46 books like The Utopia of Rules

By David Graeber,

Here are 46 books that The Utopia of Rules fans have personally recommended if you like The Utopia of Rules. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Stand Out of Our Light

By James Williams,

Book cover of Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

James Poskett Author Of Horizons: A Global History of Science

From the list on how technology is ruining everything.

Who am I?

I grew up with digital technologies. It was the 1990s. Things could only get better. Or so we were told… I went to study computer science at Cambridge in the 2000s. Switched subjects a few times, and ended up with a degree in the history and philosophy of science. By the time I graduated, life had changed. The world economy was on the brink of collapse, China was on its way to becoming a superpower, and right-wing nationalism was on the rise. That experience absolutely shaped me as a historian and writer. The world of science and technology suddenly seemed a lot more politically fraught.

James' book list on how technology is ruining everything

Why did James love this book?

This is a rare book. It is written by a philosopher. It can be read in an afternoon. And it will change your life. Forget your next self-help book. Read this instead. In Stand Out of Our Light, James Williams gives a straightforward (but extremely satisfying) account of the digital ‘attention economy’ and what is wrong with it. Williams used to work for Google, before he realised that things weren’t quite right. After all, the world built by big technology companies isn’t the one many of us would choose.

By James Williams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Stand Out of Our Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Former Google advertising strategist, now Oxford-trained philosopher James Williams launches a plea to society and to the tech industry to help ensure that the technology we all carry with us every day does not distract us from pursuing our true goals in life. As information becomes ever more plentiful, the resource that is becoming more scarce is our attention. In this 'attention economy', we need to recognise the fundamental impacts of our new information environment on our lives in order to take back control. Drawing on insights ranging from Diogenes to contemporary tech leaders, Williams's thoughtful and impassioned analysis is…

AI Superpowers

By Kai-Fu Lee,

Book cover of AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

Gabriella Rosen Kellerman Author Of Tomorrowmind: Thriving at Work with Resilience, Creativity, and Connection—Now and in an Uncertain Future

From the list on how work is changing and what it means for workers.

Who am I?

I’ve devoted my career to helping people achieve their potential and improve their wellbeing. One of the greatest challenges we’re all facing today is the highly unnatural world of work in which we all must perform. I’ve been fortunate both to lead large teams in this environment and to guide the Fortune 1000 on how to help their people thrive in its midst. Achieving sustainable peak performance requires that we understand what we are up against. This book list is a great place to start!

Gabriella's book list on how work is changing and what it means for workers

Why did Gabriella love this book?

Kai-Fu Lee, once himself an AI pioneer, wrote AI Superpowers to help non-technical readers understand how and why AI is changing our world, with an emphasis on how it’s reshaping work. Lee breaks down which types of jobs are most vs. least likely to be replaced by AI, and offers wisdom on which skills it makes sense for all of us to lean into given those shifts. He also offers clear-eyed predictions about the potential for AI innovations to reshape global politics. 

I enjoyed this book from page one. Lee’s prose is crisp and his points sharp. I appreciated his occasional meanderings into humanistic realms. This also feels like a personal book, given how much Lee himself has done to accelerate the AI revolution.

By Kai-Fu Lee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked AI Superpowers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"Kai-Fu Lee believes China will be the next tech-innovation superpower and in AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, he explains why. Taiwan-born Lee is perfectly positioned for the task."-New York Magazine

In this thought-provoking book, Lee argues powerfully that because of the unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than many of us expected. Indeed, as the US-Sino AI competition begins to heat up, Lee urges the US and China to both accept and to embrace the great responsibilities that come…

Algorithms of Oppression

By Safiya Umoja Noble,

Book cover of Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

Ellen T. Armour Author Of Seeing and Believing: Religion, Digital Visual Culture, and Social Justice

From the list on social media’s impact on us.

Who am I?

My own experience on Facebook piqued my interest in digital photography and social media. My emotional response to what I saw there ran the gamut from super anxious or angry to happy and even optimistic. As a scholar of religion with some expertise in traditional media and photography, I wanted to know why and how so I could respond better. I turned to experts in these new technologies – particularly those who write good books aimed at curious people, not just their peers! – for help. I learned a lot from these books and I’m confident you will, too!

