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THE B&G Reading List


A couple of weeks ago, we made a request in the B&G Report for recommendations of books that would provide worthy reading for people who are interested in state and local government. We were gratified to get a number of responses (many of them having to do with cities, specifically).


So, now it’s time for us to return the favor and publish nine of the titles that came in. We’ll be doing this again in the next couple of months, including many of the recommendations that came in this last time, and also some that continue to roll in to us.


It’s important to note that we decided not to include books that were suggested by their own authors. While we know many of these authors personally and think their books were worthy of inclusion, it just didn’t feel like it was in the spirit of the effort to include books by recommenders who so obviously had a horse in the race. (You’ll note that we didn’t bring up our most recent book, about performance management, and so we’re playing by our own rules).


Following are eight titles. We’ve linked them all to Amazon.com for ease of purchase if you’re so moved, but we’d like to encourage you (as much as we use Amazon.com ourselves) to consider patronizing your own local bookstore.


Let us know what you think of this list, and if you’re so inspired, please send us more books to bring to our readers in the future.





The Unheavenly City: The Nature and the Future of Our Urban Crisis, by Edward C. Banfield, recommended by BJ Reed, Professor, School of Public Administration, University of Nebraska Omaha

The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America, by Alan Mallach, recommended by Alan Ehrenhalt, senior editor, Governing


The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee, recommended by Alisha Gillis, recommended by Alisha Gillis, senior editor, Route Fifty


What Should We Do: A Theory of Civic Life, by Peter Levine, recommended by Karen Garrett, chief of communications, marketing and membership, American Society of Public Administration


Speaking Truth to Power: Art and Craft of Policy Analysis, by Aaron Wildavsky, recommended by Dean Michael Mead. Partner at Carr, Riggs & Ingram


Greedy Bastards: One City’s Texas-Size Struggle to Avoid a Financial Crisis, by Sheryl Sculley, recommended by Terrell Blodgett, Mike Hogg Professor Emeritus in Urban Management, LBJ School, University of Texas, Austin.


Thirty Explosive Years in Los Angeles County by John Anson Ford, recommended by Benjamin M. Effinger, Operations Chief, Cash Management Division, Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector.


Smarter Government: How to Govern for Results in the Information Age, by Martin O'Malley, recommended by Robert Shea, partner Guidehouse.


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