100 books like Capital in the Twenty-First Century

By Thomas Piketty, Arthur Goldhammer (translator),

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

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Book cover of Irrational Exuberance

Robert Isaak Author Of Brave New World Economy: Global Finance Threatens Our Future

From my list on the world economy, finance trends, and options.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since completing my PhD in political economy (dissertation: ‘International Integration and Foreign Policy Decision-making’) I have gone deeper into economic origins of change (eg. Modern Inflation, coauthored with well-known economist Wilhelm Hankel in Bologna, Italy at Johns Hopkins SAIS) and find the interactions between economic, politics, and psychology fascinating—presenting an infinite number of ‘Sherlock Holmes-like puzzles’. We are all now confronted with political, economic, and psychological uncertainties, put on high speed due to the war in Ukraine and great power tensions. So it is time to learn about the origins of our problems and their trends in order to better cope and find a basis for individual, if not collective, peace.

Robert's book list on the world economy, finance trends, and options

Robert Isaak Why did Robert love this book?

Shiller predicted both the dot-com crisis (2001) and the financial crisis stemming from real estate (2008) in advance in two editions of this book.

Since receiving the Nobel prize in economics he published his book Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral which together with the book recommended will help the reader predict the timing of coming economic trends.

By Robert J. Shiller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this revised, updated, and expanded edition of his New York Times bestseller, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller, who warned of both the tech and housing bubbles, cautions that signs of irrational exuberance among investors have only increased since the 2008-9 financial crisis. With high stock and bond prices and the rising cost of housing, the post-subprime boom may well turn out to be another illustration of Shiller's influential argument that psychologically driven volatility is an inherent characteristic of all asset markets. In other words, Irrational Exuberance is as relevant as ever. Previous editions covered the stock and housing markets--and…


Book cover of How Democracies Die

Natasha Lindstaedt Author Of Democratic Decay and Authoritarian Resurgence

From my list on why the world is becoming more authoritarian.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a political science professor who has always been interested in authoritarian regimes, how they function, and how they control their citizens. In particular, I find it fascinating why citizens may genuinely adore and respect the (sometimes outrageous) autocrats that lead them, even though they rule with an iron fist. Additionally, the rise of authoritarianism in democracies also caught my attention. Terms like “slow-moving coups” and “insurrections” are being used when referring to democracies now. In some ways, this is shocking to me—but it’s motivated me to better understand how this happenedand the ways in which autocracies and democracies seem to be mimicking each other.

Natasha's book list on why the world is becoming more authoritarian

Natasha Lindstaedt Why did Natasha love this book?

If you are still wondering how democracies fall apart, How Democracies Die, is one of the more accessibly written accounts of how, where, and why democracy is in danger. The book explains why democracies are no longer ending with a coup, but rather with a steady and slow erosion of democratic institutions. Chock-full of examples, this book highlights what the institutional guardrails are in a democracy and how these safeguards are weakened by leaders and other elected representatives (like Donald Trump, Recip Erdoğan, and Viktor Orbán, etc.), who hold little regard for democratic norms and are willing to engage in a scorched earth style of politics just to maintain power. I like that this was written for a wide audience.

By Steven Levitsky, Daniel Ziblatt,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked How Democracies Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The most important book of the Trump era' The Economist

How does a democracy die?
What can we do to save our own?
What lessons does history teach us?

In the 21st century democracy is threatened like never before.

Drawing insightful lessons from across history - from Pinochet's murderous Chilean regime to Erdogan's quiet dismantling in Turkey - Levitsky and Ziblatt explain why democracies fail, how leaders like Trump subvert them today and what each of us can do to protect our democratic rights.

'This book looks to history to provide a guide for defending democratic norms when they are…


Book cover of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens

Alex Cobham Author Of What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Tax Justice?

From my list on tax justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked for two decades as a researcher and campaigner to expose the tax behaviour of unscrupulous multinational companies and wealthy individuals, and the central lesson is that we only make progress when the narrative shifts: when the public and policymakers start to appreciate just how much damage is done to our societies by the professional enablers of tax abuse. These books are real narrative-shifters, showing the world to us in ways we need to see, and making it a pleasure. 

Alex's book list on tax justice

Alex Cobham Why did Alex love this book?

I think Treasure Islands may well be the most influential book in tax justice.

