as I’ll be discussing her new book alongside mine in a BBC programme. Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff which piqued my interest, and we share a publisher.
Can you remember the first book you read by yourself?
No, but I have memories of reciting from various books as a child
Are you a page folder or a bookmarker?
If you could gift yourself books at age 16 and age 25 – what would they be and why?
The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell by Bertrand Russell for both gifts because it is a joyous and inspiring book about a remarkable life.
Which three books would you recommend for a complete novice who wants to learn about economics?
If you could invite 5 authors (dead or alive) to a dinner party – who would they be and why?
Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Friedrich Hayek, Joan Robinson and John Maynard Keynes – they are among the Great Economists whom I have written about in my new book whose collective thinking has transformed the world so it would be fascinating to dine with them.
What was the last book you purchased, and why did you buy it?
The National Debt: A Short History by Martin Slater who’s a superb economist and has written a book analysing one of our biggest economic issues.
What is your favourite thing about reading?
Enjoyment – such as when you read passages like the Prologue to The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell by Bertrand Russell: “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind… Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth.”
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
Diary of a Bipolar Explorer by Lucy Newlyn. She is a retired English professor and has written her account of living with mental illness. She uses both prose and poetry to share her experience of bipolar disorder. She also mentions that creative writers and poets such as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath likewise suffered from manic depression.
If you could insert yourself into any book, which would you pick and why?
One of the Harry Potter books – so as to experience JK Rowling’s imaginary world.
What’s the greatest book on economics ever written?
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life? What impact did it have?
A Theory of Justice by John Rawls which introduced the concept of a ‘veil of ignorance’ that has affected how I view policymaking. If you were behind such a veil and did not know your standing in a society, then that ought to inform your judgment about the merits of any public policy.
There are no clear-cut answers in a social science like economics, so take care to be clear about your evidence, analysis and reasoning.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Too many to name! One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – indeed, all of his books.
Which book sat on your shelf are you most excited about reading next and why?
First Confession: A Sort of Memoir by Chris Patten – it’s always fascinating to read the memoirs of people who have played a role in history.