100 books like Securing the Fruits of Labor

By James L Huston,

Here are 100 books that Securing the Fruits of Labor fans have personally recommended if you like Securing the Fruits of Labor. 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 The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need

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?

Our nation’s most insightful—and readable—sociologist? Boston College’s Juliet Schorr has my vote.

Over the past quarter-century, Schor has probably done more than anyone else in the world to bring grand conceptual constructs like income distribution down to the nitty-gritty of daily life.

Her 1999  best-seller, The Overspent American, strikingly exposes how inequality unleashes a “competitive consumption” dynamic that has us consuming ever more and enjoying life ever less. And that dynamic poses more dangers today than ever before.

As Schor put it in an interview with her I did some years back, we have “no chance” at achieving ecological sustainability “with the kind of extreme income distribution” that we have today. 

By Juliet B. Schor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An in-depth look at the corruption of the American Dream, the follow-up to the the Overworked American examines the consumer lives of Americans and the pitfalls of keeping up with the Joneses. Schor explains how and why the purchases of others in our social and professional communities can put pressure on us to spend more than we can afford to, how television viewing can undermine our ability to save, and why even households with good incomes have taken on so much debt for so many products they dont need and often dont even want.


Book cover of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

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 British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have an American doctor friend who has a fascinating exercise for his first-year medical school students.

This doctor asks his students to write a speech detailing why the USA has the world’s best health. The students eagerly set about collecting all the relevant data and quickly find themselves absolutely shocked. Among major developed nations, the USA turns out to have the worst health.

Americans also turn out to be up to ten times more likely than people in other developed nations to get murdered or become drug addicts. What’s going on here? Inequality!

The more wealth concentrates at a society’s summit, Wilkinson and Pickett vividly show in this 2009 classic, the worse that society performs on the yardsticks that define basic health and decency. 

By Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Groundbreaking analysis showing that greater economic equality-not greater wealth-is the mark of the most successful societies, and offering new ways to achieve it.

"Get your hands on this book."-Bill Moyers

This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them-the well-off and the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking. Almost every modern social and environmental problem-ill health, lack 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 Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life

Jonathan Chevreau Author Of Findependence Day

From my list on financial independence and retirement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a veteran semi-retired Canadian financial journalist who has long made a distinction between the terms “Retirement” and “Financial Independence.” I  recently turned 70 and have been financially independent since my early 60s BUT I am not yet retired. I coined the term Findependence in my financial novel Findependence Day, and since 2014 have been running the Financial Independence Hub blog, with new blogs every business day.

Jonathan's book list on financial independence and retirement

Jonathan Chevreau Why did Jonathan love this book?

The late Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group, published this excellent book in 2009.

Consider the following apophyrical tale related in Chapter 10 of Enough: “Too Much Success, Not Enough Character.” It concerns an old greyhound who spent his days at a race track chasing a mechanical rabbit. Over the years, the dog had won over a million dollars for his owner but ultimately decided to quit: not because he was mistreated or had become disabled but because “I found out that the rabbit I was chasing wasn’t even real.”

Those who accumulate more money than they need in life and end up as the richest denizen in the cemetery would do well to reflect on the main premises of Enough. Remember, financial independence is about having income exceed expenses, no matter how modest those expenses might be. It’s about working only because you want to, not because you…

By John C. Bogle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John Bogle puts our obsession with financial success in perspective Throughout his legendary career, John C. Bogle-founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and creator of the first index mutual fund-has helped investors build wealth the right way and led a tireless campaign to restore common sense to the investment world. Along the way, he's seen how destructive an obsession with financial success can be. Now, with Enough., he puts this dilemma in perspective. Inspired in large measure by the hundreds of lectures Bogle has delivered to professional groups and college students in recent years, Enough. seeks, paraphrasing Kurt Vonnegut,…


Book cover of Those Rebels, John & Tom

Natasha Wing Author Of The Story of Eliza Hamilton: A Biography Book for New Readers

From my list on Founding Mothers and Fathers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love relearning history I learned way back in high school and looking at it with wiser eyes. I wanted to pay tribute to both the Founding Fathers and Mothers since it took quite a few brave, smart and determined people to figure out how the new nation of the United States of America would operate. After watching the musical, Hamilton, I was curious to discover more about some of the characters. That’s what’s so great about children’s books – they can be used to extend and deepen the learning process for kids and adults.

Natasha's book list on Founding Mothers and Fathers

Natasha Wing Why did Natasha love this book?

Here’s another take on America’s relationship with King George III. The story shows the differences between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson but despite their differences, they have a love of country and a hate for King George. They unite their strengths - John’s power of persuasion and Tom’s mighty pen - to formulate the Declaration of Independence. The endnotes are just as fascinating, talking about how their relationship continued - and almost ended. They both died on the same day, on July 4th.

