I am not a John Kay fan, but these 5 books do seem well worth a read, and I have already read 3 of the 5 and recommended David Landes in a previous post.
You have described economics and business as the last bastions of modernism. What do you mean by that?
I think they are the last bastions of the idea that you can redesign the world in accordance with a rationally designed blueprint. Modernism in the twentieth century went through areas such as art, architecture and the humanities with the idea that we could rethink everything from the ground up and that we understood enough about the world to do that. I’ve come to believe that we don’t. But people still think they can analyse and structure economies as if they were a mechanical system and that they can do the same in business. So in the same way that Le Corbusier said – wrongly - that a house is a machine for living in, it exemplifies the idea that a business or an economy can be structured from first principles in the same way.