The best 92 Anthropology books

Anthropology offers unique insights into human societies, behaviors, and cultures, making it a crucial field of study for understanding our world. Our carefully selected book list on anthropology is designed to deepen your knowledge and perspective.

Explore these enlightening reads to discover diverse perspectives, explore cultural nuances, and broaden your understanding of human existence. Ready to dive into the rich tapestry of humanity? Begin your exploration with our anthropology collection today.

The best 92 Anthropology books
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1
Anthropology Books: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

The World Without Us

Alan Weisman
4.3 (35 ratings)
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What's The World Without Us about?

The World Without Us (2007) outlines the fictional scenario where, all of a sudden, the whole of mankind disappears. With humanity missing, the process by which nature claims back what was once hers is described. Although most of the footprints left by humanity would be gone after a relatively short period, some would remain. Among these remnants would be some of the many toxic substances released by mankind, meaning that, even after we’ve gone, the damaging effects of human civilization would linger.

 

 

Who should read The World Without Us?

  • Anyone who wonders what damage humans have already done to nature
  • Anyone who wants to know if nature can recover from human interference
  • Anyone who wonders what will survive of our human culture

 


2
Anthropology Books: Man, the State and War by Kenneth N. Waltz

Man, the State and War

Kenneth N. Waltz
A Theoretical Analysis
4.4 (66 ratings)
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What's Man, the State and War about?

In Man, the State and War, Kenneth Waltz develops a groundbreaking analysis of the nature and causes of war, offering readers a wide overview of the major political theories of war from the perspective of political philosophers, psychologists and anthropologists.

Who should read Man, the State and War?

  • Anyone studying international relations
  • Anyone interested in politics
  • Anyone curious about the long tradition of thinking about war and peace

3
Anthropology Books: The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

The Better Angels of Our Nature

Steven Pinker
Why Violence Has Declined
4.5 (96 ratings)
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What's The Better Angels of Our Nature about?

The Better Angels of Our Nature (2012) takes a close look at the history of violence in human society, explaining both our motivations to use violence on certain occasions and the factors that increasingly restrain us from using it – and how these factors have resulted in massive reductions in violence.

Who should read The Better Angels of Our Nature?

  • Anyone who thinks the world is becoming an increasingly violent place
  • Anyone who’s interested in the forces and reasons that drive us to and keep us from violence
  • Anyone interested in the history of violence in human societies

4
Anthropology Books: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankl
4.4 (994 ratings)
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What's Man’s Search for Meaning about?

Originally published in 1946, Man’s Search for Meaning details the harrowing experiences of author and psychologist Viktor Frankl during his internment in Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War. It offers insights into how human beings can survive unsurvivable situations, come to terms with trauma, and ultimately find meaning.

Who should read Man’s Search for Meaning?

  • Anyone interested in psychotherapy
  • Anyone who wants to know how ordinary people cope with extraordinary situations
  • Anyone trying to work out the meaning of life

5
Anthropology Books: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala

Malala Yousafzai
The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
4.4 (7 ratings)
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What's I Am Malala about?

I Am Malala chronicles the fascinating life of the young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai. From humble beginnings in a rural village in Pakistan to speaking in front of the United Nations, Malala’s moving autobiography chronicles the unbelievable transformation of a girl who stood up to the Taliban and became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Who should read I Am Malala?

  • Anyone interested in the fascinating story of Malala Yousafzai
  • Anyone interested in education and human rights
  • Anyone interested in the history of Pakistan and the nuances of Islam

6
Anthropology Books: Rational Ritual by Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Rational Ritual

Michael Suk-Young Chwe
Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge
3.8 (41 ratings)
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What's Rational Ritual about?

Rational Ritual (2001) offers a profound, game theory-based analysis of the role that rituals, ceremonies and media events play in society. Throughout the ages, these rites have been used to create “common knowledge” that allows people to solve problems such as which ruler to obey and which products to buy. Essential reading for budding Robespierres or Steve Jobses alike.

Who should read Rational Ritual?

  • Amateur game theorists, social psychologists or sociologists
  • Anyone interested in the true societal function of rituals, ceremonies and other cultural practices

7
Anthropology Books: SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

SuperFreakonomics

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
4.2 (94 ratings)
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What's SuperFreakonomics about?

SuperFreakonomics (2009) explains why thinking like an economist can help us understand our modern world. These blinks illustrate key economic principles and the importance of collecting data with colorful stories from human history, and offers surprising solutions for the global problems that we face today.

Who should read SuperFreakonomics?

  • Anyone interested in entertaining, statistical facts about human behavior
  • Math buffs who believe in the power of statistics
  • Anyone curious about a very cheap way to stop global warming

8
Anthropology Books: Driven by Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria

Driven

Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria
How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices
3.6 (27 ratings)
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00:00

What's Driven about?

