100 books like Living in the End Times

By Slavoj Zizek,

Here are 100 books that Living in the End Times fans have personally recommended if you like Living in the End Times. 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 One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

This is the one classic text on my list. Marcuse’s book was like a bible to protesting students in the 1960s, and its critique of the psychic levelling that occurs under capitalism remains just as germane today, if not more so. This is the most successful marriage of Freud and Marx that emerged from the famous Frankfurt School, which was a group of cultural Marxist invested in psychoanalysis. Marcuse grasps how capitalism employs technology to ensure its psychic dominance. 

By Herbert Marcuse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One-Dimensional Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1964, One-Dimensional Man quickly became one of the most important texts in the ensuing decade of radical political change. This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events.


Book cover of The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

Kornbluh’s book is an incredible revelation. It shows that psychoanalysis provides an insistence on a formal interpretation that allows it to have a privileged critical position relative to capitalism. By showing capitalism’s formal impasses, psychoanalysis provides the perfect supplement to a Marxist critique and opens up possibilities for envisioning a non-capitalist future. The book uses realist fiction as a way to envision the formal critique of capitalism and really makes one want to read the books under discussion. I have taught this book to students, and they love it more than any other I’ve ever used. 

By Anna Kornbluh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In literary studies today, debates about the purpose of literary criticism and about the place of formalism within it continue to simmer across periods and approaches. Anna Kornbluh contributes to--and substantially shifts--that conversation in The Order of Forms by offering an exciting new category, political formalism, which she articulates through the co-emergence of aesthetic and mathematical formalisms in the nineteenth century. Within this framework, criticism can be understood as more affirmative and constructive, articulating commitments to aesthetic expression and social collectivity.

Kornbluh offers a powerful argument that political formalism, by valuing forms of sociability like the city and the state…


Book cover of Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings: The Emotional Costs of Everyday Life

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

Although Ruti’s book is not directly about capitalism, it includes perhaps the best psychoanalytic proposal of confronting the imperatives of capitalist society that I have ever read. Ruti discusses how sexism operates within capitalism primarily in the book, but her point is always about how concepts from psychoanalysis that seem retrograde—such as penis envy—can actually be the basis for a critique of capitalism and sexism. 

By Mari Ruti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mari Ruti combines theoretical reflection, cultural critique, feminist politics, and personal experience to analyze the prevalence of bad feelings in contemporary everyday life. Proceeding from a playful engagement with Freud's idea of penis envy, Ruti's autotheoretical commentary fans out to a broader consideration of neoliberal pragmatism. She focuses on the emphasis on good performance, high productivity, constant self-improvement, and relentless cheerfulness that characterizes present-day Western society. Revealing the treacherousness of our fantasies of the good life, particularly the idea that our efforts will eventually be rewarded-that things will eventually get better-Ruti demystifies the false hope that often causes us to…


Book cover of The Labour of Enjoyment: Towards a Critique of Libidinal Economy: Lacanian Explorations IV

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

Tomšič basically identifies why psychoanalysis is an anti-capitalist technique and how it emerged in response to the social structure of capitalist society. Psychoanalysis counters resistance to psychic change and to social change, a resistance that manifests itself in capitalism. Tomšič very nicely sees how the neurotic suffering that psychoanalysis treats is the result of one’s integration into the capitalist system, which is why treating it requires an anticapitalist method.  

By Samo Tomsic,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new theory of libidinal economy―the intersection between desire and capitalism―from the author of The Capitalist Unconscious

The fourth book in Slavoj Žižek's Lacanian Explorations series, The Labour of Enjoyment sees Slovenian philosopher Samo Tomšic continue his exploration of the connections between capitalism and psychoanalysis that he began in his 2015 book The Capitalist Unconscious.

In this new text, Tomšic critiques the use of psychoanalysis to discuss political economy, focusing specifically on the concept of "libidinal economy," the intersection between desire and capitalism most famously proposed by Jean-François Lyotard.

Contrasting Marxist and Freudian thought with the philosophies of Aristotle and…


Book cover of The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy

Max Gillman Author Of The Spectre of Price Inflation

From my list on Walter Bagehot’s challenge.

Who am I?

I remember in high school going to the gas pump and filling up during the oil crisis of the 1970s. Inflation was everywhere, but I had no idea what that was. I learned something about this in college and then in Congress as a legislative aide. I remember distinctly a conversation in Congress on how we were going to pay for these huge deficits that arose out of the Reagan tax cuts, all the while when inflation was peaking at that time. I had no idea. I then spent my PhD working in monetary economics to show the effect of inflation on the economy and have not stopped yet.

Max's book list on Walter Bagehot’s challenge

Max Gillman Why did Max love this book?

