Recommendations for books to become an enlightened global citizen

Hi all,
the other day I was trying to explain to someone why moderate inflation is necessary in a modern economy and I struggled due to having an intuitive understanding of how something works but yet was unable to offer a concise coherent explanation.

I would like recommendations on books that can explain modern economics in view of the challenges we are facing (such as climate destruction, so growth-only models should be outdated) or offer evolving theories on it. An example would be , are there more books similar to that?

Other books on history, philosophy, sociology, etc would be great too. I am trying to build a collection of books that would help an general unaware person to have a foundation of understanding the world in order to build a coherent, balanced worldview. I personally believe to generate new thinking on the current challenges we face we need to have a wide understanding on how things work (instead of simply spewing biased opinions) and what is already out there. I have an old trello board of books that was trying to accomplish this: as an example.

If you read a book that broadened your understanding on how the world works or how it should work, a recommendation will be greatly appreciated! Thanks. :slight_smile:


Welcome to the forum! Great question, and the first one that came to mind was Donella Meadows’ Thinking in Systems:

…which I see is already on your Trello list! Haven’t read a lot of books on economics specifically, but a few other favorites that seem broadly relevant here:

Jane Jacobs’ Death and Life of Great American Cities is a great blend of urbanism, economics, and sociology, about how cities work and what makes them thrive:

Stewart Brand’s Clock of the Long Now is very cool, not even sure how to characterize it genre-wise, but it’s all about long-term thinking, deep time, how to usefully think about the future…

Related — another very cool project / collection is the Long Now Foundation’s Manual for Civilization — a collection of books curated by a variety of interesting folks to attempt to answer the question “what books would you want to restart civilization from scratch?”

Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society is from the 1970s but has some ideas that still feel pretty fresh and innovative, about the structures/institutions of education and some alternative approaches that could improve how we think about learning:

Lewis Hyde’s The Gift…I remember this seeming a bit overwrought in parts, but a good overview of the “gift economy” and how to think about the value of creativity in ways that go beyond/outside the typical framing of commerce/trade, e.g. relation to community and alternative forms of exchange:

And finally, I just finished Jackie Wang’s Carceral Capitalism, and found it excellent — great collection of essays about the politics of policing, entanglement of race and economics vis-a-vis incarceration, predatory lending and debt, cybernetics and algorithmic policing, state violence and power:

@Brendan thanks for the recommendations! I went on a very deep kindle-buying rabbit hole. :slight_smile:

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