100 books like The Narrow Corridor

By Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson,

Here are 100 books that The Narrow Corridor fans have personally recommended if you like The Narrow Corridor. 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 The Social Leap: The New Evolutionary Science of Who We Are, Where We Come From, and What Makes Us Happy

Joseph P. Forgas Author Of The Psychology of Populism: The Tribal Challenge to Liberal Democracy

From my list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies.

Who am I?

I'm an experimental social psychologist and Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. I grew up in Hungary, and after an adventurous escape I ended up in Sydney. I received my DPhil and DSc degrees from the University of Oxford, and I spent various periods working at Oxford, Stanford, Heidelberg, and Giessen. For my work I received the Order of Australia, as well as the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Prize, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. As somebody who experienced totalitarian communism firsthand, I am very interested in the reasons for the recent spread of totalitarian, tribal ideologies, potentially undermining Western liberalism, undoubtedly the most successful civilization in human history.

Joseph's book list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies

Joseph P. Forgas Why did Joseph love this book?

Bill is an accomplished evolutionary psychologist and a good friend of mine.

In this book he offers an evolutionary account of how human beings came to survive and become the dominant species on the planet largely because of our unparalleled ability to cooperate and form successful groups.

The evolution of consciousness, a unique mental ability to imagine, represent, predict, and model the behavior of others played a crucial role in our evolutionary success, and the book offers a lucid, readable, and highly entertaining overview of our evolutionary history, focusing on the development and functions of our psychological habits and abilities in particular.

By William Von Hippel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the compelling popular science tradition of Sapiens and Guns, Germs, and Steel, a groundbreaking and eye-opening exploration that applies evolutionary science to provide a new perspective on human psychology, revealing how major challenges from our past have shaped some of the most fundamental aspects of our being.

The most fundamental aspects of our lives-from leadership and innovation to aggression and happiness-were permanently altered by the "social leap" our ancestors made from the rainforest to the savannah. Their struggle to survive on the open grasslands required a shift from individualism to a new form of collectivism, which forever altered the…


Book cover of A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity

Pietra Rivoli Author Of The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade

From my list on economics and globalization.

Who am I?

I am a professor at Georgetown University, and I have long been interested in the promise and peril of global markets and the fundamental question of why some countries are rich and others poor. I've always loved looking at globalization at ground level: My travels to Chinese factories, Washington trade negotiations, and African cocoa farms have been great adventures of both mind and spirit, and I always leave with a new friend who has illuminated my understanding of this complex world. But in a late-life shift (that is not as random as it sounds) my current work revolves around criminal justice in the US. I currently direct the Pivot Program at Georgetown.

Pietra's book list on economics and globalization

Pietra Rivoli Why did Pietra love this book?

Zingales is a brilliant academic economist, but this book leads the reader with both head and heart. Zingales is concerned that the US is on a path to similarities with his native Italy, where markets and politics are both corrupted by cronyism and nepotism. The book’s appeal is that Zingales's compelling argument cannot be put in a left or right box. He lays out evidence to suggest that more open competition will address both the inequality concerns of liberals, as well as the free market priorities of conservatives. Today, Zingales seems to suggest, we have the worst of both worlds.

By Luigi Zingales,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Born in Italy, University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales witnessed firsthand the consequences of high inflation and unemployment--paired with rampant nepotism and cronyism--on a country's economy. This experience profoundly shaped his professional interests, and in 1988 he arrived in the United States, armed with a political passion and the belief that economists should not merely interpret the world, but should change it for the better. In A Capitalism for the People, Zingales makes a forceful, philosophical, and at times personal argument that the roots of American capitalism are dying, and that the result is a drift toward the more corrupt…


Book cover of The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy

Harald Sander Author Of Understanding the New Global Economy: A European Perspective

From my list on how to make globalization work for all people.

Who am I?

As a boomer and working-class kid, I experienced living conditions improving rapidly. This sparked my interest in studying international and development economics to explore how we can create a better and more equitable world. As professor of international economics, I have been researching and teaching for many years about what is now known as “globalization”. This taught me two things that inspired me to write my latest book: First, to understand the process and consequences of (de-)globalization, in-depth study is essential to avoid popular misconceptions about the global economy; and, second, globalization needs to be carefully managed to make it work for all people.

Harald's book list on how to make globalization work for all people

Harald Sander Why did Harald love this book?

