100 books like The Affluent Society

By John Kenneth Galbraith,

Here are 100 books that The Affluent Society fans have personally recommended if you like The Affluent Society. 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 Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Martin Pengelly Author Of Brotherhood: When West Point Rugby Went to War

From my list on brotherhood in war – and sports.

Why am I passionate about this?

I played rugby union for Durham University and at Rosslyn Park FC in London. Then I became a reporter and editor, for Rugby News magazine and on Fleet Street sports desks. In March 2002, six months after 9/11 and a year before the invasion of Iraq, my Park team played against the cadets of the United States Military Academy. Years later, settled in New York, I decided to find out what happened to those West Point rugby players in the 9/11 wars, and what their experiences might tell us about sports, war, brotherhood, loss, and remembrance.

Martin's book list on brotherhood in war – and sports

Martin Pengelly Why did Martin love this book?

Junger wrote War, about Afghanistan. But as I found the West Point rugby players’ stories wouldn’t leave me alone, so Junger stayed with those he found in Kunar province.

In Tribe, he considers the ties that bind – notably a focus on the “energy of male conflict and male closeness”. Junger “once asked a combat vet if he’d rather have an enemy or another close friend”. The vet looked at Junger like he was crazy. “‘Oh, an enemy, 100%,’ he said. ‘I’ve already got a lot of friends.’

He thought about it a little longer. ‘Anyway, all my best friends I’ve gotten into fights with – knock-down, drag-out fights. Granted we were always drunk, but think about that.’ He shook his head as if even he couldn’t believe it.”

By Sebastian Junger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of THE PERFECT STORM and WAR comes a book about why men miss war, why Londoners missed the Blitz, and what we can all learn from American Indian captives who refused to go home.

Tribe is a look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the challenges veterans face returning to society. Using his background in anthropology, Sebastian Junger argues that the problem lies not with vets or with the trauma they've suffered, but with the society to which they are trying to return.

One of the most puzzling things about veterans who experience PTSD is that the majority…


Book cover of Uncanny Valley

David Buckmaster Author Of Fair Pay: How to Get a Raise, Close the Wage Gap, and Build Stronger Businesses

From my list on the importance of expecting less from your workplace.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked with business leaders on pay projects all over the world, at companies like Nike and Starbucks, in places like Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Singapore, the UAE, and all over Europe. While many business books are written from a theoretical or academic perspective, I bring an operator’s perspective. I get to work out the ideas in my book, Fair Pay, on a daily basis, and so I wrote the book to be a realistic and practical guide for understanding the perspectives of business leaders, human resources, and the typical employee. 

David's book list on the importance of expecting less from your workplace

David Buckmaster Why did David love this book?

Changing careers from publishing to tech is a path not often traveled. Wiener made this jump from a world legendary for its light pay compensated by romanticism, to an industry best known for generous “perks that landed somewhere between the collegiate and the feudal.” Wiener’s experience makes for one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in years—she is a gifted writer and unafraid to call out the over-seriousness of the tech bro mentality as an ultimately “dreary” worldview. 

By Anna Wiener,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2020.

Named one of the Best Books of 2020 by The Washington Post, The Atlantic, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, ELLE, Esquire, Parade, Teen Vogue, The Boston Globe, Forbes, The Times (UK), Fortune, Chicago Tribune, Glamour, The A.V. Club, Vox, Jezebel, Town & Country, OneZero, Apartment Therapy, Good Housekeeping, PopMatters, Electric Literature, Self, The Week (UK) and BookPage.A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and a January 2020 IndieNext Pick.

"A definitive document of a world in transition: I won't be alone in returning…


Book cover of Life in the Crystal Palace

David Buckmaster Author Of Fair Pay: How to Get a Raise, Close the Wage Gap, and Build Stronger Businesses

From my list on the importance of expecting less from your workplace.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked with business leaders on pay projects all over the world, at companies like Nike and Starbucks, in places like Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Singapore, the UAE, and all over Europe. While many business books are written from a theoretical or academic perspective, I bring an operator’s perspective. I get to work out the ideas in my book, Fair Pay, on a daily basis, and so I wrote the book to be a realistic and practical guide for understanding the perspectives of business leaders, human resources, and the typical employee. 

