The Origin of Wealth shows us the inadequacies of the economic theories that underpin our understanding of economics. The book argues that economic actors shouldn’t be seen as rational consumers that act on their self-interest. Rather, economics is best understood as a complex system of adaptation, similar to evolution, where products, ideas, and ideology compete for survival.
In 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism Ha-Joon Chang destroys the biggest myths of our current economic approach. He explains how, despite what most economists believe, there are many things wrong with free market capitalism. As well as explaining the problems, Chang also offers possible solutions which could help us build a better, fairer world.
Economics: The User’s Guide lays out the foundational concepts of economics in an easily relatable and compelling way. Examining the history of economics as well as some critical changes to global economic institutions, this book will teach you everything you need to know about how economics works today.
The Wealth of Nations is a profoundly influential work in the study of economics and examines exactly how nations become wealthy. Adam Smith advocates that by allowing individuals to freely pursue their own self-interest in a free market, without government regulation, nations will prosper.
Don’t Buy It (2012) explores the ways language influences our understanding of complex issues. Anat Shenker-Osorio brings her research and expertise to bear on a question that plagues progressives: why do conservatives always win economic debates in the United States, despite the deep inequality and structural injustice epitomized by the financial crash and the Great Recession? These blinks answer this question by analyzing the language employed on either side of the political spectrum.
Postcapitalism (2015) offers a close examination of the failures of current economic systems. The 2008 financial crisis showed us that neoliberal capitalism is falling apart, and these blinks outline the reasons why we’re at the start of capitalism’s downfall, while giving an idea of what our transition into postcapitalism will be like.
False Economy (2009) offers a fresh perspective on how and why some nations of the world have become economic powerhouses and others have ended up as financial disasters. You’ll see that nations aren’t handcuffed by fate. Rather, their economic success or failure is based on the choices they make.
Two Nations Indivisible (2013) tells the story of the United States’ relationship with its neighbor to the south: Mexico. These blinks explain the profound connections between the two countries as well as the misunderstandings that keep them apart, with an emphasis on political and economic relations.
The Way Back (2016) offers an intriguing explanation of why the American dream is a long-lost concept. These blinks take a close look at the fundamental systems of the United States, from education to criminal justice, and reveal exactly how these systems have broken down and why they are in desperate need of repair.
Saving Capitalism (2015) is a biting critique of the world’s economic order but also an optimistic look into how capitalism could support the common good. These blinks will teach you how and why capitalism is failing most people, and where it needs to go to do right by the majority.
In America’s Bank (2015), you’ll discover the gripping story of the US Federal Reserve, or “Fed.” These blinks trace the history behind the development and unification of the American banking system and show the complex web of interests and players that continue to shape the system today.
The WikiLeaks Files (2015) provides fascinating and digestible insights from WikiLeaks, the organization that came to worldwide prominence with the release of 251,287 US State Department cables in 2010. These blinks paint a bleak picture of an American empire and its machinations.
Dark Money (2016) is a chilling look behind the scenes of American politics, outlining how a small handful of the country’s richest people have been influencing the country’s political landscape since the 1970s. Far from a conspiracy theory, these are the cold hard facts of the powerful and immensely wealthy individuals behind the rise of today’s radical right-wing conservative movement.
Austerity (2013) cuts through the confusion behind our recent financial crises and reveals what really happens when economists call for a policy of austerity to be implemented. This is when budgets are cut, public funding is slashed and working-class families suffer so that banks can be saved and continue to make billions. Find out what’s really going on and who’s really being protected when your country gets pushed into austerity.
Barbarians at the Gate (1989) tells the story of one of the largest corporate deals in US history, the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. These blinks provide a gripping portrait of the extreme and extravagant behavior in corporate America during the 1980s.
Jean Tirole’s Economics for the Common Good (2017) is a wide-ranging look at the contemporary economy, packed with plenty of insights into the theory and practice of modern-day economics. Deconstructing the supposed opposition of state and market, Tirole explores their many interconnections in fields ranging from climate change to property rights and the new digital economy.
