100 books like The Secret Life of Groceries

By Benjamin Lorr,

Here are 100 books that The Secret Life of Groceries fans have personally recommended if you like The Secret Life of Groceries. 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 Out of the Shadows: The New Merchants of Grain

Don Steinberg Author Of The Kickstarter Handbook: Real-Life Crowdfunding Success Stories

From my list on how the world really works.

Who am I?

Sometimes I feel like we know more about the anthropologies of ancient civilizations and remote tribes than about the business most people do every day. There's mystery behind the curtain. To me, good nonfiction that goes deep inside a business is about our culture and how our world works. It's a way to understand everything we interact with and how it got there. I have enjoyed telling specific business creation stories as a business journalist, but understanding what truly turns the gears has informed writing I have done on every subject, including my humor.

Don's book list on how the world really works

Don Steinberg Why did Don love this book?

This book reveals a substantial but obscure piece of the world economy. It's gonna blow your mind how much grains influence the world. Corn is in food and packaging and gasoline. Palm oil is in everything. Wheat, rice, soybeans…apparently billions of people eat this stuff. Commodities futures trading is about high finance but also farming, land use, biotech, politics, and climate change. Kingsman is a lively writer, considering he's a career commodities trader, and he interviews insiders at companies including the "ABCD" giants -- ADM, Bunge, Cargill, and Dreyfus (of the Julia Louis-Dreyfuses).

By Jonathan Kingsman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1979, Dan Morgan, a journalist with the Washington Post, wrote Merchants of Grain, a definitive history of the international grain trade. In the 40 years since Dan’s book was published the grain markets have changed almost beyond recognition. So too have the merchants of grain. Once shadowy figures, grain merchants have now come out of the shadows. Almost everything that you eat or drink today will contain something bought, stored, transported, processed, shipped, distributed or sold by one of the seven giants of the agricultural supply chain. The media often refers to them as the ABCD group of international…


Book cover of How to Get Rich: One of the World's Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets

Don Steinberg Author Of The Kickstarter Handbook: Real-Life Crowdfunding Success Stories

From my list on how the world really works.

Who am I?

Sometimes I feel like we know more about the anthropologies of ancient civilizations and remote tribes than about the business most people do every day. There's mystery behind the curtain. To me, good nonfiction that goes deep inside a business is about our culture and how our world works. It's a way to understand everything we interact with and how it got there. I have enjoyed telling specific business creation stories as a business journalist, but understanding what truly turns the gears has informed writing I have done on every subject, including my humor.

Don's book list on how the world really works

Don Steinberg Why did Don love this book?

The title is a trick, probably the publisher's idea. Dennis (who passed away in 2014) expresses qualms about the whole getting rich idea. Before becoming a magazine multimillionaire (The Week, Maxim, Stuff) he was a poet, jailed in 1971 for editing an obscene humor magazine. He borrowed to start his publishing empire with Cozmic Comics and Kung Fu Monthly. He writes that anyone can raise capital -- you just need enough confidence in your plan to grovel and risk your friends' money. I forever carry his advice on negotiation: whoever cares less wins. Negotiate hard, be sure about what you'd like, but be ready to walk away, because no deal is a must-do.

By Felix Dennis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Get Rich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Making money is a knack, a knack that can be acquired. And if someone like me can become rich, then so can you - no matter what your present circumstances. Here is how I did it and what I learned along the way.' So writes Felix Dennis, who believes that almost anyone of reasonable intelligence can become rich, given sufficient motivation and application.

How To Get Rich is a distillation of his business wisdom. Primarily concerned with the step-by-step creation of wealth, it ruthlessly dissects the business failures and financial triumphs of 'a South London lad who became rich virtually…


Book cover of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

Lawrence Ingrassia Author Of Billion Dollar Brand Club: How Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, and Other Disruptors Are Remaking What We Buy

From my list on entrepreneurs and innovation.

Who am I?

