100 books like Socialism

By Ludwig Von Mises,

Here are 100 books that Socialism fans have personally recommended if you like Socialism. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Dispossessed

Joseph Pitkin Author Of Exit Black

From my list on fantasy-science fiction books that explore class and inequality.

Why am I passionate about this?

My science fiction and fantasy writing is concerned with the values I was exposed to growing up. As a lifelong Quaker, I have struggled—often unsuccessfully—to live out Quakerism’s non-conformist, almost utopian commitment to equality, simplicity, peace, and community. Not only have I tried to bear witness to those values in my writing, but those ideals led me to my career as an instructor at a community college, one of America’s great socioeconomic leveling institutions. My background as a speculative fiction writer has also made me into a teacher of science fiction and fantasy literature at my college, where I read and came to love the books I recommend here. 

Joseph's book list on fantasy-science fiction books that explore class and inequality

Joseph Pitkin Why did Joseph love this book?

I found this book (whose subtitle is “An Ambiguous Utopia”) one of the most thought-provoking works of fiction I have read.

The Dispossessed was my first introduction to anarchism as a political platform, and while it didn’t make an anarchist out of me, it was the book that allowed me to imagine anarchism as a coherent political philosophy. Practically every page of the book offers a critique of modern capitalism, and it’s impossible to read this book without considering the structures in our world today that ensure a system of haves and have-nots.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the very best must-read novels of all time - with a new introduction by Roddy Doyle

'A well told tale signifying a good deal; one to be read again and again' THE TIMES

'The book I wish I had written ... It's so far away from my own imagination, I'd love to sit at my desk one day and discover that I could think and write like Ursula Le Guin' Roddy Doyle

'Le Guin is a writer of phenomenal power' OBSERVER

The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous…


Book cover of Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

Xenia A. Cherkaev Author Of Gleaning for Communism: The Soviet Socialist Household in Theory and Practice

From my list on the possibility of collectivist modern life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am interested in how regimes of ethics and property interrelate, and how this interrelation informs political thought: in questions of cooperatives and collectives, customary use-rights, and household economies. I'm an anthropologist by training and geographically I work in Russia. I've written about socialist property law and stolen late-Soviet penguins, Stalin-era mine-detection dogs and perestroika-era saints, möbius bands, 19th-century Russian cheese-making co-operatives, New World Order theories of “The Golden Billion” and other important matters.

Xenia's book list on the possibility of collectivist modern life

Xenia A. Cherkaev Why did Xenia love this book?

Mutual Aid is an argument against social Darwinism: against the idea that social progress, like natural evolution, relies on cutthroat competition in which the fittest survive.

Kropotkin begins from a different premise. From the idea that life is foremost a cooperative struggle. Beings struggle together against outside forces before they struggle against others of their own kind. First published in English in 1902, the book is a popular and loving account of gregarious life. It teems with examples of beings acting cooperatively: struggling together for their existence and taking pleasure in the sheer fact of being together.

Its many examples are sure to dazzle curious children and dismay self-assured relatives seated next to you at family gatherings. 

By Peter Kropotkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Short excerpt: Paucity of life, under-population—not over-population—being the distinctive feature of that immense part of the globe which we name Northern Asia, I conceived since then serious doubts—which subsequent study has only confirmed—as to the reality of that fearful competition for food and life within each species, which was an article of faith with most Darwinists...


Book cover of The Morals of the Market: Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism

Xenia A. Cherkaev Author Of Gleaning for Communism: The Soviet Socialist Household in Theory and Practice

From my list on the possibility of collectivist modern life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am interested in how regimes of ethics and property interrelate, and how this interrelation informs political thought: in questions of cooperatives and collectives, customary use-rights, and household economies. I'm an anthropologist by training and geographically I work in Russia. I've written about socialist property law and stolen late-Soviet penguins, Stalin-era mine-detection dogs and perestroika-era saints, möbius bands, 19th-century Russian cheese-making co-operatives, New World Order theories of “The Golden Billion” and other important matters.

Xenia's book list on the possibility of collectivist modern life

Xenia A. Cherkaev Why did Xenia love this book?

72 people died when the Grenfell Tower burned in 2017, hundreds more lost their homes.

As survivors slept out in London's mosques and churches, one politician suggested requisitioning empty investment properties to house them. But the idea was shot down as a violation of human rights: those of the property owners. Whyte's Morals of the Market opens with this historical anecdote to ask how neoliberalism and human rights discourses evolved together.

Working through published and archival sources, the book shows that neoliberal thinkers “developed their own account of human rights as protections for the market order.” To their authors, such claims were not cynical. They were moral: grounded in a political morality that equated social progress with commercial relations, collectivism with moral failure, socialism with civilizational regression.

As people whose social worlds have been shattered by neoliberal policies increasingly turn to right-wing populism for a new kind of collectivist future,…

By Jessica Whyte,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drawing on detailed archival research on the parallel histories of human rights and neoliberalism, Jessica Whyte uncovers the place of human rights in neoliberal attempts to develop a moral framework for a market society. In the wake of the Second World War, neoliberals saw demands for new rights to social welfare and self-determination as threats to "civilisation". Yet, rather than rejecting rights, they developed a distinctive account of human rights as tools to depoliticise civil society, protect private investments and shape liberal subjects.


