Books Recommended By Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria recommends a book each week on his show, Global Public Square
Don't Be Evil: The Case Against Big Tech by Rana Foroohar

Don’t Be Evil: The Case Against Big Tech by Rana Foroohar

 My book of the week is Rana Foroohar’s Don’t be evil. This is a fascinating highly engaging account of the rise of big technology companies and how they have betrayed their ideals and endangered American democracy. It will make you think hard about something we tend to simply accept as normal. The way technology now dominates our lives and societies.

Nov 10

My book of the week is Impeachment, an American History. With impeachment on everyone’s mind, this is a clear and intelligent account of the three previous examples in American history and, of course, the current one, by Jon Meacham, Tim Naftali, Peter Baker, and Jeffrey Engel. It will help you make up your own mind as you watch the news unfold.

October 20
The Professor and the Madman, a Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

The Professor and the Madman

Book of the week – August 11, 2019

Democracies and Dictatorship in Europe: From the Ancien Regime to the Present Day Shari Berman's

Democracies and Dictatorship in Europe

Book of the week – July 28, 2019

The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians and European Immigrants Out of America.

The Guarded Gate

Book of the week – July 28, 2019


A Gentleman in Moscow

Book of the week – June 30, 2019

For a book recommendation, this week, I’ll turn to my special guest, House Speaker and voracious reader, Nancy Pelosi.

PELOSI: So I sent two books. One was The Island of the Day Before, which is a novel, and the other one is Longitude, about how finally longitude was able to be determined and maintained on a ship in the salty seas and the rest of that.

If that doesn’t really turn you on, for a complete change of total pace of one thing I was reading recently was something called Circe, which is about Greek mythology. So that’s to get your mind off of your day job. (
June 16, 2019

In the much-anticipated conclusion to his masterful trilogy chronicling the wartime career of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, renowned military and political biographer Nigel Hamilton aligns triumph with tragedy to show how FDR was the architect of a victorious peace that he would not live to witness. Providing the definitive account of the events in Normandy on 6 June 1944, Hamilton also reveals the fraught nature of the relationship between the greatest wartime leaders of the Allied forces.


The Island of the Day Before

Guest Book Recommendation – Nancy Pelosi


Longitude by Dava Sobel

Guest Book Recommendation – Nancy Pelosi


Circe by Madeline Miller

Guest Book Recommendation – Nancy Pelosi


Sea Stories : My Life in Special Operations

Guest book – Admiral William H. McRaven – May 26, 2019

The Death of Truth: Michiko Kakutani: book cover

The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani

This week’s book of the week is “The Death of Truth” by Michiko Kakutani. We all see that truth and facts have become endangered species, but we’re not really aware of why and when it happened. It didn’t start with Trump, argues Kakutani in this rich, erudite book. She brilliantly explains the cultural and political forces that brought us to our current sorry condition — a must read.

The Hundred-Year Marathon: Michael Pillsbury: book cover

The Hundred-Year Marathon by Michael Pillsbury

Michael, pleasure to have you on. I have to say I also really enjoyed your book. It’s called “A Hundred Year Marathon,” and I very much advocate people read it because it’s a very thoughtful book about what China might — you know, what Chinese intentions are in this longer term.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century: Yuval Noah Harari: 2018: book cover

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (2018)

My book of the week is Yuval Harari’s book, “21 Lessons.” If you liked “Sapiens” or “Homo Deus,” you will enjoy this wide-ranging, speculative look at the world today and where it is going — fascinating big think.
December 9

This is a powerful, well-written book about perhaps the most deeply disturbing phenomenon in America today, the way that fantasy has eclipsed fact in our politics and culture. If you want to understand why this has happened, read this essential book.
November 4

I read this while preparing for my interview last week. For all those intrigued by Macron, a fascinating figure on the world stage, this is the best book on him and his effort to make France great again.
November 18

If you’ve noticed that people seem to be voting more on the basis of their cultural identity than economic ones, this book explains that deep and powerful trend better than any other I have read — really brilliant work. 
December 16