King was the head of the Bank of England during the financial crisis of 2008. He declared full deposit insurance for the entire United Kingdom private banking system, with no deposit premiums required. This ended the run on the banks that spilled over into the streets of the UK during the crisis, when the Bank of England at first decided not to take care of Northern Rock, a private retail bank that was headed towards insolvency.

King provides a whimsical and sharp review of the private and central bank system before and after the crisis that builds very much on Charles Goodhart and Walter Bagehot. King laudably faults economists and the Economics profession for thinking that establishing negative real interest rates worldwide is the answer to central bank crises (in his newly added Introduction to the paperback edition of his 2016 hardback by the same name). Yet King sides with…

By Mervyn King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Something is wrong with our banking system. We all sense that, but Mervyn King knows it firsthand; his ten years at the helm of the Bank of England, including at the height of the financial crisis, revealed profound truths about the mechanisms of our capitalist society. In The End of Alchemy he offers us an essential work about the history and future of money and banking, the keys to modern finance.

The Industrial Revolution built the foundation of our modern capitalist age. Yet the flowering of technological innovations during that dynamic period relied on the widespread adoption of two much…


Book cover of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Andreas Killen Author Of Nervous Systems: Brain Science in the Early Cold War

From my list on the history of torture.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated by this topic ever since the first newspaper stories exposing American involvement in torture began to appear in the early years of the so-called War on Terror. This fascination has persisted up to the present, as it remains clear – given recent accounts of Ron DeSantis’ time at Guantanamo – that this story refuses to die. Equally fascinating to me have been accounts revealing the extent to which this story can be traced back to the origins of the Cold War, to the birth of the National Security State, and to the alliance between that state and the professions (psychology and behavioral science) that spawned “enhanced interrogation.”

Andreas' book list on the history of torture

Andreas Killen Why did Andreas love this book?

Klein’s first chapter tells the disturbing story of Dr. Ewan Cameron, the eminent psychiatrist who ran the Allan Memorial Institute associated with McGill University, and whose experimental treatment, partly funded by the CIA, incorporated ECT, sensory deprivation, LSD into a research program designed to erase patients’ memories.

Especially intriguing for the way it links this story to a bold account of how efforts to reprogram people at a deep level were linked to the spread of new forms of capitalism in the late 20th century. This is history as told by an activist, in ways that academic historians are not always comfortable with.

By Naomi Klein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Impassioned, hugely informative, wonderfully controversial, and scary as hell' John le Carre

Around the world in Britain, the United States, Asia and the Middle East, there are people with power who are cashing in on chaos; exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally remake our world in their image. They are the shock doctors.

Exposing these global profiteers, Naomi Klein discovered information and connections that shocked even her about how comprehensively the shock doctors' beliefs now dominate our world - and how this domination has been achieved. Raking in billions out of the tsunami, plundering Russia, exploiting Iraq - this is…


Book cover of An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Author Of Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

From my list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of modern U.S. History and have written books explaining the political and cultural power of corporations, lobbyists, and business people in American life. To me, the signal event of recent history was when the rapid economic growth that followed WWII ended in the 1970s. From globalization and deindustrialization to the rise of authoritarianism under the guise of populism, from systemic racism and the rise of the carceral state to the proliferation of bad jobs and the gig economy—the effects of that historic change shape every aspect of modern life. But this topic can sometimes seem a little dry, so I’m always looking for books that help make sense of it.

Benjamin's book list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Why did Benjamin love this book?

Levinson is a rare thing among economists: he is willing to admit what we don’t understand.

This book argues that global productivity declined in the 1970s compared to the 30 years after World War II, and no one knows why. It seems that, under capitalism, economic growth is normally just very slow, and the fast postwar growth was the aberration. But what really matters is how political leaders responded, making a series of bad decisions to try to appease people’s over-inflated expectations of growth. And this happened all over the world, from the U.S. to Germany to Japan to Latin America. This is the book that let me understand every aspect of modern life in the last 50 years—from stagnant wages to the roller-coaster casino economy to political dysfunction to gig companies.

By Marc Levinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Washington Post and Strategy+Business Book of the Year.

Stagnant wages. Feeble growth figures. An angry, disillusioned public. The early 1970s witnessed the arrival of the problems that define the twenty-first century.

In An Extraordinary Time, Marc Levinson investigates how the oil crisis of the 1970s marked a radical turning point in global economics: and paved the way for the political and financial troubles of the present. Tracing the remarkable transformation of the global economy in the years after World War II, Levinson explores how decades of spectacular economic growth ended almost overnight - giving way to an era of…


Book cover of Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy

Laurie Laybourn Author Of Planet on Fire: A Manifesto for the Age of Environmental Breakdown

From my list on to help us face up to the environmental crisis.

Who am I?