Ellen's book list on social media’s impact on us

Why did Ellen love this book?

I rarely think about why I see what I see online. Yes, I know algorithms had something to do with it, but they’re just algebra on steroids, right? Well, not so fast!

This book opened my eyes to how and why bias – in this case, racial bias – shows up online and what we can do about it. I learned a lot about the intricate connections between our online lives and our real ones. 

By Safiya Umoja Noble,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Algorithms of Oppression as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms
Run a Google search for "black girls"-what will you find? "Big Booty" and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in "white girls," the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about "why black women are so sassy" or "why black women are so angry" presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society.
In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search…


By Angela Saini,

Book cover of Superior: The Return of Race Science

Alan H. Goodman Author Of Racism, Not Race: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

From the list on what race is (and is not).

Who am I?

Studying anthropology and biology in the 1970s, I was in the perfect position to understand why race was not genetic. From that time on, I wanted everyone to know what race was and was not. But here we a half century later and most individuals in the US – and the world still believe that race is a valid way to divide individuals into biological groups, and worse, that race, rather than racism, explains differences in life circumstances. As a professor and president of the American Anthropological Association I have taught courses and helped with documentaries, museum exhibits, websites, articles, and books to dispel consequential myth about race and genetics.  

Alan's book list on what race is (and is not)

Why did Alan love this book?

Superior by science journalist Angela Saini is based on source materials. In addition, it is animated by interviews with key scientists involved in the struggle to end race science. Saini weaves together stories that get at the more intimate details of, on the one hand, the persistence and continual reinvention of race and race science, and on the other, the work of individuals including Jonathan Marks and Jay Kaufman to move us all to better understanding why racism, not biological race, is the cause of inequalities in health and wealth. Superior is the most readable of all the books that focus on race and human variation.  

By Angela Saini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Financial Times Book of the Year Telegraph Top 50 Books of the Year Guardian Book of the Year New Statesman Book of the Year

'Roundly debunks racism's core lie - that inequality is to do with genetics, rather than political power' Reni Eddo-Lodge

Where did the idea of race come from, and what does it mean? In an age of identity politics, DNA ancestry testing and the rise of the far-right, a belief in biological differences between populations is experiencing a resurgence. The truth is: race is a social construct. Our problem is we find this hard to believe.


Organizational Behavior and Public Management

By Michael L. Vasu (editor), Debra W. Stewart (editor), G. David Garson (editor)

Book cover of Organizational Behavior and Public Management

Nicolas A. Valcik Author Of City Planning for the Public Manager

From the list on urban and city planning for practitioners and scholars.

Who am I?

The four authors who worked on this publication all bring different perspectives and have different backgrounds, which make this book very special. A City Manager, an artist/historian, an individual with a Ph.D. in Public Affairs, and is an Executive Director of a Non-Profit Organization, and then myself who has worked in municipalities since age 11 and then transitioned to higher education as an administrator, instructor, and researcher. We all were able to bring together our experiences, expertise, and passion to create a book that is designed to be a useful resource for both practitioners and scholars alike. Most of all, we all feel very passionate about making the places we live better for everyone.    

Nicolas' book list on urban and city planning for practitioners and scholars

Why did Nicolas love this book?

Understanding organizational behavior is critical in the city planning process both for scholars and practitioners.

Vasu does an excellent job in describing the different theories contending with organizational behavior. I actually use this book in my organizational behavior courses I teach at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in Public Affairs. 

By Michael L. Vasu (editor), Debra W. Stewart (editor), G. David Garson (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Organizational Behavior and Public Management as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Organizational Behavior and Public Management reveals how organizational behavior enables managers to direct resources that advance the programs and policies of public and government. This edition offers a public sector perspective of core topics, such as communication, decision-making, leadership, management ethics, motivation, organizational change, participation and performance appraisal. Contemporary Psychology called this book "skillful and comprehensive...There is a need for a text like this...the device of juxtaposing theory and application is a sound one." The authors discuss such topics as communication, decision making, worker participation and total quality management, organizational change, management systems, information, computers and organization theory in public…

The Fifth Risk

By Michael Lewis,

Book cover of The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy

Bill Kuhn Author Of Facts & Fury: An Unapologetic Primer on How the GOP Has Destroyed American Democracy

From the list on to understand the American political system.

