100 books like Beyond Growth

By Herman E. Daly,

Here are 100 books that Beyond Growth fans have personally recommended if you like Beyond Growth. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need

Sam Pizzigati Author Of The Case for a Maximum Wage

From my list on why we need a world without billionaires.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1950s next door to Long Island’s iconic Levittown. All my aunts and uncles lived in similar modest suburbs, and I assumed everyone else did, too. Maybe that explains why America’s sharp economic U-turn in the 1970s so rubbed me the wrong way. We had become, in the mid-20th century, the first major nation where most people—after paying their monthly bills—had money left over. Today we rate as the world’s most unequal major nation. Our richest 0.1 percent hold as much wealth as our bottom 90 percent. I’ve been working with the Institute for Public Studies, as co-editor of Inequality.org, to change all that.

Sam's book list on why we need a world without billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Why did Sam love this book?

Our nation’s most insightful—and readable—sociologist? Boston College’s Juliet Schorr has my vote.

Over the past quarter-century, Schor has probably done more than anyone else in the world to bring grand conceptual constructs like income distribution down to the nitty-gritty of daily life.

Her 1999  best-seller, The Overspent American, strikingly exposes how inequality unleashes a “competitive consumption” dynamic that has us consuming ever more and enjoying life ever less. And that dynamic poses more dangers today than ever before.

As Schor put it in an interview with her I did some years back, we have “no chance” at achieving ecological sustainability “with the kind of extreme income distribution” that we have today. 

By Juliet B. Schor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Overspent American as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An in-depth look at the corruption of the American Dream, the follow-up to the the Overworked American examines the consumer lives of Americans and the pitfalls of keeping up with the Joneses. Schor explains how and why the purchases of others in our social and professional communities can put pressure on us to spend more than we can afford to, how television viewing can undermine our ability to save, and why even households with good incomes have taken on so much debt for so many products they dont need and often dont even want.


Book cover of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

Sam Pizzigati Author Of The Case for a Maximum Wage

From my list on why we need a world without billionaires.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1950s next door to Long Island’s iconic Levittown. All my aunts and uncles lived in similar modest suburbs, and I assumed everyone else did, too. Maybe that explains why America’s sharp economic U-turn in the 1970s so rubbed me the wrong way. We had become, in the mid-20th century, the first major nation where most people—after paying their monthly bills—had money left over. Today we rate as the world’s most unequal major nation. Our richest 0.1 percent hold as much wealth as our bottom 90 percent. I’ve been working with the Institute for Public Studies, as co-editor of Inequality.org, to change all that.

Sam's book list on why we need a world without billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Why did Sam love this book?

The British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have an American doctor friend who has a fascinating exercise for his first-year medical school students.

This doctor asks his students to write a speech detailing why the USA has the world’s best health. The students eagerly set about collecting all the relevant data and quickly find themselves absolutely shocked. Among major developed nations, the USA turns out to have the worst health.

Americans also turn out to be up to ten times more likely than people in other developed nations to get murdered or become drug addicts. What’s going on here? Inequality!

The more wealth concentrates at a society’s summit, Wilkinson and Pickett vividly show in this 2009 classic, the worse that society performs on the yardsticks that define basic health and decency. 

By Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Spirit Level as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Groundbreaking analysis showing that greater economic equality-not greater wealth-is the mark of the most successful societies, and offering new ways to achieve it.

"Get your hands on this book."-Bill Moyers

This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them-the well-off and the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking. Almost every modern social and environmental problem-ill health, lack of…


Book cover of Securing the Fruits of Labor: The American Concept of Wealth Distribution, 1765-1900

Sam Pizzigati Author Of The Case for a Maximum Wage

From my list on why we need a world without billionaires.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1950s next door to Long Island’s iconic Levittown. All my aunts and uncles lived in similar modest suburbs, and I assumed everyone else did, too. Maybe that explains why America’s sharp economic U-turn in the 1970s so rubbed me the wrong way. We had become, in the mid-20th century, the first major nation where most people—after paying their monthly bills—had money left over. Today we rate as the world’s most unequal major nation. Our richest 0.1 percent hold as much wealth as our bottom 90 percent. I’ve been working with the Institute for Public Studies, as co-editor of Inequality.org, to change all that.

Sam's book list on why we need a world without billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Why did Sam love this book?

The urge to limit vast accumulations of individual wealth, the historian James Huston reminds us in this 1998 deep dive into America’s largely forgotten past, turns out to be as American as apple pie.

The new American nation, as John Adams put in in 1776, would only be able to preserve the “balance of power on the side of equal liberty and public virtue” by dividing the nation’s land “into small quantities, so that the multitude may be possessed of landed estates.”

Thomas Jefferson fully agreed. A republic, he insisted, “cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property.” Our founders never lived up to these noble aims. We still can.