Fukuyama is one of America’s leading thinkers and this book is a highly intelligent account of how identity politics developed, from Plato to the “MeToo” movement. But it is also an urgent argument on how to use identity as a unifying force, not a divisive one.
September 30


Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward (Guest)

ZAKARIA: When I read the book, what I’m struck by is the degree of chaos that you describe. All of which centers around a president who seems, you know, somewhat impulsive to listen to the person who last talked to him. He pits his advisers against each other almost deliberately. How much of that is normal?
September 16

Jonathan Haidt has written a fantastic book, “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation For Failure,” along with Greg Lukianoff.
September 9


Capitalism In America : A History by Alan Greenspan, Adrian Wooldridge

This impressive book by the former Fed chairman and a brilliant journalist takes the reader through the history of the American economy, ending with some provocative thoughts about America’s declining productivity, declining risk-taking, declining entrepreneurship, declining dynamism.
October 14

September 2

ZAKARIA: My next guest is a brilliant scientist and an excellent writer. Those are two things that rarely go together. You may have read the physicist Carlo Rovelli’s last book, it was called “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.

” I recommended it to you here on GPS, saying it was insightful and intelligent. Rovelli writes with elegance and clarity. 

Now he’s outdone himself. His new book takes on a crucial subject. It’s called “The Order of Time.

” Ready to have your mind blown?
September 2


There are many books now explaining why Americans are so divided. This slender academic treatise strikes me as the most persuasive. It points out that our political identity has now been fused with our social identity. If you tell me who you voted for, I can tell you where you live, shop, eat and pray. That turns out to produce extreme polarization and gridlock.

Other Book mentioned 


The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

My book of the week is Helen Simonson’s “The Summer Before the War.” This is a gentle sweet novel that describes how a small town in England reacts to its first female teacher on the eve of the first World War. If you like “Downton Abby,” you will love this little jewel of a book.*Other Book mentioned 

August 5

My book of the week is “Factfulness: Ten Reasons Why You Are Wrong About the World and Things Are Better Than We Think.” 

The title and subtitle say it all. It’s a fact-filled book with great charts that will teach you more than thousands of pages of prose. The lead author, the late Hans Rosling, was a “GPS” favorite. He did a wonderful segment for us years ago. *

July 29

My book of the week is “The China Mission” by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan. We think foreign policy has become partisan today, but this superb book reminds us that the debate over who lost China, as it went Communist in 1949, was ferocious, even engulfing the most admired man in America at the time, General George Marshall. 

The portrait of Marshall, who was sent on a mission to China, is, by itself, worth the price of the book. His decency and rectitude is so impressive — he refused to write his memoirs because he thought that would be improperly profiting from government service — that he stands like an ancient Roman statue in today’s Washington. *

July 15

Our Towns : A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America by James Fallows, Deborah FallowsOur Towns : A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America by James Fallows, Deborah Fallows

Our Towns : A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America by James Fallows, Deborah Fallows

Book of the week

My book of the week is Jim and Deborah Fallows’ book “Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey Into the Heart of America.” Tom Friedman said in a recent column, “If you want to be an optimist about America, stand on your head. The country looks so much better from the bottom up.”

Well, that’s exactly what the married writers Deb and Jim Fallows did. They took off in their single-engine plane and looked at America’s small towns, its people, its heart. And what they found was a surprising amount of dynamism and optimism. If you are grim about America these days, read this book.*

July 1


East of Eden by John Steinbeck 

Book of the week

My book of the week is a classic. John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden.”

