100 books like Seven Bad Ideas

By Jeff Madrick,

Here are 100 books that Seven Bad Ideas fans have personally recommended if you like Seven Bad Ideas. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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

Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira Author Of Shaping Nations and Markets: Identity Capital, Trade, and the Populist Rage

From my list on understanding the transformation of capitalism and globalisation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 2008, I have conducted research on themes related to International Political Economy. I am currently the co-chair of the research committee on this topic at the International Political Science Association (IPSA) and am passionate about making sense of the interplay between material and symbolic factors that shape capitalism and globalisation. Being based in Brazil, I was stuck when the country—which did not have salient identity cleavages in politics—came to be, after 2008, a hotspot of religious-based right-wing populism associated with the defence of trade liberalisation as globalisation started to face meaningful backlash from White-majority constituencies who are relatively losers of the post-Cold War order in the advanced industrialised democracies.

Vinícius' book list on understanding the transformation of capitalism and globalisation

Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira Why did Vinícius love this book?

As post-Cold War globalisation seems to face its fate, I always go back to this book as it offers lessons on the perils of taking for granted economic rationality. The 19th-century liberal order crumbled, and fascism emerged as a solution. In the same vein, is far-right populism a reaction against the consequences of neoliberalism?

Although he does not bring to the centre stage the impact of ethnic-religious cleavages, such a shortcoming only made me wonder whether his riveting account of modernity applies nowadays.

By Karl Polanyi,

Why should I read it?

12 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 The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira Author Of Shaping Nations and Markets: Identity Capital, Trade, and the Populist Rage

From my list on understanding the transformation of capitalism and globalisation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 2008, I have conducted research on themes related to International Political Economy. I am currently the co-chair of the research committee on this topic at the International Political Science Association (IPSA) and am passionate about making sense of the interplay between material and symbolic factors that shape capitalism and globalisation. Being based in Brazil, I was stuck when the country—which did not have salient identity cleavages in politics—came to be, after 2008, a hotspot of religious-based right-wing populism associated with the defence of trade liberalisation as globalisation started to face meaningful backlash from White-majority constituencies who are relatively losers of the post-Cold War order in the advanced industrialised democracies.

Vinícius' book list on understanding the transformation of capitalism and globalisation

Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira Why did Vinícius love this book?

In a time when industrial policy is no longer taboo, even in the West, I would recommend this book to remember the pivotal role that state policies play in promoting development.

More than being the result of self-made people, crucial innovations like the smartphone result from the research backbone that the state provides.

The book is, therefore, thought-provoking as it debunks myths of state decline during the so-called neoliberal age, although recognises that private firms have acquired excessive power.

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Entrepreneurial State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sharp and controversial expose, Mariana Mazzucato debunks the pervasive myth that the state is a laggard, bureaucratic apparatus at odds with a dynamic private sector. She reveals in detailed case studies, including a riveting chapter on the iPhone, that the opposite is true: the state is, and has been, our boldest and most valuable innovator. Denying this history is leading us down the wrong path. A select few get credit for what is an intensely collective effort, and the US government has started disinvesting from innovation. The repercussions could stunt economic growth and increase inequality. Mazzucato teaches us…


Book cover of Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

Raphael Sassower Author Of The Quest for Prosperity: Reframing Political Economy

From my list on moving beyond capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in political economy dates back to my student years where I combined the study of the history of political economy, economics, and philosophy. Whether apologists or critics of capitalism, both groups appreciate the centrality of economic exchange among people who live in communities where absolute autonomy and self-sufficiency are unattainable. My concern with reframing political economy is also informed by the all too hushed scandal of capitalism, namely, the reliance on slavery for the accumulation of wealth for more than a century after the establishment of the USA. The reckoning with this atrocity animates much of my present thinking about political economy in general and capitalism in particular.  

Raphael's book list on moving beyond capitalism

Raphael Sassower Why did Raphael love this book?

Lessig’s book argues that the pretense we live in America in a capitalist economy that follows the rules of the markets, with profit maximization and copyright protection (dating back to the Constitution), is by now completely discarded. Focusing on the entertainment industry and the arts, Lessig illustrates the limits of such thinking given the conduct of millions who download music, films, and videos without permission and continue to “remix” them within the legal limits of “fair use.”   

By Lawrence Lessig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The reigning authority on intellectual property in the Internet age, Lawrence Lessig spotlights the newest and possibly the most harmful culture — a war waged against those who create and consume art. America's copyright laws have ceased to perform their original, beneficial role: protecting artists' creations while allowing them to build on previous creative works. In fact, our system now criminalizes those very actions. Remix is an urgent, eloquent plea to end a war that harms every intrepid, creative user of new technologies. It also offers an inspiring vision of the postwar world where enormous opportunities await those who view…


Book cover of The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation

Raphael Sassower Author Of The Quest for Prosperity: Reframing Political Economy

From my list on moving beyond capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in political economy dates back to my student years where I combined the study of the history of political economy, economics, and philosophy. Whether apologists or critics of capitalism, both groups appreciate the centrality of economic exchange among people who live in communities where absolute autonomy and self-sufficiency are unattainable. My concern with reframing political economy is also informed by the all too hushed scandal of capitalism, namely, the reliance on slavery for the accumulation of wealth for more than a century after the establishment of the USA. The reckoning with this atrocity animates much of my present thinking about political economy in general and capitalism in particular.  

