100 books like The Overspent American

By Juliet B. Schor,

Here are 100 books that The Overspent American fans have personally recommended if you like The Overspent American. 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 Walden: Life in the Woods

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Author Of Ark

From my list on living big in small spaces.

Who am I?

I’m an American author who lived three years in a backyard tiny house with my family: husband, two young children, and a part-time dog. We wanted to live a bigger life, focused on our favorite activities and most important relationships. I wrote this book during the first spring of COVID-19, partly as a way to record my family’s experience weathering a pandemic in under 300 square feet, and partly as a way to explore the ways that children can be resourceful when life gives them a pinch. I've been a writer for most of my life, and I love to teach writing. Ark is my first middle-grade novel, and my lucky thirteenth book to publish!

Elisabeth's book list on living big in small spaces

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Why did Elisabeth love this book?

The classic book on what happens when we dare to live differently: “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.”

Thoreau takes on the ordinary traps of daily life that humans so often fall into, and explores the spiritual costs of becoming human havings rather than human beings. This book contains everything: nature, philosophy, economics, a heady dose of DIY energy, and a reminder of how little it takes to live a very good life.

By Henry David Thoreau,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Henry David Thoreau is considered one of the leading figures in early American literature, and Walden is without doubt his most influential book.

Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.

It recounts the author's experiences living in a small house in the woods around Walden Pond near Concord in Massachusetts. Thoreau constructed the house himself, with the help of a few friends, to see if he could live 'deliberately' - independently and apart from society. The…


Book cover of A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Vitaliy Katsenelson Author Of Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life

From my list on that bring meaning to your life.

Who am I?

I am an investor who happens to love writing, music, and simply life in general. I was born in Murmansk, Russia, where I spent my first 18 years. My family moved to Denver in 1991, and I have lived there since. I’m CEO of IMA, a value investing firm where I have creative freedom to focus on things I love. I was so fortunate to stumble into writing; it has completely rewired my mind by providing a daily two-hour refuge for focused thinking. I am constantly on the lookout for new stories and fresh insights. Writing is what keeps me in student-of-life mode, and there is so much to learn!

Vitaliy's book list on that bring meaning to your life

Vitaliy Katsenelson Why did Vitaliy love this book?

This book is solely responsible for hooking me on Stoic philosophy, prompting my deep exploration of practical aspects of life in my own book and, most importantly, the application of them to my daily life. William’s writing is easy to follow, and his advice is very practical. I’d advise you to start reading the book from chapter four; and then when you are done with the book, come back to the first three chapters.

By William B. Irvine,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Guide to the Good Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.

In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using…


Book cover of How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life

Emrys Westacott Author Of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less

From my list on simple living and the good life.

Who am I?

I am a philosopher who is especially interested in relating philosophy to everyday life. So I like to ask–and try to answer– questions such as: Why is frugality considered a moral virtue? Are there times when rudeness is justified? What makes some kinds of work shameful? I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and am currently a Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.

Emrys' book list on simple living and the good life

Emrys Westacott Why did Emrys love this book?

Philosophies of simple living are often addressed primarily to the individuals who is seeking happiness. This is largely true, for instance, of both Epicureanism and Stoicism. How Much Is Enough? shows how the questions raised by such philosophies also bear on the economic policies and political culture of rich, modernized societies. The basic argument of the book is that it is foolish for these societies to strive for endless economic growth. They are already wealthy enough to provide the basic conditions of the good life for all their citizens, including a radical reduction in the hours that people need to work. But this isn't happening because capitalism continually inflames people's misguided desire for more stuff and higher status. So the machine just keeps on pointlessly creating desires while plutocrats keep creaming off the wealth of society which could otherwise be distributed more equitably and more rationally. The book offers a…

By Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Much Is Enough? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A provocative and timely call for a moral approach to economics, drawing on philosophers, political theorists, writers, and economists from Aristotle to Marx to Keynes

   What constitutes the good life? What is the true value of money? Why
do we work such long hours merely to acquire greater wealth? These
are some of the questions that many asked themselves when the
financial system crashed in 2008. This book tackles such questions
head-on.  
   The authors begin with the great economist John Maynard Keynes.
In 1930 Keynes predicted that, within a century, per capita income
would steadily rise, people’s basic needs would…


Book cover of The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle

Emrys Westacott Author Of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less

From my list on simple living and the good life.