I research, write and speak about the global environmental emergency and the policies and politics we need to adequately respond. Drawing on a decade of experience in academia, activism, and policymaking, my work explores the leadership needed to transition to more sustainable and equitable societies while contending with the growing destabilisation resulting from the worsening environmental crisis. I’ve worked at a range of leading policy research organisations and universities and have won awards for my work. I’ve got a BSc in physics and an MPhil in economies from the University of Oxford. 

Laurie's book list on to help us face up to the environmental crisis

Laurie Laybourn Why did Laurie love this book?

How can we make sense of the Covid-19 pandemic? Adam Tooze gives us a clear answer: it is the first crisis of the new era of environmental crisis. My work now focuses on the increasingly destabilizing effects that the crisis will bring into the future and how future leaders can be better ready to carry on the struggle under worsening conditions. The responses of current leaders to the pandemic – some good, many poor – are a key resource to learn from. This book is a first bash at learning the lessons from the pandemic. Into the future, more than anything we need leaders and governments who are capable of freeing us from the freezing embrace of fear in face of seemingly insurmountable odds. 

By Adam Tooze,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"This book's great service is that it challenges us to consider the ways in which our institutions and systems, and the assumptions, positions and divisions that undergird them, leave us ill prepared for the next crisis."-Robert Rubin, The New York Times Book Review

"Full of valuable insight and telling details, this may well be the best thing to read if you want to know what happened in 2020." --Paul Krugman, New York Review of Books

Deftly weaving finance, politics, business, and the global human experience into one tight narrative, a tour-de-force account of 2020, the year that changed everything--from the…


Book cover of Capital

Sarah Edghill Author Of His Other Woman

From my list on domestic dramas making you glad life is normal.

Who am I?

I love writing about families and what makes them tick: the minor dramas being played out behind every front door, make for intriguing reading. As a journalist, I have interviewed so many people with fascinating stories to tell, and with my fiction I throw my characters into a tricky situation and see what unfolds. Inevitably, if you pull one playing card from the bottom, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. When faced with unexpected challenges, my characters often behave badly, make poor decisions and get themselves into the kind of mess that makes you want to read one more chapter before turning out the light at night. 

Sarah's book list on domestic dramas making you glad life is normal

Sarah Edghill Why did Sarah love this book?

This book follows a year in the lives of the occupants of a London street and the people who work for them. The guaranteed wealth of those who are lucky enough to own houses in the street – where property prices have soared – is contrasted with the struggles of those who keep the lives of the homeowners on track: the Polish builder, the Hungarian nanny, the Kamal family who run the shop at the end of the road. This is a moral fable about money, but it’s also a witty, perceptive story that gallops along and is hard to put down.

By John Lanchester,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

** From the author of The Wall **

Adapted into an Emmy Award-winning BBC One drama

'Effortlessly brilliant . . . hugely moving and outrageously funny.' Observer

The residents of Pepys Road, London - a banker and his shopaholic wife, an elderly woman dying of a brain tumour, the Pakistani family who run the local shop, the young football star from Senegal and his minder - all receive anonymous postcards with a simple message: We Want What You Have. Who is behind it? What do they want?

As the mystery of the postcards deepens, the world around Pepys Road is…


Book cover of Farewell to Growth

Jonquil Lowe Author Of Be Your Own Financial Adviser

From my list on insights for managing your money wisely.

Who am I?

I’m an economist who started out in stockbroking. But that felt like an exploitative industry and, looking for a more positive role, I moved to the consumer organisation Which? There, I cut my teeth helping people make the most of their money and then started my own freelance business. Along the way, I’ve worked with many clients (including financial regulators and the Open University where I now also teach), taken some of the exams financial advisers do and written 30 or so books on personal finance. The constant in my work is trying to empower individuals in the face of markets and systems that are often skewed against them.

Jonquil's book list on insights for managing your money wisely

Jonquil Lowe Why did Jonquil love this book?

Much of personal finance relies on the premise that you will achieve your goals by investing in economic growth.

One narrative says we can play our part in tackling climate change by shifting our investments towards sustainable growth – for example, backing green technologies and carbon capture. However, Latouche questions whether economic growth is compatible at all with living within our planet’s resources.

He argues that we have to detach from the cycle of over-consuming and over-producing that is implicit in targeting economic growth and instead shift to a goal of maximising human wellbeing. His radical alternative is a world where we work less, share more, and respect nature.

It is arguably the only real solution to the climate crisis, but powerful vested interests stand in the way of its adoption.

By Serge Latouche,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Most of us who live in the North and the West consume far too much - too much meat, too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt. We are more likely to put on too much weight than to go hungry. We live in a society that is heading for a crash. We are aware of what is happening and yet we refuse to take it fully into account. Above all we refuse to address the issue that lies at the heart of our problems - namely, the fact that our societies are based on an economy whose only…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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