100 books like Bourgeois Equality

By Deirdre Nansen McCloskey,

Here are 100 books that Bourgeois Equality fans have personally recommended if you like Bourgeois Equality. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass

Jonathan Rothwell Author Of A Republic of Equals: A Manifesto for a Just Society

From my list on why some people tend to be richer or poorer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Inequality and fairness are basic issues in human conflict and cooperation that have long fascinated me. Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, I was confronted with the extreme racial segregation of schools and neighborhoods. My Catholic upbringing taught me to cherish the cardinal virtues of justice, wisdom, courage, and temperance, and my education in political economy taught me that markets can fairly and efficiently allocate resources, when legal power is evenly shared. My formal education culminated in a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Princeton University, which led me to my current roles: Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Principal Economist at Gallup. I care deeply about the social conditions that create cooperation and conflict.

Jonathan's book list on why some people tend to be richer or poorer

Jonathan Rothwell Why did Jonathan love this book?

This is an absolute classic in social science.

Written by Douglas Massey, my PhD advisor at Princeton and a towering scholar, it lays out with force and clarity how Black people were purposefully and forcefully segregated in the United States, when it peaked, and how that segregation led to devasting social consequences.

You cannot understand the Black experience—nor racial inequality in the United States—without knowing the facts in this book.

By Douglas S. Massey, Nancy A. Denton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Apartheid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This powerful and disturbing book clearly links persistent poverty among blacks in the United States to the unparalleled degree of deliberate segregation they experience in American cities.

American Apartheid shows how the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. It goes on to show that, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, segregation is perpetuated today through an interlocking set of individual actions, institutional practices, and governmental policies. In some urban areas the degree of black segregation is so intense and occurs in so many…


Book cover of The Road to Serfdom

Andrew Koppelman Author Of Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed

From my list on libertarian philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in human freedom, and both intrigued and cautious about the path offered by the libertarians. In my book, I finally worked out for my own benefit what is alive and what is dead in their ideals – and the various flavors in which those ideals are available. They have important insights, but too much of what they are selling is snake oil. Until now there hasn’t been any critical introduction to libertarianism for the general reader. This book aims to supply that.

Andrew's book list on libertarian philosophy

Andrew Koppelman Why did Andrew love this book?

The classic exposition of the idea that central governmental economic planning will inevitably be wasteful and tyrannical. Hayek today is caricatured by both right and left, but he is not the minimal state absolutist that both sides often take him to be. Hayek thinks that the way to attack poverty is not redistribution – there isn’t yet enough wealth in existence to give everyone a decent life – but the opportunities created by free markets. Another impetus for my own work was reading this book and discovering that I agreed with him much more than I had expected to. 

By F. A. Hayek, Bruce Caldwell (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, "The Road to Serfdom" has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944 - when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program - "The Road to Serfdom" was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but…


Book cover of The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution

Paul E. Smaldino Author Of Modeling Social Behavior: Mathematical and Agent-Based Models of Social Dynamics and Cultural Evolution

From my list on (human) behavior that reward working through the math.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated with the relationship between our individual behaviors and the social structures and institutions in which we live—and how these influence each over time. I think this sort of understanding is important if we want to consider the kind of world we want to live in, and how we might get there from where we are. I take insights from many disciplines, from physics and biology to the cognitive and social sciences, from philosophy and art to mathematics and engineering. I am currently a professor of cognitive and information sciences at the University of California, Merced, and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. 

Paul's book list on (human) behavior that reward working through the math

Paul E. Smaldino Why did Paul love this book?

In 2016 I went to a conference in Leuven, Belgium, on computational approaches to understanding science. There I presented a model showing how selection for productivity (good old “publish or perish”) could, over time, degrade the quality of methods used by scientists.

I also met Cailin O’Connor, a philosopher and game theorist who was also studying science with formal models, with a focus on equity, or lack thereof. In this terrific book, Cailin uses game theory and evolutionary dynamics to consider how some social institutions lead to entrenched inequality among people or social classes, as well as how one might combat the forces of unfairness. 

