10 books like Tales of Two Planets

By John Freeman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Tales of Two Planets. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap Author Of Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action

From the list on helping Christians navigate the climate crisis.

Who am I?

I was never an outdoorsy kid. But I was a church kid. As I grew up and moved into a calling to serve the church in ordained ministry, that calling took an unexpected turn when I visited West Virginian hollers poisoned by nearby mining operations and met the people living with the consequences. Subsequent trips to Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, drought-wracked Kenyan hillsides, and to international climate negotiations in Paris all solidified for me the truth that loving my neighbor required loving God’s creation too. I’ve spent the last 10 years speaking, writing, and teaching Christians across the country the same simple truth.

Kyle's book list on helping Christians navigate the climate crisis

Discover why each book is one of Kyle's favorite books.

Why did Kyle love this book?

This may seem like a strange choice. Kimmerer is a poet, a botanist, an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Band of Oklahoma, and—as far as I know—not a Christian

But the beauty and poignance of this book had me in tears often. Kimmerer has a way of training our modern, Western eyes to encounter creation not as inert raw material meant for little more than firing our industrial machines, but as sacred kin shot through with the glory of God.

Her indigenous wisdom is a crucial counterpoint to the prevailing post-Enlightenment worldviews and ideologies that most of us swim in every day, and it helps us get closer to the Hebrew cosmologies and anthropologies of the Bible. Cosmologies and anthropologies which are, after all, indigenous themselves. 

Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…

Arctic Dreams

By Barry Lopez,

Book cover of Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape

Bill Murray Author Of Out in the Cold: Travels North: Adventures in Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada

From the list on to understand the high north.

Who am I?

There’s nothing like personal experience. You have to read the literature, it’s true. That’s how we’ve all met here at Shepherd. But you have to roll up your sleeves and get down to visiting, too, if you want to write about travel. I first approached the Arctic in 1991 and I return above sixty degrees north every year, although I must confess to a secret advantage; I married a Finn. We spend summers at a little cabin north of Helsinki. I know the region personally, I keep coming back, and I invite you, whenever you can, to come up and join us!

Bill's book list on to understand the high north

Discover why each book is one of Bill's favorite books.

Why did Bill love this book?

Barry Lopez was a nature writer and environmentalist.

He died on Christmas day 2020, and although we are fortunate to have his valedictory book Horizon, published when his traveling days were pretty well behind him, Arctic Dreams is the real deal, with Lopez as raconteur, but practitioner too, thoroughly in his element.

Lopez writes about exploration and the aurora, animals and the weather, ice and myth and survival and joy. He’s effortless. You’ll learn more than you knew there was to know about the high north, and the pleasure is in the learning.

If you must cut to the chase with these five books, Arctic Dreams is the book, because Barry Lopez got things right.

Arctic Dreams

By Barry Lopez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'A master nature writer' (New York Times) provides the ultimate natural, social and cultural history of the Arctic landscape.

The author of Horizon's classic work explores the Arctic landscape and the hold it continues to exert on our imagination.


Lopez's journey across our frozen planet is a celebration of the Arctic in all its guises. A hostile landscape of ice, freezing oceans and dazzling skyscapes. Home to millions of diverse animals and people. The stage to massive migrations by land, sea and air. The setting of epic exploratory…


By Alexis Pauline Gumbs,

Book cover of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals

Stacy Alaimo Author Of Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self

From the list on thinking of ourselves as the environment.

Who am I?

I’ve been passionate about animals, the environment, and social justice since I was a child. As an adult I have been frustrated—even enragedthat so many products and practices are considered safe and “normal” even though they harm wildlife, pets, and people. I think it's bizarre that people imagine themselves as separate from the chemicals they spray in their homes and their yards, even as they breathe in the toxins. I hope that the concept of “transcorporeality,” which urges us to see our own bodies as literally part of the environment, will convince people that environmentalism isn’t optional but is a vital part of human health and social justice.

Stacy's book list on thinking of ourselves as the environment

Discover why each book is one of Stacy's favorite books.

Why did Stacy love this book?

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, a “queer, black feminist love evangelist and a marine mammal apprentice,” has created an exuberant book—impossible to categorize. Undrowned is everything—a dramatic account of marine mammals’ struggles, a meditation, a call for action, a manifesto, a workbook with activities. Referencing the middle passage as a Black feminist, Gumbs considers the enmeshment of breathing, drowning, and undrowning, looking to “marine mammal kindred” as “teachers, mentors, guides.” I was deeply moved by how this book passionately voices love for whales, dolphins, and seals. But this love isn’t sentimental—it is active. The chapters call readers to do things, such as “listen,” asking how can we “listen across species, across extinction, across harm?” I marvel at Gumbs’ fierce, unabashed love for marine mammals. Gumbs inspires me to take more risks for others.