Author Nick Shaxson, previously a journalist for the Financial Times and Reuters, became a key member of the Tax Justice Network and wrote this rollicking blockbuster. In a story that spans the globe, Shaxson captures the lurking malevolence of the men – and it is almost always men – who shaped our world so they could profit from selling opportunities for tax abuse and financial crime.

By Nicholas Shaxson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Treasure Islands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Keith L. Downing Author Of Gradient Expectations: Structure, Origins, and Synthesis of Predictive Neural Networks

From my list on to keep an AI researcher awake at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been working in the field of AI for 40 years, first in graduate school and then as a professor. For the most part, I have had my head in the sand, focusing on the minutiae that occasionally lead to publications, the coins of the academic realm. When deep learning started exhibiting human-level pattern recognition abilities, the number of AI books for the general public began to swell.  Unfortunately, the science-fiction scenarios were a bit much. Since understanding, recognizing, and admitting problems are vital steps toward a solution, I find these books to be the most important warnings of the impending tech-dominated future.

Keith's book list on to keep an AI researcher awake at night

Keith L. Downing Why did Keith love this book?

My first 3 picks put much of the blame for widespread attention capture on greedy actors engaged in a “race to the bottom of the brainstem” (Tristan Harris, former Google employee, became popular opponent of exploitative big tech). 

Although Carr does not shy from that theme, he seems to put much of the responsibility on our own shoulders: it is we who must resist many temptations of convenience in order to preserve our own cognitive strengths, such as creativity. Otherwise, we become shallow thinkers and reliant on AI even for something as characteristically human as wisdom. 

Carr’s follow-up to this book, The Glass Cage, is also very intriguing, and it offers a little more hope for a humanity that is currently bound up in a web of frightening technological dependency.

In my mind, Carr nails the real threats of AI: a total dumming-down of humanity to a level where we…

By Nicholas Carr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nicholas Carr's bestseller The Shallows has become a foundational book in one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the internet's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? This 10th-anniversary edition includes a new afterword that brings the story up to date, with a deep examination of the cognitive and behavioral effects of smartphones and social media.


Book cover of The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War

Tom Strelich Author Of Dog Logic

From my list on satires with one thing in common.

Why am I passionate about this?

I consider myself not only a student of satire, but also as a master practitioner with an innate and instinctive aptitude for it—like those born with perfect pitch or hand-eye coordination, kind of like an idiot savant, only hopefully without the idiot part. Satire is the perfect literary platform because it allows both the writer and the reader to explore the landscape of the human experience, the absurdity, the grandeur, the mystery, the horror—not with a sermon or a polemic or a sigh, but with a laugh and a nodding smile of recognition.

Tom's book list on satires with one thing in common

Tom Strelich Why did Tom love this book?

It was thick book, a satire, and new translation from Czech, and I loved the illustrations, the setting, and that the new translation was restoring all of the salty language excised from the original/bowdlerized translation.

It’s the story of a simple dog breeder, presumed to be an imbecile (an acceptable term at the time), drafted into the army and his adventures making his way to WWI—always outwitting his (imbecilic) superiors and betters along the way.

It’s satirical, hilarious, often scatological, and the best part is that the book ends (because the author died) before he gets to the actual war, so we get to imagine Švejk surviving the war and moving to Florida in the ‘20s to raise Greyhounds or whatever.

It’s really good, in fact, I might just read it again.

By Jaroslav Hasek, Josef Lada (illustrator), Cecil Parrott (translator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration for such works as Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Jaroslav Hasek's black satire The Good Soldier Svejk is translated with an introduction by Cecil Parrott in Penguin Classics.

Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of the First World War - although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards, getting drunk and becoming a general nuisance, the resourceful Svejk uses all his natural cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the doctors, police, clergy and officers…


Book cover of The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It

Luis Martínez-Fernández Author Of When the World Turned Upside Down: Politics, Culture, and the Unimaginable Events of 2019-2022

From my list on today's biggest domestic and global challenges.

Why am I passionate about this?

By ten years old, I had lived in four countries and endured the repercussions of revolution, exile, military coup d’état, and emigration. That explains my life-long passion for history. I pursued a Ph.D. in Latin American history to make sense of the forces that shaped my and my family’s lives. My seven previous books explored diverse topics in Caribbean history within its broader Atlantic context. Momentous domestic and global events, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and an explosion of racial and political violence in the U.S. pushed me to broaden my scholarly attention and become a Creators Syndicate’s weekly columnist, and publish a collection of columns with the title When the World Turned Upside Down. 