Book cover of Crack-Up Capitalism: Market Radicals and the Dream of a World Without Democracy

Xenia A. Cherkaev Author Of Gleaning for Communism: The Soviet Socialist Household in Theory and Practice

From my list on the possibility of collectivist modern life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am interested in how regimes of ethics and property interrelate, and how this interrelation informs political thought: in questions of cooperatives and collectives, customary use-rights, and household economies. I'm an anthropologist by training and geographically I work in Russia. I've written about socialist property law and stolen late-Soviet penguins, Stalin-era mine-detection dogs and perestroika-era saints, möbius bands, 19th-century Russian cheese-making co-operatives, New World Order theories of “The Golden Billion” and other important matters.

Xenia's book list on the possibility of collectivist modern life

Xenia A. Cherkaev Why did Xenia love this book?

Mass democracy guided the 20th century. Socialists and liberals disagreed about what exactly a government “of, for, and by the people” would look like, but they agreed that, in principle, it was desirable.

Even the fascists agreed. “Fascism,” wrote Mussolini, “is the purest form of democracy if the nation be considered from the point of view of quality rather than quantity... a people, historically perpetuating itself; a multitude unified by an idea and imbued with the will to live.”

But by the end of the century, democracy gave way to another ideal: special “zones” punched holes in the image of a democratic nation state with micro-nations and gated communities, crypto-currencies and special economic zones, charter schools and AirBnB schemes.

Slobodian's Crack-up Capitalism traces the emergence of this new social ideal. It examines the theory and practice of privately managed spaces erected to protect capitalism from democracy, markets from politics, profit…

By Quinn Slobodian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crack-Up Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Gonzo brilliance ... unique and highly entertaining' Financial Times

'Revelatory reading' Adam Tooze, author of Crashed

'After reading Quinn Slobodian's new book, you are not likely to think about capitalism the same way' Jacobin

Look at a map of the world and you'll see a neat patchwork of nation-states. But this is not where power actually resides. From the 1990s onwards, globalization has shattered the map, leading to an explosion of new legal entities: tax havens, free ports, city-states, gated enclaves and special economic zones. These new spaces are freed from ordinary forms of regulation, taxation and mutual obligation -…


Book cover of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

Engels provides the canonical theoretical framework for understanding how capitalism uniquely impacts women’s lives and how a more collectivized economy lays the foundation for women’s full emancipation. While many subsequent feminist and socialist scholars have disagreed with this book, The Origin of the Family is a classic that has inspired countless generations of theorists and activists. 

By Friedrich Engels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State: in the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan (German: Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats) is an 1884 historical materialist treatise by Friedrich Engels. It is partially based on notes by Karl Marx to Lewis H. Morgan's book Ancient Society (1877). The book is an early anthropological work and is regarded as one of the first major works on family economics.

Following the death of his friend and co-thinker Karl Marx in 1883, Friedrich Engels served as his literary executor, actively organizing and preparing for…


Book cover of Social Inequality in Vietnam and the Challenges to Reform

Tran Van Hoa Author Of Vietnam's Reforms and Economic Growth

From my list on Vietnam’s reforms and economic growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professional economist and econometrician with over 50 years of teaching and research experience. I've published articles in more than 200 international publications and been on the senior teaching staff of top U.S. and Asian universities. In recent years, I have also been interested in serious scholarly studies on developing economies in Asia and as an economic consultant to several Asian government ministries.

Tran's book list on Vietnam’s reforms and economic growth

Tran Van Hoa Why did Tran love this book?

This is a useful book to understand the basic problems and achievements of a socialist country’s move towards a globalized and free market system.

This book is a version of the authors’ previous work published by the South East Asia Institute. As a contribution to the specific theme, it first provides a description of Vietnam’s reforms and development. It also discusses a number of special features of this policy, including outcomes, pro and con analysis, and obstacles. 

Book cover of After Capitalism

Tom Malleson Author Of Against Inequality: The Practical and Ethical Case for Abolishing the Superrich

From my list on economic inequality and how to fix it.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are many big problems in the world today–racism, war, climate change, unaccountable governments, exploitative corporations, and so on. But when you scratch the surface of almost any serious problem, what you find is that the root of the problem is inequality: a minority of people are rich and powerful, while those who suffer the most are typically poor and powerless. I’m so passionate about inequality because, in my eyes, it constitutes the heart and soul of what’s wrong with our world and the key to making things better.

Tom's book list on economic inequality and how to fix it

Tom Malleson Why did Tom love this book?

Margaret Thatcher famously argued that “there is no alternative;” this book is the ultimate rebuttal.

I read this for the first time as an undergrad, and it forever changed me. What’s so powerful about it is that Schweickart lays out a simple but powerful model for a fundamentally different kind of society–a democratic socialist society based on economic democracy. He then carefully demonstrates that this alternative is not only feasible but that it would work far better than capitalism in pretty well every regard.

For anyone who has been searching for a clear and coherent alternative–this book is for you. 

