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84 Best Sociology Books

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Evicted
Poverty and Profit in the American City
by Matthew Desmond (Feb 28, 2017)
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In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America's most devastating problems. Its unforgettable sc...
The True Believer
Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics)
by Eric Hoffer (Sep 03, 2002)
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A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer -- the first and most famous of his books -- was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.Completely relevant ...
There Are No Children Here
The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America
by Alex Kotlowitz (Jan 05, 1992)
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This is the moving and powerful account of two remarkable boys struggling to survive in Chicago's Henry Horner Homes, a public housing complex disfigured by crime and neglect....
Amusing Ourselves to Death
Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
by Neil Postman (Dec 27, 2005)
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Television has conditioned us to tolerate visually entertaining material measured out in spoonfuls of time, to the detriment of rational public discourse and reasoned public affairs. In this eloquent, persuasive book, Neil Postman alerts us to the real and present dangers of this state of affairs, and offers compelling suggestions as to how to with...
Random Family
Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx
by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (Feb 10, 2004)
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In her extraordinary bestseller, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses readers in the intricacies of the ghetto, revealing the true sagas lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. Focusing on two romances - Jessica's dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George,...
The Muqaddimah
An Introduction to History - Abridged Edition (Princeton Classics)
by Ibn Ibn Khaldûn (Apr 27, 2015)
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"The Muqaddimah," often translated as "Introduction" or "Prolegomenon," is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by the great fourteenth-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), this monumental work established the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography...
Recommended by
Mark Zuckerberg
Outliers
The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell (Jun 07, 2011)
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In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to w...
Amazing Grace
The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
by Jonathan Kozol (Jun 25, 2012)
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The children in this book defy the stereotypes of urban youth too frequently presented by the media. Tender, generous and often religiously devout, they speak with eloquence and honesty about the poverty and racial isolation that have wounded but not hardened them. The book does not romanticize or soften the effects of violence and sickness. One fo...
The Privileged Poor
How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students
by Anthony Abraham Jack (Feb 28, 2019)
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Getting in is only half the battle. The Privileged Poor reveals how--and why--disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges, and explains what schools can do differently if these students are to thrive.The Ivy League looks different than it used to. College presidents and deans of admission have opened their doors--and their coffers--to support...
Our Culture, What's Left of It
The Mandarins and the Masses
by Theodore Dalrymple (Mar 01, 2007)
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This new collection of essays bears the unmistakable stamp of Theodore Dalrymple's bracingly clearsighted view of the human condition. In these twenty-six pieces, Dr. Dalrymple ranges over literature and ideas, from Shakespeare to Marx, from the break-down of Islam to the legalization of drugs. The book includes "When Islam Breaks Down," named by D...
Recommended by
Jordan Peterson
Generations
The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069
by Neil Howe (Sep 30, 1992)
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Hailed by national leaders as politically diverse as former Vice President Al Gore and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Generations has been heralded by reviewers as a brilliant, if somewhat unsettling, reassessment of where America is heading.William Strauss and Neil Howe posit the history of America as a succession of generational biographies,...
Recommended by
Dev Khare
Working
People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
by Studs Terkel (Feb 28, 1997)
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Studs Terkel records the voices of America. Men and women from every walk of life talk to him, telling him of their likes and dislikes, fears, problems, and happinesses on the job. Once again, Terkel has created a rich and unique document that is as simple as conversation, but as subtle and heartfelt as the meaning of our lives.... In the first tra...
Blind to Betrayal
Why We Fool Ourselves We Aren't Being Fooled
by Jennifer Freyd (Mar 01, 2013)
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One of the world's top experts on betrayal looks at why we often can't see it right in front of our facesIf the cover-up is worse than the crime, blindness to betrayal can be worse than the betrayal itself. Whether the betrayer is an unfaithful spouse, an abusive authority figure, an unfair boss, or a corrupt institution, we often refuse to see the...
Recommended by
Tuur Demeester
The Image
A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America
by Daniel J. Boorstin (Sep 01, 1992)
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First published in 1962, this wonderfully provocative book introduced the notion of “pseudo-events”—events such as press conferences and presidential debates, which are manufactured solely in order to be reported—and the contemporary definition of celebrity as “a person who is known for his well-knownness.” Since then Daniel J. Boorstin’s prophetic...