Who am I?

I write about politics. I grew up in a political household. My mother was a key fundraiser for the Democratic Party and my stepfather served as a White House counsel to President Clinton. Politics and the Washington experience were the air I breathed during my formative years. I followed in their footsteps and co-founded Fight for a Better America, an organization that invests in key battleground districts and states throughout the US, with the goal of either flipping them blue or maintaining a Democratic incumbent. Through my travels with the organization, I have made hundreds of contacts with folks in local civic clubs and organized hundreds of volunteers on the ground. 

Bill's book list on to understand the American political system

Why did Bill love this book?

Wow, if you had any idea how the Trump administration conducted the presidential transition, you would be floored. You likely have some idea of the ignorance and incompetence based on observing President Trump, but Lewis guides us through the fine details not covered in the press. Through incisive interview quotes and masterful story-telling, Lewis manages a brilliant look inside the post-election debacles. He also educates us as to the critical functions of the Departments of Energy and Agriculture and how we all rely on their proper functioning. 

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Michael Lewis's brilliant narrative of the Trump administration's botched presidential transition takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its leaders through willful ignorance and greed. The government manages a vast array of critical services that keep us safe and underpin our lives from ensuring the safety of our food and drugs and predicting extreme weather events to tracking and locating black market uranium before the terrorists do. The Fifth Risk masterfully and vividly unspools the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works.

Creating Public Value

By Mark H. Moore,

Book cover of Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government

Gary Bandy Author Of Financial Management and Accounting in the Public Sector

From the list on how governments collect and spend your taxes.

Who am I?

I trained as a chartered public finance accountant because I have a mathematics degree and I wanted to work in public service. After 20 years of that I became a freelance consultant and got into teaching public financial management after volunteering for a project in South Sudan. I have taught here in the UK and in other countries, including Kazakhstan, South Sudan, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. The lack of a good textbook about managing public money that was not aimed at accountants led me to write one in 2010. The third edition of it will be published in 2023. (I am still waiting for my novel to find a publisher.)

Gary's book list on how governments collect and spend your taxes

Why did Gary love this book?

Creating Public Value was published in the 1990s but it is, I think, still the best text for explaining what governments (should) do. 

The overarching goal of managers of businesses is to create shareholder value. This is more important even than making profits. As many tech firms have shown, it is possible businesses that have not made a profit for ten years or more to have enormous share valuations.

Moore’s theory is that public sector managers do something similar. They have to take the scarce resources available to them and create services that are valued by the public. The aim is for the value enjoyed by the public using a service to exceed the total cost of all the resources used to create it. If it does not, the public manager is destroying value rather than creating it.

By Mark H. Moore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A seminal figure in the field of public management, Mark Moore presents his summation of fifteen years of research, observation, and teaching about what public sector executives should do to improve the performance of public enterprises. Useful for both practicing public executives and those who teach them, this book explicates some of the richest of several hundred cases used at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and illuminates their broader lessons for government managers. Moore addresses four questions that have long bedeviled public administration: What should citizens and their representatives expect and demand from public executives? What sources can public managers…

Book cover of International Handbook on Ageing and Public Policy

Andrzej Klimczuk Author Of Economic Foundations for Creative Ageing Policy, Volume II: Putting Theory into Practice

From the list on public policy on ageing.

Who am I?

As a student, one day, I noticed that something was wrong with our world. Older people are separated from younger ones and sometimes almost invisible. I decided to focus on researching whether and how older people organize themselves into groups and influence important areas of social, economic, and political life. The study of the social capital of older adults led me to research on age discrimination, intergenerational relationships, age-friendly communities and cities, social innovation, co-design, citizen science, and public policy on ageing. I am convinced that only multi-sectoral and multi-level cooperation can lead to the implementation of constructive responses to today’s global challenges.

Andrzej's book list on public policy on ageing

Why did Andrzej love this book?

