I have just started reading Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson . The aim of the book is to explain why some nations are successful and why others fail. The thesis of the book is that institutions matter for economic development, whilst geography and culture play a somewhat limited role. The book's website and associated blog can be found here . The video below is a short talk given by Acemoglu at the Cato Institute about Why Nations Fail .