Luis' book list on today's biggest domestic and global challenges

Luis Martínez-Fernández Why did Luis love this book?

Many people know that American democracy and capitalism have been on a downward spiral for decades. The system is rigged, former Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich sounds the alarm throughout his excellent book The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It. He goes deep into these questions as he supports the provocative thesis that despite acrimonious partisan polarization, the real contest is not between the right and left but between democracy and oligarchy; and that the vast majority of citizens (Republicans, Democrats, and Independents) are getting poorer and wield “near-zero” political power. Oligarchs—JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon is their embodiment—have amassed enormous sums of capital and political power, which allows them to further rig the system through campaign contributions, successful lobbying, and even criminal actions for which, if caught, they only pay nominal fines.

By Robert B. Reich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Understanding what is happening in our country is critical if we want to fix it and Robert Reich is an exceptional teacher.' - Senator Bernie Sanders

Millions of Americans have lost confidence in their political and economic system. After years of stagnant wages, volatile job markets, and an unwillingness by those in power to deal with profound threats such as climate change, there is a mounting sense that the system is fixed, serving only those select few with enough money to secure a controlling stake.

In The System Robert B. Reich shows how wealth and power have interacted to install…


Book cover of American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020

Luis Martínez-Fernández Author Of When the World Turned Upside Down: Politics, Culture, and the Unimaginable Events of 2019-2022

From my list on today's biggest domestic and global challenges.

Why am I passionate about this?

By ten years old, I had lived in four countries and endured the repercussions of revolution, exile, military coup d’état, and emigration. That explains my life-long passion for history. I pursued a Ph.D. in Latin American history to make sense of the forces that shaped my and my family’s lives. My seven previous books explored diverse topics in Caribbean history within its broader Atlantic context. Momentous domestic and global events, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and an explosion of racial and political violence in the U.S. pushed me to broaden my scholarly attention and become a Creators Syndicate’s weekly columnist, and publish a collection of columns with the title When the World Turned Upside Down. 

Luis' book list on today's biggest domestic and global challenges

Luis Martínez-Fernández Why did Luis love this book?

American readers and news watchers are deeply segregated: those on the left reading and watching news produced by liberals, and those on the right consuming words and images from conservative authors and broadcasts. And then there is Washington Post columnist George Will, a conservative, who reads voraciously across the political spectrum and offers commentary that reasonable Americans must recognize as honest and insightful. American Happiness and Its Discontents is a collection of thoroughly researched, thought-provoking, exquisitely-written columns written by Will from 2008 to 2020. He offers insightful commentary on a wide range of political, social, and cultural topics and tackles subjects deemed taboo by the left such as the wave of nonsense that has flooded higher education. 

By George F. Will,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

George F. Will has been one of this country's leading columnists since 1974. He won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1977. The Wall Street Journal once called him "perhaps the most powerful journalist in America." In this new collection, he examines a remarkably unsettling thirteen years in our nation's experience, from 2008 to 2020. Included are a number of columns about court cases, mostly from the Supreme Court, that illuminate why the composition of the federal judiciary has become such a contentious subject.

Other topics addressed include the American Revolutionary War, historical figures from Frederick Douglass to JFK, as…


Book cover of Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change

Robert Isaak Author Of Brave New World Economy: Global Finance Threatens Our Future

From my list on the world economy, finance trends, and options.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since completing my PhD in political economy (dissertation: ‘International Integration and Foreign Policy Decision-making’) I have gone deeper into economic origins of change (eg. Modern Inflation, coauthored with well-known economist Wilhelm Hankel in Bologna, Italy at Johns Hopkins SAIS) and find the interactions between economic, politics, and psychology fascinating—presenting an infinite number of ‘Sherlock Holmes-like puzzles’. We are all now confronted with political, economic, and psychological uncertainties, put on high speed due to the war in Ukraine and great power tensions. So it is time to learn about the origins of our problems and their trends in order to better cope and find a basis for individual, if not collective, peace.

Robert's book list on the world economy, finance trends, and options

Robert Isaak Why did Robert love this book?

I invited Edmund Phelps to speak at Pace University in New York the week before he received the Nobel Prize in Economics.

His thesis, captured in detail in this book, is that state welfare economies in Europe have become too disconnected from the prerequisites for the entrepreneurial economic growth and innovation necessary to create jobs and to pay for the social benefits. Given the huge debt overhang in most of these countries, not to mention developing countries, his controversial thesis then could not be more timely now!

