15 books directly related to globalization 📚

All 15 globalization books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

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 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 End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression

End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression

By Harold James

Why this book?

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?

From the list:

The best books on the Great Depression and its impact on history

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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 Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

By Nandan Nilekani

Why this book?

It is a book on the history of modern India but told from the perspective of an entrepreneur and a business leader – and one of the architects of the IT revolution. It tells the story of ideas that dotted India’s transition from the era of socialism to that of liberalization and globalization, while highlighting successes and failures. It projects new ideas – technological as well as creative policy options - for meeting some of the pressing challenges of poverty, health, education, and economic growth. 

From the list:

The best books on the history of modern India

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

Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime

By Bruno Latour

Why this book?

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.

From the list:

The best books for eco-philosophy

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Book cover of The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border

By Francisco Cantú

Why this book?

Melding his time as a Border Patrol agent with memories of exploring the Mexico-U.S. border region as a child with his mother, Cantú provides a dynamic mash-up of a book: one part insider account from within the agency, detailing his encounters with violent criminals as well as desperate migrants, and one part personal meditation on the border region, searching for meaning and understanding when it comes to the landscape and complicated histories of the U.S. southern border region. 

From the list:

The best books for understanding borders in a globalized world

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Book cover of The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?

The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?

By Michael J. Sandel

Why this book?

Tyranny is the landmark book that is moral philosophy’s contribution to the inflection point. Its fundamental concept of ‘contributive justice’ magnificently supersedes Rawls’ dated ‘distributive justice’. To give you a glimpse of two profound works, Rawls invoked some moral gymnastics involving a hypothetical withdrawal from society to a veil of ignorance about a hypothetical lottery of how a hypothetical national cake might be cut up. Sandel places us firmly back in our society and focuses on the agency needed for the moral duty to contribute to the baking of our national cake. Sandel, again at Harvard, is the most famous…

From the list:

The best books on how to renew our divided societies

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Book cover of What Is Global History?

What Is Global History?

By Sebastian Conrad

Why this book?

So, what, exactly is this ‘world’ or ‘global history’? Authors slap the two words on their books, universities offer new courses in it, and government officials across the planet now speak of ‘global this’ and ‘global that’. One could be forgiven for throwing up one’s hands in exasperation for failing to understand what exactly these two words mean. That is until Sebastian Conrad published this gem of a book aptly entitled: What is Global History? Yes, it’s a bit academic, but it’s also clearly written, logically organized, and succeeds brilliantly in explaining what global history is and is not…

From the list:

The best books on empires in world history

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Book cover of Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

By Timothy Brook

Why this book?

Brook uses artifacts portrayed in six paintings by the Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer to show how, several centuries before the World Wide Web, the local and the global were intimately connected. He surprises his readers by showing that people and goods and ideas moved around the 17th-century world in ways that – rather like us – their ancestors would have considered impossible. Perhaps because Brook is a Canadian historian of China who is familiar with Europe, he provides a truly global history and almost every page contains a “gee whiz” fact. I also love the idea…

From the list:

The best books on the 17th Century

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

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

By Lourdes Beneria, Günseli Berik, Maria Floro

Why this book?

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.

From the list:

The best books on feminist political economy

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Book cover of Africans: The History of a Continent

Africans: The History of a Continent

By John Iliffe

Why this book?

There are thousands of histories of Africa, but only this one ties together environment, economy, demography, and society. In just 300 pages Iliffe presents Africa’s history from the birth of humankind to the mid-1990s. His history of Africa is the story of hardship and social adjustment in which population numbers are not just the result of variable, though mostly unfavourable, environmental situations, but a tool of survival and progress. This social adjustability, different as it may be from European patterns, allowed the continent’s people to build one of the greatest civilisations on earth. It carried them through natural disasters, invasions,…

From the list:

The best books to understand “what is wrong” with Africa – and what is right

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Book cover of Wall Disease: The Psychological Toll of Living Up Against a Border

Wall Disease: The Psychological Toll of Living Up Against a Border

By Jessica Wapner

Why this book?

We know a lot about the hot-button issues surrounding borders – family separations, deportation, smuggling but borders also have wildly underestimated psychological effects on individuals. Wapner impressively synthesizes data and research collected on the effects of border barriers from some of the most volatile regions in the world including India and Pakistan, Mexico and the U.S., and both sides of the peace lines of Northern Ireland. The mental health issues caused by militarized borders are alarming and almost entirely unrecognized in today’s world; Wapner brings these shocking and revelatory dynamics to light.

From the list:

The best books for understanding borders in a globalized world

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Book cover of Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

By Katherine Boo

Why this book?

I absolutely adore this brilliant work of nonfiction by the journalist Katherine Boo. Not only is she a writer’s writer, her powers of observation are only matched by the depth of her compassion for her characters. By spending time with the rag pickers, junk collectors, and other residents who live in a slum located in the shadows of the gleaming new Bombay airport, Boo tells a story about poverty, inequality, police, and political corruption, and the corrosive effects of globalization. The book’s sweep is breathtaking as is its unforgettable portrait of the individual residents and their heartbreaking stories.

From the list:

The best books set in Bombay

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