An American Sickness (2017) takes an honest look at the state of the American health-care system and frankly diagnoses its many ailments. When big business started taking over what were once charitable organizations, things began to go truly wrong. Rosenthal presents valuable information on how to reduce health-care bills and not get taken for a ride by greedy hospitals and over-prescribing doctors.
Glass House (2017) tells the cautionary tale of Lancaster, Ohio, a town that went from boom to bust over the course of the past fifty years. At the heart of this downfall is the Anchor Hocking glass factory, a major source of employment that turned into a bitter disappointment. This story is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the current state of affairs in American society and politics.
Doughnut Economics (2017) is a call to arms for a fresh approach to economics. As inequality soars and environmental crisis looms, the book’s central question has never seemed more relevant. How can we build a just economic system that allows us to thrive while preserving the planet? A good place to start, Kate Raworth suggests, is to do away with the old myths that have shaped economic thinking for so long. Zeroing in on the doughnut-shaped “sweet spot” in which our needs can be sustainably met, this is a thought-provoking read which might just help save the world.
Edge of Chaos (2018) examines the key challenges that liberal democracies around the world are facing today. Aging populations, limited resources and increasing debt are all threats to these countries’ economic well-being – but so too are the “remedies” of short-term policies and protectionism. Author Dambisa Moyo examines that misguided agenda and presents a radical blueprint for economic growth in the twenty-first century.
Capitalism and Freedom (1962) is one of the most influential discussions of the relationship between economic and political freedom to have ever been put to paper. Written at the height of the Cold War between Soviet socialism and Western capitalism, Milton Friedman argues that only free markets can guarantee liberty. His theory remains every bit as relevant and thought-provoking today as when it was first published.
Utopia for Realists (2016) is a call to arms for a radical rethinking of life, work and how society functions. It argues that the world enjoys unprecedented wealth and material comfort but is still full of problems, from soul-destroying jobs to inequality and poverty. We have the power to solve these problems and build a better future if we embrace utopian thinking.
The Third Pillar (2019) traces the evolving relationship between the three “pillars” of human life – the state, markets and communities – from the medieval period to our own age. Economist Raghuram Rajan argues that, throughout history, societies have struggled to find a sustainable balance between these pillars. Today is no different: caught between uncontrolled markets and a discredited state, communities everywhere are in decline. That, Rajan concludes, is jet fuel for populist movements. But a more balanced kind of social order is possible.
The Future of Capitalism (2018) offers a candid analysis of capitalism that calls for a return to communitarian ethics to mend rifts between families, communities and nations. Diagnosing the failings of modern liberalism, Paul Collier proposes the reintroduction into economic thinking of ethical concerns. He also suggests pragmatic policies that might forge a capitalism that works for everyone.
The War on Normal People (2018) reveals how America is on the brink of economic and social collapse due to technological advances such as automation and artificial intelligence. Painting a portrait of the reality that average Americans will increasingly face if mass unemployment is left unaddressed, author Andrew Yang proposes a vision to transform the economy by adopting a human-centered form of capitalism that begins with a universal basic income.
Good Economics for Hard Times (2019) unflinchingly examines some of the most seemingly intractable problems we’re confronting today. Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo argue that economics can provide new perspectives on how to solve climate change without hurting the poor, and also tackle social problems caused by rising inequality, global trade, and fear of immigration.
Hawai’i (2019) is a detailed history of the economic forces that have shaped Hawaiian society. Author Sumner La Croix traces the arc of commerce, from traditions first established in the twelfth century by Polynesian colonists to the modern Hawaiian state. Along the way, he examines what has changed and what has stayed the same.
Americana (2017) traces the history of the USA from one key perspective: capitalism. Bhu Srinivasan shows how the development of the country has been closely bound up with the development of capitalism, from the New England colonies’ earliest days to the most recent innovations of Silicon Valley or Wall Street.
Named by The Economist as one of the best books of 2017
One Billion Americans (2020) poses a provocative solution to America’s diminishing prosperity. Author Matthew Yglesias believes that by increasing its population to one billion, the nation could retain its position as the world’s top economic power. Yglesias puts forward a strategy to achieve this, while exploring the surprising benefits more people would bring.
