Progressive Summer Reading List 2023

December 28, 2023


It’s time for the annual Per Capita Progressive Summer Reading List! Here are our favourite books from 2023 to keep you entertained over the summer.


The Welcome to Country Handbook – Professor Marcia Langton AO

The Welcome to Country Handbook is an approachable guide to First Nations Peoples cultures and history. Covering language, arts, storytelling, kinship and more, Welcome to Country is an essential resource for cultural awareness training for every Australia, whether they are in the workforce or in school.


Trump’s Australia – Bruce Wolpe

In Trump’s Australia, US and Australian Political insider, Bruce Wolpe, outlines how Trumpism affected Australia, and gives a glimpse into the future of Australia if Trump is elected for a second term.



Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity – Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson

Daron Acemoglu’s latest book, Power and Progress, analyses the history of industrialisation and modern technological innovation in order to determine how tech, such as Artificial Intelligence, can be regulated for the betterment of society at large. Recommended by Peter Lewis, Centre of the Public Square


The Morrison Government: Governing through crisis, 2019-2022 – Michelle Grattan, Brendan McCaffrie, Chris Wallace

Featuring a chapter from Per Capita’s Emma Dawson, The Morrison Government brings Australia’s leading political thinkers together to reflect on the policies and leadership of former Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and his government, from 2019 to 2022.



Courting Power: Law, Democracy and the Public Interest – Isabelle Reinecke

In Courting Power, Isabelle Reinecke, founder of Grata Fund, takes us through the trials and triumphs of some of the public interest cases she has helped bring about—from one launched by Torres Strait Islanders to establish the federal government’s duty of care regarding climate change, to a High Court case on remote housing rights in the Northern Territory.


On Consolation: finding solace in dark times – Michael Ignatieff

Canadian academic, author, and former politician, Michael Ignatieff’s latest, On Consolation, takes a tour through Western philosophy, religion, and those who found themselves in the contestation of religious and political ideas about humanity, and reflects on how they dealt with their goals, both for themselves and for humanity. – Recommend by May Lam, Research Fellow



The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens our Businesses, Infantilizes our Governments and Warps our Economies – by Mariana Mazzucato and Rosie Collington

The Big Con takes a look at the biggest consulting firms in the world and breaks down how they fail to add value to the economy, stunting innovation, and eroding the accountability of both corporate and political offices. Mazzucato and Collington make the argument for a new system where the public and private sectors work toward the common good. – Recommended by Sarah McKenzie, Research Associate


Economics in America: An Immigrant Economist Explores the Land of Inequality – Angus Deaton

Noble Prize winning economist, Angus Deaton’s latest book, Economics in America, gives personal insights and analysis into the economist profession. Drawing from his experience as a US immigrant, Deaton outlines the key policy achievements and failures of the US government and reflects on the role of economics in politics, particularly given the rise of populism. Recommended by Matt Lloyd-Cape, Director for the Centre for Equitable Housing.