100 books like Doughnut Economics

By Kate Raworth,

Here are 100 books that Doughnut Economics fans have personally recommended if you like Doughnut Economics. 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 How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

Alessio Terzi Author Of Growth for Good: Reshaping Capitalism to Save Humanity from Climate Catastrophe

From my list on the relationship between the economy and nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an economist at the European Commission, Adjunct Professor in Paris, former fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and now a first-time author, I thrive at the intersection of academia, think-tanks, and policy-making. My academic soul leads me to seek answers to the big questions: what is economic growth and how does it relate to the success of civilization, to science and technology, to people’s wellbeing, and to nature. My practical focus leads me to draw the policy implications of all this for how we ought to fight climate change. My critics accuse me of being an optimist. I take it as a compliment: the future of humanity is in our hands.

Alessio's book list on the relationship between the economy and nature

Alessio Terzi Why did Alessio love this book?

Bill Gates has managed the impossible task of writing a detailed book on the technological fixes we need across the board to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, but doing so in plain language that is appropriate for the widest of audiences.

This is key because the green transition will affect everybody’s life and cannot be left in the hands of experts and technocrats. Perhaps my only grievance towards the book is that at times it feels like a long laundry list of green desiderata, without taking time to think about the social, economic, and political implications of the transformation.

Nonetheless, it remains a go-to reference for anybody working in the decarbonization space. 

By Bill Gates,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked How to Avoid a Climate Disaster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical - and accessible - plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide toward certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions…


Book cover of The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time

Michael Zakim Author Of Accounting for Capitalism: The World the Clerk Made

From my list on modern capitalist economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As both a scholar and a citizen I have spent my adult life seeking to better understand the dynamics of power, especially power wielded in flagrantly unjust fashion in societies otherwise founded on notions of life, liberty, and happiness for all. This has led me to study the history of the economy, not just as a material but as a cultural system that encodes the categories of modern life:  self and society, private and public, body and soul, and needs and desires.

Michael's book list on modern capitalist economy

Michael Zakim Why did Michael love this book?

The Great Transformation, in which Karl Polanyi explores “the political and economic origins of our time,” is arguably the most important history of the economy ever written. 

Polanyi published his study during the dark times of the twentieth century in an attempt to trace the origins of modern fascism (a task that has lost none of its relevance in the twenty-first century). He located those origins in the industrial transformation of land, labor, and money – the foundations of social existence – into full-fledged commodities, that is to say, into ephemeral vehicles of profit. 

The resulting market society, touted by liberals as the source of universal freedom and equality, brought personal and communal disaster for those less advantageously positioned to compete in the new economy. The price, Polanyi argues, has been catastrophic.

By Karl Polanyi,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Great Transformation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic work of economic history and social theory, Karl Polanyi analyzes the economic and social changes brought about by the "great transformation" of the Industrial Revolution. His analysis explains not only the deficiencies of the self-regulating market, but the potentially dire social consequences of untempered market capitalism. New introductory material reveals the renewed importance of Polanyi's seminal analysis in an era of globalization and free trade.


Book cover of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

If we want to reimagine capitalism as a system that does not destroy the planet and destabilize society, this must be enabled by corporations changing the way that they operate. Henderson’s Reimagining Capitalism gives us some principles for thinking about how to do this. A long-time innovation scholar, Henderson draws on her knowledge about how to succeed at organizational change to propose a more purpose-driven model of corporate action. Using numerous case studies of companies that have (partially) succeeded and those that have failed, she animates a number of principles for change. To start, such a model will require new metrics for social and environmental impact. This would involve more collaborative engagement amongst stakeholders to grow the economic pie and amongst companies to self-regulate in a more sustainable manner.

Particularly refreshing, at the end of the book, Henderson connects the macro conversation about economic and corporate change with a discussion…

By Rebecca Henderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A renowned Harvard professor debunks prevailing orthodoxy with a new intellectual foundation and a practical pathway forward for a system that has lost its moral and ethical foundation.
Free market capitalism is one of humanity's greatest inventions and the greatest source of prosperity the world has ever seen. But this success has been costly. Capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilizing society as wealth rushes to the top. The time for action is running short.

Rebecca Henderson's rigorous research in economics, psychology, and organizational behavior, as well as her many years of work with companies around…


Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

Nick Fuller Googins Author Of The Great Transition

From my list on ward away your global warming anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was working installing solar panels in rural Maine when I first had the idea to write a climate crisis novel. I grew up in the woods of New England, and have always loved nature, but I was feeling pretty despondent about global warming. I started to wonder: what would it feel like to be part of a mass mobilization installing solar, wind, and so on, to save the planet? Those were the seeds of the novel. When I’m not writing, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I worry about the planet my students will inherit, and if I’m doing enough to make that world as hopeful as possible.