By Cailin O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In almost every human society some people get more and others get less. Why is inequity the rule in these societies? In The Origins of Unfairness, philosopher Cailin O'Connor firstly considers how groups are divided into social categories, like gender, race, and religion, to address this question. She uses the formal frameworks of game theory and evolutionary game theory to explore the cultural evolution of the conventions which piggyback on these seemingly
irrelevant social categories. These frameworks elucidate a variety of topics from the innateness of gender differences, to collaboration in academia, to household bargaining, to minority disadvantage, to homophily.…


Book cover of Getting Our Act Together: A Theory of Collective Moral Obligations

S.M. Amadae Author Of Prisoners of Reason: Game Theory and Neoliberal Political Economy

From my list on to move beyond neoliberalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying neoliberal political economy and its future transformations since I wrote Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy. One major insight has been the deep entanglement of neoliberal political-economic practices with de facto power relations. The liberal normative bargaining characterizing Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations yields to coercive bargaining in which threats of harm are the surest and best means to get one’s way. If one seeks to understand how systems will evolve when governed by strategic competition, then orthodox game theory is useful. However, if one seeks to live in a post-scarcity society in which genuine cooperation is possible, then we can enact solidarity, trust-based relationships, and collective moral accountability. 

S.M.'s book list on to move beyond neoliberalism

S.M. Amadae Why did S.M. love this book?

Neoliberal political economy assumes either a strategic rational actor or an irrational actor who needs to be “nudged” to act rationally. This theory endorses a theory of individualist agency which holds that ultimately all agents must compete against each other. This system of thought emphasizes a lack of alternatives and recommends institutions that accept that actors are narrowly self-interested: people evolved to be machines that survive and propagate. Against this view of human agency, alternative theorists construct theories of action in which individuals can reason together, act in concert, and together be morally accountable. Schwenkenbecher effectively builds this alternative perspective affording possibilities of intentional cooperation and collective moral action.

By Anne Schwenkenbecher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Our Act Together as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Together we can often achieve things that are impossible to do on our own. We can prevent something bad from happening, or we can produce something good, even if none of us could do it by ourselves. But when are we morally required to do something of moral importance together with others?

This book develops an original theory of collective moral obligations. These are obligations that individual moral agents hold jointly but not as unified collective agents. The theory does not stipulate a new type of moral obligation but rather suggests that to think of some of our obligations as…


Book cover of Reclaiming Development: An Alternative Economic Policy Manual

S.M. Amadae Author Of Prisoners of Reason: Game Theory and Neoliberal Political Economy

From my list on to move beyond neoliberalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying neoliberal political economy and its future transformations since I wrote Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy. One major insight has been the deep entanglement of neoliberal political-economic practices with de facto power relations. The liberal normative bargaining characterizing Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations yields to coercive bargaining in which threats of harm are the surest and best means to get one’s way. If one seeks to understand how systems will evolve when governed by strategic competition, then orthodox game theory is useful. However, if one seeks to live in a post-scarcity society in which genuine cooperation is possible, then we can enact solidarity, trust-based relationships, and collective moral accountability. 

S.M.'s book list on to move beyond neoliberalism

S.M. Amadae Why did S.M. love this book?

Since John Williamson’s Washington Consensus and the structural adjustment reforms imposed on developing nations as a condition for IMF and World Bank loans, understanding and criticizing neoliberal development economics is important for a balanced perspective on the international political economy. Chang and Grabel perform this task of an incisive yet graspable critique of neoliberal development theory. Importantly they go further and suggest alternative approaches and policies.

By Ha-Joon Chang, Ilene Grabel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reclaiming Development as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is no alternative to neoliberal economics - or so it appeared when Reclaiming Development was published in 2004. Many of the same driving assumptions - monetarism and globalization - remain within the international development policy establishment. Ha-Joon Chang and Ilene Grabel confront this neoliberal development model head-on by combining devastating economic critique with an array of innovative policies and an in-depth analysis of the experiences of leading Western and East Asian economies.