Raphael's book list on moving beyond capitalism

Raphael Sassower Why did Raphael love this book?

With numerous examples that range from comedy clubs, football strategies, recipes, and the fashion industry, this book explains how the myth of copyright protection as the hallmark of market capitalism makes no sense. Instead of the argument that the only way to incentivize people to invent and create, what this book outlines is the many cases in which not only this is not the case but instead a robust competitive environment thrives without capitalist ways of thinking. Notions of creative cooperation make up for ruthless competition, and the expectation of legal protection only shows that without regulatory powers market forces cannot function. 

By Kal Raustiala, Christopher Sprigman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the shopping mall to the corner bistro, knockoffs are everywhere in today's marketplace. Conventional wisdom holds that copying kills creativity, and that laws that protect against copies are essential to innovation-and economic success. But are copyrights and patents always necessary? In The Knockoff Economy, Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman provocatively argue that creativity can not only survive in the face of copying, but can thrive.

The Knockoff Economy approaches the question of incentives and innovation in a wholly new way-by exploring creative fields where copying is generally legal, such as fashion, food, and even professional football. By uncovering these…


Book cover of The Mystery of Overend & Gurney: A Financial Scandal in Victorian London

Kevin Dowd Author Of Alchemists of Loss: How Modern Finance and Government Intervention Crashed the Financial System

From my list on financial crises.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Kevin Dowd, a professor of finance and economics at Durham University. I co-authored Alchemists of Loss with Bear’s Lair journalist and ex-merchant banker Martin Hutchinson. Our book discusses the cause of the Global Financial Crisis. Looking over this and many other historical booms and busts, the point that jumps out at me is that the lesson man draws from history is that man learns nothing from it. For it is the doom of men (and women) that we forget.

Kevin's book list on financial crises

Kevin Dowd Why did Kevin love this book?

A gripping portrait of a Dickensian financial scandal that led to the last English bank run before the run on Northern Rock in 2007. Founded in 1800 and controlled by Quakers, the firm that was to become Overend and Gurney grew to become London’s leading discount house, specialising in the safe business of discounting bills of exchange. In the 1850s, it became more aggressive and was eventually investing depositors’ funds in highly speculative ventures that promised spectacular profits that never materialised. When market conditions became adverse, Overend and Gurney found itself in dire straits. The Bank of England refused to bail it out and Overend and Gurney was run out of business in 1866. Its failure led to a major financial crisis, the ruin of many investors, and the directors being put on trial in the Old Bailey for fraud.

By Geoffrey Elliott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is an entertaining and intriguing account portrait of a period in history and a financial event that was the Barings scandal of its day. In May 1866, Overend and Gurney, the City of London's leading discount house - with a turnover second only to that of the Bank of England - suspended all payments and provoked a 'panic without parallel in the financial history of England'. Within three months of the event more than two hundred other companies had collapsed. Overend and Gurney itself had debts equivalent to GBP 1 billion at today's values. Remarkably, Overend and Gurney was…


Book cover of The Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Bubble

Michael G. Pento Author Of The Coming Bond Market Collapse: How to Survive the Demise of the U.S. Debt Market

From my list on fiscal destruction of America’s foundation of freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion is to prepare clients' investments for the impending debt crisis. That is why I started Pento Portfolio Strategies and created the Inflation/Deflation and Economic Cycle Model. The US faces an entirely new paradigm – due to onerous debt, central banks are forced to either massively monetize the nation's debt or allow a cathartic deflationary depression to reset the economy. Our government is now compelled to seek a condition of perpetual inflation to maintain the illusion of prosperity and solvency. Our central bank is now walking the economy on a tightrope between inflation and deflation. This will require a vastly different and active investment strategy to fit the new dynamic.

Michael's book list on fiscal destruction of America’s foundation of freedom

Michael G. Pento Why did Michael love this book?

An apropos warning about the inevitable collapse of all empires that live beyond their means.

Wrought with historical references to past collapsed empires including the Roman and British, understand how the US is going down the same destructive path as the previous empires.

This book also explains how the high standard of living in the US and other Western economies is sponsored by the poorer, harder-working Asian countries that make something of value.

Issuing massive amounts of debt and printing money to pay for it isn’t a sustainable way to run an economy.