Recommended by
Dave Elitch
Poor People's Movements
Why They Succeed, How They Fail
by Frances Fox Piven (Dec 11, 1978)
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Have the poor fared best by participating in conventional electoral politics or by engaging in mass defiance and disruption? The authors of the classic Regulating The Poor assess the successes and failures of these two strategies as they examine, in this provocative study, four protest movements of lower-class groups in 20th century America:-- The ...
Recommended by
Angus Johnston
Racism Without Racists
Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States
by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (Aug 03, 2006)
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The first edition of this best-selling book showed that alongside the subtle forms of discrimination typical of the post-Civil Rights era, new powerful ideology of "color-blind racism" has emerged. Bonilla-Silva documented how beneath the rhetorical maze of contemporary racial discourse lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories t...
The Spirit Level
Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
by Richard Wilkinson (May 03, 2011)
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A groundbreaking work on the root cause of our ills, which is changing the way politicians think. Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Greeks? The answer: inequality. This groundbreaking book, based on years of researc...
Strangers in Their Own Land
Anger and Mourning on the American Right
by Arlie Russell Hochschild (Feb 20, 2018)
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In Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country – a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Russell Hochs...
The Sociological Imagination
by C. Wright Mills (Apr 12, 2000)
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C. Wright Mills is best remembered for his highly acclaimed work The Sociological Imagination, in which he set forth his views on how social science should be pursued. Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a hum...
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Fates of Human Societies
by Jared Diamond Ph.D. (Jul 17, 2005)
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Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasi...
Unequal Childhoods
Class, Race, and Family Life
by Annette Lareau (Sep 10, 2003)
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Class does make a difference in the lives and futures of American children. Drawing on in-depth observations of black and white middle-class, working-class, and poor families, Unequal Childhoods explores this fact, offering a picture of childhood today. Here are the frenetic families managing their children's hectic schedules of "leisure" activitie...
The Civilizing Process
Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations
by Norbert Elias (Jul 12, 2000)
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The Civilizing Process stands out as Norbert Elias' greatest work, tracing the "civilizing" of manners and personality in Western Europe since the late Middle Ages by demonstrating how the formation of states and the monopolization of power within them changed Western society forever....
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Jacques Ellul]
by Jacques Ellul (Feb 22, 1973)
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As insightful and wise today as it was when originally published in 1954, Jacques Ellul's The Technological Society has become a classic in its field, laying the groundwork for all other studies of technology and society that have followed.Ellul offers a penetrating analysis of our technological civilization, showing how technology-which began inno...
Liquid Modernity
by Zygmunt Bauman (Jun 07, 2000)
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In this new book, Bauman examines how we have moved away from a 'heavy' and 'solid', hardware-focused modernity to a 'light' and 'liquid', software-based modernity. This passage, he argues, has brought profound change to all aspects of the human condition. The new remoteness and un-reachability of global systemic structure coupled with the unstruct...
The Social Construction of Reality
A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge
by Peter L. Berger (Jul 11, 1967)
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Called the "fifth-most important sociological book of the 20th century" by the International Sociological Association, this groundbreaking study of knowledge introduces the concept of "social construction" into the social sciences for the first time. In it, Berger and Luckmann reformulate the task of the sociological subdicipline that, since Max Sc...
Distinction
A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste
by Pierre Bourdieu (Dec 31, 1983)
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Los sujetos sociales se diferencian por las distinciones que realizan -entre lo sabroso y lo insípido, lo bello y lo feo, lo distinguido y lo vulgar- en las que se expresa o se traiciona su posición. El análisis de las relaciones entre los sistemas de enclasamiento (el gusto) y las condiciones de existencia (la clase social) conduce así a una críti...
The Power Elite
by C. Wright Mills (Feb 16, 2000)
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First published in 1956, The Power Elite stands as a contemporary classic of social science and social criticism. C. Wright Mills examines and critiques the organization of power in the United States, calling attention to three firmly interlocked prongs of power: the military, corporate, and political elite. The Power Elite can be read as a good ac...
Asylums
Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates
by Erving Goffman (Nov 10, 1961)
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Asylums is an analysis of life in "total institutions"--closed worlds like prisons, army camps, boarding schools, nursing homes and mental hospitals. It focuses on the relationship between the inmate and the institution, how the setting affects the person and how the person can deal with life on the inside....
The Interpretation of Cultures
by Clifford Geertz (Aug 14, 2017)
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In The Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologis...
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
by Erving Goffman (Jun 01, 1959)
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A notable contribution to our understanding of ourselves. This book explores the realm of human behavior in social situations and the way that we appear to others. Dr. Goffman uses the metaphor of theatrical performance as a framework. Each person in everyday social intercourse presents himself and his activity to others, attempts to guide and cont...