Nick's book list on ward away your global warming anxiety

Nick Fuller Googins Why did Nick love this book?

I read this novel when I was about three-quarters finished with my novel, and was just blown away by the attention to detail, possibilities, and hope between the pages.

This is another hopeful near-future novel, in which humanity is trying its best to overcome the worst of climate change. Unlike my novel, however, which is told from the perspective of one family, Ministry for the Future is a truly global story, with dozens and dozens of narrators, many unnamed, who give us snapshots everywhere from the Arizona border to Antarctica to Switzerland to India, all coalescing into what becomes a global movement to try to save the planet.

This novel is a little lighter on plot, but fascinating as a menu of hopeful options and possibilities for what could be done if humanity really got its act together. 

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Ministry for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
 
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite…


Book cover of The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies

Thomas Hylland Eriksen Author Of Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology

From my list on economic anthropology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an anthropologist and writer who has published more than fifty books, ranging from novels and essays to academic monographs and textbooks. I am passionate about trying to make the world a slightly better place, and I am convinced that we need to think differently about the good life and the economy in order to get out of the corner we’ve painted ourselves into. Economic anthropology offers alternative perspectives on the world and the human condition. It's far less obscure than it sounds.

Thomas' book list on economic anthropology

Thomas Hylland Eriksen Why did Thomas love this book?

If there is one foundational text in economic anthropology, this is it. The French anthropologist Mauss showed, in this 1924 book, that gift exchange is the glue that connects people in communities with no formal authority. He is perfectly aware that there are no free gifts, but shows that all economic transactions have a moral element: They create social obligations, they connect us to each other.

By Marcel Mauss, W.D. Halls (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since its first publication in English in 1954, The Gift, Marcel Mauss's groundbreaking study of the relation between forms of exchange and social structure, has been acclaimed as a classic among anthropology texts.

A brilliant example of the comparative method, The Gift presents the first systematic study of the custom―widespread in primitive societies from ancient Rome to present-day Melanesia―of exchanging gifts. The gift is a perfect example of what Mauss calls a total social phenomenon, since it involves legal, economic, moral, religious, aesthetic, and other dimensions. He sees the gift exchange as related to individuals and groups as much as…


Book cover of Debt: The First 5,000 Years

Ethan Turer Author Of The Next Gold Rush: The Future of Investing in People

From my list on how past events will impact our future.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember I’ve been curious about history and how past events connect to our present; And how challenging it is to predict the future, even with all our advanced technologies. In the internet era, everything seems to be changing faster than ever before. I’m no expert, but I do know that if we don’t try to understand all the pieces of this complex puzzle, we’ll never be able to build the future we want. I don’t want to be left behind, so my book is an attempt at understanding the past and outlining a future of investing in people, the most undervalued asset class.

Ethan's book list on how past events will impact our future

Ethan Turer Why did Ethan love this book?

Out of all my recommendations, this book is the most dense in terms of detailed descriptions of the history of debt. The author needs to be specific since he’s challenging the economic establishment’s false claims.

The most telling example is that there’s no evidence that barter led to exchanging goods in a marketplace. Debt, not barter, was the original economic system for trade in a village. 

War became the catalyst for the creation of currency since soldiers couldn’t afford to wait till after the war concluded for the government to pay its debts.

If you’re curious about the real history of money and debt, this is the book for you.

By David Graeber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking international best-seller that turns everything you think about money, debt, and society on its head—from the “brilliant, deeply original political thinker” David Graeber (Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me)
 
Before there was money, there was debt. For more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors—which lives on in full force to this day.

So…


Book cover of Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness

Lorraine Flower Author Of Heartful Business: Leading with the World in Mind

From my list on leading business consciously to create a better world for all.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love businesses and have been lucky enough to work for and with some great ones in my career in senior leadership positions. For me, leadership is an extraordinary privilege, so we have a responsibility to do it well and keep learning and improving ourselves and the organisations we lead. My journey into more conscious leadership began over 30 years ago, well ahead of the current movement, and it has progressively become the passion driving my work to help leaders and organisations contribute to building a better world. This passion also drives my service with a number of spiritual communities, including Sundial House and the Community of Living Ethics.

Lorraine's book list on leading business consciously to create a better world for all

Lorraine Flower Why did Lorraine love this book?

This is a book that has sparked a movement, and rightly so. I love the challenge to hierarchy opening to true inclusion and interdependent autonomy linked to shared purpose.

Laloux brings an exploration of the different levels of consciousness organisations can reach, and what I really appreciated about this book is the hope it gives through its case studies–real organisations that have reinvented themselves successfully and created very different and positive work experiences for their people.