By James L Huston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Securing the Fruits of Labor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his comprehensive study of the economic ideology of the early republic, James L. Huston argues that Americans developed economic attitudes during the Revolutionary period that remained virtually unchanged until the close of the nineteenth century. Viewing Europe's aristocratic system, early Americans believed that the survival of their new republic depended on a fair distribution of wealth, brought about through political and economic equality.

The concepts of wealth distribution formulated in the Revolutionary period informed works on nineteenth-century political economy and shaped the ideology of political parties. Huston reveals how these ideas influenced debates over reform, working-class agitation, political participation,…


Book cover of Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life

Jonathan Chevreau Author Of Findependence Day

From my list on financial independence and retirement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a veteran semi-retired Canadian financial journalist who has long made a distinction between the terms “Retirement” and “Financial Independence.” I  recently turned 70 and have been financially independent since my early 60s BUT I am not yet retired. I coined the term Findependence in my financial novel Findependence Day, and since 2014 have been running the Financial Independence Hub blog, with new blogs every business day.

Jonathan's book list on financial independence and retirement

Jonathan Chevreau Why did Jonathan love this book?

The late Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group, published this excellent book in 2009.

Consider the following apophyrical tale related in Chapter 10 of Enough: “Too Much Success, Not Enough Character.” It concerns an old greyhound who spent his days at a race track chasing a mechanical rabbit. Over the years, the dog had won over a million dollars for his owner but ultimately decided to quit: not because he was mistreated or had become disabled but because “I found out that the rabbit I was chasing wasn’t even real.”

Those who accumulate more money than they need in life and end up as the richest denizen in the cemetery would do well to reflect on the main premises of Enough. Remember, financial independence is about having income exceed expenses, no matter how modest those expenses might be. It’s about working only because you want to, not because you…

By John C. Bogle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Enough as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Bogle puts our obsession with financial success in perspective Throughout his legendary career, John C. Bogle-founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and creator of the first index mutual fund-has helped investors build wealth the right way and led a tireless campaign to restore common sense to the investment world. Along the way, he's seen how destructive an obsession with financial success can be. Now, with Enough., he puts this dilemma in perspective. Inspired in large measure by the hundreds of lectures Bogle has delivered to professional groups and college students in recent years, Enough. seeks, paraphrasing Kurt Vonnegut,…


Book cover of Beyond Uneconomic Growth: Economics, Equity and the Ecological Predicament

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

This is a great selection of more recent work in ecological economics. It focuses on seeking alternatives to standard economists’ fixation on unlimited economic growth.

Drawing on physical science, ecology, and the science of human behavior, contributors show how economic growth itself has become “uneconomic” and incompatible with a healthy ecosystem. An alternative vision – a human economic system in balance with the environment, while providing for essential needs and a high quality of life – is presented in contributions by scholars from diverse fields. 

By Joshua Farley (editor), Deepak Malghan (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond Uneconomic Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Daly's contributions to the still emergent field of ecological economics are constant references for our peers throughout the developing world as well as in the North. His courageous tilting at the windmills of mainstream economic nonsense inspire us to continue questioning: in whose interests do we continue on a perpetual search for unlimited material satisfaction? Daly's conception is not only of a world restricted by biophysical limits, but also one in which poverty and deprivation are commonplace, and where Sisyphean efforts to maintain accelerated economic growth only exacerbate inequitable distribution. His vision of sustainable economic welfare shed light on other…


Book cover of Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development, Selected Essays of Herman Daly

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

I was privileged to know Herman Daly, often seen as the founding father of ecological economics.

Starting in the 1960s, he defied conventional economic theory to insist on the primacy of the ecological system and limits to economic growth. He introduced the concept of “full world” economics, arguing that the expansion of human economic activity was displacing essential ecological functions.

This book presents his extensive and insightful perspective on a range of economic issues, and offers a roadmap for saving the global economic system from collapse. 

By Herman E. Daly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development, Selected Essays of Herman Daly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development comprises a carefully chosen selection of some 25 articles, speeches, congressional testimonies, reviews, and critiques from the last ten years of Herman Daly's ever-illuminating work.

This book seeks to identify the blind spots and errors in standard growth economics, alongside the corrections that ecological economics offers to better guide us toward a sustainable economy - one with deeper biophysical and ethical roots.

Under the general heading of sustainability and ecological economics, many specific topics are here brought into relation with each other. These include: limits to growth; full-world versus empty-world economics; uneconomic growth; definitions of…


Book cover of Escape from Overshoot: Economics for a Planet in Peril

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

Peter Victor, a leading Canadian economist, has worked to reform economic thinking and modeling to take account of twenty-first-century realities: the increasing stress placed on the world’s ecosystems by growing population, energy demand, pressure on agricultural and water systems, and multiple forms of pollution.

