The Net Delusion by Evgeny Morozov (PublicAffairs, $28). A well-argued brief that challenges our widely held belief that social media and cybertechnology are enhancing democracy, human rights, and freedoms around the world. Far from helping, Morozov very compellingly argues, they’re hindering.

The Party by Richard McGregor (Harper, $28). I am enamored of all things Chinese, so McGregor’s book—subtitled The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers—was always going to grab my attention. He provides a peek behind the “Red Curtain” at the political structures that make China tick. The book reveals just how little we really know about Chinese politics.

Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson (Penguin U.K., $41). Hot off the presses. The Harvard historian’s latest does a brilliant job of going beyond just economics as a deciding factor in the tussle between East and West. Religion, culture, the work ethic, and, of course, historical context all play a role. It’s worth a read to get up to speed on what Ferguson considers Western civilization’s “six killer apps.”

The End of the Free Market by Ian Bremmer (Portfolio, $27). At a recent dinner speaking engagement, Bremmer summarized a key theme in his book best when he said (and I paraphrase): In China, the state controls the corporations, whereas in the United States, the corporations control the state. His contribution to the Rest versus the West debate is both fresh and insightful.

This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff (Princeton, $35). A must-read for anyone who wants to get an unemotional, untainted, no-holds-barred picture of what countries with massive debts and gaping deficits have in store economically. If the past offers any indication of the future, the U.S. and other developed economies are in for a tortuous ride.

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (Harper, $22). An all-time classic from an economist turned novelist. Over 1,500 pages, Seth manages to keep the reader hooked. To this day, I remain stunned by what happens in the end. My all-time favorite.

—Economist Dambisa Moyo is the author of the 2009 best-seller Dead Aid. Her latest book, How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly—and the Stark Choices Ahead, has just been published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux