100 books like Small Is Beautiful

By E.F. Schumacher,

Here are 100 books that Small Is Beautiful fans have personally recommended if you like Small Is Beautiful. 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 This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

J.M. Donellan Author Of Killing Adonis

From my list on reminding us why we should eat the rich.

Why am I passionate about this?

We live in a bizarre era of Elon Musk stans who seem certain that if you work hard you’ll be rewarded not only with ‘fuck you’ money, but ‘fuck everyone’ money. I think any writer worth their salt should at some point tackle the issues of their age in their writing. In our era racism, sexism, climate change, and a range of other social justice issues are all exacerbated through the improper distribution of wealth. You could give a man a fish, and he might eat for a day. Or you could eviscerate the rich, share their wealth, and throw the whole world a parade! 

J.M.'s book list on reminding us why we should eat the rich

J.M. Donellan Why did J.M. love this book?

I read Klein’s No Logo as a teenager and it formed a very deep impression on me, I’ve been a follower of her work ever since. I’m constantly confused and fascinated by people who claim that the climate crisis will be solved by ‘market solutions’ despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, much of which is skillfully unpacked here. Important and enlightening. 

By Naomi Klein,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked This Changes Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Naomi Klein, author of the #1 international bestsellers, The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, returns with This Changes Everything, a must-read on how the climate crisis needs to spur transformational political change

Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It's not about carbon - it's about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.

In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein, author of the global bestsellers The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, tackles the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the…


Book cover of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America

David Schweickart Author Of After Capitalism

From my list on climate change and seeing it through new eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a certain degree of scientific expertise deriving from the education leading to my Ph.D. in mathematics and a deep interest in ethical issues, which led to my pursuing a second Ph.D. in philosophy. I am passionate about the issue of climate change, because (among other reasons) I have four grandchildren who will be living in the new world that is being created now. As I often said to my students during my last few years of teaching, “You are living at the time when the most momentous event in human history is unfolding. Historians of the future—if there are any remaining—will write extensively about this period, about what happened and why, about what those of us alive today did or did not do.”

David's book list on climate change and seeing it through new eyes

David Schweickart Why did David love this book?

This is a brilliant book by a professor of history holding an endowed chair at Duke University, a scholar who took a year off from her academic duties to tour the country, giving talks about this book. It is the other book that has most affected me since the publication of my last book, After Capitalism. It’s a very readable scholarly study, not explicitly focused on climate change, but which explains more compellingly than any other book I’ve read, as to why, given what we know about the causes of, and solutions to, climate change, we are not doing what needs to be done. This book goes well beyond my own long-held belief that we don’t really live in a democracy, focusing on specific elements I’d never thought about, but which are causally implicated in so much of the systemic disfunction that we observe today in our political and economic…

By Nancy MacLean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Finalist for the National Book Award
The Nation's "Most Valuable Book"

"[A] vibrant intellectual history of the radical right."-The Atlantic

"This sixty-year campaign to make libertarianism mainstream and eventually take the government itself is at the heart of Democracy in Chains. . . . If you're worried about what all this means for America's future, you should be."-NPR

An explosive expose of the right's relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change, and alter the Constitution.

Behind today's…


Book cover of The Ecological Rift: Capitalism's War on the Earth

David Schweickart Author Of After Capitalism

From my list on climate change and seeing it through new eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a certain degree of scientific expertise deriving from the education leading to my Ph.D. in mathematics and a deep interest in ethical issues, which led to my pursuing a second Ph.D. in philosophy. I am passionate about the issue of climate change, because (among other reasons) I have four grandchildren who will be living in the new world that is being created now. As I often said to my students during my last few years of teaching, “You are living at the time when the most momentous event in human history is unfolding. Historians of the future—if there are any remaining—will write extensively about this period, about what happened and why, about what those of us alive today did or did not do.”

David's book list on climate change and seeing it through new eyes

David Schweickart Why did David love this book?