Reinventing Organization groups and consultants around the world are working with its principles. For me, that says much about the level of yearning for a different, better work experience and for organisations that contribute more positively to society. Though it has captured people’s imaginations, we still await the full-on workplace revolution.

By Frederic Laloux,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The way we manage organizations seems increasingly out of date. Survey after survey shows that a majority of employees feel disengaged from their companies. The epidemic of organizational disillusionment goes way beyond Corporate America-teachers, doctors, and nurses are leaving their professions in record numbers because the way we run schools and hospitals kills their vocation. Government agencies and nonprofits have a noble purpose, but working for these entities often feels soulless and lifeless just the same. All these organizations suffer from power games played at the top and powerlessness at lower levels, from infighting and bureaucracy, from endless meetings and…


Book cover of Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

Mazzucato’s timely book offers a hopeful look into the possibilities for companies, governments, and civil society to work together to solve the world’s grand challenges. Inspired by the original moonshot program that mobilized the public and private sectors on a massive scale to take risks and experiment with innovative solutions to a previously unsolved problem, she pushes all of us to think boldly about the possibilities for transformative change. To do so, we’ll need to bust myths that impede progress such as the idea that businesses are the only entities that create value and governments are only there to de-risk and address market failures.

The increasingly popular ideas that governments need to run like businesses and save taxpayer money by outsourcing actually strip public policymakers of the tools they need to spur innovation. With examples of a Green New Deal, accessible health care, and narrowing the digital divide, Mission Economy…

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the 2021 Porchlight Business Book Awards, Big Ideas & New Perspectives

“She offers something both broad and scarce: a compelling new story about how to create a desirable future.”—New York Times

 An award-winning author and leading international economist delivers a hard-hitting and much needed critique of modern capitalism in which she argues that, to solve the massive crises facing us, we must be innovative—we must use collaborative, mission-oriented thinking while also bringing a stakeholder view of public private partnerships which means not only taking risks together but also sharing the rewards. 

Capitalism is in crisis. The rich have…


Book cover of The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

Stout’s book was an early salvo in the current debate about shareholder primacy that opened the way for many who have followed in her footsteps. In this carefully argued book, she disputes the argument that corporate boards are required by law to put the shareholder first, pointing out flaws in legal interpretations that have supported a damaging consensus view. In debunking the shareholder value myth, she shows that the obsessive focus on financial returns has led to dangerous short-termism in which corporate leaders pursue quarterly earnings to the disadvantage of investments that would not only improve social outcomes but also lead to better long term performance. She also demonstrates that shareholders hold many values, only one of which might be financial returns. In this regard, she was a vanguard of the accelerating focus of institutional investors on “stewardship” of the environmental and social impacts of their investments.  

By Lynn Stout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world.”
—Jack Welch

Executives, investors, and the business press routinely chant the mantra that corporations are required to “maximize shareholder value.” In this pathbreaking book, renowned corporate expert Lynn Stout debunks the myth that corporate law mandates shareholder primacy. Stout shows how shareholder value thinking endangers not only investors but the rest of us as well, leading managers to focus myopically on short-term earnings; discouraging investment and innovation; harming employees, customers, and communities; and causing companies to indulge in reckless, sociopathic, and irresponsible behaviors. And she looks at new models of corporate…


Book cover of Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good

Jacob Harold Author Of The Toolbox: Strategies for Crafting Social Impact

From my list on social change strategy.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was eight years old, my family went for a hike on Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak in my home state of North Carolina. We stumbled on a horror scene: most of the trees on the mountain were scarred skeletons; we were witnesses to mass death from acid rain. Since then, I’ve devoted myself to trying to nudge human action towards good. At Greenpeace I chained myself to fences, at the Hewlett Foundation I oversaw millions of dollars in grants, as GuideStar CEO I helped lead a technology platform used by millions of donors and do-gooders. I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best thinkers and doers in business, philanthropy, and government.

Jacob's book list on social change strategy

Jacob Harold Why did Jacob love this book?

In social change, it’s easy enough to think you can look at a problem, map out a plan, and execute it. But reality always gets in the way.

In Lean Impact, Ann Mei Chang Shows how to bring an iterative approach to doing good in the world. Translating the “Lean Startup” methodology to social change, Chang shows that it is possible to listen, to learn, and to get results.  

By Ann Mei Chang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Despite enormous investments of time and money, are we making a dent on the social and environmental challenges of our time? What if we could exponentially increase our impact?

Around the world, a new generation is looking beyond greater profits, for meaningful purpose. But, unlike business, few social interventions have achieved significant impact at scale. Inspired by the modern innovation practices, popularized by bestseller The Lean Startup, that have fueled technology breakthroughs touching every aspect of our lives, Lean Impact turns our attention to a new goal - radically greater social good.

Social change is far more complicated than building…


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