Who am I?

I am a philosopher who is especially interested in relating philosophy to everyday life. So I like to ask–and try to answer– questions such as: Why is frugality considered a moral virtue? Are there times when rudeness is justified? What makes some kinds of work shameful? I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and am currently a Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.

Emrys' book list on simple living and the good life

Emrys Westacott Why did Emrys love this book?

This is an entirely different kind of book to those listed above. From 1990 to 1996 Amy Dacyczyn, a self-styled "frugal zealot," put out a monthly newsletter, The Tightwad Gazette. It contained all sorts of tips, tricks, strategies, and advice on how to pinch pennies. This book brings all her articles together in a single volume. For anyone committed to living simply–which usually means living cheaply–it is a goldmine. True, not all her recommendations met with my family's approval: mixing real maple syrup 50-50 with fake maple syrup received multiple thumbs down. But browsing through it is great fun, and on almost any page you'll find a salutary reminder of how you could be more frugal. And as we all know, frugality is associated with wisdom and with happiness.

By Amy Dacyczyn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At last—the long-awaited complete compendium of tightwad tips for fabulous frugal living!

In a newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 as well as in three enormously successful books, Amy Dacyczyn established herself as the expert of economy. Now The Complete Tightwad Gazette brings together all of her best ideas and thriftiest thinking into one volume, along with new articles never published before in book format. Dacyczyn describes this collection as "the book I wish I'd had when I began my adult life." Packed with humor, creativity, and insight, The Complete Tightwad Gazette includes hundreds of tips for anyone…


Book cover of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

Sam Pizzigati Author Of The Case for a Maximum Wage

From my list on why we need a world without billionaires.

Who am I?

I grew up in the 1950s next door to Long Island’s iconic Levittown. All my aunts and uncles lived in similar modest suburbs, and I assumed everyone else did, too. Maybe that explains why America’s sharp economic U-turn in the 1970s so rubbed me the wrong way. We had become, in the mid-20th century, the first major nation where most people—after paying their monthly bills—had money left over. Today we rate as the world’s most unequal major nation. Our richest 0.1 percent hold as much wealth as our bottom 90 percent. I’ve been working with the Institute for Public Studies, as co-editor of Inequality.org, to change all that.

Sam's book list on why we need a world without billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Why did Sam love this book?

The British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have an American doctor friend who has a fascinating exercise for his first-year medical school students.

This doctor asks his students to write a speech detailing why the USA has the world’s best health. The students eagerly set about collecting all the relevant data and quickly find themselves absolutely shocked. Among major developed nations, the USA turns out to have the worst health.

Americans also turn out to be up to ten times more likely than people in other developed nations to get murdered or become drug addicts. What’s going on here? Inequality!

The more wealth concentrates at a society’s summit, Wilkinson and Pickett vividly show in this 2009 classic, the worse that society performs on the yardsticks that define basic health and decency. 

By Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Groundbreaking analysis showing that greater economic equality-not greater wealth-is the mark of the most successful societies, and offering new ways to achieve it.

"Get your hands on this book."-Bill Moyers

This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them-the well-off and the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking. Almost every modern social and environmental problem-ill health, lack of…


Book cover of Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development

Sam Pizzigati Author Of The Case for a Maximum Wage

From my list on why we need a world without billionaires.

Who am I?

I grew up in the 1950s next door to Long Island’s iconic Levittown. All my aunts and uncles lived in similar modest suburbs, and I assumed everyone else did, too. Maybe that explains why America’s sharp economic U-turn in the 1970s so rubbed me the wrong way. We had become, in the mid-20th century, the first major nation where most people—after paying their monthly bills—had money left over. Today we rate as the world’s most unequal major nation. Our richest 0.1 percent hold as much wealth as our bottom 90 percent. I’ve been working with the Institute for Public Studies, as co-editor of Inequality.org, to change all that.

Sam's book list on why we need a world without billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Why did Sam love this book?

The climate crisis, many of us now understand, may just end up crushing us. What can save us from that crushing?

Greater income equality, the former World Bank economist Herman Daly argued in this concise 1996 volume, has to be central to our solution. Daly, who passed away in 2022, pioneered the discipline of ecological economics.