I was drawn to this powerful, contemporary, Marxian analysis, which fits so well with After Capitalism. It opens with a section on “Capitalism and Unsustainable Development,” followed by “Ecological Paradoxes,” then “Dialectical Ecology,” (which includes evidence of Marx’s own concern with what we now call “ecology”). It concludes with “Ways Out.” It’s a long read, but well worth the effort.

By Richard York, Brett Clark, John Bellamy Foster

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Humanity in the twenty-first century is facing what might be described as its ultimate environmental catastrophe: the destruction of the climate that has nurtured human civilization and with it the basis of life on earth as we know it. All ecosystems on the planet are now in decline. Enormous rifts have been driven through the delicate fabric of the biosphere. The economy and the earth are headed for a fateful collision—if we don’t alter course.
In The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth environmental sociologists John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York offer a radical assessment of both…


Book cover of A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow

David Schweickart Author Of After Capitalism

From my list on climate change and seeing it through new eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a certain degree of scientific expertise deriving from the education leading to my Ph.D. in mathematics and a deep interest in ethical issues, which led to my pursuing a second Ph.D. in philosophy. I am passionate about the issue of climate change, because (among other reasons) I have four grandchildren who will be living in the new world that is being created now. As I often said to my students during my last few years of teaching, “You are living at the time when the most momentous event in human history is unfolding. Historians of the future—if there are any remaining—will write extensively about this period, about what happened and why, about what those of us alive today did or did not do.”

David's book list on climate change and seeing it through new eyes

David Schweickart Why did David love this book?

I read this book to stay true to my commitment, inspired by John Stuart Mill, to always make an effort to understand the strongest against your own convictions (a key reason for always including Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom in my political philosophy courses). Like most progressives in the 70s, I was part of the anti-nuclear movement, not just opposition to nuclear weapons, but to nuclear power as well. I did not expect this book to radically shift these commitments—but it did. Not the first one, but the second. I realized on reading this book that I had not thought seriously about these issues in decades. The issue of climate change was not on the table in those days, and I had not paid much attention to the development of nuclear power since then. The issue today is too urgent to ignore. Looking at the evidence presented in this book…

By Staffan A. Qvist, Joshua S. Goldstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As climate change begins to take a serious toll on the planet--with much more damage yet to come--a solution to our warming problems is hiding in plain sight. We need to commit to de-carbonizing our economy, and do so immediately, but so far we have lacked the courage to really try.

Our fears of nuclear energy have grown irrationally large, even as our fears of climate change are irrationally small.

In this clear-sighted and compelling book, Joshua Goldstein and Steffan Qvist come bearing good news: a real solution, one that is fast, cheap, and provably works. Based on Sweden's success…


Book cover of Collapse

Mordecai George Sheftall Author Of Blossoms In The Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze

From my list on how culture makes us do self-destructive things.

Why am I passionate about this?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke up expecting to spend that day – and the rest of my academic career – leisurely studying the interplay of culture and individual temperament in second language acquisition. As the rest of that terrible day unfolded, however, my research up to that point suddenly seemed very small and almost decadently privileged. Recruiting the rudimentary cultural anthropology toolbox I had already amassed, I took a deep breath and plunged into the rabbit hole of studying the role of culture in human conflict. Twenty-two years later, using my Japan base and relevant language skills, my research has focused on the Japanese experience in World War II.

Mordecai's book list on how culture makes us do self-destructive things

Mordecai George Sheftall Why did Mordecai love this book?

Have you ever encountered an idea in a book that made such a lasting impression on you that, almost like the “flashbulb” memory of a life – or world-changing event, you can remember the exact circumstances of where you were when you first read it?

Jared Diamond’s Collapse – which I picked up at an airport bookshop as “light reading” for a long flight – ended up providing me with just such an experience. The book holds that culture can fatally inure us, like so many slowly (and initially comfortably) boiling frogs, to the existential threat of environmental destruction, particularly in the context of the overexploitation of natural resources.

Diamond’s account of the last days of Easter Island civilization is particularly harrowing, and has haunted me ever since.

By Jared Diamond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations.

Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future.