This is one of the most influential books on economic globalization written in the last decade, and it will certainly continue to be crucial to understand the future of globalization.

Rodrik’s Globalization Paradox pinpoints the key policy trade-offs in a globalized economy: If policymakers opt for “hyper-globalization” while insisting on national decision-making, they could find their societies in the “golden straitjacket” of global capitalism.

Alternatively, they could give up sovereignty to democratically legitimized “global governance”.

As the latter is difficult to achieve and often unacceptable to national policymakers, Rodrik argues for limiting hyper-globalization.

The existence of a globalization paradox as well as Rodrik’s conclusion, has been hotly discussed, but the ongoing debate only proves the importance of his book.

By Dani Rodrik,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this eloquent challenge to the reigning wisdom on globalization, Dani Rodrik reminds us of the importance of the nation-state, arguing forcefully that when the social arrangements of democracies inevitably clash with the international demands of globalization, national priorities should take precedence. Combining history with insight, humor with good-natured critique, Rodrik's case for a customizable globalization supported by a light frame of international rules shows the way to a balanced prosperity as we confront today's global challenges in trade, finance, and labor markets.


Book cover of Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Lodewijk Smets Author Of Retooling Development Aid in the 21st Century: The Importance of Budget Support

From my list on economic growth and international development.

Who am I?

As Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Lucas put it, "Once you start thinking about economic growth, it's hard to think about anything else." That's why I am eager to share the best books on economic development with you! I am a Senior Economist at the World Bank, the world's premier development institution. Over the years, I have developed a deep interest in what makes countries prosper, have published extensively on the topic in academic journals, and earned a PhD in Economics along the way. As a development practitioner, I have been supporting sustainable growth across the globe, with working experience in the Caribbean, Africa, and the Pacific. 

Lodewijk's book list on economic growth and international development

Lodewijk Smets Why did Lodewijk love this book?

The book, written in a very accessible manner, helps to understand the constraints the poor face and how they make decisions on matters such as education, healthcare, savings, entrepreneurship, and a variety of other issues.

Duflo and Banerjee, recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics, advocate for the use of randomized controlled trials and, most importantly, to actually listen to what the poor have to say.

The book won the 2011 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. To me, it was an eye-opener and a refreshing way to rethink poverty reduction.

By Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why do the poor borrow to save? Why do they miss out on free life-saving immunizations, but pay for unnecessary drugs? In Poor Economics , Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, two practical visionaries working toward ending world poverty, answer these questions from the ground. In a book the Wall Street Journal called marvellous, rewarding," the authors tell how the stress of living on less than 99 cents per day encourages the poor to make questionable decisions that feed,not fight,poverty. The result is a radical rethinking of the economics of poverty that offers a ringside view of the lives of…


Book cover of A Gesture Life

Solveig Eggerz Author Of Seal Woman

From my list on where characters don’t mingle much and talk funny.

Who am I?

I have written all my life. This includes freelance writing as well as reporter jobs at small, weekly newspapers in the DC/VA area. I have also taught writing (creative and technical writing) to students as diverse as jail inmates, residents of homeless shelters, military officers at the Pentagon, CIA employees, and firefighters at Ronald Reagan National Airport. Both of my published novels are works of historical fiction set in my native Iceland: Seal Woman and Sigga of Reykjavik. These novels cover the time 1908 to 1955, a period when Iceland was a little-known island. I have always been drawn to novels about isolated, cold-weather places where unusual characters and mannerisms flourish. 

Solveig's book list on where characters don’t mingle much and talk funny

Solveig Eggerz Why did Solveig love this book?

Hata, a Korean, adopted by a Japanese couple, serves the Japanese Army as a medic in World War II. His job is to care for enslaved Koreans who serve as “comfort women” to Japanese soldiers. His experiences are the material of nightmares. Years later he leads a deceptively quiet life in a small town in New Jersey with his Korean adoptive daughter. It is deceptively quiet because his unresolved war experiences, presented in flashbacks, haunt him. I admired the abrupt manner in which Chang-Rae Lee interrupted Hata’s uneventful life with horrific memories.

