100 books like The Labour of Enjoyment

By Samo Tomsic,

Here are 100 books that The Labour of Enjoyment fans have personally recommended if you like The Labour of Enjoyment. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

This is the one classic text on my list. Marcuse’s book was like a bible to protesting students in the 1960s, and its critique of the psychic levelling that occurs under capitalism remains just as germane today, if not more so. This is the most successful marriage of Freud and Marx that emerged from the famous Frankfurt School, which was a group of cultural Marxist invested in psychoanalysis. Marcuse grasps how capitalism employs technology to ensure its psychic dominance. 

By Herbert Marcuse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One-Dimensional Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1964, One-Dimensional Man quickly became one of the most important texts in the ensuing decade of radical political change. This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events.


Book cover of Living in the End Times

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

I could really choose any book by Slavoj Žižek as the starting for a psychoanalytic critique of capitalism, but this one is very accessible for someone who has never read him. It also gets into the current dilemmas that are rocking capitalist society. In this book, Žižek shows how psychoanalysis (combined with Hegel’s philosophy) can provide a corrective to the traditional Marxist critique of capitalism. We see here how the attempt to construct an ethical capitalism inevitably fails and obscures a new barbarism. 

By Slavoj Zizek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living in the End Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There should no longer be any doubt: global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis. But if the end of capitalism seems to many like the end of the world, how is it possible for Western society to face up to the end times? In a major new analysis of our global situation, Zizek argues that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the stages of grief: ideological denial, explosions of anger and attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and withdrawal. For this edition, Zizek has written a long afterword that leaves almost no subject untouched, from WikiLeaks to…


Book cover of The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

Kornbluh’s book is an incredible revelation. It shows that psychoanalysis provides an insistence on a formal interpretation that allows it to have a privileged critical position relative to capitalism. By showing capitalism’s formal impasses, psychoanalysis provides the perfect supplement to a Marxist critique and opens up possibilities for envisioning a non-capitalist future. The book uses realist fiction as a way to envision the formal critique of capitalism and really makes one want to read the books under discussion. I have taught this book to students, and they love it more than any other I’ve ever used. 

By Anna Kornbluh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In literary studies today, debates about the purpose of literary criticism and about the place of formalism within it continue to simmer across periods and approaches. Anna Kornbluh contributes to--and substantially shifts--that conversation in The Order of Forms by offering an exciting new category, political formalism, which she articulates through the co-emergence of aesthetic and mathematical formalisms in the nineteenth century. Within this framework, criticism can be understood as more affirmative and constructive, articulating commitments to aesthetic expression and social collectivity.

Kornbluh offers a powerful argument that political formalism, by valuing forms of sociability like the city and the state…


Book cover of Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings: The Emotional Costs of Everyday Life

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

Although Ruti’s book is not directly about capitalism, it includes perhaps the best psychoanalytic proposal of confronting the imperatives of capitalist society that I have ever read. Ruti discusses how sexism operates within capitalism primarily in the book, but her point is always about how concepts from psychoanalysis that seem retrograde—such as penis envy—can actually be the basis for a critique of capitalism and sexism. 

By Mari Ruti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mari Ruti combines theoretical reflection, cultural critique, feminist politics, and personal experience to analyze the prevalence of bad feelings in contemporary everyday life. Proceeding from a playful engagement with Freud's idea of penis envy, Ruti's autotheoretical commentary fans out to a broader consideration of neoliberal pragmatism. She focuses on the emphasis on good performance, high productivity, constant self-improvement, and relentless cheerfulness that characterizes present-day Western society. Revealing the treacherousness of our fantasies of the good life, particularly the idea that our efforts will eventually be rewarded-that things will eventually get better-Ruti demystifies the false hope that often causes us to…


Book cover of Crack Capitalism

Paul Chatterton Author Of How to Save the City: A Guide for Emergency Action

From my list on helping us save the city.

Who am I?

I've been fascinated by city life since I studied Geography at high school. After twenty five years of teaching and researching urban geography, I am Professor of Urban Futures at a UK university. I now have a better sense of the challenges we face and what we can do about them. I spend my time supporting activists, campaigners, students, policymakers, and politicians about the urgency for change and what kind of ideas and examples they can use to tackle what I call the triple emergencies of climate breakdown, social inequality, and nature loss.

Paul's book list on helping us save the city

Paul Chatterton Why did Paul love this book?