What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island?
What happened to the architects of the crumbling Maya pyramids?
Will we go the same way, our skyscrapers one day standing derelict and overgrown like the…


Book cover of The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

Steve Fenton Author Of Web Operations Dashboards, Monitoring, & Alerting

From my list on DevOps from before DevOps was invented.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a programmer and technical author at Octopus Deploy and I'm deeply interested in DevOps. Since the 1950s, people have been studying software delivery in search of better ways of working. We’ve seen many revolutions since Lincoln Labs first introduced us to phased delivery, with lightweight methods transforming how we wrote software at the turn of the century. My interest in DevOps goes beyond my enthusiasm for methods in general, because we now have a great body of research that adds to our empirical observations on the ways we work.

Steve's book list on DevOps from before DevOps was invented

Steve Fenton Why did Steve love this book?

I was a long-time skeptic about the business novel format, but The Goal changed my mind.

In this book, Goldratt presents concepts like Theory of Constraints with a business thriller (seriously). You get to live the same aha moments as the protagonist, Alex Rogo, as he encounters the pipe-smoking philosopher Jonah.

The setting may be a factory, but you’ll find many parallels to your DevOps work in this book.

By Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeffrey Cox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*A Graphic Novel version of this title is now available: "The Goal: A Business Graphic Novel"

30th Anniversary Edition. Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal, a gripping novel, is transforming management thinking throughout the world. It is a book to recommend to your friends in industry - even to your bosses - but not to your competitors. Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. So is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant - or it will be closed by…


Book cover of The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

Ray Cunningham Author Of The Post-Growth Project: How the End of Economic Growth Could Bring a Fairer and Happier Society

From my list on our fatal addiction to economic growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my career, I managed research into how the problems of modern industrial society are tackled in different countries. This reflected my own comparative instinct, which arose out of growing up bilingual and at home in two cultures. My journey into politics, sociology, and economics made me increasingly aware of the blindness of our social arrangements to the growing ecological crisis – and of how this blindness is perpetuated by the narrow silos of our political and academic systems. Our only hope now lies with thinkers who can escape those silos and integrate different perspectives into a holistic understanding. We don’t need more specialists, but generalists. Fewer economists, more moral philosophers. 

Ray's book list on our fatal addiction to economic growth

Ray Cunningham Why did Ray love this book?

A vast propaganda effort has been undertaken since the Club of Rome first issued ‘The limits to growth’ report in 1972 to rubbish its predictions and hypotheses. If you actually take the trouble to read the 1972, 1994, and 2004 reports, then you can see through this desperate effort. The authors were fundamentally – in broad terms – correct, and visionary. True, they overestimated how rapidly the planet was likely to succumb to world-scale resource-depletion crises; but they actually underestimated how rapidly we would start to succumb to crises arising from pollution. Their warnings need to be heeded very rapidly, now.

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Groundbreaking call to action by Donella Meadows, the bestselling author of Thinking in Systems!

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse the Guardian The updated edition of the groundbreaking classic that kickstarted the movement for environmental and ecological reform!

Perfect for fans of The Uninhabitable Earth and There is No Planet B

It is no unknown fact that at the present rate of climate change, population growth and capitalistic expansion, we are over-exceeding our planet's resources. We're stretched pretty thin and if we continue at the present rate we'll soon be headed towards irreversible consequences as…


Book cover of Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace

Isaac Getz Author Of Freedom Inc.: How Corporate Liberation Unleashes Employee Potential and Business Performance

From my list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it.

Why am I passionate about this?

One remarkable leader I've studied, Bob Davids, said that the greatest scarcity in the world is not oil or food but leadership. For two decades, I've been on a quest to uncover the essence of a transformational leader, someone who cultivates an environment where employees' needs are so well-addressed that they are eager to show up and give their best every day. This journey led me to study hundreds of leaders and books, all serving as the foundation for my thoughts and writings. I trust that these books will kickstart your own journey. Mine has guided me to play a pivotal role in the corporate liberation movement, involving hundreds of leaders who have transformed their organizations.

Isaac's book list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it

Isaac Getz Why did Isaac love this book?