Our planet, this University of Maryland professor emeritus believed, has “a limit to the total material production that the ecosystem can support.” In other words, we can’t afford to continue grasping for ever more.

We need to center ourselves instead around having enough, and that means, Daly concluded, moving toward adopting a “maximum personal income” since having 99 percent of a limited total product “go to only one person” would be “clearly unjust.”

By Herman E. Daly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Daly is turning economics inside out by putting the earth and its diminishing natural resources at the center of the field . . . a kind of reverse Copernican revolution in economics." 
--Utne Reader

"Considered by most to be the dean of ecological economics, Herman E. Daly elegantly topples many shibboleths in Beyond Growth. Daly challenges the conventional notion that growth is always good, and he bucks environmentalist orthodoxy, arguing that the current focus on 'sustainable development' is misguided and that the phrase itself has become meaningless."
--Mother Jones

"In Beyond Growth, . . . [Daly] derides the concept of…


Book cover of Securing the Fruits of Labor: The American Concept of Wealth Distribution, 1765-1900

Sam Pizzigati Author Of The Case for a Maximum Wage

From my list on why we need a world without billionaires.

Who am I?

I grew up in the 1950s next door to Long Island’s iconic Levittown. All my aunts and uncles lived in similar modest suburbs, and I assumed everyone else did, too. Maybe that explains why America’s sharp economic U-turn in the 1970s so rubbed me the wrong way. We had become, in the mid-20th century, the first major nation where most people—after paying their monthly bills—had money left over. Today we rate as the world’s most unequal major nation. Our richest 0.1 percent hold as much wealth as our bottom 90 percent. I’ve been working with the Institute for Public Studies, as co-editor of Inequality.org, to change all that.

Sam's book list on why we need a world without billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Why did Sam love this book?

The urge to limit vast accumulations of individual wealth, the historian James Huston reminds us in this 1998 deep dive into America’s largely forgotten past, turns out to be as American as apple pie.

The new American nation, as John Adams put in in 1776, would only be able to preserve the “balance of power on the side of equal liberty and public virtue” by dividing the nation’s land “into small quantities, so that the multitude may be possessed of landed estates.”

Thomas Jefferson fully agreed. A republic, he insisted, “cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property.” Our founders never lived up to these noble aims. We still can.

By James L Huston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Securing the Fruits of Labor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his comprehensive study of the economic ideology of the early republic, James L. Huston argues that Americans developed economic attitudes during the Revolutionary period that remained virtually unchanged until the close of the nineteenth century. Viewing Europe's aristocratic system, early Americans believed that the survival of their new republic depended on a fair distribution of wealth, brought about through political and economic equality.

The concepts of wealth distribution formulated in the Revolutionary period informed works on nineteenth-century political economy and shaped the ideology of political parties. Huston reveals how these ideas influenced debates over reform, working-class agitation, political participation,…


Book cover of Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life

Jonathan Chevreau Author Of Findependence Day

From my list on financial independence and retirement.

Who am I?

I am a veteran semi-retired Canadian financial journalist who has long made a distinction between the terms “Retirement” and “Financial Independence.” I  recently turned 70 and have been financially independent since my early 60s BUT I am not yet retired. I coined the term Findependence in my financial novel Findependence Day, and since 2014 have been running the Financial Independence Hub blog, with new blogs every business day.

Jonathan's book list on financial independence and retirement

Jonathan Chevreau Why did Jonathan love this book?

The late Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group, published this excellent book in 2009.

Consider the following apophyrical tale related in Chapter 10 of Enough: “Too Much Success, Not Enough Character.” It concerns an old greyhound who spent his days at a race track chasing a mechanical rabbit. Over the years, the dog had won over a million dollars for his owner but ultimately decided to quit: not because he was mistreated or had become disabled but because “I found out that the rabbit I was chasing wasn’t even real.”