This quite heavy volume covers a wide range of 37 chapters that focus on the most important topics related to global ageing.

Contributions delivered by experts from areas such as sociology, economics, demography, social policy, public health, and public administration are divided into two categories: challenges and practitioner perspectives.

On the one hand, the authors provide introductions to studies and policy contexts on demographic change, pensions, health, and welfare.

On the other hand, the collection contains a selection of international case studies, policy innovations, and examples of the involvement of civil society in responding to challenges related to ageing population.

Both sides are good starting points for anyone who wants to go more in-depth in the field of ageing policy.

By Sarah Harper, Kate Hamblin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked International Handbook on Ageing and Public Policy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the collective knowledge of expert contributors in the field, The International Handbook on Ageing and Public Policy explores the challenges arising from the ageing of populations across the globe.

With an expansive look at the topic, this comprehensive Handbook examines various national state approaches to welfare provisions for older people and highlights alternatives based around the voluntary and third-party sector, families and private initiatives. Each of these issues are broken down further and split into six comprehensive sections:

- Context
- Pensions
- Health
- Welfare
- Case Studies
- Policy Innovation and Civil Society

Academics interested in policy…

From Memory to Written Record

By Michael T. Clanchy,

Book cover of From Memory to Written Record: England, 1066-1307

Charity L. Urbanski Author Of Writing History for the King: Henry II and the Politics of Vernacular Historiography

From the list on medieval historians and history writing.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of medieval Europe who specializes in twelfth-century England and France. I’ve been fascinated with history since childhood and distinctly remember being obsessed with a book on English monarchs in my mom’s bookcase when I was young. In college, I took a class on Medieval England with a professor whose enthusiasm for the subject, along with the sheer strangeness of the medieval world, hooked me. I’ve been exploring medieval Europe ever since, and deepening my understanding of how our own world came into being in the process. 

Charity's book list on medieval historians and history writing

Why did Charity love this book?

This is one of those books that completely changes the way you understand a subject.

Clanchy looks at how the growth of bureaucracy in England fostered the growth of literacy and changed the world in the process. That’s an important subject in its own right, but I love this book for all of the little details it includes.

It’s full of information about how the definition of literacy has changed over time, how knights and kings were educated, how courts functioned, how oral testimony was heard, how records were kept, how books were produced, how much it cost to produce them, and how forgery developed.

This is very much an academic book, but it explores a whole range of practices and attitudes that have shaped the world we live in.

By Michael T. Clanchy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Memory to Written Record as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The second edition of Michael Clanchy's widely-acclaimed study of the history of the written word in the Middle Ages is now, after a much lamented absence, republished in an entirely new and revised edition. The text of the original has been revised throughout to take account of the enormous amount of new research following publication of the first edition. The introduction discusses the history of literacy up to the present day; the guide to further reading brings together over 300 new titles up to 1992. In this second edition there are substantially new sections on bureaucracy, sacred books, writing materials,…

The Dawn of Everything

By David Graeber, David Wengrow,

Book cover of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

Craig Nelson Author Of V Is for Victory: Franklin Roosevelt's American Revolution and the Triumph of World War II

From the list on history that will wake you up.

Who am I?

I spent twenty years as a book publishing executive learning how the trade works before launching myself as a full-time author wanting to make the world a better place. My books use state-of-the-art scholarship for history you can read on the beach, and focus on ‘hinge’ moments, great turnings of the world, as well as on forgotten and unsung heroes.

Craig's book list on history that will wake you up

Why did Craig love this book?

What ideas do you have about what the first peoples were like, and how human society developed?

Maybe you’ve even read the popular authors on this topic such as Diamond, Harari, Pinker, Hobbes, and Rousseau. Prepare to have all of your notions and received opinions upended and turned to dust by David Graeber (a man universally acknowledged as a genius) and the book he worked on for the last ten years of his life, which brings revolutionary ideas to 30,000 years of civilization.

By David Graeber, David Wengrow,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Dawn of Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A dramatically new understanding of human history, challenging our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution—from the development of agriculture and cities to the origins of the state, democracy, and inequality—and revealing new possibilities for human emancipation.

For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike—either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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