David's book list on the importance of expecting less from your workplace

David Buckmaster Why did David love this book?

Originally published in the late 1950s, “The Crystal Palace” could have easily been the inspiration for any number of modern workplace comedies. Harrington’s story about a sprawling and sterile corporate campus shows the lack of meaning the workplace can provide for the typical worker. Think Office Space + Severance, where “the Crystal Palace serves, among its many functions, as a protective league for small talents.” If you worry about your work having too little meaning, and if you want more from your life than a stable career, this story rightly puts that pursuit back on you to develop as a person and not seek meaning only from your job.  

By Alan Harrington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life in the Crystal Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thousands of men enter the crystal palace yearly. In time they must make a choice: accept the numbing security of big corporation life or revolt against submission. Especially in times of economic upheaval, this book makes the reader question their fear of loosing a job at a large corporation. Will you silently suffer for a paycheck, or will you stand up against the monotony and dullness of cubicle life? Life in the Crystal Palce has been published in England, Germany, and Japan. V.S. Pritchett described the book as "a deeply ironical and polished analysis of the welfare corporations," and its…


Book cover of The Management Myth: Debunking Modern Business Philosophy

Nathan Kracklauer Author Of The 12-Week MBA: Learn the Skills You Need to Lead in Business Today

From my list on unconventional takes on leadership and management.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a wannabe rockstar studying philosophy and mathematics, never in my wildest nightmare did I imagine I would one day earn a living traveling the world, helping corporate managers become better bosses. But in unexpected ways, all the different strands of my interests and passions have woven together into a work-life well lived, with over two decades of experience and contemplation distilled down into this book I have co-written with my friend and business partner, Bjorn Billhardt, CEO of Abilitie.

Nathan's book list on unconventional takes on leadership and management

Nathan Kracklauer Why did Nathan love this book?

This book is so many things at once. It’s a history of management education. It’s a damning indictment of the consulting world. It’s an acerbic memoir of life as a consultant that had me laughing out loud.

But what resonated most with me is that it’s also a profound and rigorous argument for why business schools are not the right place to learn about management and that the traditional liberal arts give you more skills and mental models for assuming responsibility for leading an organization.  

By Matthew Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fresh from Oxford with a degree in philosophy and no particular interest in business, Matthew Stewart might not have seemed a likely candidate to become a consultant. But soon he was telling veteran managers how to run their companies.

In narrating his own ill-fated (and often hilarious) odyssey at a top-tier firm, Stewart turns the consultant's merciless, penetrating eye on the management industry itself. The Management Myth offers an insightful romp through the entire history of thinking about management, a withering critique of pseudoscience in management theory, and a clear explanation of why the MBA usually amounts to so much…


Book cover of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor

Hamilton Nolan Author Of The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor

From my list on the power of the American labor movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a labor journalist. I've spent the past 20 years writing widely about inequality, class war, unions, and the way that power works in America. My parents were civil rights and antiwar activists in the 1960s and 70s, and they instilled in me an appreciation for the fact that social movements are often the only thing standing between regular people and exploitation. My curiosity about power imbalances in America drew me inexorably towards the absence of worker power and led me to the conclusion that the labor movement is the tool that can solve America's most profound problems. I grew up in Florida, live in Brooklyn, and report all over.

Hamilton's book list on the power of the American labor movement

Hamilton Nolan Why did Hamilton love this book?

Steven Greenhouse, who spent decades as The New York Times' labor reporter, writes as good a survey of the state of the present-day labor movement as you can find anywhere.

Uber drivers, health care workers, auto workers, and more, this is a book for anyone who wonders where union power stands, how it’s gotten here, and who the players are who are trying to revive unions for a new century.

