18 Best Progressive Economics Books – Must Read Books

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This article showcasues our top picks for the best progressive economics books. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below).

We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

This product was recommended by Robert Johnson from Sawinery

I recommend this book to readers as it shows and proposes that we should have a global tax on wealth, attacking the rich citizens of the world. The redistributionist solutions of Thomas Piketty can provide a cure for Trumpism, in due time.

The Deficit Myth by Stephanie Kelton

This product was recommended by Jeff Neal from Critter Depot

This book is based on the idea of Modern Monetary Theory, which premises that money comes from a Central Bank controlled by the government. And that central bank can create money as necessary to pay for its money liabilities. It’s an extreme theory, because it’s commonly thought that governments get their money from taxing people. But this theory implies that taxes are used to control run-away inflation. And that MMT can be used to keep people employed, regardless of a the guidance of a free market.

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

This product was recommended by Bram Jansen from vpnAlert

This is the book that instituted economics as a separate discipline of its own. For its time, it is an astonishing analysis of how an economy operates and includes excellent models of abstract concepts of what value is. The most shocking thing though, you will notice that despite the caricature drawn that Smith was an enthusiastic supporter of *“free markets”* (through his analogy of the invisible hand), it is a false claim. Smith argues that markets themselves can become overdrawn and stop doing their work in the division of money and services and in those times the government has a responsibility to intervene and fix the malfeasance.

Becoming a Progressive Employer by Velsoft Training Materials Inc.

This product was recommended by Ethan Taub from Billry, Inc

This particular book is a self-help guide that will help you recognise what it is to be great, and what you have to surround and submerge yourself in. This book boils down inspiration and good advice to bite-sized pieces that are easily digested while still planting seeds and getting you to ask yourself all the important questions. It really does give you the confidence to progress and help others progress too. This book is an easy read with some great advice that you can look back over at any time.’

Less is More by Jason Hickel

This product was recommended by Emily Deaton from LetMeBank

Less is More is one of the best books out there for economics. It should be read by as many people as possible as when you think about the current climate crisis, a lot of people feel despair. This book is hopeful that things can change, and I cannot thank Hickel enough for that. There are some books out there that will change the world, and I think that this is a book that will definitely do that.

2030 by Mauro F. Guillen

This product was recommended by David Baddeley from Scottishtrustdeed

2030 is the kind of book that will show you just how much thinking in the future can help you to be a success. With a lot of information packed into it, you will learn a lot about economics and the reshaping of the world is such a small amount of time. 2030 will be here before you know it, and with that in mind we have to keep working and changing so that 2030 looks a lot different to the start of this decade.’

Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell

This product was recommended by Will Cannon from Signaturely

Basic Economics is an economics book for those who want to understand how economics works, but who have no interest in learning how to develop mathematical formulas or complicated equations. In his pages, the economist Thomas Sowell sets out the general principles on which any kind of economic policy, whether capitalist, socialist, or feudal, is based. With an enjoyable and easy-to-read style, it allows any type of reader, regardless of their academic background or degree of knowledge of economic science, to understand how economics works.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

This product was recommended by Stewart Dunlop from PPCGenius

Economist considered the brightest and most creative of his generation, the book Freakonomics was born, where the authors explore the hidden side of all things. Facts and figures presented in a simple and very unusual way, removing generally more conventional answers. Readers’ common sense is tested on simple but fundamental questions. Only by asking the right questions, if they can achieve successful results and seize a new view of the world. For example, did you know that the legalization of abortion can have a positive impact on the decline in crime? And what’s the relationship between drug gangs and McDonald’s restaurants? Freakonomics redefines the perspective of interpretation of economic reality by stimulating readers’ emotional impulses.

Artemes by Joel Beverly

This product was recommended by Lucas Robinson from Crediful

We have all felt powerless at some point in our lives and 2020 has challenged us all, but even in normal times we all get doubts about if we have done and said the right thing or if we could have done things differently. That will change after reading this book. I have felt more confident in my choices and things are starting to become clearer than they were before. However, the bigger picture is more than us and how we can find solutions to the world’s problems and what changes can we make to give balance and certainty to those who need it most.’

