Books

Though the first three categories tend to answer the U.S. context, all books featured below are “classics” in their respective field and can benefit readers worldwide. They are instantly downloadable through the services of ebooks.com.*

The list is regularly updated; make sure to visit this page again sometime in the future.

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POLITICS

The System – Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, by Robert B. Reich. US$10.99

There is a mounting sense that our political-economic system is no longer working, but what is the core problem and how do we remedy it? With the characteristic clarity and passion that have made him a central civil voice, bestselling author of Saving Capitalism and The Common Good Robert B. Reich shows how wealth and power have combined to install an oligarchy and undermine democracy. Reich exposes the myths of meritocracy, national competitiveness, corporate social responsibility, the “free market,” and the political “center,” all of which are used by those at the top to divert attention from their takeover of the system and to justify their accumulation of even more wealth and power. In demystifying the current system, Reich reveals where power actually lies and how it is wielded, and invites us to reclaim power and remake the system for all.

Democracy Incorporated – Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, by Sheldon S. Wolin. US$18.15

Democracy is struggling in America–by now this statement is almost cliché. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms “inverted totalitarianism”?

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire – 20 years after 9/11, by Deepa Kumar. US$9.99

A critically acclaimed analysis of anti-Muslim racism from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries, in a fully revised and expanded second edition. This book, now updated to include the end of the Trump’s presidency, offers a clear and succinct explanation of how Islamophobia functions in the United States both as a set of coercive policies and as a body of ideas that take various forms: liberal, conservative, and rightwing. The matrix of anti-Muslim racism charts how various institutions—the media, think tanks, the foreign policy establishment, the university, the national security apparatus, and the legal sphere—produce and circulate this particular form of bigotry.

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine – A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017, by Rashid Khalidi. US$11.99

Original, authoritative, and important, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine is not a chronicle of victimization, nor does it whitewash the mistakes of Palestinian leaders or deny the emergence of national movements on both sides. Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival materials and the reports of generations of family members—mayors, judges, scholars, diplomats, and journalists—The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine upends accepted interpretations of the conflict, which tend, at best, to describe a tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same territory. Instead, Khalidi traces a hundred years of colonial war on the Palestinians, waged first by the Zionist movement and then Israel, but backed by Britain and the United States, the great powers of the age. He highlights the key episodes in this colonial campaign, from the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the destruction of Palestine in 1948, from Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon to the endless and futile peace process.

When They Call You a Terrorist – A Black Lives Matter Memoir, by Patrisse Cullors, Asha Bandele, Angela Davis. US$10.99

Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love to tell the country—and the world—that Black Lives Matter. When They Call You a Terrorist is Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele’s reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi. US$13.99

In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves. Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

ECONOMICS

Doughnut Economics – Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, by Kate Raworth. US$18.00

Raworth handpicks the best emergent ideas—from ecological, behavioral, feminist, and institutional economics to complexity thinking and Earth-systems science—to address this question: How can we turn economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, into economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow?

A Small Farm Future – Making the Case for a Society Built Around Local Economies, Self-Provisioning, Agricultural Diversity and a Shared Earth, by Chris Smaje. US$22.50

In a groundbreaking debut, farmer and social scientist Chris Smaje argues that organizing society around small-scale farming offers the soundest, sanest and most reasonable response to climate change and other crises of civilisation—and will yield humanity’s best chance at survival. Drawing on a vast range of sources from across a multitude of disciplines, A Small Farm Future analyses the complex forces that make societal change inevitable; explains how low-carbon, locally self-reliant agrarian communities can empower us to successfully confront these changes head on; and explores the pathways for delivering this vision politically.

The Local Economy Solution – How Innovative, Self-Financing “Pollinator” Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity, by Michael Shuman. US$19.95

In cities and towns across the nation, economic development is at a crossroads. A growing body of evidence has proven that its current cornerstone—incentives to attract and retain large, globally mobile businesses—is a dead end. Even those programs that focus on local business, through buy-local initiatives, for example, depend on ongoing support from government or philanthropy. The entire practice of economic development has become ineffective and unaffordable and is in need of a makeover.  The Local Economy Solution suggests an alternative approach in which states and cities nurture a new generation of special kinds of businesses that help local businesses grow. These cutting-edge companies, which Shuman calls “pollinator businesses,” are creating jobs and the conditions for future economic growth, and doing so in self-financing ways.