The author’s method felt like the triggering of those who have suffered trauma and continue to relive events as PTSD. This approach of interweaving past with present inspired my depiction of a young German woman living a quiet life on a primitive Icelandic farm, milking the cows and raking the hay, while being repeatedly interrupted by memories of…

By Chang-Rae Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Franklin Hata, Korean by birth but raised in Japan, is an outsider in American society, but he embodies the values of the town he calls his own - he is polite and keeps himself to himself. Franklin deflects everyone with courtesy and impenetrable decorum, and becomes a respected elder of his small, prosperous American town. 'You make a whole life out of gestures and politeness,' Sunny tells her adoptive father. But as Sunny tries to unpick her father's scrupulous self-control, the story he has repressed emerges: his life as a medic in the Japanese Army and his love for a…


Book cover of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Joseph P. Forgas Author Of The Psychology of Populism: The Tribal Challenge to Liberal Democracy

From my list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies.

Who am I?

I'm an experimental social psychologist and Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. I grew up in Hungary, and after an adventurous escape I ended up in Sydney. I received my DPhil and DSc degrees from the University of Oxford, and I spent various periods working at Oxford, Stanford, Heidelberg, and Giessen. For my work I received the Order of Australia, as well as the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Prize, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. As somebody who experienced totalitarian communism firsthand, I am very interested in the reasons for the recent spread of totalitarian, tribal ideologies, potentially undermining Western liberalism, undoubtedly the most successful civilization in human history.

Joseph's book list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies

Joseph P. Forgas Why did Joseph love this book?

This is an incredibly interesting, well-written, and informative book that lays out the case for the amazing success of liberal democracies based on the Enlightenment values of liberty, universal humanism, and individualism.

I consider this book an essential reading for everyone who has been brainwashed by the current pessimistic and catastrophizing ideologies attacking this most successful of all human civilization.

Pinker is an outstanding writer, and the empirical evidence he marshals for the success and values of the Enlightenment in promoting human flourishing is utterly persuasive.

By Steven Pinker,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Enlightenment Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. By the author of the new book, Rationality.

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third…


Book cover of The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Todd Swanstrom Author Of The Changing American Neighborhood: The Meaning of Place in the Twenty-First Century

From my list on why neighborhoods still matter.

Who am I?

I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a neighborhood that was stable, safe, and stimulating. After my freshman year in college, I signed up for an “urban experience” in Detroit. It turned out to be the summer of the Detroit riots. I woke up to U.S. Army vehicles rumbling into the park across from my apartment. Over the next month, I witnessed the looting and burning of whole neighborhoods. I remember thinking:  what a waste! Why are we throwing away neighborhoods like Kleenex? I have been trying to answer that question ever since.   

Todd's book list on why neighborhoods still matter

Todd Swanstrom Why did Todd love this book?

The book that propelled the fight against modernist city planning–think urban renewal or interstate highways–is still a thrill to read 62 years after its publication.

Generating most of her insights by walking the city streets and living in Greenwich Village, Jacobs shows how dense neighborhoods with diverse land uses generate valuable "weak ties" while avoiding the suffocating conformity of small towns.

Jacobs did not just talk the talk; she walked the walk–getting arrested for protesting Robert Moses’ plan to slice a highway through lower Manhattan. Embraced by both libertarians and progressive new urbanists, Jacobs still generates controversy, but you can feel her love for urban neighborhoods on every page.  

By Jane Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Death and Life of Great American Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic text, Jane Jacobs set out to produce an attack on current city planning and rebuilding and to introduce new principles by which these should be governed. The result is one of the most stimulating books on cities ever written.

Throughout the post-war period, planners temperamentally unsympathetic to cities have been let loose on our urban environment. Inspired by the ideals of the Garden City or Le Corbusier's Radiant City, they have dreamt up ambitious projects based on self-contained neighbourhoods, super-blocks, rigid 'scientific' plans and endless acres of grass. Yet they seldom stop to look at what actually…


Book cover of The Limits of Organization

William K. Jaeger Author Of Environmental Economics for Tree Huggers and Other Skeptics

From my list on economics is much more than the study of the economy.

Who am I?

I was initially drawn to economics as a way to understand and address global problems of poverty and hunger, like those I saw in Africa with the Peace Corps and later as a researcher. As my interests broadened toward environmental and other social problems, again I found that economics provides valuable insights about their causes and possible solutions. Economics is unfortunately often misunderstood and defined too narrowly: but as a social science, it encompasses a broad framework to comprehend individuals, families, cities, nations. It encompasses philosophical thought, normative questions, and intangibles like humans’ desire for respect. After decades as an economics professor I still find its insights fascinating and powerful.  

William's book list on economics is much more than the study of the economy

William K. Jaeger Why did William love this book?