Still, much has changed since 2004 - the relative success of some developing countries in weathering the global financial crisis has exposed the latent contradictions of the…


Book cover of Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will

S.M. Amadae Author Of Prisoners of Reason: Game Theory and Neoliberal Political Economy

From my list on to move beyond neoliberalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying neoliberal political economy and its future transformations since I wrote Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy. One major insight has been the deep entanglement of neoliberal political-economic practices with de facto power relations. The liberal normative bargaining characterizing Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations yields to coercive bargaining in which threats of harm are the surest and best means to get one’s way. If one seeks to understand how systems will evolve when governed by strategic competition, then orthodox game theory is useful. However, if one seeks to live in a post-scarcity society in which genuine cooperation is possible, then we can enact solidarity, trust-based relationships, and collective moral accountability. 

S.M.'s book list on to move beyond neoliberalism

S.M. Amadae Why did S.M. love this book?

In order to be moral and responsible agents, our will must be free in the sense that we make choices animated by our individual consciences. Much of the neoliberal consumer world uses big data sets and our personalized digital fingerprints in order to cater to our every wish and desire, and to sell merchandise. Research shows that individuals disregard ethical responsibility when they believe that humans are not free, and that we are instead governed by innate drives and biological functions. Mele challenges recent research that uses cognitive science to argue that the human will is not free and instead exists as an illusion. This book provides a deep analysis of why we have grounds to be confident that we can act freely, governed by our internal beliefs, commitments, and goals.

By Alfred R. Mele,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Does free will exist? The question has fueled heated debates spanning from philosophy to psychology and religion. The answer has major implications, and the stakes are high. To put it in the simple terms that have come to dominate these debates, if we are free to make our own decisions, we are accountable for what we do, and if we aren't free, we're off the hook.

There are neuroscientists who claim that our decisions are made unconsciously and are therefore outside of our control and social psychologists who argue that myriad imperceptible factors influence even our minor decisions to the…


Book cover of Free Market Fairness

Andrew Koppelman Author Of Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed

From my list on libertarian philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in human freedom, and both intrigued and cautious about the path offered by the libertarians. In my book, I finally worked out for my own benefit what is alive and what is dead in their ideals – and the various flavors in which those ideals are available. They have important insights, but too much of what they are selling is snake oil. Until now there hasn’t been any critical introduction to libertarianism for the general reader. This book aims to supply that.

Andrew's book list on libertarian philosophy

Andrew Koppelman Why did Andrew love this book?

Tomasi offers a new synthesis of Rawlsian high liberalism and market-oriented libertarianism, which he calls "market democracy." It treats capitalistic economic freedoms as crucial elements of liberty, but demands that institutions be designed so that their benefits are shared by the least fortunate citizens. His central focus is the value of entrepreneurial activity as a moral ideal. I have a lot of disagreements with this book, but without its smart provocations I might not have written my own.

By John Tomasi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Free Market Fairness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can libertarians care about social justice? In Free Market Fairness, John Tomasi argues that they can and should. Drawing simultaneously on moral insights from defenders of economic liberty such as F. A. Hayek and advocates of social justice such as John Rawls, Tomasi presents a new theory of liberal justice. This theory, free market fairness, is committed to both limited government and the material betterment of the poor. Unlike traditional libertarians, Tomasi argues that property rights are best defended not in terms of self-ownership or economic efficiency but as requirements of democratic legitimacy. At the same time, he encourages egalitarians…


Book cover of Principles For A Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With The Common Good

Andrew Koppelman Author Of Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed

From my list on libertarian philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in human freedom, and both intrigued and cautious about the path offered by the libertarians. In my book, I finally worked out for my own benefit what is alive and what is dead in their ideals – and the various flavors in which those ideals are available. They have important insights, but too much of what they are selling is snake oil. Until now there hasn’t been any critical introduction to libertarianism for the general reader. This book aims to supply that.