Economy and Society
by Max Weber (Oct 10, 2013)
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Max Weber's Economy and Society is the greatest sociological treatise written in this century. Published posthumously in Germany in the early 1920's, it has become a constitutive part of the modern sociological imagination. Economy and Society was the first strictly empirical comparison of social structures and normative orders in world-historical ...
Sociobiology
The New Synthesis, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition
by Edward O. Wilson (Mar 03, 2000)
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View a collection of videos on Professor Wilson entitled "On the Relation of Science and the Humanities"Harvard University Press is proud to announce the re-release of the complete original version of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis--now available in paperback for the first time. When this classic work was first published in 1975, it created a new ...
The Decadent Society
How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success
by Ross Douthat (Feb 25, 2020)
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From the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bad Religion, a powerful portrait of how our age in human history, so superficially turbulent, is actually defined by stagnation, repetition, deadlocks, and decayToday the Western world seems to be in crisis. But beneath our social media frenzy and reality-television politics, the deeper r...
Automating Inequality
How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor
by Virginia Eubanks (Aug 06, 2019)
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The New York Times Book Review: "Riveting."Naomi Klein: "This book is downright scary."Ethan Zuckerman, MIT: "Should be required reading."Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body: "A must-read."Astra Taylor, author of The People's Platform: "The single most important book about technology you will read this year."Cory Doctorow: "Indispensa...
Recommended by
Tim O’Reilly
Gang Leader for a Day
A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
by Sudhir Venkatesh (Dec 30, 2008)
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A New York Times BestsellerForeword by Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics When first-year graduate student Sudhir Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago’s most notorious housing projects, he hoped to find a few people willing to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty--and impress his professors with his bold...
Recommended by
Mark Zuckerberg
The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America
by Barry Latzer (Jun 27, 2017)
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A compelling case can be made that violent crime, especially after the 1960s, was one of the most significant domestic issues in the United States. Indeed, few issues had as profound an effect on American life in the last third of the twentieth century. After 1965, crime rose to such levels that it frightened virtually all Americans and prompted si...
Recommended by
Ben Shapiro
The End of Patriarchy
Radical Feminism for Men
by Robert Jensen (Jan 01, 2017)
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The End of Patriarchy asks one key question: what do we need to create stable and decent human communities that can thrive in a sustainable relationship with the larger living world? Robert Jensen’s answer is feminism and a critique of patriarchy. He calls for a radical feminist challenge to institutionalized male dominance; an uncompromising rejec...
The Working Poor
Invisible in America
by David K. Shipler (Jan 04, 2005)
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As David K. Shipler makes clear in this powerful, humane study, the invisible poor are engaged in the activity most respected in American ideology—hard, honest work. But their version of the American Dream is a nightmare: low-paying, dead-end jobs; the profound failure of government to improve upon decaying housing, health care, and education; the ...
Very Important People
Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit
by Ashley Mears (May 26, 2020)
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A sociologist and former fashion model takes readers inside the elite global party circuit of "models and bottles" to reveal how beautiful young women are used to boost the status of menMillion-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera, and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today's New Gilded Age, the world's moneyed classes have tak...
Recommended by
Tyler Cowen
Future Shock
by Alvin Toffler (Jun 01, 1984)
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"The best study of our times that I know. . . . Of all the books that I have read in the last 20 years, it is by far the one that has taught me the most."--Le Figaro Future Shock is about the present. Future Shock is about what is happening today to people and groups who are overwhelmed by change. Change affects our products, communities, organizat...
From Max Weber
Essays in Sociology
by Max Weber (Oct 15, 2018)
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An introduction to the work of the greatest German sociologist and a key figure in the development of present-day sociological thought....
Stigma
Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity
by Erving Goffman (Jun 15, 1986)
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From the author of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Stigma is analyzes a person’s feelings about himself and his relationship to people whom society calls “normal.”Stigma is an illuminating excursion into the situation of persons who are unable to conform to standards that society calls normal. Disqualified from full social acceptance, th...
Liquid Life
by Zygmunt Bauman (Jun 24, 2005)
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'Liquid life' is the kind of life commonly lived in our contemporary, liquid-modern society. Liquid life cannot stay on course, as liquid-modern society cannot keep its shape for long. Liquid life is a precarious life, lived under conditions of constant uncertainty. The most acute and stubborn worries that haunt this liquid life are the fears of be...