By David Schweickart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since first published in 2002, After Capitalism has offered students and political activists alike a coherent vision of a viable and desirable alternative to capitalism. David Schweickart calls this system Economic Democracy, a successor-system to capitalism which preserves the efficiency strengths of a market economy while extending democracy to the workplace and to the structures of investment finance. In the second edition, Schweickart recognizes that increased globalization of companies has created greater than ever interdependent economies and the debate about the desirability of entrepreneurship is escalating. The new edition includes a new preface, completely updated data, reorganized chapters, and new…


Book cover of The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels: A Reinterpretation

Michael Roberts Author Of The Long Depression: Marxism and the Global Crisis of Capitalism

From my list on love and capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marxian Economics and its relevance to a better world and socialism has been my passion since I became an adult. My expertise in this subject, such as it is, has been sharpened by the study of Marx and Engels’ great works, but also by the efforts of so many others since; some of whom are included in my five best books. But above all, it is the knowledge that in this world of nearly 8 billion people, most do not have a happy and fulfilling life but face daily toil and struggle to live (and die). Humanity has the power and technology to do better; we just need to organise our social and governmental structures to achieve it.

Michael's book list on love and capitalism

Michael Roberts Why did Michael love this book?

Friedrich Engels is my hero. Coming from a wealthy German family of factory owners, he became Marx’s life-long friend. He was a Communist before Marx but gave up his own theoretical contributions for 20 years and instead worked for his family firm in order to support Marx and his family financially, so that Marx could write Das Kapital. And yet his own works were considerable and valuable in explaining socialist ideas. A bon viveur and sociable to a fault, Engels was the epitome of the connection between humanity and socialism. Unlikely as it seems, JD Hunley was Deputy Commander of Training in the US Air Force, and yet delivers a short and extremely erudite account of Engels’ life and works.

By J.D. Hunley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

See amazon description of item.


Book cover of News from Nowhere

Jan Marsh Author Of The Collected Letters of Jane Morris

From my list on William Morris and his family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a lifelong admiration for William Morris’s eloquent writings on political optimism. And how these fit with the personal life of his wife Janey and daughter May. This began with my biography of the two women, published by the feminist Pandora Press and continuing through to editing Jane Morris’s Collected Letters. Admiration is also critical engagement rather than simple fandom. We need to think, act, and endeavor to promote how we might live better lives in the world. I love the task of relating individual lives in the context of their time. Biography involves historical imagination to fill the gaps in recorded information and conceive how those in the past thought, felt and behaved.   

Jan's book list on William Morris and his family

Jan Marsh Why did Jan love this book?

This is William Morris’s utopian fantasy imaging an egalitarian, ecological, and pacific future for Britain is a perennial political favourite. It challenges each generation to think ‘how we might live’ without capitalist conflict. This book tackles revolutionary change, human nature, work, gender, manufacturing, architecture, economics, ecology, and the uses of imagination in critical analysis. All topics demonstrate the ongoing importance of William Morris’s vision and provoke responses.

By William Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

News from Nowhere(1890) is the best-known prose work of William Morris and the only significant English utopia to be written since Thomas More's. The novel describes the encounter between a visitor from the nineteenth century, William Guest, and a decentralized and humane socialist future. Set over a century after a revolutionary upheaval in 1952, these "Chapters from a Utopian Romance" recount his journey across London and up the Thames to Kelmscott Manor, Morris's own country house in Oxfordshire. Drawing on the work of John Ruskin and Karl Marx, Morris's book is not only an evocative statement of his egalitarian convictions…


Book cover of Basic Economics

Michael Muthukrishna Author Of A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going

From my list on changing how you see the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of economic psychology at the London School of Economics with affiliations in developmental economics and data science. Before that, I was at Harvard in Human Evolutionary Biology. During my PhD, I took graduate courses in psychology, economics, evolutionary biology, and statistics. I have undergraduate degrees in engineering and in psychology and took courses in everything from economics and biology to philosophy and political science. As a child, I witnessed the civil war in Sri Lanka; a violent coup in Papua New Guinea; the end of apartheid in South Africa, living in neighboring Botswana; and London’s 7/7 bomb attacks. I’ve also lived in Australia, Canada, USA, and UK.

Michael's book list on changing how you see the world

Michael Muthukrishna Why did Michael love this book?

This is probably the best lay introduction to economics that I've read. If you have opinions about the vices or virtues of capitalism, liberalism, socialism, or inequality, it offers a rigorous discussion of the underlying considerations.

Sowell is probably best known for his discussions on race, but in Basic Economics, his ability to explain, well, basic economic intuitions and thinking, really shines. Anyone opining on policy should read it.

By Thomas Sowell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this fifth edition of Basic Economics , Thomas Sowell revises and updates his popular book on common sense economics, bringing the world into clearer focus through a basic understanding of the fundamental economic principles and how they explain our lives. Drawing on lively examples from around the world and from centuries of history, Sowell explains basic economic principles for the general public in plain English. Basic Economics , which has now been translated into six languages and has additional material online, remains true to its core principle: that the fundamental facts and principles of economics do not require jargon,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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