The AI Economy Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age, by Roger Bootle

This product was recommended by Brack Nelson from Incrementors

This book states that the intended reader is not fundamentally an economist but an intelligent person who wants an insight into the future of robots and AI and how this revolution is likely to affect us. It rotates around subjects mostly related to jobs, work, business, and public administration. The book takes a fairly positive view on AI and robotics and leads to mostly focus on the positive, but when there are obvious issues and gaps in things such as AI the author is honest and states the problems. The book is well explained with the first chunk explaining how and why the book has been written like it is and explains it’s looking at the economy and not from a techy point of view.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century By Thomas Piketty

This product was recommended by Oliver Baker from Intelivita

This book will enlighten you how the economy runs by citing the history of wealth and income inequality in Europe and the United States since the 18th century. According to its central thesis, when the rate of return on capital is bigger than the rate of economic growth over the long term, it would lead to the concentration of wealth. Later, this would translate to the unequal distribution of wealth, causing social and economic instability..

The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith

This product was recommended by Aaron from TestPrepGenie


The book discusses the broad topics of the division of labor, productivity, and free markets. This is one of the classic books when it comes to the field of Economics which is well-written by Scottish economist and moral philosopher, Adam Smith. It is a very informative book that lets you explore your idea of how a nation creates its riches. Smith intelligently explains it by digging into economic history at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

People, Power, and Profits by Josepth Stiglitz

This product was recommended by Michael Hammelburger from Cost Reduction Consultants

Stiglitz has always been an advocate of inequality reduction. In this book, he explains what has gone wrong in American society (gerrymandering, poor labor market competitiveness, and wrong politicians) and suggests solutions on how to solve our existing condition. Stiglitz recommends following Germany or Sweden’s markets where government intervention is highly encouraged to achieve fairness and equity.

The Pro-Growth Progressive by Gene Sperling

This product was recommended by Antara Sinha from SkillCounty

To assure you of this book’s quality, I would have to mention that the author, Gene Sperling, is President Clinton’s longest-serving national economic advisor. In this book, he tried to offer a realistic vision of economic growth and illustrate how the government can adopt measures to reduce poverty and push overall growth. He describes the best financial strategy for democrats as well as the republicans to ensure development and progress. Rather than protectionism, this book asks to resort to support the middle class and poor, underprivileged people.

Introducing a New Economics by Jack Reardon

This product was recommended by Antara Sinha from SkillCounty

I would not state that this book is an easy read, but it does allow students and avid readers to get a fresh perspective of the economic concepts and a better global approach towards those issues. You do not need to be an expert in economics to be able to grasp its contents. It can be a textbook for new-age students, as it helps them understand the concepts of work, poverty, money, etc. It also underlines the issues of business and financial crises.

Schism by Paul Blustein

This product was recommended by Antara Sinha from SkillCounty

We can never get over China’s historic step in 2001 by joining the World Trade Organization(WTO). This book opens up the process that leads to China’s entry into WTO and the changes following that event, and how it transformed the global trading system. It points out the goods and the bad from the perspective of China’s trading partners. With China opening its trade markets and thus helping in economic growth, this book points out the details of how it leads to the trading war between China and the United States. The book is engaging throughout, and I can promise you a better understanding of China’s challenges to the world.

Open by Kimberly Clausing

This product was recommended by Antara Sinha from SkillCounty

I was going through the reviews, and the most common phrase that I came across while reading them was that it was- A highly intelligent, fact-based defense of the virtues of an open, competitive economy and society. I learned that this was said by Fareed Zakaria while reviewing, and I can not agree more. Why free trade or immigration is beneficial? or Why should government also promise to protect the ones affected in the process? If these questions often cross your mind, the answers are here. The best part of the book is that it stresses the practical suggestions, apart from pointing out the problems. This book is thus a must-read.

Unbound by Heather Boushey

This product was recommended by Antara Sinha from SkillCounty

Is inequality and prosperity different sides of the same coin? I have had debates about this topic and agree that it is tough to conclude at all. Different people have very different views on this topic, and considering those, we only confuse ourselves more. This book argues how what measures we can take to reduce inequality, also using it as a key to economic growth. No matter your views regarding this topic, you can open-mindedly read and understand the other aspects. I can assure you that this book would make you think over. It is imperative to know economics from different individuals’ perspectives. These books open up that scope to learn about it.

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