Recommended by
Esther Perel
The Tipping Point
How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
by Malcolm Gladwell (Jan 07, 2002)
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An alternate cover edition exists here.The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in...
Freakonomics
A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.)
by Steven D. Levitt (Aug 25, 2009)
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Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner offer the long-awaited paperback edition of Freakonomics, the runaway bestseller, including six Freakonomics columns from the New York Times Magazine and a Q & A with the authors.Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?How much do parents reall...
Written from the standpoint of the social behaviorist, this treatise contains the heart of Mead's position on social psychology. The analysis of language is of major interest, as it supplied for the first time an adequate treatment of the language mechanism in relation to scientific and philosophical issues."If philosophical eminence be measured by...
Sociology
by Anthony Giddens (Jun 01, 2009)
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Sociology provides an introduction to its field. The fifth edition preserves the lucid, lively and comprehensive qualities which marked the book in its earlier versions. Numerous student learning aids are provided....
One-Dimensional Man
Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, 2nd Edition
by Herbert Marcuse (Sep 30, 1991)
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Originally published in 1964, One-Dimensional Man quickly became one of the most important texts in the ensuing decade of radical political change. This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events....
Technopoly
The Surrender of Culture to Technology
by Neil Postman (Dec 31, 1992)
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In this witty, often terrifying work of cultural criticism, the author of Amusing Ourselves to Death chronicles our transformation into a Technopoly: a society that no longer merely uses technology as a support system but instead is shaped by it--with radical consequences for the meanings of politics, art, education, intelligence, and truth....
Recommended by
Tristan Harris
The Culture of Narcissism
American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations
by Christopher Lasch (Oct 23, 2018)
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When The Culture of Narcissism was first published in 1979, Christopher Lasch was hailed as a “biblical prophet” (Time). Lasch’s identification of narcissism as not only an individual ailment but also a burgeoning social epidemic was groundbreaking. His diagnosis of American culture is even more relevant today, predicting the limitless expansion of...
$2.00 a Day
Living on Almost Nothing in America
by Kathryn Edin (Sep 13, 2016)
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A revelatory account of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don’t think it existsJessica Compton’s family of four would have no cash income unless she donated plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends. After ...
The Way We Never Were
American Families And The Nostalgia Trap
by Stephanie Coontz (Oct 06, 1993)
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The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families. Placing current family dilemmas in the context of far-reaching economic, political, and demographic changes, Coontz sheds new light on such contemporary concerns as parenting, privacy, love, the division o...
The Social Animal
The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
by David Brooks (Jan 03, 2012)
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWith unequaled insight and brio, New York Times columnist David Brooks has long explored and explained the way we live. Now Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a multilayered, profoundly illuminating work grounded in everyday life. This is the story of how success happens, told through the lives o...
The Sociology of Religion
by Max Weber (Apr 14, 1993)
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In The Sociology of Religion, first published in the United States in 1963, Max Weber looks at the significant role religion has played in social change throughout history. The book was a formative text of the new discipline of sociology and has gone on to become a classic in the social sciences....
On the Run
Fugitive Life in an American City
by Alice Goffman (Apr 07, 2015)
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A RIVETING, GROUNDBREAKING ACCOUNT OF HOW THE WAR ON CRIME HASTORN APART INNER-CITY COMMUNITIESForty years in, the tough on crime turn in American politics has spurred a prison boom of historic proportions that disproportionately affects Black communities. It has also torn at the lives of those on the outside. As arrest quotas and high tech surveil...
Recommended by
Alex Blumberg
The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
by Emile Durkheim (Jun 15, 2008)
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In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), Emile Durkheim sets himself the task of discovering the enduring source of human social identity. He investigates what he considered to be the simplest form of documented religion - totemism among the Aborigines of Australia. For Durkheim, studying Aboriginal religion was a way 'to yield an understa...
Forgive and Remember
Managing Medical Failure, 2nd Edition
by Charles L. L. Bosk (Oct 14, 2003)
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On its initial publication, Forgive and Remember emerged as the definitive study of the training and lives of young surgeons. Now with an extensive new preface, epilogue, and appendix by the author, reflecting on the changes that have taken place since the book's original publication, this updated second edition of Charles L. Bosk's classic study i...
Recommended by
Peter Attia
Lurking
How a Person Became a User
by Joanne McNeil (Feb 25, 2020)
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A concise but wide-ranging personal history of the internet fromfor the first timethe point of view of the userIn a shockingly short amount of time, the internet has bound people around the world together and torn us apart and changed not just the way we communicate but who we are and who we can be. It has created a new, unprecedented cultural spac...