By Barbara Kerley, Edwin Fotheringham (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Those Rebels, John & Tom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A brilliant portrait of two American heroes from the award-winning creators of The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)!

"Adams and Jefferson help bring forth the Declaration of Independence and... model successful collaboration. Their secret: Speak up and listen to the other guy. Good lessons for today's Washington." --San Francisco ChroniceAn NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were very different. John Adams was short and stout. Thomas Jefferson was tall and lean. John was argumentative and blunt. Tom was soft-spoken and polite. But these two very different gentlemen did have two things in common: They…


Book cover of The Women Jefferson Loved

Francis D. Cogliano Author Of Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy

From my list on Thomas Jefferson from a historian's view.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've spent three decades teaching the history of the United States, especially the American Revolution, to students in the UK. Invariably some students are attracted by the ideals they identify with the United States while others stress the times that the US has failed to uphold those ideals. Thomas Jefferson helped to articulate those ideals and often came up short when it came to realizing them. This has fascinated me as well as my students. I'm the author or editor of eight books on Jefferson and the American Revolution including, Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy and The Blackwell Companion to Thomas Jefferson. I'm currently completing a book about the relationship between Jefferson and George Washington.

Francis' book list on Thomas Jefferson from a historian's view

Francis D. Cogliano Why did Francis love this book?

The study of Jefferson has been dominated by men and has largely focused on politics and Jefferson’s relationships with men. Scharff presents an alternative perspective. She focuses on the women in Jefferson’s life—his mother, sisters, wife, sisters-in-law, daughters, granddaughters, and the enslaved mother of his mixed-race children. The result is an original entry in the vast corpus of books on Jefferson. It’s beautifully written, imbued with sympathy for its subjects. Scharff offers a new perspective on Jefferson but also sheds light on the varied experiences of women of different races and classes in early America. The result is a study about much more than a “Founding Father.”  

By Virginia Scharff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A focused, fresh spin on Jeffersonian biography.” —Kirkus Reviews

In the tradition of Annette Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses of Monticello and David McCullough’s John Adams, historian Virginia Scharff offers a compelling, highly readable multi-generational biography revealing how the women Thomas Jefferson loved shaped the third president’s ideas and his vision for the nation. Scharff creates a nuanced portrait of the preeminent founding father, examining Jefferson through the eyes of the women who were closest to him, from his mother to his wife and daughters to Sally Hemings and the slave family he began with her.


Book cover of Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Dennis C. Rasmussen Author Of Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders

From my list on American founders from a political theorist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a political theorist at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. I spent the first fifteen years or so of my career working on the Scottish and French Enlightenments (Adam Smith, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire), but in recent years I’ve been drawn more and more to the American founding. In addition to Fears of a Setting Sun, I’m also the author of The Constitution’s Penman: Gouverneur Morris and the Creation of America’s Basic Charter, which explores the constitutional vision of the immensely colorful individual who—unbeknownst to most Americans—wrote the US Constitution.

Dennis' book list on American founders from a political theorist

Dennis C. Rasmussen Why did Dennis love this book?

Gordon Wood is often described as the dean of historians of the American founding, and all of his books are eminently worth reading. I was lucky enough, as a postdoc at Brown University, to sit in on the last course that he taught on the American Revolution before his retirement. Of the many volumes that Wood has written, I picked this dual biography of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson not only because it’s a delightful read, but also because it’s the book that I was reading when the idea for my book struck me.

By Gordon S. Wood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2017

From the great historian of the American Revolution, New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer-winning Gordon Wood, comes a majestic dual biography of two of America's most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist with enough faith in the innate goodness of his fellow man to be democracy's champion, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the…


Book cover of John Adams

Jordan Baker

From my list on that will hook you on history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a bit of a history nerd. Memories of my childhood are sprinkled with reminders of this passion. Whether it was holding in my excitement to be on the way to fourth-grade social studies so my classmates wouldn’t think I was weird or watching a Nat Geo documentary about the archeology of Stonehenge while I healed up from wisdom teeth surgery, history has always been an escape and fascination for me. This passion led to me obtaining a BA, then an MA in History, and starting my own history blog.

Jordan's book list on that will hook you on history

Jordan Baker Why did Jordan love this book?

A little over three decades after writing The Johnstown Flood, McCullough used his uncanny ability to connect with history subjects to create the best biography of John Adams ever written. 

Titling it simply John Adams, McCullough walks readers through the life of one of America’s greatest revolutionaries and second president. With this book, McCullough takes Adams out of his vaunted place in the American pantheon of patriots and brings him back down to earth.