I read this book after I spent a year living and volunteering with the Zapatista revolutionary movement in Chiapas Mexico.

John based a lot of the ideas in this book on the Zapatistas mainly because they help us rethink what the revolution means – as an open, joyful, and everyday process. What I learned from this book is that If we really want to change society, or indeed crack capitalism, we have to build examples in the here and now that show a different world is possible.

It is a reminder that the state cannot and will not use on its own so we have to build self-managing autonomous structures in our communities that can create hope, dignity, resilience, and joy.

By John Holloway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How can we rebel against the capitalist system? John Holloway argues that by creating, cracks, fractures and fissures that forge spaces of rebellion and disrupt the current economic order.

John Holloway, author of the groundbreaking Change the World Without Taking Power, sparked a world-wide debate among activists and scholars about the most effective methods of fighting capitalism from within. From campaigns against water privatisation, to simply not going to work and reading a book instead, Holloway demands we must resist the logic of capitalism in our everyday lives. Drawing on Marx's idea of 'abstract labour', Holloway develops 33 theses that…


Book cover of The Sane Society

Stephen Palmer Author Of Beautiful Intelligence

From my list on that explain the mystery of consciousness.

Who am I?

For thirty-five years I’ve studied and written about consciousness, the evolution of the mind, and the development of human social and cultural forms. I think we’re all fascinated by who we are and why we have minds. In my case, that fundamental question, which we must all answer in some way during our lives, has become a drive to bridge our theory of consciousness with a full description of the human condition. I believe we cannot progress ethically without such a bridge. Although in my novels I don’t usually write explicitly on such themes, they’re always present, providing the framework in which my characters live their lives.

Stephen's book list on that explain the mystery of consciousness

Stephen Palmer Why did Stephen love this book?

Although not Fromm’s best-known book, The Sane Society is crucial because it states for the first time a description of the human condition. I was astonished when I first read it, as it presented to me the possibility that the human condition could be described, and, therefore by implication, understood, something which had never before occurred to me. Fromm’s thesis is that society in the 20th century, when he was writing, can be characterised as insane, because it does not meet humanity’s real needs. Part of the revelation of this book is that such needs can be developed from an analysis of the human condition. Since reading the book, I have followed Fromm’s conviction that a real and true description of ourselves is crucial to humane ethical progress. 

By Erich Fromm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.


Book cover of 21st Century Capitalism

Mohamed Rabie Author Of The Global Debt Crisis and Its Socioeconomic Implications: Creating Conditions for a Sustainable, Peaceful, and Just World

From my list on serving humanity and revealing misleading secrets.

Who am I?

I am a retired professor, was raised in a refugee camp, one of a family of 9 living in one tent. studied in Palestine, Egypt, Germany, and America, have Ph.D. in economics; scholarships financed my education journey. I lived a life no human has lived or can live, because some of the times I lived had come and gone and cannot come back again. I taught at 11 universities on 4 continents, published 60 books in Arabic and English: books on economics, politics, culture, history, conflict resolution, philosophy, racism, novels, and poetry. True intellectuals cannot stay in one area because issues that shape mankind's history and man’s destiny are interconnected. 

Mohamed's book list on serving humanity and revealing misleading secrets

Mohamed Rabie Why did Mohamed love this book?

This book was published after communism collapsed. Heilbroner doubted America’s intention to reform the market system, he saw a new society emerging that does not believe in the promise of progress. Heilbroner saw the communist collapse as giving corporations the opportunity to control the economy and reshape society. As I wrote in my books, the communist system was politics’ last attempt to control economics, therefore, the collapse of communism allowed large corporations and banks to control the political process, corrupt politics, and politicians, and control global wealth. The latest report by Oxfam says that since 2020, the richest 1% of the world’s population took 63% or $26 trillion of the global wealth, leaving %37 or $16 trillion for 99% of the world’s population. 

By Robert L Heilbroner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 21st Century Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It is my hope that some grasp of what the twenty-first century holds in store for capitalism may enable us to avoid at least some of the pain we might otherwise have to endure," writes the eminent economist Robert Heilbroner in this important book on the world's economic future.


Although communism lies shattered almost everywhere it once existed, no single form of capitalism has emerged worldwide. Which of the varieties of capitalism will be hardy enough to survive into the next century? Will the private sector make way for government to redress the failures of the market system? Does the…


Book cover of Ethics and Capitalism

Kleio Akrivou Author Of The Challenges of Capitalism for Virtue Ethics and the Common Good: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on capitalism, ethics, and the self.