Recommended by
Taylor Lorenz
The Theory of the Leisure Class
by Thorstein Veblen (Apr 03, 2018)
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Almost a century after its original publication, Thorstein Veblen's work is as fresh and relevant as ever. Veblen's The Theory of the Leisure Class is in the tradition of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, yet it provides a surprisingly contemporary look at American economics and society. Establishing such terms as "c...
Invitation to Sociology
A Humanistic Perspective
by Peter L. Berger (Feb 28, 1963)
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This lucid and lively book, punctuated with witty, incisive examples, is addressed both to the layman who wants to know what sociology is all about and to students and sociologists who are concerned about the larger implications and dimensions of their discipline. Professor Berger places sociology in the humanist tradition and recognizes it as a "p...
Truth
How the Many Sides to Every Story Shape Our Reality
by Hector Macdonald (Mar 06, 2018)
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For fans of Nudge, Sway, and The Art of Thinking Clearly, a fascinating dive into the many ways in which "competing truths" shape our opinions, behaviors, and beliefs.We like to think that there is a clear distinction between true and false. The reality is far murkier.Hector Macdonald has spent much of his career exploring the ways that two complet...
Recommended by
George Raveling
The Watchman's Rattle
A Radical New Theory of Collapse
by Rebecca D. Costa (Nov 12, 2012)
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Why cant we solve our problems anymore? Why do threats such as the Gulf oil spill, worldwide recession, terrorism, and global warming suddenly seem unstoppable? Are there limits to the kinds of problems humans can solve? Rebecca Costa confronts- and offers a solution to-these questions in her highly anticipated and game-changing book, The Watchmans...
Recommended by
Donald Trump
The Protestant ethic — a moral code stressing hard work, rigorous self-discipline, and the organization of one's life in the service of God — was made famous by sociologist and political economist Max Weber. In this brilliant study (his best-known and most controversial), he opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and its view that c...
The Coming Population Crash
and Our Planet's Surprising Future
by Fred Pearce (Apr 05, 2011)
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A leading environmental writer looks at the unexpected effects—and possible benefits—of a shrinking, graying population  Over the last century, the world’s population quadrupled and fears of overpopulation flared, with baby booms blamed for genocide and terrorism, and overpopulation singled out as the primary factor driving global warming. Yet, sur...
Recommended by
Stewart Brand
Mediated
How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It
by Thomas de Zengotita (Mar 01, 2006)
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In this utterly original look at our modern "culture of performance," de Zengotita shows how media are creating self-reflective environments, custom made for each of us. From Princess Diana's funeral to the prospect of mass terror, from oral sex in the Oval Office to cowboy politics in distant lands, from high school cliques to marital therapy, fro...
Recommended by
Bridget Phetasy
A Geography Of Time
The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist
by Robert V. Levine (Jul 22, 1998)
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In this engaging and spirited book, eminent social psychologist Robert Levine asks us to explore a dimension of our experience that we take for granted--our perception of time. When we travel to a different country, or even a different city in the United States, we assume that a certain amount of cultural adjustment will be required, whether it's g...
Recommended by
Derek Sivers
The Division of Labor in Society
by Emile Durkheim (Jan 01, 2013)
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Originally published in 1893 and never out of print, Emile Durkheim’s groundbreaking work remains one of the cornerstone texts of the sociological canon—now updated and re-translated in this new edition.As the Industrial Revolution was changing the landscape of society, Durkheim presented a new vision of the social structures at the root of capital...
Playing on the Edge
Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy
by Staci Newmahr (Feb 14, 2011)
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Representations of consensual sadomasochism range from the dark, seedy undergrounds of crime thrillers to the fetishized pornographic images of sitcoms and erotica. In this pathbreaking book, ethnographer Staci Newmahr delves into the social space of a public, pansexual SM community to understand sadomasochism from the inside out. Based on four yea...
The Tyranny of Metrics
by Jerry Z. Muller (Feb 06, 2018)
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How the obsession with quantifying human performance threatens our schools, medical care, businesses, and governmentToday, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation ...
Recommended by
Sanjay Bakshi
Liquid Love
On the Frailty of Human Bonds
by Zygmunt Bauman (Jun 12, 2003)
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This book is about the central figure of our contemporary, 'liquid modern' times - the man or woman with no bonds, and particularly with none of the fixed or durable bonds that would allow the effort of self-definition and self-assertion to come to a rest. Having no permanent bonds, the denizen of our liquid modern society must tie whatever bonds t...
