100 books like Steady-State Economics

By Herman E. Daly,

Here are 100 books that Steady-State Economics fans have personally recommended if you like Steady-State Economics. 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 Tao Te Ching

Neal Allen Author Of Better Days: Tame Your Inner Critic

From my list on books on spirituality for people who hate books on spirituality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Until my early 50s, I detested all things spiritual. These books showed up practically on their own, without dogma or jargon, mainly to convince me that the divine existed. They’re easy to read and open to interpretation. They tricked me into a spiritual life by making it seem logical and simply a place to explore at my leisure. I try to write things that are clear and simple, and these books persuaded me that the ineffable isn’t so hard to write about. Also, I could return to these books years later, and they still speak to me. Each is capable of opening something new to me later in life.

Neal's book list on books on spirituality for people who hate books on spirituality

Neal Allen Why did Neal love this book?

Most ancient wisdom texts require a lot of effort. I love the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist Discourses, Dogen, Plato, Krishnamurti, and so on. But to read them, I have to take some time out of my day.

This book is a scroll of 81 aphorisms. I can pick any one, spend a little time with it, and get on with my day.

Plus, it starts with a bang: “The Way that you hear about is not the real Way.” I am invited to be confused! That takes all the pressure off me to figure it out. 

By Lao Tzu, Gia-fu Geng (translator), Jane English (translator) , Toinette Lippe (translator)

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Tao Te Ching as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For nearly two generations, this bestselling translation of the Tao Te Ching has been the standard for those seeking access to the wisdom of Taoist thought. Now Jane English and her long-time editor, Toinette Lippe, have refreshed and revised the translation, so that it more faithfully reflects the Classical Chinese in which it was first written, while taking into account changes in our own language and eliminating any lingering infelicities. This beautiful oversized edition features over a hundred new photographs by Jane English that help express the vast spirit of the Tao. Also included is an introduction by the well-known…


Book cover of Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity

Rex Weyler Author Of Greenpeace: The Inside Story

From my list on ecology from an ecologist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, a history of indigenous American nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first-century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award. In the 1970s, Weyler was a co-founder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests, and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.

Rex's book list on ecology from an ecologist

Rex Weyler Why did Rex love this book?

My all-time favourite ecology book, playfully but rigorously exploring complexity, co-evolution, a living systems language, and knowledge itself. “The major problems in the world,”  Bateson warned, “are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.” In Bateson’s world, all divisions of nature are arbitrary. We only witness relationships, not things in themselves. Bateson links our mental process with evolutionary process and urges ecologists to see those patterns that connect the apparent parts of the whole. 

By Gregory Bateson, Gregory Bateson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A re-issue of Gregory Bateson's classic work. It summarizes Bateson's thinking on the subject of the patterns that connect living beings to each other and to their environment.


Book cover of The Limits to Growth

Bruce Nappi Author Of Collapse 2020 Vol. 1: Fall of the First Global Civilization

From my list on the impending collapse of global civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an Eagle Scout selected for the 1964 North Pole expedition, graduate of MIT with both BS and MS degrees in Aero Astro – yes, a true MIT rocket scientist. I quickly took planning roles at the “bleeding edge” of technology: missiles, nuclear power, heart pumps, DNA sequencing, telemedicine… In every case, however, the organizations were plagued by incompetence and corruption. As an individual, I interacted with activist leaders in movements for: peace, climate, social justice, ending poverty, etc. Again, incompetence and corruption. Throughout, I dug for answers into the wisdom of the classics and emerging viewpoints. Finally. All that effort paid off. I found the “big picture”! 

Bruce's book list on the impending collapse of global civilization

Bruce Nappi Why did Bruce love this book?