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and inventors have shaped the history of the world, touching our lives in countless ways every day. As a business journalist for four decades - at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Los Angeles Times - I’ve covered companies of all sizes, watching some (like Walmart, Microsoft, Tesla, Amazon, Apple) grow from startups to giant multinationals, while others have imploded – or never have gotten off the ground. I've found that there's often a compelling story behind them, about the founders, their leadership style, what they saw that others didn’t, how they deal with adversity (and sometimes don’t). Writ large, they tell the story of where we came from, how we got here, and where we are going, which makes them endlessly fascinating.

Lawrence's book list on entrepreneurs and innovation

Lawrence Ingrassia Why did Lawrence love this book?

Innovation comes in unusual sizes and shapes, but few over the past half-century have had as much impact as the mundane, rectangular steel shipping container that is the star of The Box. The best entrepreneurs come up with ideas that solve problems, and Marc Levinson tells the story of the trucking executive who reinvented the way products are moved around the globe. Put simply, containerization made globalization possible. "It was not routine for shoppers to find Brazilian shoes and Mexican vacuum cleaners in stores in the middle of Kansas. Japanese families did not eat beef from cattle in Wyoming, and French clothing designers did not have their exclusive apparel cut and sewn in Turkey and Vietnam," Levinson notes. Shipping may not sound sexy, but he takes us on a fascinating journey about a transformational innovation.

By Marc Levinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that made the boom in global trade possible. The Box tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about. But the container didn't just happen. Its adoption required huge sums of money, both from private investors and from ports that aspired to be on the leading edge of a new…


Book cover of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Donald Cohen Author Of The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back

From my list on the battle between democracy and oligarchy.

Who am I?

I have been reading, researching, and writing on the limitations of market capitalism and the unique and important role of government in meeting public needs for almost 30 years. I have come to firmly believe that we can’t – as a nation and planet – solve our most pressing problems without rebuilding trust in government and the capacity and authority of governing institutions. We can’t eliminate poverty, eradicate structural racism, protect our environment and the planet without democratic institutions that have the power to do so. We need markets, but transferring too much power to the market has created many of the problems we face today. 

Donald's book list on the battle between democracy and oligarchy

Donald Cohen Why did Donald love this book?

This is a deep investigative dive into the methods and practices global food corporations use to get us to buy and eat more – regardless of the health impacts on ourselves, families, and communities. 

It describes how companies use sophisticated neuroscience to stimulate overconsumption, create cravings, and ultimately distort eating habits. It gave me great insight into how our individual market choices are not simply a response to personal needs but are deeply manipulated by the science and practice of corporate marketing.

By Michael Moss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The No.1 New York Times Bestseller

In China, for the first time, the people who weigh too much now outnumber those who weigh too little. In Mexico, the obesity rate has tripled in the past three decades. In the UK over 60 per cent of adults and 30 per cent of children are overweight, while the United States remains the most obese country in the world.

We are hooked on salt, sugar and fat. These three simple ingredients are used by the major food companies to achieve the greatest allure for the lowest possible cost. Here, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter…


Book cover of Building a Housewife's Paradise: Gender, Politics, and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century

Xaq Frohlich Author Of From Label to Table: Regulating Food in America in the Information Age

From my list on explain the origins of our industrial food system.

Who am I?

People tend to think of food as being simple and self-evident, or at least feel it should be. In fact, almost every aspect of modern food has been dramatically reshaped by science and technology. Something that fascinates me as a historian is thinking about past transformations in our foodways and how they explain the social tensions and political struggles we live with today. My book From Label to Table tells a biography of the food label, using it as a prism to explore Americans’ anxieties about industrial foodways. I found these books to be an excellent primer for understanding the emergence of America’s packaged food economy and its many problems.

Xaq's book list on explain the origins of our industrial food system

Xaq Frohlich Why did Xaq love this book?

Consumers in America today take for granted what it means to go to a supermarket and pick from shelves upon shelves of products. But this is, from a historical perspective, a weird way to shop for food.

Deutsch’s book is an excellent study of the “self-service revolution” in food retailing. She also breaks down all the gender, race, and class dimensions to it in a way that will make the reader rethink the “ease” and straightforwardness of supermarket shopping.

The most powerful aspect of this book was how it challenged me to think about all the work that goes into shopping. What once required skill and savvy to negotiate prices and manage customer relationships was transformed by supermarkets, through store layout and other tactics, to bury the politics of shopping for food.