Financing the Green New Deal – A Plan of Action and Renewal, by Robert C. Hockett. US$29.99

The time has thus come to plan carefully, thoroughly, and on a scale commensurate with the crisis we face. This book, written by one of the key architects of the Green New Deal and prefaced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s former Chief of Staff, indicates how to structure Green New Deal finance in a manner that advances the cross-cutting goals of maximum financial and economic inclusion, maximally democratic decision-making, and an appropriate division of roles both among all levels of government and among public and private sector decision-makers. Integrating into one complete and coherent financial architecture such bold ideas as a ‘People’s Fed,’ an interdepartmental National Investment Council, integrated state and regional public banks, a Democratic Digital Dollar and digital Taxpayer Savings and Transaction Accounts made part of the monetary policy transmission belt, and an economy-wide Price Stabilization Fund, this book is critical reading for policymakers and citizens looking for a fresh path forward towards a revived and sustainable, progressive and productive America.

ENVIRONMENT

The Red Deal – Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth, by The Red Nation. US$12.99

A powerful guide to Indigenous liberation and the fight to save the planet. The Red Deal is both a manifesto for Indigenous liberation and a plan for the future of our planet. Part movement document and part activist handbook, its ultimate goal is not to heal the existing structures, but to present a way forward following the abolition of them.

On Fire – The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, by Naomi Klein. US$13.99

An instant bestseller, On Fire shows Klein at her most prophetic and philosophical, investigating the climate crisis not only as a profound political challenge but also as a spiritual and imaginative one. Delving into topics ranging from the clash between ecological time and our culture of “perpetual now,” to the soaring history of humans changing and evolving rapidly in the face of grave threats, to rising white supremacy and fortressed borders as a form of “climate barbarism,” this is a rousing call to action for a planet on the brink.

Growing a Sustainable City? – The Question of Urban Agriculture, by Christina D. Rosan, Hamil Pearsall. US$27.95

Growing a Sustainable City? offers a critical analysis of the development of urban agriculture policies and their role in making post-industrial cities more sustainable. Christina Rosan and Hamil Pearsall’s intriguing and illuminating case study of Philadelphia reveals how growing in the city has become a symbol of urban economic revitalization, sustainability, and – increasingly – gentrification. Their comprehensive research includes interviews with urban farmers, gardeners, and city officials, and reveals that the transition to “sustainability” is marked by a series of tensions along race, class, and generational lines. The book evaluates the role of urban agriculture in sustainability planning and policy by placing it within the context of a large city struggling to manage competing sustainability objectives. They highlight the challenges and opportunities of institutionalizing urban agriculture into formal city policy. Rosan and Pearsall tell the story of change and growing pains as a city attempts to reinvent itself as sustainable, livable, and economically competitive.

The Permaculture Promise – What Permaculture Is and How It Can Help Us Reverse Climate Change, Build a More Resilient Future on Earth, and Revitalize Our Communities, by Jono Neiger. US$15.95

Permaculture is a sustainability buzzword, but many people wonder what it actually means and why it is relevant. Originally coined by combining the words permanent and agriculture, permaculture has evolved into an optimistic approach connecting all the systems of human life: gardening, housing, transportation, energy, and how we structure our communities. The Permaculture Promise explains in simple terms why permaculture may be the key to unlocking a livable future on our planet. Author Jono Neiger asserts that humans can thrive while simultaneously making Earth healthier and not destroying it. The book shows 22 ways that permaculture can create a better future for all living things. Profiles of people and communities — including an urban dweller who tore up her driveway to create a vegetable garden and a California housing development that dedicates a third of its land to parks, orchards, and gardens — will inspire you to incorporate permaculture principles into your life today. 

The Sacred Balance (3rd ed.) – Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, by David Suzuki, Amanda McConnell, Adrienne Mason. US$12.49

The basic message of this seminal, best-selling work remains the same: We are creatures of the earth, and as such, we are utterly dependent on its gifts of air, water, soil, and the energy of the sun. These elements are not just external factors; we take them into our bodies, where they are incorporated into our very essence. What replenishes the air, water, and soil and captures sunlight to vitalize the biosphere is the diverse web of all beings. The recently completed human genome project has revealed that all species are our biological kin, related to us through our evolutionary history. And it appears that our need for their company is programmed into our genome.

PRACTICAL WISDOM

Coming to Our Senses – Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn. US$11.99

In each of the book’s eight parts, Jon Kabat-Zinn explores another facet of the great adventure of healing ourselves — and our world — through mindful awareness, with a focus on the “sensescapes” of our lives and how a more intentional awareness of the senses, including the human mind itself, allows us to live more fully and more authentically. By “coming to our senses” — both literally and metaphorically by opening to our innate connectedness with the world around us and within us — we can become more compassionate, more embodied, more aware human beings, and in the process, contribute to the healing of the body politic as well as our own lives in ways both little and big.