By Steven Greenhouse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Beaten Down, Worked Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A page-turning book that spans a century of worker strikes.... Engrossing, character-driven, panoramic.” —The New York Times Book Review

We live in an era of soaring corporate profits and anemic wage gains, one in which low-paid jobs and blighted blue-collar communities have become a common feature of our nation’s landscape. Behind these trends lies a little-discussed problem: the decades-long decline in worker power. 

Award-winning journalist and author Steven Greenhouse guides us through the key episodes and trends in history that are essential to understanding some of our nation’s most pressing problems, including increased income inequality, declining social mobility, and the…


Book cover of Out of the Crisis

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?

Before Agile and Lean had rocked the software development industry, William Deming was busy forging this new world of work.

Out of the Crisis is predominantly a management book, but it’s really the spark that started the lightweight movement in software delivery. A key concept in the book is how to identify the work system's performance, separate from the performance of individuals.

By W. Edwards Deming,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Essential reading for managers and leaders, this is the classic work on management, problem solving, quality control, and more—based on the famous theory, 14 Points for Management

In his classic Out of the Crisis, W. Edwards Deming describes the foundations for a completely new and transformational way to lead and manage people, processes, and resources. Translated into twelve languages and continuously in print since its original publication, it has proved highly influential. Research shows that Deming’s approach has high levels of success and sustainability. Readers today will find Deming’s insights relevant, significant, and effective in business thinking and practice. This…


Book cover of The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Doug White Author Of Wounded Charity: Lessons Learned from the Wounded Warrior Project Crisis

From my list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits.

Why am I passionate about this?

The nonprofit sector is important to society and I often marvel at how many of us – which is to say all of us – have been touched by the generosity of others. With few exceptions, anyone who has graduated from college, who has been admitted to a hospital, who has attended a faith-based service, who has examined art at a gallery, who – literally, and there are no exceptions here – breathes air has benefited from the work of nonprofit organizations and the philanthropists who support them. It is therefore important to me to understand how the system works and how important charities are to society and a functioning democracy. 

Doug's book list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits

Doug White Why did Doug love this book?

Our love for humanity – which is how “philanthropy” is defined – is rooted in our sense of morality. 

Adam Smith explains that morality is not driven only by reason, but is built into us because we are social beings. To understand philanthropy, therefore, I think we need a grounding in how and why we want to help others.  This book explores that desire, or need, to empathize. 

Smith says that when we see people happy or sad, we feel happy or sad too, that we derive pleasure when people do things we approve of. Even though The Theory of Moral Sentiments is almost three centuries old, it teaches us much about why nonprofits can be successful in the modern world.

By Adam Smith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Theory of Moral Sentiments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The foundation for a general system of morals, this 1749 work is a landmark in the history of moral and political thought. Readers familiar with Adam Smith from The Wealth of Nations will find this earlier book a revelation. Although the author is often misrepresented as a calculating rationalist who advises the pursuit of self-interest in the marketplace, regardless of the human cost, he was also interested in the human capacity for benevolence — as The Theory of Moral Sentiments amply demonstrates.
The greatest prudence, Smith suggests, may lie in following economic self-interest in order to secure the basic necessities.…


Book cover of The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind

Jack Buffington Author Of Reinventing the Supply Chain: A 21st-Century Covenant with America

From my list on how to fix the supply chain and US communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1970s and 1980s, I learned about the impact of globalization and supply chain from an early age. I saw my community lose its economic base, many who could leave did, and what was left turned into an epicenter of despair. Eventually, I worked in the field of manufacturing and supply chain and understood the root causes of the problems in a lack of balance between supply and demand within local communities. The past blue-collar workers from urban and rural communities have been experiencing these challenges now for decades, and now it’s time to reinvent our supply chains to help our nation.  

Jack's book list on how to fix the supply chain and US communities

Jack Buffington Why did Jack love this book?