We get to know the world and family into which John was born in 18th-century Massachusetts. We learn how his humble beginnings as a farmer’s son and the Protestant work ethic that still permeated New England during his youth forged him into a tenaciously hard worker. 

But Boston was not yet the metropolis it is today, and this small colonial city could not hold Adams’ ambitions for long.

McCullough explores Adams’ path to revolution,…

By David McCullough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

His first book since Truman, from one of America's most distinguished and popular biographers. Destined for the same kind of sweeping success as his Pulitzer Prize-winning Truman, John Adams is a powerful, deeply moving biography that reads like an epic historical novel. Breathing fresh life into American history, it takes as its subject the extraordinary man who became the second president of the United States. A man whose adventurous life and spirited rivalry with Thomas Jefferson encompasses both the American Revolution and the birth of the young republic. Deftly written with a brilliant eye for detail, McCullough describes the childhood,…


Book cover of Jefferson's Secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello

Francis D. Cogliano Author Of Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy

From my list on Thomas Jefferson from a historian's view.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've spent three decades teaching the history of the United States, especially the American Revolution, to students in the UK. Invariably some students are attracted by the ideals they identify with the United States while others stress the times that the US has failed to uphold those ideals. Thomas Jefferson helped to articulate those ideals and often came up short when it came to realizing them. This has fascinated me as well as my students. I'm the author or editor of eight books on Jefferson and the American Revolution including, Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy and The Blackwell Companion to Thomas Jefferson. I'm currently completing a book about the relationship between Jefferson and George Washington.

Francis' book list on Thomas Jefferson from a historian's view

Francis D. Cogliano Why did Francis love this book?

Beginning with Jefferson’s death in 1826 Burstein seeks to answer some of the most vexing questions that confronted Jefferson (and have preoccupied historians) including the consequences of mortality, the nature of Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemings, Jefferson’s attempts to reconcile his dependence on slavery with his belief in liberty, and his attitudes toward women. Drawing on a subtle and sophisticated study of Jefferson’s library and his reading habits, Burstein offers an original and engaging book that helps us to understand Jefferson’s heart by studying the thoughts in his head. A remarkable book.

By Andrew Burstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jefferson's Secrets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, he left behind a series of mysteries that have captured the imaginations of historical investigators for generations. In Jefferson's Secrets, Andrew Burstein draws on sources previous biographers have glossed over or missed entirely. Beginning with Jefferson's last days, Burstein shows how Jefferson confronted his own mortality. Burstein also tackles the crucial questions history has yet to answer: Did Jefferson love Sally Hemings? What were his attitudes towards women? Did he believe in God? How did he wish to be remembered? The result is a profound and nuanced portrait of the most complex…


Book cover of Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence

David Ellerman Author Of Neo-Abolitionism: Abolishing Human Rentals in Favor of Workplace Democracy

From my list on a fair and just private property market economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my graduate student days in philosophy and economics, I have slowly come to understand more and more the case for workplace democracy based on normative principles (i.e., the inalienability, property, and democratic principles), not just the obvious consequentialist or pragmatic arguments based on increased productivity (people working jointly for themselves), less worker alienation, and eliminating the divide down the middle of most enterprises between employers and employees. In addition to two decades of teaching university economics, I have co-founded several consulting companies dedicated to implementing these principles in practice, the Industrial Cooperative Association in Massachusetts (now the ICA Group) and the Institute for Economic Democracy in Slovenia, where I have retired.

David's book list on a fair and just private property market economy

David Ellerman Why did David love this book?

The third leg of the stool supporting workplace democracy (in addition to the democratic and property arguments) is the inalienable rights argument based on the factual inalienability of people’s responsible agency, which the legal employment contract pretends to be alienated in the firm based on employment. The truth comes out when an employee commits a crime at the behest of the employer; then they suddenly become partners in crime. Since the responsible agency is factually inalienable in both criminous and non-criminous actions, the contract that legally alienates all agency to the employer in the non-criminous case should be abolished. Garry Wills traces the history of the inalienable rights clause in the Declaration of Independence back to its roots in the Scottish and European Enlightenment.

By Garry Wills,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From acclaimed historian Garry Wills, author of Lincoln at Gettysburg, a celebrated re-appraisal of the meaning and the source of inspiration of The Declaration of Independence, based on a reading of Jefferson's original draft document.

Inventing America upended decades of thinking about The Declaration of Independence when it was first published in 1978 and remains one of the most influential and important works of scholarship about this founding document. Wills challenged the idea that Jefferson took all his ideas from John Locke. Instead, by focussing on Jefferson's original drafts, he showed Jefferson's debt to Scottish Enlightenment philosophers such as Lord…


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