Meditations (Collins Classics), by Marcus Aurelius. US$2.99

The extraordinary writings of Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180), the only Roman emperor to have also been a stoic philosopher, have for centuries been praised for their wisdom, insight and guidance by leaders and great thinkers alike. Never intended for publication, Meditations are the personal notes born from a man who studied his unique position of power as emperor while trying to uphold inner balance in the chaotic world around him.

Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness, by Chogyam Trungpa. US$12.99

Warning: Using this book could be hazardous to your ego! The slogans it contains are designed to awaken the heart and cultivate love and kindness toward others. They are revolutionary in that practicing them fosters abandonment of personal territory in relating to others and in understanding the world as it is.

On the Shortness of Life – Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It, by Lucius Annaeus Seneca. US$11.99

The Stoic writings of the philosopher Seneca, who lived from c. 5 BC to AD 65, offer powerful insights into the art of living, the importance of reason and morality, and continue to provide profound guidance to many through their eloquence, lucidity and timeless wisdom. This selection of Seneca’s orks was taken from the Penguin Classics edition of Dialogues and Letters, translated by C.D.N. Costa, and includes the essays On the Shortness of LifeConsolation to Helvia, and On Tranquility of Mind

Beyond Good & Evil – Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, by Friedrich Nietzsche (translated by Walter Kaufmann). US$11.99

Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most remarkable and influential books of the nineteenth century. The nine parts of the book are designed to give the reader a comprehensive idea of Nietzsche’s thought and style: they span “The Prejudices of Philosophers,” “The Free Spirit,” religion, morals, scholarship, “Our Virtues,” “Peoples and Fatherlands,” and “What is Noble,” as well as chapter of epigrams and a concluding poem. This translation by Walter Kaufmannthe first ever to be made in English by a philosopherhas become the standard one, for accuracy and fidelity to the eccentricities and grace of style of the original. 

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki (50th Anniversary Edition). US$12.99

In the fifty years since its original publication, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has become one of the great modern spiritual classics, much beloved, much reread, and much recommended as the best first book to read on Zen. Suzuki Roshi presents the basics–from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality–in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page.

The Mindfulness Survival Kit – Five Essential Practices, by Thich Nhat Hanh. US$6.99

An amazing introduction to cultivating peace and happiness for those who would not consider themselves spiritual people. With this book, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers a Buddhist contribution to the current thinking on how we can come together to define secular, moral guidelines that will allow us to explore and sustain a sane, compassionate, and healthy way of living. The Five Mindfulness Trainings offer a path to restoring meaning and value in our world, whether called virtues, ethics, moral conduct, or precepts they are guidelines for living without bringing harm to others.

The Miracle of Mindfulness – An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, by Thich Nhat Hanh. US$2.99

In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercises as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness–being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.

The Sun My Heart – The Companion to The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh. US$10.99

From shamata (calm) to vipassana (insight). The Sun My Heart is one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s most beloved books. It was written as a sequel to Miracle of Mindfulness and contains the journey, on the path of everyday practice, from mindfulness to insight in an informational, conversational manner. Using the objects and events of everyday life in his hermitage in Plum Village—the gradual settling of the pulp in a glass of apple juice or the wind blowing into the room and scattering papers about—Thich Nhat Hanh draws from Buddhist psychology, epistemology, and the world of contemporary literature and science to guide the reader along the path of clarity and understanding.

The Root Stanzas of the Middle Way – The Mulamadhyamakakarika, by Nagarjuna. US$18.99

“Anyone who is seriously interested in not suffering must know that duality and the dualistic mind are the root of all suffering. But how do we overcome duality without stepping on dualistic territory and without holding on to the hinges and railings of dualism? How do we develop the courage to shrug off even the understanding of nonduality by knowing that understanding to be just another figment of dualistic mind? This text is probably your best bet to prove just that! It is so amazing that people like Nagarjuna actually walked on this earth. It is even more amazing that he came up with this text. If you don’t read this book, it’s like being on the earth without ever noticing that there is a sky above your head.”—Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, author of What Makes You Not a Buddhist

The Life of Shabkar – Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin, translated and edited by the Padmakara Translation Group. US$34.99

Shabkar (1781–1851) was a renowned practitioner and teacher both of the Mind-Training and the Dzogchen traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. He was a free spirit who chose to live as a hermit or wandering pilgrim without home or possessions, far from the organized life of religious establishments. He left behind many volumes of teachings, including a celebrated autobiography. He is famous for his concern for animals. This vast autobiography is a gold mine of spiritual instructions and a constant source of inspiration that may bring the reader to tears as well as to laughing bursts. As the great master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said, “By reading his life story, our mind is inevitably led to wisdom.”