The best books about globalization

3 authors have picked their favorite books about globalization and why they recommend each book.

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

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.

A Capitalism for the People

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…


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.


I wrote...

Book cover of The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade

What is my book about?

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a critically-acclaimed narrative that illuminates the globalization debates and reveals the key factors to success in global business. Tracing a T-shirt's life story from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a U.S. storefront before arriving at the used clothing market in Africa, the book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy. Along the way, this fascinating exploration addresses a wealth of compelling questions about politics, trade, economics, ethics, and the impact of history on today's business landscape. This new printing of the second edition includes a revised preface and a new epilogue with updates through 2014 on the people, industries, and policies related to the T-shirt's life story.

Book cover of Learning to Belong in the World: An Ethnography of Asian American Girls

Growing up, I moved from one culture to another, and I know being a teenager can be difficult. The lives of teenage girls are complex, even more so for the children of Asian immigrants, who not only face the pressures of school and society but also serve as cultural mediators, negotiators, community builders, and bridges between the many worlds they grow up in. His book looks at the lives of Asian American girls and their roles in globalization and boundary crossing as they struggle, dream, grow, and thrive. As an immigrant myself, I connected to many of the ideas in this book.

Learning to Belong in the World

By Tomoko Tokunaga,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Learning to Belong in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a complex and intricate portrayal of Asian American high school girls - which has been an under-researched population - as cultural meditators, diasporic agents, and community builders who negotiate displacement and attachment in challenging worlds of the in-between. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, Tomoko Tokunaga presents a portrait of the girls' hardships, dilemmas, and dreams while growing up in an interconnected world. This book contributes a new understanding of the roles of immigrant children and youth as agents of globalization and sophisticated border-crossers who have the power and agency to construct belonging and identity across…


Who am I?

I've been interested in children’s lives for as long as I can remember. I think my own childhood experiences provoked my curiosity about the world as observed and perceived by children. My own childhood was affected by globalization in the broadest sense. When I was a child, my family moved to the United States from Iran. I grew up in Utah where I encountered a different way of life than the one I left behind. The shift from one culture to another was thrilling and scary. The encounter with a new world and a different culture has taught me important lessons about children’s creativity, strength, and curiosity as well as their fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  


I wrote...

Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

By Hoda Mahmoudi, Steven Mintz,

Book cover of Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

What is my book about?

Globalization has carried vast consequences for the lives of children. It has spurred unprecedented waves of immigration, contributed to far-reaching transformations in the organization, structure, and dynamics of family life, and profoundly altered trajectories of growing up. Equally important, globalization has contributed to the worldwide dissemination of a set of international norms about children’s welfare and heightened public awareness of disparities in the lives of children around the world. This book's contributors – leading historians, literary scholars, psychologists, social geographers, and others – provide fresh perspectives on the transformations that globalization has produced in children's lives.

The Other Daughters of the Revolution

By Sharon Halevi (editor), K. White, Elizabeth Fisher

Book cover of The Other Daughters of the Revolution: The Narrative of K. White (1809) and the Memoirs of Elizabeth Fisher (1810)

This book is very emotional and affecting to read for me. It presents two of the earliest autobiographical accounts from American women, with an introduction by Sharon Halevi. As they trace their lives, they depict a world in which childhood, as modern readers understand, does not exist, and even young women need to navigate the intricacies of their controlling and patriarchal world. I often ask what has changed and what has unfortunately stayed the same.

The Other Daughters of the Revolution

By Sharon Halevi (editor), K. White, Elizabeth Fisher

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Presents two of the earliest autobiographies of American women.


Who am I?

I've been interested in children’s lives for as long as I can remember. I think my own childhood experiences provoked my curiosity about the world as observed and perceived by children. My own childhood was affected by globalization in the broadest sense. When I was a child, my family moved to the United States from Iran. I grew up in Utah where I encountered a different way of life than the one I left behind. The shift from one culture to another was thrilling and scary. The encounter with a new world and a different culture has taught me important lessons about children’s creativity, strength, and curiosity as well as their fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  


I wrote...

Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

By Hoda Mahmoudi, Steven Mintz,

Book cover of Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

What is my book about?