Suicide
by Emile Durkheim (Oct 17, 2013)
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A classic book about the phenomenon of suicide and its social causes written by one of the world’s most influential sociologists.Emile Durkheim’s Suicide addresses the phenomenon of suicide and its social causes. Written by one of the world’s most influential sociologists, this classic argues that suicide primarily results from a lack of integratio...
Coming Apart
The State of White America, 1960-2010
by Charles Murray (Jan 29, 2013)
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From the bestselling author of Losing Ground and The Bell Curve, this startling long-lens view shows how America is coming apart at the seams that historically have joined our classes. In Coming Apart, Charles Murray explores the formation of American classes that are different in kind from anything we have ever known, focusing on whites as a way o...
Bowling Alone
The Collapse and Revival of American Community
by Robert D. Putnam (Aug 07, 2001)
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Once we bowled in leagues, usually after work--but no longer. This seemingly small phenomenon symbolizes a significant social change that Robert Putnam has identified in this brilliant volume, which The Economist hailed as "a prodigious achievement."Drawing on vast new data that reveal Americans' changing behavior, Putnam shows how we have become i...
The McDonaldization of Society
Revised New Century Edition
by George Ritzer (Jan 20, 2004)
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This Revised New Century Edition provides many new, relevant examples from recent events and contemporary popular culture, including the ever-increasing global proliferation of McDonald's and other fast food franchises, shopping malls, and similar commercial entities....
Rules of Sociological Method
by Emile Durkheim (Dec 01, 1982)
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First published in 1895: Emile Durkheim’s masterful work on the nature and scope of sociology—now with a new introduction and improved translation by leading scholar Steven Lukes.The Rules of the Sociological Method is among the most important contributions to the field of sociology, still debated among scholars today. Through letters, arguments, a...
Damned Lies and Statistics
Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists
by Joel Best (May 07, 2001)
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Does the number of children gunned down double each year? Does anorexia kill 150,000 young women annually? Do white males account for only a sixth of new workers? Startling statistics shape our thinking about social issues. But all too often, these numbers are wrong. This book is a lively guide to spotting bad statistics and learning to think criti...
Bright-sided
How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America
by Barbara Ehrenreich (Aug 03, 2010)
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Americans are a "positive" people—cheerful, optimistic, and upbeat: this is our reputation as well as our self-image. But more than a temperament, being positive, we are told, is the key to success and prosperity. In this utterly original take on the American frame of mind, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its ...
Megatrends
Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives
by John Naisbitt (Oct 27, 1982)
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Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives...
Alone Together
Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
by Sherry Turkle (Nov 07, 2017)
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Consider Facebook—it’s human contact, only easier to engage with and easier to avoid. Developing technology promises closeness. Sometimes it delivers, but much of our modern life leaves us less connected with people and more connected to simulations of them.In Alone Together, MIT technology and society professor Sherry Turkle explores the power of ...
Nickel and Dimed
On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich (Aug 02, 2011)
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Reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity--a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival.Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare r...
Bobos In Paradise
The New Upper Class and How They Got There
by David Brooks (Mar 06, 2001)
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In his bestselling work of “comic sociology,” David Brooks coins a new word, Bobo, to describe today’s upper class—those who have wed the bourgeois world of capitalist enterprise to the hippie values of the bohemian counterculture. Their hybrid lifestyle is the atmosphere we breathe, and in this witty and serious look at the cultural consequences o...
Bait and Switch
The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
by Barbara Ehrenreich (Jul 25, 2006)
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The New York Times bestselling investigation into white-collar unemployment from "our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism"--The New York Times Book ReviewAmericans' working lives are growing more precarious every day. Corporations slash employees by the thousands, and the benefits and pensions once guaranteed by "middle-class" jobs are ...
Conformity
The Power of Social Influences
by Cass R. Sunstein (May 28, 2019)
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Bestselling author Cass R. Sunstein reveals the appeal and the danger of conformityWe live in an era of tribalism, polarization, and intense social division--separating people along lines of religion, political conviction, race, ethnicity, and sometimes gender. How did this happen? In Conformity, Cass R. Sunstein argues that the key to making sense...
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Going Solo
The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone
by Eric Klinenberg (Jan 29, 2013)
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A revelatory examination of the most significant demographic shift since the Baby Boom - the sharp increase in the number of people who live alone - that offers surprising insights on the benefits of this epochal change. In 1950, only 22 percent of American adults were single. Today, more than 50 percent of American adults are single, and 31 millio...