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy (2018) is a lucid and accessible account of our current economic system. This engaging primer explains what economics is, what it does, and why it became such a force in our everyday lives.
Austerity (2019) uses data analysis to look at one of the most controversial topics in economics today. An analysis of several countries’ austerity policies over the past several decades reveals that cutting spending can actually help the economy expand.
Angrynomics (2020) examines the growing atmosphere of anger around the globe. Part political theory, part social science, this approachable text diagnoses the cause of the rising resentment and proposes a few popular solutions.
American Crisis (2020) is a candid retelling of how Governor Andrew Cuomo managed the COVID-19 crisis in one of the worst affected states in America: New York. It reveals the steps Cuomo took to steer New York through the early days of the pandemic in a country run by a president Cuomo sees as incapable of leadership. It also shows how real leadership requires honesty and transparency, clear communication, and compassion for others.
The Value of Everything (2018) presents an argument for redefining value in the economy so that we can better understand who really creates value, and who extracts it.
The Economists’ Hour (2019) is a compact history of how economists came to dominate our political discourse. This work traces the rise of neoliberal ideology from the 1960s to today.
Wildland (2021) recounts the story of how America became unraveled throughout the first two decades of the twenty-first century. Drawing on stories from residents of three US cities – Greenwich, Connecticut; Clarksburg, West Virginia; and Chicago, Illinois – it examines the undercurrents of change that tie together the fates of these varied landscapes. Finally, it describes how the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 laid the foundation for the violent insurrection on January 6, 2021.
The Dying Citizen (2021) explores the ways in which modern American democracy is being weakened. Touching on issues like globalization and identity politics, it discusses how left-wing progressives are damaging the foundations of the United States.
Lessons from the Titans (2020) tells the stories of ten industrial companies in the United States. From General Electric to Boeing, Honeywell to United Rentals, it looks at which strategic decisions led to success and which disastrous missteps created new obstacles. By analyzing the past performance of such legendary businesses, it offers greater insight into which companies today will stick around – and which won’t.
The Raging 2020s (2021) is an autopsy of the American social contract, which once kept companies, governments, and individuals in stable harmony but has since broken down. In particular, it describes how the power of corporations has expanded in recent years while federal might has waned – and how the result is that companies have more control over people’s lives than ever before. We must work to restore the balance and write a new social contract for the modern age.
Adrift (2022) argues that the United States is flailing, despite all its success and global dominance since World War II. It’s a country struggling to adapt to revolutionary changes in technology, facing deep economic and political divisions and threats of extremism, and quickly losing ground to rivals like China. Despite all of this, Scott Galloway still sees reason for hope, but first lays out what he sees as the biggest challenges facing the nation.
It’s OK to be Angry About Capitalism (2023) is a critique of the economic and political system in the US. It offers a blueprint on how to move past unbridled capitalism onto a fairer and freer future.
The Myth of American Inequality (2022) corrects widespread misconceptions about inequality in the United States. Taking aim at misleading official statistics, it shows that poverty has all but disappeared in today’s America and that the gap between rich and “poor” isn’t nearly as large as many people assume.
Power Failure (2022) details the rise and fall of General Electric – once a great success story of international business. But its legacy went badly awry, as even casual consumers of business news will remember. Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon (2022) gives a startlingly detailed account inside the behemoth corporation, examining what went right – and then wrong.
Profit Over People (1999) is a deep dive into the often hidden world of neoliberalism, revealing how global power structures and US policies are influenced by corporate interests. You’ll be taken on a journey that uncovers an economic system geared toward the affluent, often to the detriment of the many.
Flash Boys (2014) is an investigation into the dark underbelly of the US financial markets. It also chronicles the birth of a new stock exchange, the IEX, created to counteract a rigged system that was facilitated by technological loopholes and a lack of transparency.
Innovation in Real Places (2021) argues that the prevailing Silicon Valley model of growth creation has failed most cities and regions. Rather than chasing the chimera of becoming the next tech hub, communities should focus on identifying their niche in the global production process and fostering innovation based on their existing strengths.