The best books about globalization 📚

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

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Book cover of Border Hacker: A Tale of Treachery, Trafficking, and Two Friends on the Run

Border Hacker: A Tale of Treachery, Trafficking, and Two Friends on the Run

By Levi Vonk

Why this book?

Vonk and Kirschner tell their riveting story of meeting on a Viacrucis Migrante – known to most as a “caravan” of migrants traveling from Central America, up through Mexico. Kirschner is a world-class hacker and his skills lead him and Vonk on an absolutely fascinating journey into the world of human traffickers, anti-government guerillas, and corrupt government officials not to mention corrupt priests. This book will disrupt everything you thought you knew about the migrant caravans, why people decide to join these journeys, and the realities they face along the way.

From the list:

The best books for understanding borders in a globalized world

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Book cover of A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World

A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World

By William J. Bernstein

Why this book?

A brilliant sweep through the millennia of commerce around the world. If you think globalization happened over the last quarter-century, you are wrong by about 5000 years. Find out how and why.

From the list:

The best books on economics and game theory

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

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

By James A. Robinson, Daron Acemoglu

Why this book?

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…

From the list:

The best books for an aspiring or inspiring social scientist

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

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

By Dani Rodrik

Why this book?

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.

From the list:

The best books on economics and globalization

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Book cover of Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

By Esther Duflo, Abhijit V. Banerjee

Why this book?

Banerjee and Duflo examine poverty at ground level, far from grand debates about the miracle of market competition vs. the necessity of aid and instead closer to the people who actually experience poverty. The entire book is centered on a simple question: What works? And how can we figure out what works? The authors have combined economics with psychology and empirical methods to understand the foundations of how the poor make decisions: the answer, it turns out, is that the process follows human decision-making everywhere. The challenge is that circumstances surrounding poverty make “good” decisions much more difficult. The practical…

From the list:

The best books on economics and globalization

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Book cover of A Gesture Life

A Gesture Life

By Chang-Rae Lee

Why this book?

This is a novel that has stuck with me since I first read it more than 10 years ago. Doc Hata, the main character, has composed a life that is a series of gestures, never quite realizing – or does he? -- that his composition is not a life at all. Lee plumbs the depths of the human heart with astonishing restraint and delicacy. But the novel is also embedded in a globalization narrative: Doc Hata crosses the Pacific to a new life, leaving everything and nothing behind.

From the list:

The best books on economics and globalization

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