100 books like Escape from Overshoot

By Peter A. Victor,

Here are 100 books that Escape from Overshoot fans have personally recommended if you like Escape from Overshoot. 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 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 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 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 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 Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development

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 climate crisis, many of us now understand, may just end up crushing us. What can save us from that crushing?

Greater income equality, the former World Bank economist Herman Daly argued in this concise 1996 volume, has to be central to our solution. Daly, who passed away in 2022, pioneered the discipline of ecological economics.

Our planet, this University of Maryland professor emeritus believed, has “a limit to the total material production that the ecosystem can support.” In other words, we can’t afford to continue grasping for ever more.

We need to center ourselves instead around having enough, and that means, Daly concluded, moving toward adopting a “maximum personal income” since having 99 percent of a limited total product “go to only one person” would be “clearly unjust.”

By Herman E. Daly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Daly is turning economics inside out by putting the earth and its diminishing natural resources at the center of the field . . . a kind of reverse Copernican revolution in economics." 
--Utne Reader

"Considered by most to be the dean of ecological economics, Herman E. Daly elegantly topples many shibboleths in Beyond Growth. Daly challenges the conventional notion that growth is always good, and he bucks environmentalist orthodoxy, arguing that the current focus on 'sustainable development' is misguided and that the phrase itself has become meaningless."
--Mother Jones

"In Beyond Growth, . . . [Daly] derides the concept of…


Book cover of Stable Peace

Jurgen Brauer Author Of War and Nature: The Environmental Consequences of War in a Globalized World

From my list on unusual stories about conflict, war, and peace.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born of refugee parents, I grew up stateless in occupied, cold war-era Berlin, Germany. It is perhaps not surprising that the how and why of war, and the economic deprivation and poverty it produces, came to be my professional interest. I earned a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame (USA) and became a professor of economics with specialties in development economics and the economics of conflict, war, and peace. I like “grazing” along disciplinary boundaries and have written on economic aspects of military history, the economics of the firearms market, the impact of war on nature, and the economics of genocides and other mass atrocities.

Jurgen's book list on unusual stories about conflict, war, and peace

Jurgen Brauer Why did Jurgen love this book?

In his heyday, Kenneth Boulding was among America’s leading intellectuals across the natural and social sciences. A cofounder of the fields of ecological economics and of peace economics, he also wrote poetry.

Well-known books of his include The Image and Conflict and Defense, but I like the little Stable Peace the best. Just 143 pages long, it takes peace seriously, not as a utopian ideal but as a practical policy option. Boulding asks: as a scientific matter, what might it take to reach stable peace?

If nothing else, you will enjoy both the power of his concepts and of his writing. If phrases like “policy is social agriculture” don’t stop and engage you, what will?

By Kenneth Ewart Boulding,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The human race has often put a high value on struggle, strife, turmoil, and excitement. Peace has been regarded as a utopian, unattainable, perhaps dull ideal or as some random element over which we have no control. However, the desperate necessities of the nuclear age have forced us to take peace seriously as an object of both personal and national policy. Stable Peace attempts to answer the question, If we had a policy for peace, what would it look like?

A policy for peace aims to speed up the historically slow, painful, but persistent transition from a state of continual…


Book cover of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

Marco te Brömmelstroet Author Of Movement: how to take back our streets and transform our lives

From my list on how your language shapes the way you think (and act).

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor in Urban Mobility Futures and, as such, am fascinated by how we think about our mobility present and past and how this limits us in imagining different futures. The problems in our mobility system are so urgent and overwhelming that I like to actively search for alternative ways of seeing and acting and teach others to do the same. Personally, I love to experience the incredible freedom of mind that I find in doing this. Also, see the Shepherd list of recommendations by my co-author, Thalia Verkade.

Marco's book list on how your language shapes the way you think (and act)

Marco te Brömmelstroet Why did Marco love this book?

For me, this book offered a perfect link between understanding the fundamental thinking in the field of economics and the necessity of changing that. Western society and lifestyles are all based on the notions of economic growth, extraction of resources, and externalizing the costs to other places and generations. And we are so used to this underlying worldview that we tend to take all of this for granted.

I think that the big crises we are facing are rooted here. By revealing this, we can see the fence that is limiting our thinking. With the alternative logic of the Doughnut Economy, we suddenly have the potential to break through it. I love that it shows that we can all work towards a world in which everybody can thrive!

By Kate Raworth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Financial Times "Best Book of 2017: Economics"

800-CEO-Read "Best Business Book of 2017: Current Events & Public Affairs"

Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times.

Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.

