This list of books is a work-in-progress and is intended to be expanded with the help of its readers. We have read some of the books and merely dipped into others. If you, after reading it, wish to correct or expand our description of one of them, or add a new book to the list, we would be highly appreciative and quick to adopt your emendation. The editors
Books About the Very Rich
Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis A hilarious first-hand account of young men and women working on the trading floor of Salamon Brothers investment bank.
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis An insider’s look at high-frequency trading where investment bankers take advantage of high speed computers to buy or sell a fraction of a second before their competitors.
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis The inside story of the how the financial crisis of 2008 came about, from which the recent award-winning film was made.
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Meyers The author shows how a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland This book is an attempt to understand the changing shape of the world economy by looking at those at the very top: who they are, how they made their money, how they think and how they relate to the rest of us.
Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer – And Turned Its back on the Middle Class by Jacob S. Hacker & Paul Pierson The good news reported by Hacker and Pierson is that American wealth disparities are not the residue of globalization or technology or anything else beyond our control, but of politics and policies which tilted toward the rich beginning in the 1970s and can, over time, be tilted back.
Books About the Poor
The Other America: Poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington First published in 1962, this book is regarded as a classic work on poverty. “That the poor are invisible is one of the most important things about them. They are not simply neglected and forgotten as in the old rhetoric of reform; what is much worse, they are not seen,” wrote the author.
The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky When poverty flourishes as a direct result of decisions taken, or not taken, by political and economic leaders, and, either tacitly or explicitly, endorsed by large sectors of the voting population, then it acquires the rancid aroma of scandal, capable of eating away at the underpinnings of democratic life itself.
American Hunger by Eli Saslow Nearly 1 in 7 Americans – and almost a quarter of all children – now receive food stamps, the highest participation in the program’s history. Hunger remains the lasting scar of the recession.
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin In early 2011, 1.5 million households with roughly 3 million children were surviving on cash incomes of no more than $2.00 per person, per day in any particular month. That’s about one out of every twenty-five families with children in America.
Books about Our Situation: How We Got into it and How We Can Get Out
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith Where it all began. The book from which the founding fathers fashioned our economic system.
On Liberty by John Stuart Mill Mill’s believed that true freedom would prevail only when an individuals’ drive to better his/her station could proceed without impeding others in their own efforts to do the same. This clearly-expressed belief has formed the basis for our free enterprise system.
Chicagonomics: The Evolution of Chicago Free Market Economics by Lanny Ebstein The University of Chicago, founded by John D. Rockerfeller, and its leading economist, Milton Friedman, are principal purveyors of laissez-faire capitalism as practiced today.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Picketty The classic work on inequality by the Frenchman who discovered inequality. A Harvard University Press best-seller, highly readable.
Inequality: What Can Be Done? By Anthony B. Atkinson Atkinson, a knighted British economist, is one of the leading authorities on inequality. His book is a difficult read but I believe he has the answer; so be patient and read it.
The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz A highly readable exposition of our plight.
Saving Capitalism for the Many, Not the Few by Robert B. Reich A myth-shattering breakdown of how the economic system that helped make America strong is now failing us and what it will take to fix it. Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else.
Five short articles in the Jan/Feb Issue of Foreign Affairs:
Inequality and Modernization by Ronald Inglehart
Inequality and Globalization: How the Rich Get Richer as the Poor Catch Up by François Bourguignon
How To Create a Society of Equals: Overcoming Today’s Crisis of Inequality by Pierre Rosanvallon
Equality and American Democracy : Why Politics Trumps Economics by Danielle Allen
How to Spread the Wealth : Practical Policies for Reducing Inequality by Anthony B. Atkinson
Books About Quakers in Business
Meeting House and Counting House; The Quaker Merchants of Colonial Philadelphia 1682 – 1763 by Frederick B. Tolles Almost since the beginning Quakers, in both Britain and America, became successful businessmen, a tradition that descends almost to the present, and hence qualifies them to be leaders in the necessary reform of present harmful and malicious practices.
Quakers Living in the Lion’s Mouth: The Society of Friends in Northern Virginia 1730 – 1865 by A. Glen Crothers The difficulties of a group of Quakers to accommodate themselves to a slave-owning society, as an example to today’s Quakers attempting to survive the injustices of an abhorrent economic system.
Good Business Ethics at Work: Advices and Queries on Personal Standards of Conduct at Work
Today many people are dismayed by unethical business practices they see around them. They believe that business itself is unethical. This book is to act as a guide and an inspiration to running a better and ethical business for the benefit of all stakeholders.