Chartbook by Adam Tooze

Chartbook is a regular newsletter featuring writing, statistics, charts, links, book recommendations and more from Adam Tooze, one of the leading commentators on economics and history.

Chartbook addresses themes from the political economy of the eurozone, to the economic history of China and the philosophy of history that might help us make sense of Nazi Germany and Albert Speer.

It is the sort of mixture that you would expect from the author of Wages of Destruction, Statistics and the German State, Deluge, Crashed and Shutdown. If you are interested in the breath of my work, check out my website

Often, Chartbook essays are spawned as elaborations of pieces you may have come across in the LRB or Foreign Policy, the New Statesman, the Guardian, Social Europe and occasionally the FT. But for me the newsletter is a new type of writing and the project is steadily evolving.

Chartbook started out, as the name suggests, as a series of charts. I still do include a lot of tables and charts. But, more and more, I have found myself writing essays that address both topical and historical issues, unearthing pieces of historical research I have not published elsewhere and using the newsletter as a motor to drive new attempts to make sense of things.

When, six years ago, I was first getting into social media (yes, as recently as that), I chose as my facebook banner this image by Paul Klee.

Paul Klee, Vorhaben, 1938

Source: Wikimedia

Klee’s title is Vorhaben, a compound German noun made up of the prefix “Vor” i.e. in front or before, and “haben” i.e. to have. Vorhaben is the thing you “have "in front of you”, the project or undertaking.

I love the way Klee’s figure is not so much a whole body as an outline with an eye. Not a closed body, but a sentient filter, sifting the dense and dark world on the left, into the still disorderly but lighter world on the right-hand side. Whatever order there is, is emergent, not a given, fixed or solid, but formed out of the fragments. That is very much the spirit of the Chartbook undertaking.

Apparently in renaissance aesthetics there was a concept of non-finito, referring to the specific beauty and meaning that attaches to things that are unfinished, in which the desired form is visibly struggling to emerge from the raw material. That’s the spirit of the material presented here.

Even, if incomplete and somewhat raw, the pay off is substantial. The open-endedness, the mélange of different styles and materials I am using in the newsletter, is allowing me to achieve a synthesis of interests and ideas that has eluded me in my work to date. I am delighted that so many readers have decided to follow along.

If you would like to join the group, please click below.

Chartbook started as a free newsletter and I want very much to keep it that way for those who need to read it that way. Chartbook readers come from all over the world and all walks of life. If you can’t afford a paid subscription, or if you read it in a context where paying subscriptions is inappropriate, I get it. Choose the free option.

But, writing the newsletter takes a lot of time and effort. I have to juggle it with many other commitments. So, if you can afford to, if you think the Chartbook content is valuable, if you would like to support the mission, or, simply, to buy me the equivalent of a cup of coffee once a month, please click here:

There are three options:

  1. The annual subscription: $50 annually

  2. The standard monthly subscription: $5 monthly - which gives you a bit more flexibility.

  3. Founders club:$ 120 annually, or another amount at your discretion - for those who really love Chartbook Newsletter, or read it in a professional setting in which you regularly pay for pricey subscriptions.

What do you get in return? First and foremost, good karma. In addition, for paying subscribers, I have started a series of regular emails featuring the most interesting, engaging or simply weird links of the previous few days.

Check out Top Links #1 and #2. Much more to come.

With the release of my new book Shutdown on September 7, there are more goodies on the way.

The highlight will be Shutdown sessions - reading groups for paying subscribers. Details tba. To be on the invite list, sign up for one of the subscription options here: