100 books like The Knockoff Economy

By Kal Raustiala, Christopher Sprigman,

Here are 100 books that The Knockoff Economy fans have personally recommended if you like The Knockoff Economy. 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 Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time

Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira Author Of Shaping Nations and Markets: Identity Capital, Trade, and the Populist Rage

From my list on understanding the transformation of capitalism and globalisation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 2008, I have conducted research on themes related to International Political Economy. I am currently the co-chair of the research committee on this topic at the International Political Science Association (IPSA) and am passionate about making sense of the interplay between material and symbolic factors that shape capitalism and globalisation. Being based in Brazil, I was stuck when the country—which did not have salient identity cleavages in politics—came to be, after 2008, a hotspot of religious-based right-wing populism associated with the defence of trade liberalisation as globalisation started to face meaningful backlash from White-majority constituencies who are relatively losers of the post-Cold War order in the advanced industrialised democracies.

Vinícius' book list on understanding the transformation of capitalism and globalisation

Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira Why did Vinícius love this book?

As post-Cold War globalisation seems to face its fate, I always go back to this book as it offers lessons on the perils of taking for granted economic rationality. The 19th-century liberal order crumbled, and fascism emerged as a solution. In the same vein, is far-right populism a reaction against the consequences of neoliberalism?

Although he does not bring to the centre stage the impact of ethnic-religious cleavages, such a shortcoming only made me wonder whether his riveting account of modernity applies nowadays.

By Karl Polanyi,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Great Transformation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic work of economic history and social theory, Karl Polanyi analyzes the economic and social changes brought about by the "great transformation" of the Industrial Revolution. His analysis explains not only the deficiencies of the self-regulating market, but the potentially dire social consequences of untempered market capitalism. New introductory material reveals the renewed importance of Polanyi's seminal analysis in an era of globalization and free trade.


Book cover of The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira Author Of Shaping Nations and Markets: Identity Capital, Trade, and the Populist Rage

From my list on understanding the transformation of capitalism and globalisation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 2008, I have conducted research on themes related to International Political Economy. I am currently the co-chair of the research committee on this topic at the International Political Science Association (IPSA) and am passionate about making sense of the interplay between material and symbolic factors that shape capitalism and globalisation. Being based in Brazil, I was stuck when the country—which did not have salient identity cleavages in politics—came to be, after 2008, a hotspot of religious-based right-wing populism associated with the defence of trade liberalisation as globalisation started to face meaningful backlash from White-majority constituencies who are relatively losers of the post-Cold War order in the advanced industrialised democracies.

Vinícius' book list on understanding the transformation of capitalism and globalisation

Vinícius Guilherme Rodrigues Vieira Why did Vinícius love this book?

In a time when industrial policy is no longer taboo, even in the West, I would recommend this book to remember the pivotal role that state policies play in promoting development.

More than being the result of self-made people, crucial innovations like the smartphone result from the research backbone that the state provides.

The book is, therefore, thought-provoking as it debunks myths of state decline during the so-called neoliberal age, although recognises that private firms have acquired excessive power.

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Entrepreneurial State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sharp and controversial expose, Mariana Mazzucato debunks the pervasive myth that the state is a laggard, bureaucratic apparatus at odds with a dynamic private sector. She reveals in detailed case studies, including a riveting chapter on the iPhone, that the opposite is true: the state is, and has been, our boldest and most valuable innovator. Denying this history is leading us down the wrong path. A select few get credit for what is an intensely collective effort, and the US government has started disinvesting from innovation. The repercussions could stunt economic growth and increase inequality. Mazzucato teaches us…


Book cover of Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World

Raphael Sassower Author Of The Quest for Prosperity: Reframing Political Economy

From my list on moving beyond capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in political economy dates back to my student years where I combined the study of the history of political economy, economics, and philosophy. Whether apologists or critics of capitalism, both groups appreciate the centrality of economic exchange among people who live in communities where absolute autonomy and self-sufficiency are unattainable. My concern with reframing political economy is also informed by the all too hushed scandal of capitalism, namely, the reliance on slavery for the accumulation of wealth for more than a century after the establishment of the USA. The reckoning with this atrocity animates much of my present thinking about political economy in general and capitalism in particular.  

Raphael's book list on moving beyond capitalism

Raphael Sassower Why did Raphael love this book?

In an accessible language and with multiple real-life examples, Madrick systematically critically engages every humdrum idea of principle attributed to the presumed success of capitalism. Following to a great extent Karl Marx’s lead on the self-destruction of the economic system we call capitalism, Madrick updates the critique to the 21st century and shows, time and again, why capitalism is not only prone to recessions and depressions but will bring about its own demise.

By Jeff Madrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A bold indictment of some of our most accepted mainstream economic theories—why they’re wrong, and how they’ve been harming America and the world.

Budget deficits are bad. A strong dollar is good. Controlling inflation is paramount. Pay reflects greater worker skills. A deregulated free market is fair and effective. Theories like these have become mantras among American economists both liberal and conservative over recent decades. Validated originally by patron saints like Milton Friedman, they’ve assumed the status of self-evident truths across much of the mainstream. Jeff Madrick, former columnist for The New York Times and Harper’s, argues compellingly that a…


Book cover of Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

Raphael Sassower Author Of The Quest for Prosperity: Reframing Political Economy

From my list on moving beyond capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in political economy dates back to my student years where I combined the study of the history of political economy, economics, and philosophy. Whether apologists or critics of capitalism, both groups appreciate the centrality of economic exchange among people who live in communities where absolute autonomy and self-sufficiency are unattainable. My concern with reframing political economy is also informed by the all too hushed scandal of capitalism, namely, the reliance on slavery for the accumulation of wealth for more than a century after the establishment of the USA. The reckoning with this atrocity animates much of my present thinking about political economy in general and capitalism in particular.  

Raphael's book list on moving beyond capitalism

Raphael Sassower Why did Raphael love this book?

Lessig’s book argues that the pretense we live in America in a capitalist economy that follows the rules of the markets, with profit maximization and copyright protection (dating back to the Constitution), is by now completely discarded. Focusing on the entertainment industry and the arts, Lessig illustrates the limits of such thinking given the conduct of millions who download music, films, and videos without permission and continue to “remix” them within the legal limits of “fair use.”   

By Lawrence Lessig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The reigning authority on intellectual property in the Internet age, Lawrence Lessig spotlights the newest and possibly the most harmful culture — a war waged against those who create and consume art. America's copyright laws have ceased to perform their original, beneficial role: protecting artists' creations while allowing them to build on previous creative works. In fact, our system now criminalizes those very actions. Remix is an urgent, eloquent plea to end a war that harms every intrepid, creative user of new technologies. It also offers an inspiring vision of the postwar world where enormous opportunities await those who view…


Book cover of Perfect Sound Whatever

Lucie Britsch Author Of Sad Janet

From my list on when having an existential crisis to feel better.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi there, I’m Lucie and I’m a writer (allegedly) but before that I’m a human and I know how hard it is to be a human. It’s a constant battle with yourself, the people around you, the world, and it’s exhausting and sometimes it can be too much but we find ways to keep going and books help me do that (as well as crying, screaming, potatoes). I find life absurd most of the time so I have to laugh about it or I’d go insane. And I’m still alive, despite constantly being in a fight with my brain, so I think I’ve got this.

Lucie's book list on when having an existential crisis to feel better

Lucie Britsch Why did Lucie love this book?

A beautiful book by one of my favourite comics about one man’s mental breakdown and how music and the people who made it saved him from the worst year of his life. It’s funny and tender and all the music he references was made by people going through their own shit and about how they used their music to save themselves. It’s a book about how we fall apart and how we put ourselves back together and you don’t have to know about music to be moved by it.

By James Acaster,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*The Sunday Times Bestseller*

The brand new memoir from James Acaster: cult comedian, bestselling author of Classic Scrapes, undercover cop, receiver of cabbages.

PERFECT SOUND WHATEVER is a love letter to the healing power of music, and how one man's obsessive quest saw him defeat the bullshit of one year with the beauty of another. Because that one man is James Acaster, it also includes tales of befouling himself in a Los Angeles steakhouse, stealing a cookie from Clint Eastwood, and giving drunk, unsolicited pep talks to urinating strangers.

January, 2017
James Acaster wakes up heartbroken and alone in New…


Book cover of Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music

Alejandra Bronfman Author Of Isles of Noise: Sonic Media in the Caribbean

From my list on sound and why you should care about it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been doing research in the Caribbean for twenty-five years. The region is diverse and magnificent. Caribbean people have sought creative solutions for racial inequality, climate and sustainability, media literacy and information, women’s and family issues. The transnational connections with the US are complex and wide-ranging, and knowing more about this region is an urgent matter. I work to understand how sound and media work because they structure our reality in important ways. Listening as a way of approaching relationships in work and play is key to our survival. So is understanding how media works, where we get our information from, and how to tell what’s relevant, significant, and true, and what is not. 

Alejandra's book list on sound and why you should care about it

Alejandra Bronfman Why did Alejandra love this book?

Just as important as thinking about how music sounds and what it means is thinking about where technology comes from and crucially, where it goes after we’re done with it. This book lets no one off the hook and insists that anyone who cares about music should be cognizant of its economies of waste and decomposition. 

By Kyle Devine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The hidden material histories of music.

Music is seen as the most immaterial of the arts, and recorded music as a progress of dematerialization—an evolution from physical discs to invisible digits. In Decomposed, Kyle Devine offers another perspective. He shows that recorded music has always been a significant exploiter of both natural and human resources, and that its reliance on these resources is more problematic today than ever before. Devine uncovers the hidden history of recorded music—what recordings are made of and what happens to them when they are disposed of.

Devine's story focuses on three forms of materiality. Before…


Book cover of Adventures in Modern Recording: From ABC to ZTT

Richard Niles Author Of The Invisible Artist: Arrangers In Popular Music (1950-2000)

From my list on to get inside popular music.

Why am I passionate about this?

Richard Niles was born in Hollywood but grew up in London where his 50-year professional career as a composer, arranger, record producer led to work with some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, James Brown, Tina Turner, Cher and jazz icon Pat Metheny. He has worked on 20 Gold and 28 Platinum records. He has published many books on music including The Pat Metheny Interviews, The Invisible Artist, From Dreaming to Gigging, Piano Grooves, Songwriting – The 11-Point Plan, Adventures in Arranging, Adventures in Jazz Composition, What is Melody?, and How to be an Employable Musician. Dr. Niles' PhD is from Brunel University and he has lectured internationally.

Richard's book list on to get inside popular music

Richard Niles Why did Richard love this book?

Known as ‘the man who invented the ‘80s’, Trevor Horn is considered one of the most innovative producers of modern pop.

He revolutionized production from his group The Buggles Video Killed the Radio Star to Band Aid’s Do they Know It’s Christmas?, to hits for Frankie Goes to Hollywood, ABC, Yes,  Rod Stewart, and Seal. I can tell you this book is the real deal because I worked with him on hits for The Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones, Frankie, and ABC.

This book takes you inside his unique process, and reveals his production concept - at once mind-blowing and surprisingly down-to-earth.

By Trevor Horn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Telegraph Book of the Year

As a renowned recording-studio maven, Trevor Horn has been dubbed 'the man who invented the '80s'.

His production work since the glory days of ZTT represents a veritable 'who's who' of intelligent modern pop, including the likes of ABC, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Pet Shop Boys, Seal, Simple Minds, Grace Jones and Yes - among many others.

This book is Trevor's story in his own words, as told through the prism of twenty-three of his most important songs - from the ones that inspired him to the ones that defined…


Book cover of How Music Works

Nick Prior Author Of Popular Music, Digital Technology and Society

From my list on popular music, technology, and society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Professor of Cultural Sociology at Edinburgh, UK, and have written extensively on contemporary culture and particularly technological mediations of popular music. I have undertaken empirical research on cultures of popular music in places like Iceland, Japan, and the UK, and I have supervised around 25 doctoral students to successful completion. My work is widely cited in the field of cultural sociology, and I am regularly interviewed by national broadcasters and the press. I’m also an amateur musician, making homespun electronic music in my bedroom and releasing it under the monikers Sponge Monkeys and Triviax.

Nick's book list on popular music, technology, and society

Nick Prior Why did Nick love this book?