Those who accumulate more money than they need in life and end up as the richest denizen in the cemetery would do well to reflect on the main premises of Enough. Remember, financial independence is about having income exceed expenses, no matter how modest those expenses might be. It’s about working only because you want to, not because you…

By John C. Bogle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John Bogle puts our obsession with financial success in perspective Throughout his legendary career, John C. Bogle-founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and creator of the first index mutual fund-has helped investors build wealth the right way and led a tireless campaign to restore common sense to the investment world. Along the way, he's seen how destructive an obsession with financial success can be. Now, with Enough., he puts this dilemma in perspective. Inspired in large measure by the hundreds of lectures Bogle has delivered to professional groups and college students in recent years, Enough. seeks, paraphrasing Kurt Vonnegut,…


Book cover of Credit Risk Modelling

Alain Ruttiens Author Of Mathematics of the Financial Markets: Financial Instruments and Derivatives Modelling, Valuation and Risk Issues

From my list on quantitative finance applied to financial markets.

Who am I?

Having a master's degree in chemical engineering, I wasn't destined to work in the area of quantitative finance… the reason why I professionally moved to this discipline aren't worth exposing, but as a matter of fact, I've been quickly fascinated by this science, and encountered some of my favorites, such as maths and statistics, as used in the traditional activity of an engineer. And I had many opportunities of combining the knowledge and practice of financial markets with pragmatism, typically of the engineer’s education, i.e. oriented toward problem solving. In addition, I've always loved teaching, and writing books on financial markets & instruments, hence the importance I'm giving to pedagogy in professional books.

Alain's book list on quantitative finance applied to financial markets

Alain Ruttiens Why did Alain love this book?

In the vast array of quantitative finance relative to financial markets instruments and related risks, the case of credit or counterparty risk remains by far the most complex one, and thus, unsurprisingly, the least mastered by financial markets professionals.

A lot has been done, but a lot remains to be done: covering this is precisely the goal of this book. In a nutshell, the main obstacle to succeed in developing grounded and useful models of default prediction is due to the fact that a default is (fortunately) a rare event, in other words, with a (very) low probability of occurrence, and statistical tools are uncomfortable with very low probability levels. Hence the need of this book, to help the practitioner to go ahead in this matter.

By Terry Benzschawel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The book reveals to traders how to consistently outperform credit benchmarks, how to hedge the credit risk premium, and how to overcome pension liability deficits. In addition, several successful trading strategies are presented including debt versus equities, Co-Co bond trading and a quantitative analysis of the municipal bond market. Chapters include: Credit Models, Past Present and Future Predicting Annual Default Rates and Implications for Market Prices Risk and Relative Value in the Municipal Bond Market Contingent Collateral Bonds Model for Sovereign Default and Relative Value Beating Credit Benchmarks Analyzing and Hedging Systemic Liquidity Risk Building on the best-selling first edition,…


Book cover of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money

Brady Dale Author Of SBF: How The FTX Bankruptcy Unwound Crypto's Very Bad Good Guy

From my list on cryptocurrency, aka, magic space money.

Who am I?

I’ve been writing about cryptocurrency since 2015, and full-time since 2017. I’ve worked for the biggest crypto news site in the world, CoinDesk, but now I write about it every day for a more mainstream audience. Cryptocurrency fits at a nexus at the kind of things I’m drawn to: It’s technological, it’s economic and it freaks people out. Unlike a lot of people who write about crypto, I’ve actually played around with the stuff. I’m not an investor, but I have used it. Using it is really the only way anyone gets to the point of grokking it, and I grok the stuff.

Brady's book list on cryptocurrency, aka, magic space money

Brady Dale Why did Brady love this book?

Digital Gold is a solid early history of Bitcoin, mainly from the perspective of the startups trying to make it work in the world. 

Nathaniel Popper, who was for years The New York Times’ cryptocurrency guy, manages to go out and recreate a bunch of early scenes from Bitcoin history, and some of those moments are pretty memorable: Like when a bunch of rich guys were passing around 10,000 bitcoin from mobile phone to mobile phone as they all tried it out for the first time. 

It’s mostly missing the miners and the deep cypherpunks, but it does walk you through the people who have taken Bitcoin from The Silk Road out onto main street.

By Nathaniel Popper,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Digital Gold 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

A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age.

Digital Gold is New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper's brilliant and engrossing history of Bitcoin, the landmark digital money and financial technology that has spawned a global social movement.

The notion of a new currency, maintained by the computers of users around the world, has been the butt of many jokes, but that has not stopped…


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