If you’re looking for a big fat book of fiction for the summer as I was, try this one. It is to my mind the book that best illustrates the idea of the great American novel. A rich saga of families moving westward on a vast, unformed continent making a new life and a new nation. *

June 24

American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction by David Gerber

American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction by David Gerber

Book of the week

My book of the week is “American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction” by David Gerber. It falls to a British scholar to write this balanced, intelligent and well-written primer on a controversial topic. He succeeds admirably, highlighting the contributions of immigration to America but also noting the downsides, which are largely focused on illegal immigration. In the midst of all the noise on this topic, if you want clarity, read this very short book.*

June 17


Origin Story : A Big History of Everything by David Christian

Book of the week

My book of the week is David Christian’s “The Origin Story.” I first came across David Christian because I would work out to his fantastic lectures on big history. Yes, I know, very nerdy behavior. This is the book version. Basically, it is the history of the universe from the Big Bang to now in a few 100 pages. If you read one book this year, make it this one. It is the most powerful example of interdisciplinary scholarship that I know of. *

May 27


Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth

Book of the week

My book of the week is Philip Roth’s “Goodbye, Columbus.” Roth, who died last week, was, to my mind, the most important American novelist of the last half century. In 2006 the New York Times did a survey of the best of American fiction of the prior 25 years and six of Philip Roth’s books received multiple votes from prominent critics. This is his debut, a collection of short stories written when he was 26 years old that won the National Book Award in 1960.*

May 13

Book of the week

This week’s book is “Us Versus Them: The Failure of Globalism.” Ian Bremmer is a card-carrying globalist, but he is clear- eyed in this book about the shortcomings and failures of global capitalism. In a short series of essays, he intelligently sketches out the problem and possible paths forward.

May 6

Book of the week

This week’s book is Chris Hughes’ “Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn.” Earlier on the show Hughes told us the story of how he became a half-billionaire and described the winner-takes-all economy in which we live. “Fair Shot” is his take on how to stop runaway inequality. But it does not read like most wonky books. It’s personal, intelligent, very well-written and moves along briskly. Do get this short, fascinating brief. 

April 22

Book of the week

Before I tell you the correct answer, let me recommend a book. This week, it’s a classic. Mortimer Adler’s “How to Read a Book.” 

This 1940 extended essay explains not just why we should read books, but how we should read them. It will help you get the most out of books, but also make you understand how to learn, comprehend and analyze any written material. It’s masterfully done.

April 15


Post-Truth by Lee McIntyre

Book of the week

My book of the week is “Post-Truth” by Lee McIntyre. This is a slender volume from MIT’s Essential Knowledge series that looks at one of the most disturbing trends of our time, the increasing dismissal of science, evidence, fact and truth itself. The author gives us an intelligent account of why it’s happened and a compelling reminder that we should all fight against this dangerous, nihilistic idea.


The Death of Democracy by Benjamin Carter Hett (2018)

My book of the week is Benjamin Carter Hett’s “The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic.” People forget that Weimar Germany was probably the world’s most advanced country. How we went from there to the Nazis is a fascinating story that Hett tells, and it does have real lessons for today about the elites who either assisted or were complacent as Hitler destroyed German democracy. 
April 8

My book of the week is “The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World” by Michael Ignatieff, a philosopher and former Canadian politician.

Ignatieff asks a simple question, is globalization bringing us together or tearing us apart? 

He answers it by taking us around the world from Bosnia to Brazil, South Africa to Myanmar. The result is a fascinating and deeply engaging book. 
April 1

My book of the week is John Lukacs “Five Days in London: May 1940.” If you watched “Dunkirk” or “Darkest Hour” and you want more, this is a short, compelling case that Adolf Hitler almost conquered Europe in May 1940, with France of the verge of defeat, Britain alone with virtually its entire army surrounded by Nazi forces on the French coast. But one man fought back and turned the tide — riveting reading. 
March 11


How to Think by Alan Jacobs

My book of the week is “How to Think” by Alan Jacobs. “We suffer from a settled determination not to think,” writes the author. But he is determined to rouse us out of our intellectual laziness and brilliantly and wisely shows us why and how to think well. This book is a revelation and a pleasure. It is one of the most original books I have encountered in a long while. Run, don’t walk, to get it. 