By Tracey Deutsch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Building a Housewife's Paradise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Supermarkets are a mundane feature in the landscape, but as Tracey Deutsch reveals, they represent a major transformation in the ways that Americans feed themselves. In her examination of the history of food distribution in the United States, Deutsch demonstrates the important roles that gender, business, class, and the state played in the evolution of American grocery stores.

Deutsch's analysis reframes shopping as labor and embeds consumption in the structures of capitalism. The supermarket, that icon of postwar American life, emerged not from straightforward consumer demand for low prices, Deutsch argues, but through government regulations, women customers' demands, and retailers'…


Book cover of Butternut

Carolyn Watson Dubisch Author Of Dragon Stones

From my list on to spark your child's imagination.

Who am I?

I've spent decades teaching art to preschool and elementary school-aged kids in New York, California, Arizona, and here in Mexico where I live now. Children’s minds make connections that adults rarely do, especially in their art. Watching their imaginations at work have helped me keep my mind fresh when it comes to my own writing and art. Stories and books like these in my list connect to a child’s sense of wonder. Something that so many people lose as the world wears them down. I’m thrilled to share authors and artists here who have held onto that magic and I look forward to more books from all of them.

Carolyn's book list on to spark your child's imagination

Carolyn Watson Dubisch Why did Carolyn love this book?

This is such an unusual and charming story of Butternut squash that’s living in a supermarket. Poor Butternut was shelved in the wrong spot and he’s on a quest to find where he belongs. It’s genius and imaginative and full of bright illustrations. To take such a mundane environment and turn it into a magical world truly takes talent and I think it will inspire children who read it.

By Jill Dana, Rachel Tan- Hwee (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fresh from the farm, Butternut awakes to find himself lost in a supermarket. Is he butter? Is he a nut? Is he squash or squashed? Just who is he and where does he belong?

Join Butternut on his journey through the supermarket aisles as he makes new friends and discovers more about himself.


Book cover of In the After

Nicole McInnes Author Of 100 Days

From my list on teens overcoming impossible odds.

Who am I?

As a former teen who faced my own slew of challenges, I became a YA author who writes about teen characters who do the same. It’s not easy being an adolescent these days: From the seeming hopelessness of some social, academic, and family situations to the lack of support many teens receive, things can seem pretty bleak at times. As the protagonists in books like the ones I’ve mentioned here show us, however, there are many good people out there who are willing to help if we’re willing to hang in there and keep pushing forward toward a better day and a better life.

Nicole's book list on teens overcoming impossible odds

Nicole McInnes Why did Nicole love this book?

Demitria Lunetta is a wonder. Her debut novel, In the After, has been described as a postapocalyptic thriller, but it’s the inclusion of sci-fi and horror elements that really makes this book unputdownable. The novel’s teen protagonist, Amy, is a fierce, plucky, and formidable heroine who literally faces what looks like the end of the world before living to fight, be rescued, and fight some more for herself and the person she cares about most. It’s the perfect read for anyone who loves speculative fiction with grit and adrenaline thrown in.

By Demitria Lunetta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In debut author Demitria Lunetta's heart-pounding thriller, one girl must fight for her survival in a world overrun by violent, deadly creatures. Perfect for fans of New York Times bestsellers like The 5th Wave and Across the Universe. Amy Harris's life changed forever when They took over. Her parents-vanished. The government-obsolete. Societal structure-nonexistent. No one knows where They came from, but these vicious creatures have been rapidly devouring mankind since They appeared. With fierce survivor instincts, Amy manages to stay alive-and even rescues "Baby," a toddler who was left behind. After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken…


Book cover of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

Paul Lewis Author Of Money Box: Your Toolkit for Balancing Your Budget, Growing Your Bank Balance and Living a Better Financial Life

From my list on money and your life.

Who am I?

I realised in my twenties that there were millions of people who desperately needed advice about their money but could not afford an accountant or an adviser. Since then my passion has been to simplify the deliberately complex financial world, explain the obscure and often unintelligible rules about tax, childcare, benefits, investment, savings, and borrowing. Recently as the tsunami of fraud has swept across the UK I have devoted more time to help people avoid losing money to scammers – both criminal and respectable. Most people can’t afford professional advice, but they can afford me – I’m freely available in print, on air, and online. 