In this slim book, Ken Arrow – Nobel laureate and “one of the transcendent minds in the history of economics” – reveals with extraordinary clarity many essential truths about how the world works and why.

The first of these four essays is among the most eloquent and succinct statement about the core conflicts humanity faces: between the individual and society, between freedoms and collective obligation, between compromise and commitment.

Given that context, Arrow builds a framework for understanding the nature of organizations: their purposes, processes, and the central role of information. The clarity with which Arrow has developed this economics of information – an asset intangible and unmeasurable – reveals his genius.

The inquiry closes by considering the role of authority and responsibility; but throughout there are gems of insights in nearly every paragraph. 

By Kenneth J. Arrow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The tension between what we wish for and what we can get, between values and opportunities, exists even at the purely individual level. A hermit on a mountain may value warm clothing and yet be hard-pressed to make it from the leaves, bark, or skins he can find. But when many people are competing with each other for satisfaction of their wants, learning how to exploit what is available becomes more difficult. In this volume, Nobel Laureate Kenneth J. Arrow analyzes why - and how - human beings organize their common lives to overcome the basic economic problem: the allocation…


Book cover of The Tyranny of the Ideal: Justice in a Diverse Society

Scott E. Page Author Of The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You

From my list on for aspiring or inspiring social scientist.

Who am I?

I’m a professor at The University of Michigan, external faculty at The Santa Fe Institute, and an editor of Collective Intelligence. As a theorist, I build mathematical and computational models and frameworks. My research explores the functional contributions of diversity – different ways of thinking and seeing – on group performance, a topic I explore in my book The Difference. Recently, I’ve become interested in how to build ensembles of markets, democracies, hierarchies, self-organized communities, or algorithms so that societies prosper. That agenda drives the books I have chosen for this list.

Scott's book list on for aspiring or inspiring social scientist

Scott E. Page Why did Scott love this book?

This book challenges the notion that we should rely on the ideal as a guidepost. Set aside whether we could decide on an ideal; Gaus, a philosopher, makes a four-part argument against pursuing it. First, how could we contemplate the incomprehensible number of possible institutional, legal, and organizational configurations? We couldn’t. Second, the components of those configurations interact, resulting in a rugged landscape: the path to the ideal would not be entirely uphill, that is, it would require sacrifices. Hence, the book’s title. Third, owing to the interactions among choices, we cannot evaluate collective well-being in alternative configurations with any accuracy. What hubris to assume that we could. And finally, the landscape responds to our positioning, as we adapt our physical, organizational, and institutional (both formal and invisible) environments, we alter what we can achieve and what we desire.

By Gerald Gaus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his provocative new book, The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus lays out a vision for how we should theorize about justice in a diverse society. Gaus shows how free and equal people, faced with intractable struggles and irreconcilable conflicts, might share a common moral life shaped by a just framework. He argues that if we are to take diversity seriously and if moral inquiry is sincere about shaping the world, then the pursuit of idealized and perfect theories of justice-essentially, the entire production of theories of justice that has dominated political philosophy for the past forty years-needs to…


Book cover of A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

Antony Radford Author Of The Elements of Modern Architecture: Understanding Contemporary Buildings

From my list on analysing architecture.

Who am I?

My passion as a teacher and writer is to help students and others interpret, understand and enjoy architecture and the built environment, and to help them respond in their own designs to the complexities of place, people, and construction. I have chosen five well-established books on analysing architecture that are highly illustrated, avoid jargon, can be explored rather than needing to be read sequentially cover-to-cover, and have lasting value. They offer guidance for beginning students and a checklist for the experienced. They are books to be kept handy and repeatedly consulted. Of course, analysing existing architecture is invaluable in designing new architecture. I hope you enjoy them.

Antony's book list on analysing architecture

Antony Radford Why did Antony love this book?

The first three books on my list concentrate on building form and space, with little about function.

The ‘pattern language’ is different, mapping human activities onto appropriate built forms, and advocating repeated patterns that have been found to work.

Christopher Alexander wants us to use the patterns in designing responses to situations, but they also help to judge how well-built spaces fit their contexts in analysing architecture.

Although Alexander maps activities onto his own preferred design style, the patterns are not inherently specific to any style or period of architecture.

Despite being written 50 years ago, this one-of-a-kind book is still fresh and relevant.

By Christopher Alexander,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction. After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in
the form of three books which will, in their words, "lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in globalization, political, and the Civil Rights Movement?

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