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Robert Reich: What I’m Reading – OpEd


Several of you have asked for my summer reading recommendations. I know this is a bit late, (whatever happened to June and July?), but all of these are worth the wait (and the weight — these aren’t exactly light books). 


Dirt Road Revival, by Chloe Maxmin and Canyon Woodward. This is the most thoughtful and uplifting book I’ve read in a long time. It’s written by two young political organizers in Maine (one of whom is now a major force in the state legislature) about how grassroots progressives can regain the trust of America’s Trumpers. Riveting and important.

The Overstory, by Richard Powers. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. It’s a moving and trenchant novel whose major character, it turns out, is our planet. 

Dignity in a Digital Age, by Ro Khanna. The progressive and talented congressman from Silicon Valley provides a convincing blueprint for a society in which prosperity is widely shared. 

Only the Rich Can Play, by David Wessel. Wessel knows Washington as well if not better than anyone reporting on it, and in this books provides a clear-eyed look at how wealth and power have distorted and corrupted our nation’s capital. 

The Democrats’ Failed Attempt to Solve Inequality, by Lily Geismer. An important object lesson in how means became confused with ends when Democrats tried to gain and hold power by giving the oligarchy what it wanted. I have lived much of what she reports. 


The Betrayal: How Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans Abandoned America, by Ira Shapiro. McConnell comes off even worse than you know in this trenchant and disturbing account of the man who brought us the most reactionary Supreme Court in ninety years. 

Going Big, by Robert Kuttner. An important argument about how progressives and Democrats could do far better politically if they were more ambitious. 

The Ministry of the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson. A taut and powerfully-written novel about what the future may hold. 

What are your best summer reads so far?

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

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