Paul's book list on money and your life

Paul Lewis Why did Paul love this book?

It does what it says on the cover. Don’t just shrug your shoulders if an airline refuses to refund your money, your insurer won’t pay up, or the jeans you bought online don’t fit. Challenge the firm! Complain! Get your money back – and then some. Helen – who calls herself the Complaining Cow – is a master at all of this and herself a serial complainer. The book explains who to write to, what to say, and what to demand – and the laws to quote to make sure you get what you’re entitled to. 

By Helen Dewdney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*UPDATED 2019* Here is the result of over 30 years of experience from the campaigner Helen Dewdney, who sports the online persona, The Complaining Cow. Including tips, real-life examples, anecdotes and handy template letters, you are provided with the knowledge and confidence to assert your legal rights, overcome any consumer complaint hurdles and always gain redress. Discover what kind of complainer you are, how you can gain better results and how to deal with the common fob offs companies use. Get comprehensive advice on the most up to date consumer laws you could ever need, how to complain effectively, how…


Book cover of The Enemy

Lisa Thompson Author Of The Light Jar

From my list on that make you feel things.

Who am I?

My biggest aim as a writer is for my reader to feel something. It could be on a page where they are fighting back the tears or at the end of a chapter where they are gasping at an unexpected plot twist. I think we can sometimes forget how powerful children’s books can be – yes, they can make you cry, laugh, gasp and feel scared! Here are some of my favorites that will make you have all the feelings.

Lisa's book list on that make you feel things

Lisa Thompson Why did Lisa love this book?

This book is the first in a series and is aimed at the teenage market, but I defy any adult to read it and not feel a shiver of fear. Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and the kids have to try and survive. A gripping plot and the writing is heartbreaking, funny, and horrific. 

By Charlie Higson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Charlie Higson's The Enemy is the first in a jaw-dropping zombie horror series for teens. Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and now the kids must keep themselves alive.

When the sickness came, every parent, police officer, politician - every adult fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry.

Only children under fourteen remain, and they're fighting to survive.

Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city - down alleyways,…


Book cover of Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership

Jerry Meek Author Of While You Wait: Finding Purpose in the “Not Yets”

From my list on Christian business leaders.

Who am I?

It has been an incredible journey, starting with $200 in assets 45 years ago and finally starting to achieve what I had dreamed of in life and business after struggling for two decades. I learned through the value of reading and building quality relationships, with God's help, I would be successful in life and business. Based in Cave Creek, Arizona, I've spent my career building Desert Star Construction, known by clients and industry colleagues as "the best team in the luxury home business." It is an online community that helps overwhelmed Christian marketplace leaders rediscover their eternal purpose and find unending joy in their life and leadership. 

Jerry's book list on Christian business leaders

Jerry Meek Why did Jerry love this book?

I like Jesus, CEO for many reasons. I read it when it first came out in the mid-1990s. It is a staple in my library because the principles it brings forth are timeless. It focuses on the strength of self-mastery, action, and relationships. These were crucial elements that Jesus used with the disciples. I was challenged to see life's opportunities and do something new to celebrate them. We all want the next big thing, yet it is ok to start small and do your best. It was the realization that we all want to be successful in business but are we taking time for people in need? Jesus always had a plan and gave clear instructions. Lastly, when profit is the only measurement, the results lead to exploitation. Jesus changed the measure from self to others, and He came to give and not to get.

By Laurie Beth Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bestselling author Laurie Beth Jones brings you the ultimate guide to transforming your team and sparking inspiration in your business. In Jesus, CEO, Jones compares Jesus to a CEO who turned a disorganized "staff" of twelve into a thriving, long-lasting enterprise. Now more than ever, employees expect their leaders to be motivating, understanding, and ready to follow up their words with actions. With the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Jesus, CEO, Jones revises and updates her original modernized guidance, ensuring that everyone can continue to apply the ancient wisdom pulled straight from the Bible.

Filled with fresh, practical, and profound advice,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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