All people need to be motivated to become entrepreneurial in order to provide human health, comfort, and self-actualization for themselves, their families, and fellow citizens. Have you been taught this at school?!!!

By Edmund S. Phelps,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this book, Nobel Prize-winning economist Edmund Phelps draws on a lifetime of thinking to make a sweeping new argument about what makes nations prosper--and why the sources of that prosperity are under threat today. Why did prosperity explode in some nations between the 1820s and 1960s, creating not just unprecedented material wealth but "flourishing"--meaningful work, self-expression, and personal growth for more people than ever before? Phelps makes the case that the wellspring of this flourishing was modern values such as the desire to create, explore, and meet challenges. These values fueled the grassroots dynamism that was necessary for widespread,…


Book cover of Megathreats: Ten Dangerous Trends That Imperil Our Future, and How to Survive Them

Robert Isaak Author Of Brave New World Economy: Global Finance Threatens Our Future

From my list on the world economy, finance trends, and options.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since completing my PhD in political economy (dissertation: ‘International Integration and Foreign Policy Decision-making’) I have gone deeper into economic origins of change (eg. Modern Inflation, coauthored with well-known economist Wilhelm Hankel in Bologna, Italy at Johns Hopkins SAIS) and find the interactions between economic, politics, and psychology fascinating—presenting an infinite number of ‘Sherlock Holmes-like puzzles’. We are all now confronted with political, economic, and psychological uncertainties, put on high speed due to the war in Ukraine and great power tensions. So it is time to learn about the origins of our problems and their trends in order to better cope and find a basis for individual, if not collective, peace.

Robert's book list on the world economy, finance trends, and options

Robert Isaak Why did Robert love this book?

‘Dr. Doom’ (he prefers ‘Dr. Realist’) gives a lucid summary of major threats confronting the global economy and possible policy changes to alleviate them.

This book is well written and hits the nails all on the head with his diagnosis and possible corrective policies. His YouTube interview on his book is brilliant, so I need not say more.

By Nouriel Roubini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Financial Times Economics Book of the Year
A Times Business Book of the Year
A Sunday Independent (Ireland) Book of the Year

'People who like horror films will love this book' Financial Times

'Forewarned is forearmed. Read and pay attention' Martin Wolf

'Not only will the reader be better off after reading this book, but the world will be a better place' Nassim Nicholas Taleb

We are heading towards the worst economic catastrophe of our lifetimes - unless we can defend against ten terrifying threats.

World renowned economist Nouriel Roubini was nicknamed Dr. Doom until his warnings of the…


Book cover of Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy

Mark R. Reiff Author Of On Unemployment: A Micro-Theory of Economic Justice: Volume 1

From my list on what causes economic injustice.

Why am I passionate about this?

F. Scott Fitzgerald claimed, “there are no second acts in American lives.” But I am on my third. I started out in the theatre, then became a lawyer, and then a political philosopher. What drove each move is that I was always outraged by injustice and wanted to find a better way to fight against it. For me, reading, writing, and teaching political philosophy turned out to be that way. The books on this list provide important lessons on how certain economic policies can cause injustice while others can cure it. Each has been around for a long time, but they are as relevant today as when they were first written. 

Mark's book list on what causes economic injustice

Mark R. Reiff Why did Mark love this book?

A renowned economist and Harvard professor with a bit of a cult following, Schumpeter provides a realistic evaluation of what capitalism is and whether it can survive if it does not do more to help a wider range of people.

First published in 1942, Schumpeter’s fear was the rise of socialism, but what he had to say about the failings of capitalism back then applies with equal force today.

Schumpeter was the originator of the term “creative destruction” to describe how capitalism works, and Part II of the book was the inspiration for my paper, “Can Liberal Capitalism Survive?”

The book has never been out of print. 

By Joseph A Schumpeter,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Joseph Schumpeter’s classic Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy explains the process of capitalism’s 'creative destruction' — a key principle in understanding the logic of globalization." — Thomas L. Friedman, Foreign Policy

In this definitive third and final edition (1950) of his prophetic masterwork, Joseph A. Schumpeter introduced the world to the concept of “creative destruction,” which forever altered how global economics is approached and perceived. Now featuring a new introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning Schumpeter biographer Thomas K. McCraw, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy is essential read­ing for anyone who seeks to understand where the world economy is headed.

“If Keynes was the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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