Nonfiction Summer Reading Recommendations

Image by Tom Hermans.

1. “The Emperor’s Nightmare” by Robert A. G. Monks (2022). Harvard lawyer, former CEO and Shareholder Rights Activist, Monks digs deep inside big corporate power and the devastating impact of this corpocracy on weakened democratic institutions. Constitutional reset is crucial, he concludes.

2. “Corporate Bullsh*t: Exposing the Lies and Half-Truths That Protect Profit, Power, and Wealth in America” by Nick Hanauer, et al. (2023). The Seattle progressive billionaire, author and advocate; Hanauer wants to reach a wider audience.

3. “An End to Inequality: Breaking Down the Walls of Apartheid Education in America” by Jonathan Kozol (2024). The last clarion call of a lifelong educator and whistleblower of taboos and coverups.

4. “100 Life or Death Foods: A Scientific Guide to Which Foods Prolong Life or Kill You Prematurely” by Jean Elinor Carper (2023). Author of many bestselling books over five decades Carper boils it down for the smart eater. Usable immediately.

5. “White Poverty: How Exposing Myths About Race and Class Can Reconstruct American Democracy” by Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II (2024). Anyone who wants to understand the importance of getting out the vote of low-wage non-voters better digest this just-published wise, grounded and eloquent book.

6. “War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine” by Norman Solomon (2023). Get your arms around the ways and means of the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned Americans about in his farewell address, with this easy-to-read factual story.

7. “Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America” by Joshua Frank (2022). A devastating account of the dangerous radioactive and explosive horrors under the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State where private contractors are soaking up billions of taxpayer dollars yearly and the problems persist.

8. “The Greatest Evil is War” by Chris Hedges (2022). For years a war correspondent for the New York Times, Hedges rings the alarm bells in this short, vivid and memorable treatment of mankind’s ultimate fatal folly.

9. “Choosing the Public Interest: Essays From the First Public Interest Research Group” by Sam Simon (2023). The little-known story of our spectacular successes in 1970-1971 with a dozen young public interest lawyers at a time when members of Congress were responsive to progressive civic advocates.

10. “Corporate Power and Oligarchy: How Our Democracy Can Prevail Over Authoritarianism and Fascism” by family physician and professor of medicine Dr. John Geyman (2024). The most recent deep analysis of the causes of the corporate takeover of our health professions and health insurance institutions as part of the overall destructive corporatization of America.

11. “The Inflection Election: Democracy or Fascism in 2024?” by Mark Green (2024). The author of 25 books and public advocate highlights what is at stake in this year’s election and the need for citizens to take charge of their politicians for a change.

12. “States of Neglect: How Red-State Leaders Have Failed Their Citizens and Undermined America” by William Kleinknecht (2023). As bad as our two-party duopoly has become, there are, over time, some major differences in the livelihoods and rights of people between the GOP-run Red States and Blue States governed by the Democrats. The author illustrates these comparisons.

13. “What’s the Matter with Delaware?: How the First State Has Favored the Rich, Powerful, and Criminal – and How It Costs Us All” by Hal Weitzman (2022). From his teaching post at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, the author unsparingly reveals the rogue state of Delaware as a deeply rooted corporate haven for license and lawlessness, affecting adversely the most modest efforts in other states to curb corporate outrages. This tiny state has led the race to the bottom for corporate charters of giant corporations for decades.

14. “Who’s Raising the Kids?: Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children” by Susan Linn (2023). A Harvard psychologist who doesn’t cut corners in exposing what others have called “the electronic child molesters,” circumventing parental authority, and addicting children to screens for hours every day.

15. “The Ethical University: Transforming Higher Education” by Wanda Teays and Alison Dundes Renteln (2022). The authors raise concerns about profound entrenched conflicts that have existed long before this year’s student protests.

16. Personal Privilege. My book “The Rebellious CEO: 12 Leaders Who Did It Right” (2023). Good news for a change to provide a powerful rebuttal to CEOs of today’s giant corporations absolving their crimes, frauds and abuses by saying they are just meeting market demand. A good book to raise business students’ horizons.

Looking forward to reader reactions!

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!