By Alexis Pauline Gumbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Undrowned is a book-length meditation for social movements and our whole species based on the subversive and transformative guidance of marine mammals. Our aquatic cousins are queer, fierce, protective of each other, complex, shaped by conflict, and struggling to survive the extractive and militarized conditions our species has imposed on the ocean. Gumbs employs a brilliant mix of poetic sensibility and naturalist observation to show what they might teach us, producing not a specific agenda but an unfolding space for wondering and questioning. From the relationship between the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and Gumbs’s Shinnecock and enslaved ancestors to…


By Lauret Savoy,

Book cover of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape

Adam M. Sowards Author Of An Open Pit Visible from the Moon: The Wilderness Act and the Fight to Protect Miners Ridge and the Public Interest

From the list on helping you get deep in the wilderness.

Who am I?

When I first started reading about wilderness, I accepted it as an obvious thing—a place without people. That lasted a short time before I realized the enormous historical complexity of such places. Rather than places without people, without history, without politics, “wilderness” became a laboratory of American society. I tried to capture that vibrancy in my book An Open Pit Visible from the Moon where I showed all the claims various people made on one wilderness area in the North Cascades. I'm a writer, historian, and former college professor who now calls the Skagit Valley of Washington home. As much as I enjoy studying wilderness, I prefer walking through it and noticing what it teaches.

Adam's book list on helping you get deep in the wilderness

Discover why each book is one of Adam's favorite books.

Why did Adam love this book?

To read Trace is to go on a mesmerizing journey with the wisest of guides. Savoy searches for American identities, and her own multifaceted ones, in the history and memory of landscapes across the continent. Every turn reveals tragic histories and surprising connections and omissions with the most beautiful language. Savoy excavates the palimpsest of stories embedded in landscapes’ histories in a helpful reminder that “nature” is always entangled with the richness and complexity of human life. With each careful word, Savoy deepened my appreciation for how landscape absorbs and reflects its history—and my admiration for her unbelievable gifts as a writer. Trace is one of those books you can read each year and your respect for it grows and the insights from it enlarge your life every time.


By Lauret Savoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through personal journeys and historical inquiry, this PEN Literary Award finalist explores how America’s still unfolding history and ideas of “race” have marked its people and the land.

Sand and stone are Earth’s fragmented memory. Each of us, too, is a landscape inscribed by memory and loss. One life-defining lesson Lauret Savoy learned as a young girl was this: the American land did not hate. As an educator and Earth historian, she has tracked the continent’s past from the relics of deep time; but the paths of ancestors toward her―paths of free and enslaved Africans, colonists from Europe, and peoples…

The Origins of Unfairness

By Cailin O'Connor,

Book cover of The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution

S.M. Amadae Author Of Prisoners of Reason: Game Theory and Neoliberal Political Economy

From the list on to move beyond neoliberalism.

Who am I?

I have been studying neoliberal political economy and its future transformations since I wrote Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy. One major insight has been the deep entanglement of neoliberal political-economic practices with de facto power relations. The liberal normative bargaining characterizing Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations yields to coercive bargaining in which threats of harm are the surest and best means to get one’s way. If one seeks to understand how systems will evolve when governed by strategic competition, then orthodox game theory is useful. However, if one seeks to live in a post-scarcity society in which genuine cooperation is possible, then we can enact solidarity, trust-based relationships, and collective moral accountability. 

S.M.'s book list on to move beyond neoliberalism

Discover why each book is one of S.M.'s favorite books.

Why did S.M. love this book?

O’Connor’s Origins of Unfairness uses game theory to provide “how possibly” models for how systemic discrimination and unfair conventions arise. Game theory offers a powerful tool for Realpolitik analysis, which is analyzing states of affairs that reflect agents’ material interests coupled with their power to realize them. Populations with two groups will likely end up in asymmetric conventions as divisions of labor result, and the sharing of rewards is unequal. Grasping the implications of this analysis is crucial for those seeking to go beyond the entrenched interests governing neoliberal political economy. O’Connor provides some remedies in her final chapter, and these incorporate moral awareness and a sense of responsibility.

