It is hard to say you are sad to hear of the passing of someone at 97 but it is the case with John Kenneth Galbraith. I have enjoyed a few of his many books and appreciate that he played a role in the economic modernization that helped bring the boom of wealth to North America that the combination of social welfare and well-regulated, well-taxed capitalist freedom has provided over the last 50 plus years. My favorite recollection of his observations was his description in the book Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went of the amazement of, I think, a US Secretary of the Treasury coming to the realization that banks, when loaning money, create the money loaned out of thin air as opposed to partaking of any sort of transfer away from A to give to B.
But it is his autobiographies that I would recommend first. In The Scotch he wrote about his south-west Ontario roots, including a great discription of his family’s weekly rushed clearing our of the local market town at the end of Saturday afternoon as the drunken brawls of less temperate but temporarily funded neighbouring farmers began pouring out into the streets. In another autobiography, I remember him describing the work he did as a economist for the US Navy after WWII figuring out the effect of Allied bombing on German industry as well as seeking out the basis for the Nazi war machine. He was quite shocked to learn there was no machine, that the Nazis refused to run factories on more than one eight-hour shift a day or employ women in them due to their puritanical belief in their “traditional family”.
Even if your economics are mere faith-based contrarianism, you may try to resist but should not as you will find the bright quality of his mind reflected in the writing nonetheless, the sort of mind which, when asked as an election night pundit at 7 pm who would win replied ask me at 11 pm and was happily never asked back to be an election night pundit.