1. Annie Lowrey, Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World. A very good book, one of the hot books of the year, and much deeper and broader and balanced than the subtitle might imply.
2. George Magnus, Red Flags: Why Xi’s China Is In Jeopardy. The case for pessimism, based on all possible reasons. Worth reading, but who knows?
3. Devin Fergus, Land of the Fee: Hidden Costs and the Decline of the American Middle Class. Not a balanced treatment, but a fact-rich and handy starting point for reading about this topic. You won’t learn how many of those fees are efficiency-based, but you will go around asking the question more.
4. François Cusset, How the World Swung to the Right:Fifty Years of Counterrevolutions. Full of generalizations and unsupported claims, but still a better guide to reality than most of what you will find from the other big think books. An attempt at fresh thought, in pocket-sized form.
5. Paula Fredriksen, When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation. Yet another good social and intellectual history of the early, formative period of Christianity.
Charles Silver and David A. Hyman, Overcharged: Why Americans Pay Too Much for Health Care. I find most books on this topic too painful to read, including this one, but it does appear to be comprehensive and the new go-to coverage on this topic.