Globalization has carried vast consequences for the lives of children. It has spurred unprecedented waves of immigration, contributed to far-reaching transformations in the organization, structure, and dynamics of family life, and profoundly altered trajectories of growing up. Equally important, globalization has contributed to the worldwide dissemination of a set of international norms about children’s welfare and heightened public awareness of disparities in the lives of children around the world. This book's contributors – leading historians, literary scholars, psychologists, social geographers, and others – provide fresh perspectives on the transformations that globalization has produced in children's lives.

The Narrow Corridor

By James A. Robinson, Daron Acemoglu,

Book cover of The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty

This book embeds historical accounts of successful and unsuccessful countries within a framework that posits the need for balance between freedom and authoritarianism. Acemoglu and Robinson see societies not as in equilibrium, but as constantly in flux. Rather than seeing a choice between freedom (or free markets) and government, they see a tussle. History consists of the state and the people engaged in a Red Queen Game, each trying to outpace the other with liberty hanging in the balance. Rather than guaranteed through constitutional decree, liberty, and the economic and social success it promotes, is a tenuous, contingent, and precious thing, whose survival depends on a society’s ability to mobilize, and echoing Arrow’s account of the importance of invisible institutions, on the ideas people in that society carry around in their heads.

The Narrow Corridor

By James A. Robinson, Daron Acemoglu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Why is it so difficult to develop and sustain liberal democracy? The best recent work on this subject comes from a remarkable pair of scholars, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson. In their latest book, The Narrow Corridor, they have answered this question with great insight." -Fareed Zakaria, The Washington Post

From the authors of the international bestseller Why Nations Fail, a crucial new big-picture framework that answers the question of how liberty flourishes in some states but falls to authoritarianism or anarchy in others--and explains how it can continue to thrive despite new threats.

In Why Nations Fail, Daron…


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.


I wrote...

The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You

By Scott E. Page,

Book cover of The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You

What is my book about?

This book contains descriptions and applications of two dozen models to improve the reader’s abilities to reason, explain, design, communicate, act, predict, and explore the world. I often describe the book, and the free online course on which it is based, as like a trip to a museum. Each model, like a museum exhibit, provides a lens on the world, and, though the model can be appreciated and contemplated in isolation, the most profound learning comes from applying multiple models to a context or problem such as inequality or the spread of a pathogen. Many model thinkers better grasp the complexity of our social world and are more likely to proceed with humility and a willingness to learn.

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

Those who advocate most strongly for open borders and free trade – typically economists –focus their arguments on economic growth. Rodrik demonstrates that in opening borders something is lost, however, beyond the typical costs born by laid off manufacturing workers. Free trade can only be achieved with corollary changes in governance: to achieve truly open borders for goods, services, and capital, either democratic responsiveness or national self-determination will be casualties. Rodrik’s case for “you can’t have it all” is compelling.

The Globalization Paradox

By Dani Rodrik,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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.


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.


I wrote...

Book cover of The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade

What is my book about?

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a critically-acclaimed narrative that illuminates the globalization debates and reveals the key factors to success in global business. Tracing a T-shirt's life story from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a U.S. storefront before arriving at the used clothing market in Africa, the book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy. Along the way, this fascinating exploration addresses a wealth of compelling questions about politics, trade, economics, ethics, and the impact of history on today's business landscape. This new printing of the second edition includes a revised preface and a new epilogue with updates through 2014 on the people, industries, and policies related to the T-shirt's life story.

End of Globalization

By Harold James,

Book cover of End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression

Financial crises are not only catastrophic because of their devastating economic consequences. They also unleash radical political forces undermining the foundations of our free and open society. Widely praised for his work on Germany in the interwar years, Harold James is the best historian to describe the vicious circle of crisis, radicalization, and national isolation in the 1930s and to discuss the question: can it happen again?

End of Globalization

By Harold James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Globalization" is here. Signified by an increasingly close economic interconnection that has led to profound political and social change around the world, the process seems irreversible. In this book, however, Harold James provides a sobering historical perspective, exploring the circumstances in which the globally integrated world of an earlier era broke down under the pressure of unexpected events.

James examines one of the great historical nightmares of the twentieth century: the collapse of globalism in the Great Depression. Analyzing this collapse in terms of three main components of global economics--capital flows, trade, and international migration--James argues that it was not…


Who am I?

Since I began to study history at the university, I have always wondered why things could get so wrong in Europe in the 1930s. The key to understanding this crucial period of world history was the failure of economic policy. In the course of my studies, many of my questions have been answered, but I am still wondering about the extent of human and institutional collapse. Hence, to me, the Great Depression is such a fascinating topic that you can never leave once you started doing research about its causes and consequences.


I wrote...

1931: Debt, Crisis, and the Rise of Hitler

By Tobias Straumann,

Book cover of 1931: Debt, Crisis, and the Rise of Hitler

What is my book about?

Germany's financial collapse in the summer of 1931 was one of the biggest economic catastrophes of modern history. It led to a global panic, brought down the international monetary system, and turned a worldwide recession into a prolonged depression. The crisis also contributed decisively to the rise of Hitler. Within little more than a year of its onset, the Nazis were Germany's largest political party at both the regional and national level, paving the way for Hitler's eventual seizure of power in January 1933.

Gender, Development and Globalization

By Lourdes Beneria, Günseli Berik, Maria Floro

Book cover of Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered

It’s a great and up-to-date overview of gender inequality on a global scale, covering paid and unpaid work, public policies, and the impact of patriarchal institutions. It also explains why current trajectories of economic development are both inadequate and unsustainable.

Gender, Development and Globalization

By Lourdes Beneria, Günseli Berik, Maria Floro

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gender, Development and Globalization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gender, Development, and Globalization is the leading primer on global feminist economics and development. Lourdes Beneria, a pioneer in the field of feminist economics, is joined in this second edition by Gunseli Berik and Maria Floro to update the text to reflect the major theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions and global developments in the last decade. Its interdisciplinary investigation remains accessible to a broad audience interested in an analytical treatment of the impact of globalization processes on development and wellbeing in general and on social and gender equality in particular.

The revision will continue to provide a wide-ranging discussion of…


Who am I?

I grew up in a family exposed to great contrasts of poverty and wealth, in which women were always the ones expected to ‘make nice.” I’ve long been fascinated by the parallels among unfair inequalities based on gender, sexuality, age, race, ethnicity, citizenship, and class, and the ways in which these inequalities are disguised, justified, or just plain ignored. This fascination has driven my successful and very lucky career as a socialist feminist economist and public intellectual.


I wrote...

The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems

By Nancy Folbre,

Book cover of The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems

What is my book about?

Why do patriarchal systems survive? This book examines the contradictory effects of capitalist development, explaining why the work of caring for others is undervalued and under-rewarded in today's global economy. It upends conventional definitions of the economy based only on the market and emphasizes the production of human capabilities in families and communities. The social reproduction of group solidarities creates fractal inequalities that often stabilize hierarchical systems, but sometimes lead to the development of coalitions for progressive change.

Down to Earth

By Bruno Latour,

Book cover of Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime

Latour was not one of my favourite thinkers before I read this book. I‘ve found him an interesting person to engage with, in person, and to read in the past, but I rarely found myself really agreeing with him very much. But this book has changed all of that. The title is translated from French—a better translation would be A Place to Land.

Down to Earth

By Bruno Latour,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The present ecological mutation has organized the whole political landscape for the last thirty years. This could explain the deadly cocktail of exploding inequalities, massive deregulation, and conversion of the dream of globalization into a nightmare for most people.
What holds these three phenomena together is the conviction, shared by some powerful people, that the ecological threat is real and that the only way for them to survive is to abandon any pretense at sharing a common future with the rest of the world. Hence their flight offshore and their massive investment in climate change denial.
The Left has been…


Who am I?

Rupert Read is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, where he works alongside some of the world’s leading climate scientists. He is a campaigner for the Green Party of England and Wales, a former spokesperson for the Extinction Rebellion, and co-founder of the Climate Activists Network, GreensCAN.


I wrote...

Parents for a Future

By Rupert Read,

Book cover of Parents for a Future

What is my book about?

In this book I explore and seek to understand the direness of our predicament while showing a metaphor and a method a way of thinking by which we might transform it. From the relatively uncontroversial starting point that we love our own children, I introduce a logic of care that iterates far into the future: in caring for our own children, we are committed to caring for the whole of human future; in caring for the whole of human future, we are committed to caring for the future of the natural world. Out of such thinking, hope emerges.

Let’s call for a radical expansion of our democracies, based on the proposal for institutional reform as set out in the book – and a long overdue revolution in the way we think about ourselves and organise ourselves: Citizens assemblies at every level of government, Guardians of future generations and the Precautionary principle.

Childhood in World History

By Peter N. Stearns,

Book cover of Childhood in World History

I believe this book serves as a solid foundation for the scholarly discussions surrounding the changing paradigms of childhood throughout history and the world. I find its examinations of many different times and places fascinating. This volume explores the cultural creation of concepts of childhood and the ways they have developed and evolved as the world has become more connected, something I can relate to my own childhood experiences.

Childhood in World History

By Peter N. Stearns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Childhood in World History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in its fourth edition, Childhood in World History covers the major developments in the history of childhood from the classical civilizations to the present and explores how agricultural and industrial economies have shaped the experiences of children.

Through comparative analysis, Peter N. Stearns facilitates a cross-cultural and transnational understanding of attitudes toward the role of children in society, and how "models" of childhood have developed throughout history. He addresses the tension between regional and social/gender differences, on the one hand, and factors that encouraged greater convergence, including the experience of globalization. The book also deals with regional patterns as…


Who am I?

I've been interested in children’s lives for as long as I can remember. I think my own childhood experiences provoked my curiosity about the world as observed and perceived by children. My own childhood was affected by globalization in the broadest sense. When I was a child, my family moved to the United States from Iran. I grew up in Utah where I encountered a different way of life than the one I left behind. The shift from one culture to another was thrilling and scary. The encounter with a new world and a different culture has taught me important lessons about children’s creativity, strength, and curiosity as well as their fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  


I wrote...

Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

By Hoda Mahmoudi, Steven Mintz,

Book cover of Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

What is my book about?

Globalization has carried vast consequences for the lives of children. It has spurred unprecedented waves of immigration, contributed to far-reaching transformations in the organization, structure, and dynamics of family life, and profoundly altered trajectories of growing up. Equally important, globalization has contributed to the worldwide dissemination of a set of international norms about children’s welfare and heightened public awareness of disparities in the lives of children around the world. This book's contributors – leading historians, literary scholars, psychologists, social geographers, and others – provide fresh perspectives on the transformations that globalization has produced in children's lives.

Out-Innovate

By Alexandre Lazarow,

Book cover of Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley

Alex Lazarow is one of those rare people who can observe things taking place around the world and package them for us in a way we can comprehend that an important change in the way things used to be done is taking place, and if we want to keep up we need to pay attention.  The change Alex sees is in the way start-ups are happening and companies are being structured.  Whereas investors and entrepreneurs alike used to try to create “unicorns” – i.e., companies that “disrupted” an existing sector with little capital investment and could scale from thousands to millions in sales in less than a year, and IPO the next year to achieve a market cap of billions – Alex thinks the future is with “Camels”, which do not try to scale recklessly to achieve a gigantic short term payday but rather try to build something that is…

Out-Innovate

By Alexandre Lazarow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The new playbook for innovation and startup success is emerging from beyond Silicon Valley--at the "frontier."

Startups have changed the world. In the United States, many startups, such as Tesla, Apple, and Amazon, have become household names. The economic value of startups has doubled since 1992 and is projected to double again in the next fifteen years.

For decades, the hot center of this phenomenon has been Silicon Valley. This is changing fast. Thanks to technology, startups are now taking root everywhere, from Delhi to Detroit to Nairobi to Sao Paulo. Yet despite this globalization of startup activity, our knowledge…


Who am I?

Rupert Scofield is the President & CEO of a global financial services empire spanning 20 countries of Latin America, Africa, Eurasia and the Middle East, serving millions of the world’s poorest families, especially women. Scofield has spent the better part of his life dodging revolutions, earthquakes and assassins in the Third World, and once ran for his life from a mob in Mogadishu, Somalia.


I wrote...

Default to Bold: Anatomy of a Turnaround

By Rupert Scofield,

Book cover of Default to Bold:  Anatomy of a Turnaround

What is my book about?

Default to Bold is a guide to surviving and thriving, in business and life, during moments of crisis. While logic would tell you the best response is to keep a low profile, the counter-intuitive response of defaulting to bold works best, throwing your enemies off-balance and reminding your allies why they trusted you in the first place.

Over the past three decades, Rupert Scofield built a billion-dollar microfinance empire in some of the most difficult markets on earth. Against all odds, he delivered 80 straight quarters of profits. Suddenly, a global crisis in Emerging Markets plunged FINCA into losses. How the author and his colleagues prevail against these enormous odds is a testimony to the power of a bold strategy.

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