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The Books That Influenced John Kenneth Galbraith

PX 82-5: JKG 1961 Portrait

John Kenneth “Ken” Galbraith, was a long-time Harvard faculty member. By long time, I mean he was a professor of economics for over half a century. A prolific author, with about 4 dozen books to his name, he also published more than a thousand articles and essays. Among his most famous works was the trilogy on economics: American Capitalism (1952), The Affluent Society (1958), and The New Industrial State (1967).

In The Harvard Guide to Influential Books: 113 Distinguished Harvard Professors Discuss the Books That Have Helped to Shape Their Thinking, we can find the books that influenced him.

In the preface to his brief response, he writes:

I do not urge economics; others will do that. Instead I urge the enjoyments and enlightenment to which the well-seasoned economist and citizen of the future are entitled and which have brought both pleasure and reward to me in the past.

Then he goes on to name the books that gave him enjoyments and enlightenment in point form.

By Anthony Trollope:
Barchester Towers
The Last Chronicles of Barset
The Warden

Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

By W. Somerset Maugham:
Of Human Bondage
Christmas Holiday

Gullible’s Travels by Ring Lardner

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

By Paul Scott:
The Jewel in the Crown
The Day of the Scorpion
The Towers of Silence
The Division of the Spoils

The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

Follow your curiosity, for more in this series check out the books that influenced E. O. Wilson, B. F. Skinner, Thomas C. Shelling, Michael J. Sandel, Jerome Kagan, and Stephen Jay Gould.