Andrew's book list on libertarian philosophy

Andrew Koppelman Why did Andrew love this book?

This is the best contemporary introduction to the way in which laws that facilitate market transactions promote peace and prosperity. When philosophy students are introduced to libertarianism, they typically read Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, but Epstein’s book is more illuminating and more carefully argued. As with Hayek, I didn’t read this in a friendly spirit, but I was persuaded by the big picture. We disagree about details – a lot of details – but the basic story is sound.

By Richard A. Epstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Principles For A Free Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The countrys leading libertarian scholar sets forth the essential principles for a legal order that, in an age of limited government, balances individual liberty against the common good.. Richard Epstein, one of our countrys most distinguished legal scholars, sets out an authoritative set of principles that explains both the uses and the limits of government power. Drawing on the work of multiple disciplines, this book offers a thoroughly realized blueprint to guide us through political conflict in the troubled times ahead. }As government budgets come under political fire and free-market ideals spread, the legal and social principles of libertarian thought…


Book cover of Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement

Andrew Koppelman Author Of Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed

From my list on libertarian philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in human freedom, and both intrigued and cautious about the path offered by the libertarians. In my book, I finally worked out for my own benefit what is alive and what is dead in their ideals – and the various flavors in which those ideals are available. They have important insights, but too much of what they are selling is snake oil. Until now there hasn’t been any critical introduction to libertarianism for the general reader. This book aims to supply that.

Andrew's book list on libertarian philosophy

Andrew Koppelman Why did Andrew love this book?

This is the indispensable book if you want to know what libertarianism is and where it came from. It is filled with more entertaining eccentrics than a Dickens novel. My book focuses on philosophical arguments for a minimal state, but I couldn’t get very deep into the historical background: who was making those arguments and what moved them to do it. One of the pleasures of intellectual history is encountering minds that are weird and surprising (not necessarily in a bad way), and Doherty offers a lot of them.

By Brian Doherty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Radicals for Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On Wall Street, in the culture of high tech, in American government: Libertarianism-the simple but radical idea that the only purpose of government is to protect its citizens and their property against direct violence and threat-has become an extremely influential strain of thought. But while many books talk about libertarian ideas, none until now has explored the history of this uniquely American movement-where and who it came from, how it evolved, and what impact it has had on our country. In this revelatory book, based on original research and interviews with more than 100 key sources, Brian Doherty traces the…


Book cover of Ethnic America: A History

Jonathan Rothwell Author Of A Republic of Equals: A Manifesto for a Just Society

From my list on why some people tend to be richer or poorer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Inequality and fairness are basic issues in human conflict and cooperation that have long fascinated me. Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, I was confronted with the extreme racial segregation of schools and neighborhoods. My Catholic upbringing taught me to cherish the cardinal virtues of justice, wisdom, courage, and temperance, and my education in political economy taught me that markets can fairly and efficiently allocate resources, when legal power is evenly shared. My formal education culminated in a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Princeton University, which led me to my current roles: Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Principal Economist at Gallup. I care deeply about the social conditions that create cooperation and conflict.

Jonathan's book list on why some people tend to be richer or poorer

Jonathan Rothwell Why did Jonathan love this book?

Sowell doesn’t let political sensitivities stop him from asking and answering the basic questions that most people have about inequality between ethnic groups in the United States and around the world.

He has little sympathy for conventional left-wing theories, but he does show respect for each group of people, celebrating achievements and pointing out barriers to opportunity. The book is rich with insight and intelligent commentary. His faith in the dignity of common people—including his readersshines through.

By Thomas Sowell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ethnic America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic work by the distinguished economist traces the history of nine American ethnic groups,the Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians, Chinese, African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in innovation, economics, and economic inequality?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about innovation, economics, and economic inequality.

Innovation Explore 83 books about innovation
Economics Explore 384 books about economics
Economic Inequality Explore 42 books about economic inequality