Limits To Growth summarized the first major computer simulation of world society. It was comprehensive, including the influence of: human population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion. The results were sobering! It showed that, if major limits were not established for human population, pollution, and resource depletion, a severe collapse of human society would follow in the near future. What most people do not know is, the report was so disturbing it was accepted by the United Nations for action. It was so well received by world leaders that, by 1974, almost every world nation agreed to take major steps to set such limits. China, for example, established its one-child family policy. Ironically, the U.S. refused any commitment. By 1978, carbon industry disinformation killed all the commitments.

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Why should I read it?

3 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?

Examines the factors which limit human economic and population growth and outlines the steps necessary for achieving a balance between population and production. Bibliogs


Book cover of Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century: Readings on the Philosophy and Practice of the New Environmentalism

Rex Weyler Author Of Greenpeace: The Inside Story

From my list on ecology from an ecologist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, a history of indigenous American nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first-century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award. In the 1970s, Weyler was a co-founder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests, and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.

Rex's book list on ecology from an ecologist

Rex Weyler Why did Rex love this book?

The best available summary of Deep Ecology. An anthology of seminal essays inspired by Norwegian philosopher and activist Arne Naess, who sought to create an ecological paradigm shift in society – his work influenced the Greenpeace founders. This collection includes essays by Naess, Chellis Glendinning, Gary Snyder, Dolores LaChapelle, Paul Shepard, and others, who examine the ecological tradition from Spinoza and Thoreau to Santayana and ecofeminism. 

By George Sessions,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every day, in newspapers and on television, we read and hear about the ongoing destruction of the environment: the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, deforestation, and air and water pollution. Deep Ecology offers a solution to the environmental crisis through a radical shift in human consciousness—a fundamental change in the way people relate with the environment. Instead of thinking of nature as a resource to be used for human needs, Deep Ecology argues that the true value of nature is intrinsic and independent of its utility. Emerging in the 1980s as an influential philosophical, social, and political movement, Deep Ecology…


Book cover of An Introduction to Ecological Economics

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

This book provides an essential introduction to the expanding field of ecological economics.

Authored by some of the leading figures in the field, it covers the basic evidence of global limits to economic activity such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and land degradation. The historical basis for ecological economic theory is explained in non-technical terms.

The book covers issues of sustainable scale, natural capital, and ecosystem services – simple concepts that nonetheless revolutionize economic thinking. It concludes with an analysis of policies needed to achieve sustainability. 

By Robert Costanza, John H Cumberland, Herman Daly , Robert Goodland , Richard B Norgaard , Ida Kubiszewski , Carol Franco

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Empty-World Economics to Full-World Economics

Ecological economics explores new ways of thinking about how we manage our lives and our planet to achieve a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. Ecological economics extends and integrates the study and management of both "nature's household" and "humankind's household"-An Introduction to Ecological Economics, Second Edition, the first update and expansion of this classic text in 15 years, describes new approaches to achieving a sustainable and desirable human presence on Earth. Written by the top experts in the field, it addresses the necessity for an innovative approach to integrated environmental, social, and economic analysis…


Book cover of The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

Diana E. Marsh Author Of Extinct Monsters to Deep Time: Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian's Fossil Halls

From my list on where authors infiltrate a wild community.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a nerd about all things museums and archives, which I teach and write about. I was trained as an anthropologist, and got really interested in using anthropology’s methods (namely ethnography) to do long-term, embedded, deep-dive fieldwork in bureaucratic settings, like big museums. I love reading books by journalists, economists, historians, and others who do ethnography and really embed themselves in different communities, places, and cultures.

Diana's book list on where authors infiltrate a wild community

Diana E. Marsh Why did Diana love this book?

This is an academic book, but it's beautifully written, and not too, too jargony. Tsing does a kind of commodity ethnography, embedding herself in multiple parts of the lifecycle of the Matsutake Mushroom trade, while depicting the worlds of pickers, restauranteurs, mushroom traders and auctioneers, nature guides, and more. She also weaves in a critique of capitalist markets in which these kinds of natural entities now are embedded, which I dig! 

By Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mushroom at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What a rare mushroom can teach us about sustaining life on a fragile planet

Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world-and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the Northern Hemisphere. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's account of these sought-after fungi offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: What manages to live in the ruins we have made? The Mushroom at the End of the World explores the unexpected corners of matsutake commerce, where we encounter Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions lead us into…


Book cover of Herman Daly's Economics for a Full World: His Life and Ideas

David Miller Author Of Solved: How the World's Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis

From my list on books that evoke a place and take you there.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love cities, and as a former Mayor, I understand their vibrant complexity. Like all of us, I am deeply worried about planetary breakdown, but unlike most, I’ve had the privilege of seeing firsthand the great work that leading mayors are undertaking globally to address the climate crisis. It's my belief that if more of us knew what is happening in some cities, and therefore what is possible in all, we would not only see that it is possible to avoid climate breakdown but fuelled by that hope, we would demand change from those we elect. You can hear more in the podcast I lead, Cities 1.5, or read more in my occasional newsletter on substack.

David's book list on books that evoke a place and take you there

David Miller Why did David love this book?

This book is a lovingly and expertly written biography of an underappreciated but vastly significant economist, Herman Daly. Professor Daly was an early proponent of ecological economics, and his work is becoming increasingly important and relevant if we want to stop climate breakdown.

One of the main reasons we are approaching climate breakdown is because neo-liberal economic theories and the economic system they have led to through trade agreements and the like rely on false or oversimplified assumptions—like pollution is free or that any resource constraints can be met by new inventions. The fact that neither is true—and the policy implications that set out from that conclusion - are persuasively documented in this biography.

The book is about economics and a great economist who brilliantly and convincingly demonstrated that the Planet and human resource demands on it must be included in our economic analysis and rules. As such, the biography…

By Peter A. Victor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Herman Daly's Economics for a Full World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the first biography of Professor Herman Daly, this book provides an in-depth account of one of the leading thinkers and most widely read writers on economics, environment and sustainability.

Herman Daly's economics for a full world, based on his steady-state economics, has been widely acknowledged through numerous prestigious international awards and prizes. Drawing on extensive interviews with Daly and in-depth analysis of his publications and debates, Peter Victor presents a unique insight into Daly's life from childhood to the present day, describing his intellectual development, inspirations and influence. Much of the book is devoted to a comprehensive account of…


Book cover of Earth, Wind and Fire: Unpacking the Political, Economic and Security Implications of Discourse on the Green Economy

Najma Mohamed Author Of Sustainability Transitions in South Africa

From my list on justice and sustainability in South Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

While my childhood in a coastal community in South Africa contributed to my deep appreciation and love for nature, I was born and grew up as a person of colour in the apartheid era when barricades divided humans, the land, and the sea. I developed a profound understanding, rooted in my lived experience, of the interlinkages between justice, equity, and sustainability. I've remained actively involved and interested in developing and profiling transformative and inclusive approaches to sustainability from community to the international level. I've maintained this focus on the nexus between climate, nature, and inequality throughout my career, where I've led transformative and inclusive approaches to nature and climate policy and practice for 20+ years. 

Najma's book list on justice and sustainability in South Africa

Najma Mohamed Why did Najma love this book?

The book deals with the challenge of growth – how the South African economy needs to find a way to grow, and adopt policy choices and pathways that can help the country transition from a fossil fuel-intensive economy to a green economy, that is resource efficient, climate resilient, and equitable.

It grapples with the social complexity of post-apartheid South Africa and why a transition to a green economy in South Africa must be just transition. 