March 4


The Second Amendment: A Biography by Michael Waldman

My book of the week is Michael Waldman’s “The Second Amendment: A Biography,” a fascinating biography of one line, the one line that is at the heart of America’s gun debate. Waldman makes us realize just how ambiguous and uncertain the second amendment’s meaning has been for most of American history. 
February 25


Trumpocracy by David Frum

My book of the week is David Frum’s “Trumpocracy.” Yes, this is an anti-Trump book, but it is written by a diehard conservative whose objections to Trump at core are not about his politics and policies, some of which the author agrees with, nor about his bad manners and vulgarity; it is about the way Donald Trump is eroding democratic norms in the world’s oldest constitutional republic. The chapter on economic corruption, “Plunder,” is worth the price of the book. 
February 18


How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

My book of the week is “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. This is not another diatribe against Donald Trump though there is some of that. It’s mainly a smart and deeply informed book about the ways in which democracy is being undermined in dozens of countries around the world and in ways that are perfectly legal. 

The authors remind us that what sustains democracy is not just constitutions and laws but norms and behavior. If leaders act in thoroughly undemocratic ways, democracy, over time, will collapse. 
February 11


White Working Class by Joan Williams

My book of the week is “White Working Class” by Joan Williams, a very smart, caustic book that tries to understand the dynamic behind Donald Trump’s legions of supporters. The author tries to explain to America’s elites why the working class resents them, professionals, who tell them how to live, work, get educated, eat, dress and behave. It’s tough love for a group that generally doesn’t get much pushback. 
February 4


A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich(1936)


Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2012)


Can Intervention Work by Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus


Capitalism and the Jews by Jerry Muller

Catastrophic Care: Why Everything We Think We Know about Health Care Is Wrongv by David Goldhill
China Airborne by James Fallows
China Goes Global: The Partial Power by David Shambaugh
China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy by Minxin Pei
Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility by David Walker


Decision Points by George W. Bush


Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran


Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (first published 180)

Outliers: The Story of Success: Malcolm Gladwell: book cover

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

From the author of the bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive, New York Times bestselling biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.


On China by Henry Kissinger

In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book-length to a country he has known intimately for decades, and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. Drawing on historical records as well as his conversations with Chinese leaders over the past forty years, Kissinger examines how China has approached diplomacy, strategy, and negotiation throughout its history, and reflects on the consequences for the global balance of power in the 21st century.


The Evolution of God by Robert Wright

The Death of Conservatism by Sam Tanenhaus book cover

The Death of Conservatism by Sam Tanenhaus


The Idea of Pakistan by Stephen Cohen


The Price of Civilization by Jeffrey Sachs

The Mantle of Command: FDR at War 1941-1942 by Nigel Hamilton
The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy by Bruce Katz
The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam Industry and Invention by William Rosen
The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Menaces both Russia and the West by Edward Lucas
The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World by Jonathan Powell
The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era by Michael Grunwald
The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multi-Speed World by Michael Spence
The Oath: the Obama White House and the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin
The Origin of the Financial Crises by George Cooper
The Parties Versus The People by Mickey Edwards

For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don’t care about the “national interest”—or even their subjects—unless they have to. This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only in the number of essential supporters, or backs that need scratching. The size of this group determines almost everything about politics: what leaders can get away with, and the quality of life or misery under them. The picture the authors paint is not pretty. But it just may be the truth, which is a good starting point for anyone seeking to improve human governance.

Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world

Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding.

Image result for Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2011)

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2011)

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior…

It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds.

It spans the millennia and the continents – from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.

Within these pages, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with spice and gems founder at sea.

And a great story unfolds. Not – as often imagined – of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.

Which makes the story of the Jews everyone’s story, too.

Truman by David McCullough (1992) –

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography (1993)

The Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Harry S. Truman, whose presidency included momentous events from the atomic bombing of Japan to the outbreak of the Cold War and the Korean War, told by America’s beloved and distinguished historian


War Made New by Max Boot


War of Necessity War of Choice by Richard Haass


The Tell-Tale Brain by V. S. Ramachandran

World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History: Henry Kissinger: 9780141979007: Book cover

World Order by Henry Kissinger


The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad Book by Fareed Zakaria : book cover

The Future of Freedom by
Fareed Zakaria

The Post-American World (9780393062359): Fareed Zakaria: Book Cover

The Post-American World by
Fareed Zakaria