That's why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth,…


Book cover of The Disenchanted Earth: Reflections on Ecosocialism and Barbarism

Gareth Dale Author Of Revolutionary Rehearsals in the Neoliberal Age

From my list on Degrowth from a fellow traveller.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I grew up I assumed growth is good. Tomatoes grow, so do people—and economies too? Certainly, recessions were bad: many workers were made ‘redundant’. But as we grew older we noticed that growth continued yet people’s lives were getting harder. Looking back, the 1970s in Britain appears a golden age: almost everyone had plenty to eat, society was relatively equal, and all to a soundtrack of fabulous music. With climate change and other environmental threats it’s getting more obvious with each passing season that a global social transformation is required. These are the questions that have driven my own research, on climate politics, growth ideology, and technology fetishism.

Gareth's book list on Degrowth from a fellow traveller

Gareth Dale Why did Gareth love this book?

Humans are destroying the planet on which they live. Their economic system is exterminating thousands of species and they themselves will be at risk of species suicide if they carry on this way much longer. I am constantly pinching myself at how little this is registering among intellectuals and the wider public. Thank goodness for Richard Seymour.

By Richard Seymour,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Richard Seymour, one of the UK's leading public intellectuals, comes a characteristic blend of forensic insight and analysis, personal journey, and a vivid respect for the natural world.

A planetary fever-dream. An environmental awakening that is also a sleep-walking, unsteadily weaving between history, earth science, psychoanalysis, evolution, biology, art and politics. A search for transcendence, beyond the illusory eternal present.

These essays chronicle the kindling of ecological consciousness in a confessed ignoramus. They track the first enchantment of the author, his striving to comprehend the coming catastrophe, and his attempt to formulate a new global sensibility in which we…


Book cover of Towards a Political Economy of Degrowth

Gareth Dale Author Of Revolutionary Rehearsals in the Neoliberal Age

From my list on Degrowth from a fellow traveller.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I grew up I assumed growth is good. Tomatoes grow, so do people—and economies too? Certainly, recessions were bad: many workers were made ‘redundant’. But as we grew older we noticed that growth continued yet people’s lives were getting harder. Looking back, the 1970s in Britain appears a golden age: almost everyone had plenty to eat, society was relatively equal, and all to a soundtrack of fabulous music. With climate change and other environmental threats it’s getting more obvious with each passing season that a global social transformation is required. These are the questions that have driven my own research, on climate politics, growth ideology, and technology fetishism.

Gareth's book list on Degrowth from a fellow traveller

Gareth Dale Why did Gareth love this book?

Degrowth is a new field of thought and political strategy and is throwing up lots of questions. That’s why I like books such as this, in which many critical thinkers jostle together in one volume.

Crucially in my view, this volume brings voices from the Global South, where degrowth has to be discussed differently to the ways it’s approached in rich countries of the North.

By Ekaterina Chertkovskaya (editor), Alexander Paulsson (editor), Stefania Barca (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since the 1970s, the degrowth idea has been proposed by scholars, public intellectuals and activists as a powerful call to reject the obsession of neoliberal capitalism with economic growth, an obsession which continues apace despite the global ecological crisis and rising inequalities. In the past decade, degrowth has gained momentum and become an umbrella term for various social movements which strive for ecologically sustainable and socially just alternatives that would transform the world we live in.

How to move forward in an informed way, without reproducing the existing hierarchies and injustices? How not to end up in a situation when…


Book cover of Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World

Paul Chatterton Author Of How to Save the City: A Guide for Emergency Action

From my list on helping us save the city.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been fascinated by city life since I studied Geography at high school. After twenty five years of teaching and researching urban geography, I am Professor of Urban Futures at a UK university. I now have a better sense of the challenges we face and what we can do about them. I spend my time supporting activists, campaigners, students, policymakers, and politicians about the urgency for change and what kind of ideas and examples they can use to tackle what I call the triple emergencies of climate breakdown, social inequality, and nature loss.

Paul's book list on helping us save the city

Paul Chatterton Why did Paul love this book?

There is one current zeitgeist at the moment that everyone needs to know about - degrowth.

Jason Hickel’s book is one of the best accounts of how the whole world got tangled up in a ceaselessly growing economy and what we can do to reverse out of it.

This book has really helped me make the case with students, urban policymakers, and politicians that we need a new kind of economy that doesn’t just value growth or getting bigger, but one that respects the health of people and planet, and undoes some of the big injustices that have emerged from the long history of colonialism.

By Jason Hickel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Less Is More as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A powerfully disruptive book for disrupted times ... If you're looking for transformative ideas, this book is for you.' KATE RAWORTH, economist and author of Doughnut Economics

A Financial Times Book of the Year
______________________________________
Our planet is in trouble. But how can we reverse the current crisis and create a sustainable future? The answer is: DEGROWTH.

Less is More is the wake-up call we need. By shining a light on ecological breakdown and the system that's causing it, Hickel shows how we can bring our economy back into balance with the living world and build a thriving society for…


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