Who am I?

I have cross-disciplinary expertise (ethics and moral philosophy, philosophical anthropology and moral psychology), and my work focuses on personalist virtue ethics, moral human development, and the links between ethics and economics; I am a person who loves nature and animals, and I’m thrilled to do good work. I was educated and worked internationally, with academic degrees in different Europe countries and the USA, and 30 years of work and academic experience in Europe, the USA, and SE Asia. I live with my family near London, U.K.. I am passionate about enabling a more sustainable society that however remains rooted in human dignity and avoids instrumentalizing the person

Kleio's book list on capitalism, ethics, and the self

Kleio Akrivou Why did Kleio love this book?

I like that the economic advantages of capitalism have not been underestimated, but also that its social, economic failures (corruption, exclusion/poverty, harmfulness and hubristic behaviours, impersonalism, and environmental degradation).

A solution offered is balancing justice and productivity, is trying to fix capitalism without alienating its elites. 

By John Douglas Bishop (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Despite the great economic advantage of capitalism - that it is an efficient system of production and distribution - capitalist societies struggle with its by-products of poverty, exclusion, corruption, and environmental destruction. The essays in "Ethics and Capitalism" address the question of ensuring ethical and just societies within a capitalist system without sacrificing productivity. The introductory essay is a guide to the issues in the emerging field of ethics and capitalism, and refers to recent contributions from several disciplines. The collection as a whole evaluates the morality of capitalism by looking at its foundation in property theory, its relationship to…


Book cover of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Who am I?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

If we want to reimagine capitalism as a system that does not destroy the planet and destabilize society, this must be enabled by corporations changing the way that they operate. Henderson’s Reimagining Capitalism gives us some principles for thinking about how to do this. A long-time innovation scholar, Henderson draws on her knowledge about how to succeed at organizational change to propose a more purpose-driven model of corporate action. Using numerous case studies of companies that have (partially) succeeded and those that have failed, she animates a number of principles for change. To start, such a model will require new metrics for social and environmental impact. This would involve more collaborative engagement amongst stakeholders to grow the economic pie and amongst companies to self-regulate in a more sustainable manner.

Particularly refreshing, at the end of the book, Henderson connects the macro conversation about economic and corporate change with a discussion…

By Rebecca Henderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A renowned Harvard professor debunks prevailing orthodoxy with a new intellectual foundation and a practical pathway forward for a system that has lost its moral and ethical foundation.
Free market capitalism is one of humanity's greatest inventions and the greatest source of prosperity the world has ever seen. But this success has been costly. Capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilizing society as wealth rushes to the top. The time for action is running short.

Rebecca Henderson's rigorous research in economics, psychology, and organizational behavior, as well as her many years of work with companies around…


Book cover of The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy

Dietrich Vollrath Author Of Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy Is a Sign of Success

From my list on the economic challenges of the 2020s.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of economics at the University of Houston, with a focus on long-run growth and development rather than things like quarterly stock returns. I write a blog on growth economics where I try hard to boil down technical topics to their core intuition, and I’m the co-author of a popular textbook on economic growth.

Dietrich's book list on the economic challenges of the 2020s

Dietrich Vollrath Why did Dietrich love this book?

I like this book because it takes a giant step back and asks what “the economy” means. What we measure, and what we choose to classify as “economic activity”, is a choice, not a given. By opting to classify some things as true economic activity (e.g. finance) but others as not (e.g. raising kids) we implicitly make choices about economic policy, as it can only deal with what it can count. It opens up the idea that we could stop and think about what should matter to the economy, and what may not.

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Modern economies reward activities that extract value rather than create it. This must change to ensure a capitalism that works for us all.

Shortlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

A scathing indictment of our current global financial system, The Value of Everything rigorously scrutinizes the way in which economic value has been accounted and reveals how economic theory has failed to clearly delineate the difference between value creation and value extraction. Mariana Mazzucato argues that the increasingly blurry distinction between the two categories has allowed certain actors in the economy to portray themselves as…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in psychoanalysis, capitalism, and anti capitalism?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about psychoanalysis, capitalism, and anti capitalism.

Psychoanalysis Explore 84 books about psychoanalysis
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Anti Capitalism Explore 8 books about anti capitalism