This is the freshest account I’ve read by a leader of his company’s transformational journey: Ricardo Semler became CEO of his father’s company, SEMCO, at the age of 21, and wrote the book in his early thirties, not to forget the transformative journey he just led.

But even more than the narrative itself, I loved Semler’s philosophical reflections, densely packed throughout the book. Example: “We simply don’t believe our employees have an interest in coming in late and doing as little as possible. After all, the same people raise children and elect mayors and presidents. They are adults. In SEMCO, we treat them as adults.”

Semler, twice chosen as Brazil’s businessperson of the year, proves how a leader, driven by authentic beliefs, can lead a transformation that makes people and—consequently—the company thrive.

By Ricardo Semler,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Breakthrough Thinking: The Seven Principles of Creative Problem Solving

Dr. Gerhard Plenert Author Of The XLs

From my list on developing innovative and creative thinkers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Gerhard Plenert has a PhD in Resource Economics and Operations Management, which are fancy words for “a whole lot of math.” He spent 12 years as a university professor and the remainder of his life living and working all over the world in places like Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and of course North America. He has 8 children, and his grandchildren are just starting to get numbered, the last count was 15. He has successfully published over 30 books and close to 200 articles on various business and academic topics. But his loves include Sci-Fi movies like Avatar, Star Trek, and Star Wars, and mysteries like Jason Bourne and James Bond.

Dr.'s book list on developing innovative and creative thinkers

Dr. Gerhard Plenert Why did Dr. love this book?

This book describes a methodology of thinking that is used in Japan by Toyota for innovation and creativity. It describes a series of principles that are used to discover new ideas and gives examples and stories that demonstrate how these principles have been applied in industries throughout Japan. The “Breakthrough Thinking” methodology has been applied in businesses of all types throughout the world.

By Gerald Nadler, Shozo Hibino,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Anatomy of Successful Problem Solving
How do great leaders solve problems differently from the rest of us? In Breakthrough Thinking you will learn the seven steps consistently used by those who solve problems most creatively. By taking an analytical approach, Nadler and Hibino discovered that there is a specific method used to successfully make decisions that is both teachable and duplicable. This program is now presented to you in this volume.
"Finally, we have a beautifully lucid book which tells you how to get from here to there—how to get to 'excellence.'"
—Warren Bennis, co-author of Leaders
"I've used…


Book cover of Today and Tomorrow

Dr. Gerhard Plenert Author Of The XLs

From my list on developing innovative and creative thinkers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Gerhard Plenert has a PhD in Resource Economics and Operations Management, which are fancy words for “a whole lot of math.” He spent 12 years as a university professor and the remainder of his life living and working all over the world in places like Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and of course North America. He has 8 children, and his grandchildren are just starting to get numbered, the last count was 15. He has successfully published over 30 books and close to 200 articles on various business and academic topics. But his loves include Sci-Fi movies like Avatar, Star Trek, and Star Wars, and mysteries like Jason Bourne and James Bond.

Dr.'s book list on developing innovative and creative thinkers

Dr. Gerhard Plenert Why did Dr. love this book?

This book first came out in 1926 but it’s interesting how much of what he teaches in this book is still relevant and lacking in today’s workplace. He is falsely remembered for his operations concepts as if they were more important than the employee, but he stresses over and over again the importance of focusing on the needs of the employee. This is also reflected in his objective of creating a vehicle for the average man, making his life easier and happier. If we would have listened and learned from him long ago we may not be rehearing these same messages again coming from Japanese automakers.

By Henry Ford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Henry Ford is the man who doubled wages, cut the price of a car in half, and produced over 2 million units a year. Time has not diminished the progressiveness of his business philosophy, or his profound influence on worldwide industry. The modern printing of Today and Tomorrow features an introduction by James J. Padilla, Group Vice President, Ford North America. It also includes an enhanced selection of photos illustrating the processes and facilities Ford covers in the text. Taiichi Ohno acknowledged that a key stimulus to JIT was his close reading of this book. Today, these same ideas are…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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