The Origins of Unfairness

By Cailin O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In almost every human society some people get more and others get less. Why is inequity the rule in these societies? In The Origins of Unfairness, philosopher Cailin O'Connor firstly considers how groups are divided into social categories, like gender, race, and religion, to address this question. She uses the formal frameworks of game theory and evolutionary game theory to explore the cultural evolution of the conventions which piggyback on these seemingly
irrelevant social categories. These frameworks elucidate a variety of topics from the innateness of gender differences, to collaboration in academia, to household bargaining, to minority disadvantage, to homophily.…

Book cover of Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality

Raoul Martinez Author Of Creating Freedom: Power, Control and the Fight for our Future

From the list on critiquing free-market fundamentalism.

Who am I?

It has long been claimed that we face a choice between freedom and equality: that advocates of capitalism favour freedom, while critics prioritise equality. Philosopher Raoul Martinez was never persuaded by this claim, yet it took years of research across a number of disciplines to understand not only how problematic it is, but how foundational to our society and its crises it has become. His journey of discovery culminated in the writing of Creating Freedom, which dismantles this misleading narrative while deepening our understanding of human liberty: the many ways it is subverted and the path to its creation.

Raoul's book list on critiquing free-market fundamentalism

Discover why each book is one of Raoul's favorite books.

Why did Raoul love this book?

Having read Robert Nozick’s philosophical defence of free markets, Anarchy, State and Utopia, in my early twenties, I started searching for a comprehensive rebuttal. With Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality, my search came to an end. Cohen — who sadly is no longer with us — was a gifted analytical philosopher who developed his critique of Nozick and other free marketeers over many years. The book delivers a clear and powerful distillation of his thought, which corroborates the intuition felt by many of us that there is something profoundly wrong with the conflation of freedom with free markets. 

Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality

By G.A. Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book G. A. Cohen examines the libertarian principle of self-ownership, which says that each person belongs to himself and therefore owes no service or product to anyone else. This principle is used to defend capitalist inequality, which is said to reflect each person's freedom to do as as he wishes with himself. The author argues that self-ownership cannot deliver the freedom it promises to secure, thereby undermining the idea that lovers of freedom should embrace capitalism and the inequality that comes with it. He goes on to show that the standard Marxist condemnation of exploitation implies an endorsement…

Book cover of The Three Dimensions of Freedom

Gary Bandy Author Of Financial Management and Accounting in the Public Sector

From the list on how governments collect and spend your taxes.

Who am I?

I trained as a chartered public finance accountant because I have a mathematics degree and I wanted to work in public service. After 20 years of that I became a freelance consultant and got into teaching public financial management after volunteering for a project in South Sudan. I have taught here in the UK and in other countries, including Kazakhstan, South Sudan, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. The lack of a good textbook about managing public money that was not aimed at accountants led me to write one in 2010. The third edition of it will be published in 2023. (I am still waiting for my novel to find a publisher.)

Gary's book list on how governments collect and spend your taxes

Discover why each book is one of Gary's favorite books.

Why did Gary love this book?

Billy Bragg has long been my favourite musician. I have all his albums including his 1986 offering, Talking With the Taxman About Poetry.

I included this book because it is about the importance of accountability. This is an important concept for managing public money. The wish for our governments to operate in an honest and fair way requires there being a way to judge their performance. This means that the politicians, civil servants, and everyone else who is involved in government must be willing to be accountable for what they do, and also for what they omit to do. When I teach public financial management I say to my students that if they do not want to be accountable for their actions they should not work in public service.

The Three Dimensions of Freedom

By Billy Bragg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At a time when opinion trumps facts and truth is treated as nothing more than another perspective, free speech has become a battleground. While authoritarians and algorithms threaten democracy, we argue over who has the right to speak.

To protect ourselves from encroaching tyranny, we must look beyond this one-dimensional notion of what it means to be free and, by reconnecting liberty to equality and accountability, restore the individual agency engendered by the three dimensions of freedom.


By Peter Barnes,

Book cover of Ours: The Case for Universal Property

James K. Boyce Author Of Economics for People and the Planet: Inequality in the Era of Climate Change

From the list on the political economy of the environment.

Who am I?

When I started teaching a course on the Political Economy of the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, little had been written that made the connection between environmental quality and economic inequality. Happily, this has changed over the years. The books recommended here mark the rise of a new environmentalism founded upon recognition that our impact on nature is interwoven closely with the nature of our relationships with each other.

James' book list on the political economy of the environment

Discover why each book is one of James' favorite books.

Why did James love this book?

Universal property – property that is inalienable, individual, and belongs in equal measure to all – is a game-changing idea whose time is coming.

Introduced alongside conventional (private and state) property, it can serve the twin goals of reducing inequality and protecting the environment.

