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Ezra Klein’s Book Recommendations: Everything Is Political

When it comes to understanding and analyzing American public policy, Ezra Klein is the guy you can trust to break it down into neat, easily comprehensible units.
by Chris Allmer | Jun 15 2023
Ezra Klein Book Recommendations

Over the years, Ezra Klein has made a name for himself as one of the most knowledgeable commentators in the sphere of American politics and public policy. This is why many people turn to Ezra Klein’s book recommendations when they want to get a clearer understanding of these issues.

Ezra Klein is a popular American journalist, author, and podcast host. He began his career as a blogger. Then he started a podcast, The Ezra Klein Show, where he interviewed several influential policymakers and policy analysts in the USA. He gained widespread publicity and influence due to his uncommon ability to simplify the most complex policies. He has also won many awards for this and for his other exploits in journalism.

Ezra has a keen interest in healthcare policy. He has written extensively on this subject, and also on economics and American politics. In 2020, he published his bestselling book “Why We’re Polarized,” a thought-provoking book that focuses on the factors that caused the high level of polarization in America.

In this article, we wish to explore some of Ezra Klein’s noteworthy book recommendations.

Ezra Klein’s Favorite Books on American Politics

As you have probably guessed, most of Ezra Klein’s favorite books are about topics surrounding politics, public policy, and American history. Here are the top 5 on his reading list.

1. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro

The Power Broker is regarded as one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. It is a monumental biography of Robert Moses, one of the most influential urban planners in the history of New York.

The book explores Robert Moses’ rise to power, his ruthless public policy, and strict infrastructural developments. It also shows how he acquired great power, misused it wantonly, and displaced vulnerable communities with no recompense. The author also explores the socioeconomic, and racial impacts of his policies and how it all led to his downfall.

2. The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

As a long-term opponent of Donald Trump, it comes as no surprise that one of Ezra Klein’s book recommendations focuses on the anomalies in the appointments Donald Trump made during his reign at the White House. It exposes how the president selected appointees to chair departments, when they didn’t know how things worked. Judging from the uninformed manner in which the president and his appointees made decisions, the author argues that the American leader, himself, was fighting against the country.

The Fifth Risk also explored the four traditional risks that the United States faces, namely: natural disasters, economic collapse, terrorist attacks, and nuclear wars. It tactically placed Trump and his uninformed appointees as the fifth risk that the country had to suffer.

3. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

In this book, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt attempts to explain the curse of division among the human race. He explores how the moral and psychological foundation of humans shape their religious and political beliefs. He also demonstrates how different individuals and societies have different ways of prioritizing the concepts of moral foundations like virtue, kindness, sanctity, loyalty, authority, and fairness.

The author opines that these moral foundations influence people’s political and religious ideologies and may determine their perception of good and evil.

4. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns tells the real-life story of African Americans who had to migrate from the South to the North and West due to racial discrimination. Drawing from in-depth research and personal conversations, Isabel Wilkerson explores the political, economic, and social forces that pushed black people to make this journey. She also highlights the lasting imprint it has left on the past, present, and future of America.

5. The Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren

In this book, Senator Elizabeth Warren highlights some existential threats facing America’s middle class. She explains how the country was able to build the strongest middle class in the world, and argues that if these problems aren’t solved, the middle-class society may collapse.

Ezra Klein’s Book Recommendations on Psychology

6. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow studies the two aspects of human cognition: The fast and intuitive part, and the slow and calculative side. Drawing from many years of research, the Nobel laureate explains how these two sides of the brain determine human behavior, judgment, and decision-making.

7. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

This New York Times Bestseller explores the effects of our habits on the general outlook of our life. He also explains the habit loop, the role of willpower, and how to identify and modify negative habits as a way of affecting social change.

8. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Self-justification and cognitive dissonance are some of the banes of humanity. In this book, Caro Tavris and Elliot Aronson explore the psychology behind these two vices and the way the brain tricks us into avoiding responsibility for our mistakes. The authors use real-life examples and scientific findings to show the destructive effects of these traits, and they aim to show how these can be overcome.

Ezra Klein’s Book List on Technology and the Modern World

Ezra Klein also has a keen interest in technology and its impact on our world. Over the years, he has recommended a few books in this category, and they are occasionally listed as some of Ezra Klein’s favorite books.

9. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

In this thought-provoking book, Nicholas Carr explores how the incessant use of the internet impacts our brain function and cognitive abilities. The author argues that the constant use of the internet has resulted in shallow thinking, reduced attention span, and an inability to concentrate

10. Data Driven by Karen Levy

Data Driven is one of Ezra Klein’s controversial book recommendations. Karen Levy examines the effects of overreliance on technology and data, surrounding the job of truck drivers. The book explores how the watchful eyes of surveillance technology are upending their lives, as they go through a rigorous process to keep commerce and procurement functional.

11. The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values by Brian Christian

Christian argues that today’s AI Systems are so effective that we have essentially made them our eyes and ears and are allowing them to make decisions on our behalf. This is a huge cause of concern for many because ultimately these systems are replacing human judgment and might ultimately pose existential risks.

Check Out More Than 500 Books on Politics on Blinkist:

If you’re inspired by Ezra Klein’s book recommendations, you should check out more books on politics on Blinkist. In this category, you will find over 500 Books that will help you brush up on your knowledge of politics and history. And the best part? These books have been broken down into short summaries podcasts, so you can grab all the knowledge you need within a few minutes.

Be inspired by Blinkist Reading Lists

Blinkist currently offers 27 categories of topics with carefully curated reading lists and over 5,500 titles. An immeasurable wealth of knowledge that you can just dive into! If you enjoyed Ezra Klein’s Book recommendations, why not also take a look at the comprehensive reading list on Psychology with its many topics. Instead of reading thousands of pages, you can commit the knowledge contained in each book to memory in about 15 minutes!

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