By Will Bonner, Addison Wiggin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An updated look at the United States' precarious position given the recent financial turmoil In The New Empire of Debt , financial writers Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin return to reveal how the financial crisis that has plagued the United States will soon bring an end to this once great empire. Throughout the book, the authors offer an updated look at the United States' precarious position given the recent financial turmoil, and discuss how government control of the economy and financial system-combined with unfettered deficit spending and gluttonous consumption-has ravaged the business environment, devastated consumer confidence, and pushed the global…


Book cover of The Big Short

Claire A. Hill Author Of Better Bankers, Better Banks: Promoting Good Business through Contractual Commitment

From my list on bankers, especially bankers behaving badly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested—a vast understatement to anyone who knows me—in what makes people tick. I’ve focused on analyzing business actors – bankers, lawyers, investors, executives, shareholders, and others. What do they want? Some combination of money, power, or prestige? How does loving to win fit in? How about hating to lose? When is enough (money/power/prestige) enough? What do they think is ok to do to get what they want? What do they think is not ok? Amazingly, as a law professor, I can pursue that interest as part of my job, and – I think and hope – do so in a way that might help lawmakers, regulators, and policymakers do better.

Claire's book list on bankers, especially bankers behaving badly

Claire A. Hill Why did Claire love this book?

As everyone knows at this point, anything Michael Lewis writes will be enormous fun to read, while being about something really important—something he’ll make you care about even if you didn’t when you started the book.

In this case, the subject is people who bet on the direction of mortgages (and thus, house prices), and how those who bet on a huge plunge were right. This book has an amazing cast of characters, all richly drawn: some are smart, some are not so smart; some are excellent schmoozers, some can barely tolerate human interaction; some care a lot about money, some care more about being right, especially if everyone else is wrong.

Each book I've recommended cries out to be made into a movie. This one actually was.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Big Short as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.

Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Marx's Capital Illustrated

Thomas Kemple Author Of Marx’s Wager: Das Kapital and Classical Sociology

From my list on Marx’s Capital and its relevance today.

Why am I passionate about this?

27 years of teaching social and cultural theory to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of British Columbia have shaped the way I think about challenging works like Marx’s Capital. I’ve come to approach the classics of sociology not just as systematic scientific treatises, but also as literary works with a beginning, middle, and end, and as political projects designed to seize upon the power of words for practical purposes. 

Thomas' book list on Marx’s Capital and its relevance today

Thomas Kemple Why did Thomas love this book?

As an academic, I was at first skeptical about reading a comic version of Marx’s masterpiece, but Smith and Evans brilliantly manage to be both entertaining and enlightening, hilariously funny as well as dead serious. Even if you’re not familiar with any of the key concepts, you’ll get a lot out of the way they combine simple descriptions with the illustrations, and the updated edition really resonates with the financial crises we’ve experienced in the last couple of decades. 

By David Smith, Phil Evans (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Karl Marx did not write Das Kapital for the bookshelves of economists and philosophers. It is economics for working people, from their viewpoint and history. It is the classic masterpiece of revolutionary working-class politics. Here, David Smith and Phil Evans explode the myth of difficulty haunting Marx's Kapital.


Book cover of Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era

Malcolm Rutherford Author Of The Institutionalist Movement in American Economics, 1918-1947: Science and Social Control

From my list on the economic mind in America from 1880 to 1960.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was contemplating a topic for my PhD thesis, it struck me powerfully that American economics was severely under-studied, and that this applied even more so to those associated with “American institutional economics.” My research soon indicated to me that the literature that did exist was lacking in coverage and badly misleading. During my research in archives, I uncovered some real gems—just one example was the archives of the Robert Bookings Graduate School, an institution largely forgotten, but famous at the time. This was exciting and inspired me to continue on to provide a major re-evaluation of American economics in the interwar period.    

Malcolm's book list on the economic mind in America from 1880 to 1960

Malcolm Rutherford Why did Malcolm love this book?

Mary Furner’s book presents what is the common view of progressives as liberal reformers, but there is another side to progressive social science that is less liberal. 

The progressive era social science literature is replete with racism and with arguments about racial and other forms of inferiority derived from eugenics.

The vast amount of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe gave rise to concerns about the undermining of American standards, both biological and economic, including theories of “race suicide.” 

Leonard’s book has generated a great deal of discussion, and while there is no doubt that many progressives displayed eugenic and racist ideas, it needs to be stressed that such views were not limited to progressives, but included many of those with conservative and even free-market views in other areas.     

By Thomas C. Leonard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Illiberal Reformers, Thomas Leonard reexamines the economic progressives whose ideas and reform agenda underwrote the Progressive Era dismantling of laissez-faire and the creation of the regulatory welfare state, which, they believed, would humanize and rationalize industrial capitalism. But not for all. Academic social scientists such as Richard T. Ely, John R. Commons, and Edward A. Ross, together with their reform allies in social work, charity, journalism, and law, played a pivotal role in establishing minimum-wage and maximum-hours laws, workmen's compensation, antitrust regulation, and other hallmarks of the regulatory welfare state. But even as they offered uplift to some, economic…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in financial crises, the economy, and economic planning?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about financial crises, the economy, and economic planning.

Financial Crises Explore 21 books about financial crises
The Economy Explore 193 books about the economy
Economic Planning Explore 14 books about economic planning