Big Ideas

5 books for people who want to change the world

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A stack of books sit on a shelf with New York City in the background. The 5 books were recommended to inspire people who want to change the world.

S ometimes you're in the mood for a beach read—but what about when you're in the mood to tackle big challenges? Here’s a round-up of books that will inspire you, from a Nobel Prize-winning economist's argument for fixing what ails capitalism to the late Toni Morrison's final book, collecting four decades of the literary giant’s work.

A World of Three Zeroes by Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist who invented microcredit, founded Grameen Bank, and earned a Nobel Prize for his work in alleviating poverty, is one of today's most trenchant social critics. In his latest book, he declares it's time to admit that the capitalist engine is broken. To save humankind and the planet, we need a new economic system based on a more realistic vision of human nature.

Biased by Jennifer Eberhardt

From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias comes a landmark examination of one of the most culturally powerful issues of our time. We might think that we treat all people equally, but we don’t. Unconscious bias is not a sin to be cured, but a universal human condition, and one that can be overcome. In Biased, pioneering social psychologist professor Jennifer Eberhardt explains how.

The Future of Capitalism by Paul Collier

From world-renowned economist Paul Collier, this book is a candid diagnosis of the failures of capitalism and a pragmatic and realistic vision for how he believes we can repair it. Collier outlines brilliantly original and ethical ways of healing—economic, social and cultural rifts—with the cool head of pragmatism, rather than the fervor of ideological revivalism.

Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison

Spanning four decades, these essays, speeches, and meditations interrogate the world around us. Toni Morrison’s Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America. Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all. It celebrates Morrison’s extraordinary contribution to the literary world.

A Woman of Firsts by Edna Adan Ismail

Edna Adan Ismail saw first-hand how poor healthcare, lack of education, and ancient superstitions had devastating effects on Somaliland’s people, especially its women. As her country was swept up in its bloody fight for independence, Edna rose to become its First Lady and first female cabinet minister. She built her own hospital, brick by brick, training future generations in what has been hailed as one of the Horn of Africa’s finest university hospitals. This is Ismail’s truly remarkable story.

Posted: September 30, 2019
Edition: Disrupt

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What book inspires you to make the world a better place?

Johana Areiza
Thanks for the recommendations, I love the book "There is no going back," I want to graduate as a psychologist, to contribute more.
Austin Uzim
These are blockbuster books. For me, "Mouth Full of Blood" by Toni Morrison will make best read. I'm a lover of great anecdotes and this very book has sure evidence it would be a rollar coaster. ~Austin Uzim, Nigeria
Abdulaziz Bungudu
Thanks for working to change the world for you inspiring a young talent like us to do more.
Abdulaziz Bungudu
Thanks for working to change the world for you inspiring a young talent like us to do more.
Zd Kasa
A woman of Firsts by Enda Adan Imail
Laura Hammer
Getting Big Things Done by Erica Dhawan was pivotal in my view of how to make the world a better place
夏海Junichi 富田Yokohama
Thank you very much. I was allowed to share. Thank you for introducing a good book.
Sanket Totewar
While playing small-time roles as a writer or product manager, one has to be mindful of the butterfly effect that we cause in the world's clockwork. Although this post's title might seem to appeal to the narcissistic, the titles here teach us to be more humble, less discriminatory, less capitalist, and simply more human. Thank you for sharing this.
Patrick Biyaga
Thank you