Victor surveys alternatives such as green growth, post-growth, degrowth, and regenerative economics, offering hope for a positive social, economic, and ecological future. 

By Peter A. Victor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Escape from Overshoot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Earth overshoot will end either by design or by disaster. Which future should we choose?

Earth is in overshoot. The cumulative impact of 8 billion humans combined with the relentless pursuit of economic growth in the name of "progress" has stressed the planet beyond its limits. We must act now.

Surveying economic alternatives and charting plausible paths forward for a planned economic contraction, Escape from Overshoot covers a wide terrain, including:

An overview of Earth overshoot and prevailing trends and implications for humans and biodiversity A concise review of economic ideas including neoclassical, Keynesian, Marxist, ecological economics, and steady state…


Book cover of An Introduction to Ecological Economics

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

This book provides an essential introduction to the expanding field of ecological economics.

Authored by some of the leading figures in the field, it covers the basic evidence of global limits to economic activity such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and land degradation. The historical basis for ecological economic theory is explained in non-technical terms.

The book covers issues of sustainable scale, natural capital, and ecosystem services – simple concepts that nonetheless revolutionize economic thinking. It concludes with an analysis of policies needed to achieve sustainability. 

By Robert Costanza, John H Cumberland, Herman Daly , Robert Goodland , Richard B Norgaard , Ida Kubiszewski , Carol Franco

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Introduction to Ecological Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Empty-World Economics to Full-World Economics

Ecological economics explores new ways of thinking about how we manage our lives and our planet to achieve a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. Ecological economics extends and integrates the study and management of both "nature's household" and "humankind's household"-An Introduction to Ecological Economics, Second Edition, the first update and expansion of this classic text in 15 years, describes new approaches to achieving a sustainable and desirable human presence on Earth. Written by the top experts in the field, it addresses the necessity for an innovative approach to integrated environmental, social, and economic analysis…


Book cover of Building a Green Economy: Perspectives from Ecological Economics

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

Robby Richardson is an old friend and colleague who has led the way in developing practical ecological economics policies.

He has been on the front lines: fired by the Trump administration from a position at EPA for defending effective environmental protection, he returned to government in the Department of the Interior in the Biden administration, and in that role has developed natural resource accounting systems to guide government policy.

In this edited volume, he brings together leading ecological economics scholars to offer a variety of perspectives on building a green economy that places human welfare above consumerism and resource-intensive growth. 

By Robert B. Richardson (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Building a Green Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first decade of the twenty-first century has been characterised by a growing global awareness of the tremendous strains that human economic activity place on natural resources and the environment. As the world's population increases, so does the demand for energy, food, and other resources, which adds to existing stresses on ecosystems, with potentially disastrous consequences. Humanity is at a crossroads in our pathway to future prosperity, and our next steps will impact our long-term sustainability immensely.

In this timely volume, leading ecological economics scholars offer a variety of perspectives on building a green economy. Grounded in a critique of…


Book cover of Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow

David Bergman Author Of Sustainable Design: A Critical Guide

From my list on the climate crisis that actually offer hope.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an architect, ecodesigner, economist, environmentalist, author, and professor. I like making use of all or parts of these to break down silos between fields in order to better understand and communicate sustainability. As a professor who is hoping to entice the next generation to not repeat our environmental mistakes, I try to emphasize carrots rather than sticks. I look to the win-win-win approaches: the symbiotic overlaps between sustainability, health, happiness, and economics. I call this EcoOptimism, and it’s the focus of my blog by the same title. Though it can be harder to remain optimistic amidst the worsening climate crisis and other environmental issues, I still find it one of the most viable routes.

David's book list on the climate crisis that actually offer hope

David Bergman Why did David love this book?

Upon seeing me carrying this book around, a friend of mine looked at me curiously and asked why we wouldn’t want growth and instead want prosperity. I realized she had misinterpreted this book’s title. The author isn’t referring to personal growth (which is, of course, good) but to economic growth and the assumption that bigger economic numbers (GDP) are better. The idea may get a bit geeky, but economic growth tends to not emphasize the things that are important (the unpaid tasks of taking care of elderly parents, for instance) but count the money spent on things that we’d rather not have more of, for example, prisons and war. What we want to measure and encourage are the things that truly make us better people and better societies. Happily, those things also tend to not be as environmentally bad.

By Tim Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prosperity Without Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What can prosperity possibly mean in a world of environmental and social limits?

The publication of Prosperity without Growth was a landmark in the sustainability debate. Tim Jackson's piercing challenge to conventional economics openly questioned the most highly prized goal of politicians and economists alike: the continued pursuit of exponential economic growth. Its findings provoked controversy, inspired debate and led to a new wave of research building on its arguments and conclusions.

This substantially revised and re-written edition updates those arguments and considerably expands upon them. Jackson demonstrates that building a 'post-growth' economy is a precise, definable and meaningful task.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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