The best books on capitalism 📚

Browse the best books on capitalism as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered

Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered

By E.F. Schumacher

Why this book?

My rekindled interest in climate change took me back to a book that had influenced me significantly decades ago, which now seems more relevant than ever before—a fact attested to by the fact that the most recent edition features a new forward by Bill McKibben. Of course, Schumacher was not discussing climate change in 1973, but he was already calling attention to ethical, economic, and environmental issues associated with economic growth and thinking about solutions. This is a collection of articles by an economist whom John Maynard Keynes once suggested might be his worthy successor. It includes his provocative “Buddhist…

From the list:

The best books that will change the way you look at climate change

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Book cover of The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph

The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph

By Albert O. Hirschman

Why this book?

The book is, like the others I have recommended, decidedly distinctive and untraditional. It traces the convoluted history of capitalist thought prior to its advent (which is itself the subject of ceaseless debate). Reducing forces to “passion” and “order” made me look at a complicated subject in a new way.

From the list:

The best books on economic history and testing assumptions

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

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

By Mariana Mazzucato

Why this book?

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

From the list:

The best books on the economic challenges of the 2020s

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

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

By Luigi Zingales

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books on economics and globalization

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Book cover of A People's Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics

A People's Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics

By Hadas Thier

Why this book?

A People’s Guide is just a lively, accessible, and up-to-date guide to the basics of capitalism. Hadas Thier explains complex ideas in a simple and engaging way with excellent day-to-day examples. It’s economics for those who want to understand and dismantle the world of the 1%. And it’s written not from an academic but from an activist viewpoint.
From the list:

The best books on love and capitalism

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Book cover of Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution

Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution

By Mary Gabriel

Why this book?

It’s a page-turner, taking us through the lives and tribulations of Karl Marx’s wife, Jenny, and her daughters, in living and working with the world’s most well-known revolutionary. It’s a rare glimpse into the human side of the formidable critic of capitalism showing him as a devoted father and husband. And above all, the book opens us up to the important but forgotten role of Jenny in the romance of revolutionary change in the mid-19th century.
From the list:

The best books on love and capitalism

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