For example, by treating the biosphere’s limited capacity to recycle carbon emissions as universal property, and charging for use of this resource, we can both protect climate stability and provide universal basic income via climate-protection dividends.

Peter Barnes has been a leading voice for universal property, following in the footsteps of Tom Paine and Henry George. Do yourself a favor: read this thought-provoking book, and share it with your family and friends.


By Peter Barnes,

Why should I read it?

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

The Creation of Inequality

By Kent Flannery, Joyce Marcus,

Book cover of The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire

Per Molander Author Of The Anatomy Of Inequality: Its Social and Economic Origins - and Solutions

From the list on (in)equality and why it is a problem.

Who am I?

I was trained in physics and applied mathematics, but my mother—a teacher of literature and history—secured a place for the humanities in my intellectual luggage, and I finally ended up in the social sciences. One of my first encounters with economics was John Nash’s theory of bargaining, illustrating how a wealthy person will gain more from a negotiation than a pauper, thus reinforcing inequality and leading to instability. Decades later, I returned to this problem and found that relatively little had still been done to analyze it. I believe that a combination of mathematical tools and illustrations from history, literature, and philosophy is an appropriate way of approaching the complex of inequality. 

Per's book list on (in)equality and why it is a problem

Discover why each book is one of Per's favorite books.

Why did Per love this book?

This is a rich sourcebook on the emergence of inequality in human prehistory and history.

The authors move effortlessly across cultures from the entire globe, basing their analysis on written records, where possible, or archeological data such as buildings, art, tools, and bones. They confirm my own view that inequality is ubiquitous and that there is a tendency for it to grow over time, irrespective of the environment.

Political or religious elites have always tried to expand their power at the expense of the common man or woman, using myths about divine descent or other means of persuasion, and the majority has more or less successfully resisted such attempts.

For an armchair social scientist like myself, this wealth of data is tremendously valuable.

The Creation of Inequality

By Kent Flannery, Joyce Marcus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Our early ancestors lived in small groups and worked actively to preserve social equality. As they created larger societies, however, inequality rose, and by 2500 bce truly egalitarian societies were on the wane. In The Creation of Inequality, Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus demonstrate that this development was not simply the result of population increase, food surplus, or the accumulation of valuables. Instead, inequality resulted from conscious manipulation of the unique social logic that lies at the core of every human group.

A few societies allowed talented and ambitious individuals to rise in prestige while still preventing them from becoming…

Book cover of What's Luck Got to Do with It? How Smarter Government Can Rescue the American Dream

Kimberly Clausing Author Of Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital

From the list on big economic policy debates.

Who am I?

I became an economist because I realized that economics was a powerful tool that would help society solve vexing problems. While economics has limits, it has so much to offer in terms of better policy design for tackling everything from climate change to economic inequality. My life’s work has been devoted to both economic research and helping others understand the insights of economics. I spent many years in academia teaching economics and writing papers, and I authored Open in an attempt to make the complexities of international economics more transparent. I’ve also had the chance to work firsthand on some of these issues in the early part of the Biden Administration at the US Treasury.

Kimberly's book list on big economic policy debates

Discover why each book is one of Kimberly's favorite books.

Why did Kimberly love this book?

Ed Kleinbard was a treasured colleague, a brilliant commentator, and a giant in the field of tax policy. In his final year of life, perhaps fittingly, Kleinbard devoted himself to a book on the role of luck in economic outcomes, which opens with a quote from Stendhal. “Waiting for God to reveal himself, I believe that his prime minister, Chance, governs this sad world just as well.” The book argues that luck, and particularly existential luck (to whom and in what circumstances you are born), are paramount in determining economic outcomes. Within that context, Kleinbard makes a strong case for the role of public insurance in areas like health care, education, and childcare; he also emphasizes the importance of a progressive income tax system. 

What's Luck Got to Do with It? How Smarter Government Can Rescue the American Dream

By Edward D. Kleinbard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What's Luck Got to Do with It? How Smarter Government Can Rescue the American Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The American dream of equal opportunity is in peril. America's economic inequality is shocking, poverty threatens to become a heritable condition, and our healthcare system is crumbling despite ever increasing costs.

In this thought-provoking book, Edward D. Kleinbard demonstrates how the failure to acknowledge the force of brute luck in our material lives exacerbates these crises - leading to warped policy choices that impede genuine equality of opportunity for many Americans. What's Luck Got to Do with It? combines insights from economics, philosophy, and social psychology to argue for government's proper role in addressing the inequity of brute luck. Kleinbard…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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