Rajan’s book is an underappreciated perspective on what’s happening in markets today. Rajan is best known as the economist in 2005 who warned the financial community of the impending 2007 financial crash and was criticized for being misguided. In his 2019 book, he notes the problems of the first two pillars (Big Business and Government) in these financial crises and the importance of the third pillar (the Community) is solving the problem. Rajan and I agree on this notion, as the “Community-Based Supply Chain” is the foundation for my solutions needed in today’s communities and US economy.

By Raghuram G. Rajan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES AND MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2019

From one of the most important economic thinkers of our time, a brilliant and far-seeing analysis of the current populist backlash against globalization and how revitalising community can save liberal market democracy.

Raghuram Rajan, author of the 2010 FT & Goldman-Sachs Book of the Year Fault Lines, has an unparalleled vantage point onto the social and economic consequences of globalization and their ultimate effect on politics and society.

In The Third Pillar he offers up a magnificent big-picture framework for understanding how three key forces -…


Book cover of Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy

Mark R. Reiff Author Of On Unemployment: A Micro-Theory of Economic Justice: Volume 1

From my list on what causes economic injustice.

Why am I passionate about this?

F. Scott Fitzgerald claimed, “there are no second acts in American lives.” But I am on my third. I started out in the theatre, then became a lawyer, and then a political philosopher. What drove each move is that I was always outraged by injustice and wanted to find a better way to fight against it. For me, reading, writing, and teaching political philosophy turned out to be that way. The books on this list provide important lessons on how certain economic policies can cause injustice while others can cure it. Each has been around for a long time, but they are as relevant today as when they were first written. 

Mark's book list on what causes economic injustice

Mark R. Reiff Why did Mark love this book?

A renowned economist and Harvard professor with a bit of a cult following, Schumpeter provides a realistic evaluation of what capitalism is and whether it can survive if it does not do more to help a wider range of people.

First published in 1942, Schumpeter’s fear was the rise of socialism, but what he had to say about the failings of capitalism back then applies with equal force today.

Schumpeter was the originator of the term “creative destruction” to describe how capitalism works, and Part II of the book was the inspiration for my paper, “Can Liberal Capitalism Survive?”

The book has never been out of print. 

By Joseph A Schumpeter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Joseph Schumpeter’s classic Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy explains the process of capitalism’s 'creative destruction' — a key principle in understanding the logic of globalization." — Thomas L. Friedman, Foreign Policy

In this definitive third and final edition (1950) of his prophetic masterwork, Joseph A. Schumpeter introduced the world to the concept of “creative destruction,” which forever altered how global economics is approached and perceived. Now featuring a new introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning Schumpeter biographer Thomas K. McCraw, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy is essential read­ing for anyone who seeks to understand where the world economy is headed.

“If Keynes was the…


Book cover of A Guide to Keynes

Mark R. Reiff Author Of On Unemployment: A Micro-Theory of Economic Justice: Volume 1

From my list on what causes economic injustice.

Why am I passionate about this?

F. Scott Fitzgerald claimed, “there are no second acts in American lives.” But I am on my third. I started out in the theatre, then became a lawyer, and then a political philosopher. What drove each move is that I was always outraged by injustice and wanted to find a better way to fight against it. For me, reading, writing, and teaching political philosophy turned out to be that way. The books on this list provide important lessons on how certain economic policies can cause injustice while others can cure it. Each has been around for a long time, but they are as relevant today as when they were first written. 

Mark's book list on what causes economic injustice

Mark R. Reiff Why did Mark love this book?

I would have recommended John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, which is one of the great masterworks of the twentieth century, but reading Keynes himself can be difficult.

Hansen’s book is the best summary available despite being more than 70 years old. And understanding Keynes is essential if you want to understand how certain economic policies continue to lead us astray.

Hard to find, but not impossible. 

By Alvin H. Hansen,

Why should I read it?

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

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