I wasn’t expecting this! One of the most gifted and quirky songsmiths of the age, the lead singer of art pop band The Talking Heads no less, turns his attention to the technological evolution of music.

I found profound insight and erudition on every page, but it’s not preachy or overly auto-biographical. Instead, Byrne limns out the changing shapes of music and how it comes into being in composition, performance, and education. He is as much at ease with Hume and Adorno as he is with scales, harmonies, and DJ culture, and the payoff is enormous.

Whenever I pick this book up, which is regularly, it takes me on unexpected journeys and provokes new ideas. My favorite quote on the creative process: “The idea is to allow the chthonic material the freedom it needs to gurgle up.” 

By David Byrne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How Music Works is David Byrne's buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about.

Equal parts historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, Byrne draws on his own work over the years with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and his myriad collaborators - along with journeys to Wagnerian opera houses, African villages, and anywhere music exists - to show that music-making is not just the act of a solitary composer in a studio, but rather a logical, populist, and beautiful result of cultural circumstance.

A brainy, irresistible adventure, How Music Works is an impassioned argument about music's…


Book cover of The Music of Life

Kali Bate Author Of Bailey Brings Her Friends Together with Music

From my list on to introduce kids to music.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been playing the violin since I was 3, so as of 2022, it’s been 15 years. I believe that music unifies, and is a catalyst for social change, social justice, and equity. I’ve written two children’s books about different powers of music: Bailey Brings Her Friends Together with Music and The Aria in Me. With both of these books, I donate 100% of my proceeds to Kidznotes, a local North Carolinian organization, which provides underserved youth ensemble-based music instruction for personal, social, academic, and musical development and growth. I chose this list to inspire and captivate young readers and hopefully help them fall in love with music. :)

Kali's book list on to introduce kids to music

Kali Bate Why did Kali love this book?

As a musician, I hear everyday sounds as music: the tritone intervals of an ambulance, the rhythm of coffee dripping, bird calls, the fluctuation of laughter, etc. This picture book follows Lenny, a composer, who stops and listens to sounds of daily life which gives him inspiration for his own compositions. This picture book reveals how music is truly the sound of life.

By Louisa Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Music of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

At night when everyone else is asleep, one artist sits awake - pencil in hand, stuck. Lenny is a composer, but this evening, no music floats from his head.

Then as night breaks into dawn, Lenny's cat, Pipo, begins lapping milk. Lick lick lick. Birds yawn awake, singing in the trees. Tweet tweet! A bike bell tings on the street below. Suddenly, Lenny notices a rhythm to the world around him. He pulls on his coat and walks through the city to write down every sound he can find. Lenny listens to a gardener, a jogger, a dog walker, and…


Book cover of Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting

Mary Rowen Author Of Leaving the Beach

From my list on people fixated on music.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote Leaving the Beach because I was once bulimic and music-obsessed. After seeking help and recovering, I realized I wanted to write a realistic book about a bulimic woman; it was critical that I didn’t unintentionally romanticize any aspects of this insidious, potentially fatal disease.

Mary's book list on people fixated on music

Mary Rowen Why did Mary love this book?

This is the only nonfiction selection on my list. If you live in the Boston area and love music, you’ve probably read Brett Milano’s music reviews in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, or Phoenix. He’s also written numerous books—both fiction and nonfiction—about various types of music. Vinyl Junkies is a wonderful read, even if you’re not particularly interested in music, because although many people featured in it are well-known in the music and art worlds (Peter Buck, Robert Crumb), on a higher level, the book’s really about collecting and collectors in general. Why do people collect? What’s the difference between simply accumulating stuff and curating a collection? And where does one draw the line

By Brett Milano,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Not too far away from the flea markets, dusty attics, cluttered used record stores and Ebay is the world of the vinyl junkies. Brett Milano dives deep into the piles of old vinyl to uncover the subculture of record collecting. A vinyl junkie is not the person who has a few old 45s shoved in the cuboard from their days in high school. Vinyl Junkies are the people who will travel over 3,000 miles to hear a rare b-side by a German band that has only recorded two songs since 1962, vinyl junkies are the people who own every copy…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in sound, music, and economics?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about sound, music, and economics.

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