April 2018

For those students who have asked me for a reading list in the areas that I teach in, I offer this list of fifty books that I’ve read and recommend highly.  I close with a list of ten books that I don’t recommend despite their popularity.

These book recommendations are organized into five categories:  (1) Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Enterprise; (2) American Poverty & Inequality; (3) Global Poverty, Economics & Development; (4) Responsible Business & Ethics; and (5) Social Justice.  

Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Enterprise

  1.   Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against Poverty; Muhammad Yunus (1999)
  2.   Infinite Vision: How Aravind Became the World’s Greatest Business Case for   Compassion; Pavithra K. Mehta and Suchitra Shenoy (2011)
  3.   Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum; Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner (2016)
  4. Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World; Tracy Kidder (2003)
  5. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity; Katherine Boo (2012)
  6.   Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children; John Wood (2006)
  7. Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America; Paul Tough (2008)
  8. Give Work: Reversing Poverty One Job at a Time; Leila Janah (2017)
  9. A World of Three Zeroes: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions; Muhammad Yunus (2017)
  10. Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail; Paul Polak (2008)
  11. Walk in their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World? Jim Ziolkowski and James S. Hirsch (2013)
  12. A Year Up: Helping Young Adults Move from Poverty to Professional Careers in Single Year; Gerald Chertavian (2012)
  13. Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference; Antony Bugg-Levine and Jed Emerson (2011)

American Poverty & Inequality

  1. The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap; Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple (2014)
  2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; Rebecca Skloot (2010)
  3. Janesville: An American Story; Amy Goldstein (2017)
  4. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City; Matthew Desmond (2016)
  5. $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America; Kathryn Edin (2015)
  6.   Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America; Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
  7. The Other America: Poverty in the United States; Michael Harrington (1962)
  8. There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America; Alex Kotlowitz (1968)
  9. So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America; Peter Edelman (1994)
  10. Broke USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. – How the Working Poor became Big Business; Gary Rivlin (2010)

Global Poverty, Economics & Development

  1. The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It; Paul Collier (2007)
  2. Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day; Daryl Collins and Jonathan Morduch (2009)
  3. Enough: Why the World’s Poor Starve in an Age of Plenty; Roger Thurow (2010)
  4. The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change; Roger Thurow (2012)
  5. More than Good Intentions: How a New Economics is Helping to Solve Global Poverty; Dean Karlan (2011)
  6. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty; Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (2011)
  7. Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance; David Roodman (2011)
  8. The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else; Hernando De Soto (2000)
  9. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty; Daron Acemogluand James Robinson (2012)
  10. The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality; Angus Deaton (2013)
  11. Development as Freedom; Amartya Sen (1999)
  12. Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India; Sujatha Gidla (2017)
  13. The World’s Banker: A Story of Failed States, Financial Crises, and the Wealth and Poverty of Nations; Sebastian Mallaby, (2004)
  14. In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty; Michael Fairbanks and Malik Fal (2009)

Responsible Business; Business Ethics

  1. We Are Market Basket: The Story of the Unlikely Grassroots Movement That Saved a Beloved Business; Daniel Korschunand Grant Welker (2015)
  2. Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble; Dan Lyons (2016)
  3. Janesville: An American Story; Amy Goldstein (2017)
  4. The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead; David Callahan (2004)
  5. The Road to Character; David Brooks (2015)
  6. Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street; Michael Lewis (1990)
  7. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine; Michael Lewis (2010)
  8. No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller; Harry Markopolos (2010)

Social Justice

  1.   Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption; Bryan Stephenson (2014)
  2. No Future without Forgiveness; Desmond Tutu (1999)
  3. Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do? Michael J. Sandel (2008)
  4. Ghettoside; A True Story of Murder in America; Jill Leovy (2015)
  5. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness; Michelle Alexander (2010)


And Ten Popular Books that I Don’t Recommend:

  1. The End of Poverty; Jeffrey Sachs (2005)
  2. How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and How to Change the World; David Bornstein (2004)
  3. The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good William Easterly (2006)
  4. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits; C.K. Prahalad (2013)
  5. The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World; John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan (2008)
  6. Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is A Better Way for Africa; Dambisa Moyo and Niall Ferguson (2009)
  7. A Fistful of Rice: My unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability; Vikram Akula (2010)
  8. Clay, Water, Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least; Jessica Jackley and Jeffrey D. Sachs (2015)
  9. Start Something That Matters; Blake Mycoskie (2011)
  10. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace- One School at a Time; Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (2006)