By Lynne Krieger Mytelka (editor), Velaphi Msimang (editor), Radhika Perrot (editor) , Marie Blanche Ting , Saliem Fakir , Manisha Gulati , Simone Haysom , Lyndall Mujakachi , Edison Muzenda , T. J. Pilusa , Louise Scholtz , Ogundiran Soumonni , Fumani Mthembi

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book examines issues ranging from global and domestic climate change and sustainable energy issues to the mineral-energy complex issues that have given rise to local and sector-specific problems. Each chapter seeks to convey policy choices and recommendations, at the centre of which is a clear articulation of the need for an integrated mix of policy instruments in South Africa to mitigate emissions and promote the development of a low-carbon economy through the low-carbon and sustainable energy technologies and low-carbon innovation across various sectors of the economy. The central theme of the book is that discourse and policy action on…


Book cover of Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador

Drew Pendergrass Author Of Half-Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Future from Extinction, Climate Change and Pandemics

From my list on environmental crisis and how to solve it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a climate scientist at Harvard and an environmental activist. In my day job, I use satellite, aircraft, and surface observations of the environment to correct supercomputer models of the atmosphere. What I’ve learned has made me feel that I can’t just stay in the lab—I need to get out in the world and fight for a future that’s just and ecologically stable for everyone. My writing and activism imagines how humanity can democratically govern itself in an age of environmental crisis.

Drew's book list on environmental crisis and how to solve it

Drew Pendergrass Why did Drew love this book?

As an environmental activist, I often run into the problem of popular politics. Consumption of certain goods, like oil or meat, drives the environmental crisis, but they also are popular—or, at least, people would feel it as a loss if they were limited. Worse, people’s livelihoods often depend on industries that are hurting the planet.

To understand possible ways forward, I turned to Thea Riofrancos. This book guided me through Ecuador's complicated environmental politics. A left-wing president won power, promising prosperity for all, funded by mining and exporting the country’s rich natural resources. Indigenous people and environmentalists proposed alternative politics, which were not funded by extraction but by an alternative green economy. The book is full of hard lessons about the challenges of building a winning environmental movement.

By Thea Riofrancos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 2007, the left came to power in Ecuador. In the years that followed, the "twenty-first-century socialist" government and a coalition of grassroots activists came to blows over the extraction of natural resources. Each side declared the other a perversion of leftism and the principles of socioeconomic equality, popular empowerment, and anti-imperialism. In Resource Radicals, Thea Riofrancos unpacks the conflict between these two leftisms: on the one hand, the administration's resource nationalism and focus on economic development; and on the other, the anti-extractivism of grassroots activists who condemned the government's disregard for nature and indigenous communities. In this archival and…


Book cover of Erosion: Essays of Undoing

Loretta Pyles

From my list on rewilding and falling in love with outdoor adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I built snow forts, climbed the white birch tree in my front yard, and talked to a rabbit named Bobby who lived in the bushes. I rode my bike on adventures, getting lost and exploring woods, ditches, and surrounding landscapes. In a household where I often felt unsafe, time outdoors was a refuge. Working in a career as a university professor of social work for the past 20 years, I have used mindful outdoor experiences, as well as yoga and meditation, as a source of healing. And I have loved sharing these practices with my students. Today, I am documenting my rewilding adventures in my van which has been a joyful way to honor my inner child.

Loretta's book list on rewilding and falling in love with outdoor adventure

Loretta Pyles Why did Loretta love this book?

A few years ago, I took a road trip from the East Coast to the Southwestern United States, camping in my car and exploring New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. This was the first book I had queued up in my audiobooks for the trip.

The author lives in Utah and explores her love affair with the arid, desolate landscapes of the Southwest as she grieves accruing environmental and personal losses. It’s a poignant, poetic book by an environmental activist that deepened my own commitment to the connection between love of the earth and a willingness to stand up for it. 

By Terry Tempest Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Terry Tempest Williams is one of our most impassioned defenders of public lands. A naturalist, fervent activist, and stirring writer, she has spoken to us and for us in books like The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks and Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. In these new essays, Williams explores the concept of erosion: of the land, of the self, of belief, of fear. She wrangles with the paradox of desert lands and the truth of erosion: What is weathered, worn, and whittled away through wind, water, and time is as powerful as…


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