Driven (2002) is about the four innate urges that determine our behavior: the drive to defend, the drive to acquire, the drive to bond and the drive to learn. It outlines the reasons these traits arose in humans specifically, what they mean for us in the modern world and how we can use our knowledge of them to our benefit.

Who should read Driven?

  • Anyone interested in psychology
  • Evolution or anthropology nerds
  • Managers who want their organization to run more efficiently

9
Anthropology Books: Orientalism by Edward W. Said

Orientalism

Edward W. Said
Western Conceptions of the Orient
3.9 (205 ratings)
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What's Orientalism about?

Orientalism (1978) shines a light on the often unquestioned assumptions about Eastern civilizations that are persistently prevalent in the West. By unearthing and analyzing the West’s biases, Edward Said aims to undermine Orientalism’s influence on how the West perceives and interacts with the East.

Who should read Orientalism?

  • Anyone fascinated by non-Western civilizations
  • Anyone curious about the origins of modern international politics
  • Anyone interested in the history of colonialism and its remaining traces today

10
Anthropology Books: The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldūn

The Muqaddimah

Ibn Khaldūn
An Introduction to History
4.0 (105 ratings)
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What's The Muqaddimah about?

The Muqaddimah (fourteenth century, first English edition 1958), a classic text on the Islamic history of the world, focuses on the rise and fall of civilizations. It offers a unique glimpse into the world of the fourteenth-century Arab Muslim, and is regarded as a foundational text in several academic disciplines.

Who should read The Muqaddimah?

  • History enthusiasts
  • People interested in social organization
  • Participants in Mark Zuckerberg’s A Year of Books

11
Anthropology Books: Energy by Vaclav Smil

Energy

Vaclav Smil
A Beginner’s Guide
3.5 (143 ratings)
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What's Energy about?

Energy (2006) offers insights into one of the most elusive concepts in the spectrum of human thought: energy. By understanding what energy is, how it has helped us get where we are today, and what dangers our reliance on certain forms of energy poses, we will be better equipped to handle the challenges faced by modern civilization.

Who should read Energy?

  • Readers looking for the ultimate explanation of how our world works
  • Physics fans and climate change deniers
  • Anyone who is awed by the miracle of life

12
Anthropology Books: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens

Yuval Noah Harari
A Brief History of Humankind
4.4 (5,482 ratings)
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What's Sapiens about?

Sapiens (2015) traces the evolution of our species – from the rise of our most ancient ancestors to our current place in the modern, technological age. How have we, a species of hairless, tailless ape, managed to completely dominate the entire planet? These blinks show you the developments and trends that have allowed Homo sapiens to rise to the top.

Who should read Sapiens?

  • People curious about why our species – Homo sapiens – came to rule the world
  • Those who want to know how humans ended up living in a capitalist world community
  • Anyone curious to discover the beginnings of human society and culture

13
Anthropology Books: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Nothing to Envy

Barbara Demick
Real Lives in North Korea
4.3 (40 ratings)
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What's Nothing to Envy about?

Nothing to Envy (2010) presents fascinating first-hand anecdotes from North Korean defectors, giving intimate insights into the lives of North Koreans under the rule of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un. The thousands of refugees who arrive in South Korea each year bring with them stories of famine, repression and an isolated nation that has fallen out of touch with the developed world.

Who should read Nothing to Envy?

  • Anyone interested in North Korea
  • Anyone who wants to know what it’s like to live under a communist dictatorship
  • Those curious about the lives of defectors and refugees

14
Anthropology Books: China's Second Continent by Howard French

China's Second Continent

Howard French
How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa
3.8 (105 ratings)
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What's China's Second Continent about?

China's Second Continent (2014) is about the mass wave of Chinese migrants who have relocated to Africa in the last few decades. These blinks trace the origins of this migration and outline the profound impact it has on both regions, Chinese-African relations and the world at large.

Who should read China's Second Continent?

  • Students of Chinese or African politics
  • Anyone interested in international relations
  • Anyone curious about the long-term influence of mass migration

15
Anthropology Books: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

The Botany of Desire

Michael Pollan
A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
4.4 (78 ratings)
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What's The Botany of Desire about?

The Botany of Desire (2001) explores the complex and fascinating relationship between humans and plants. In these blinks, we’ll see how plants manipulate humans by taking advantage of our four basic desires for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control, and how, in turn, we help plants reproduce and even grow stronger.

Who should read The Botany of Desire?

  • Gardeners curious about our relationship with plants
  • People interested in botany
  • All readers with an interest in anthropology

16
Anthropology Books: A Million Years In A Day by Greg Jenner

A Million Years In A Day

Greg Jenner
A Curious History of Everyday Life From the Stone Age to the Phone Age
3.8 (32 ratings)
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What's A Million Years In A Day about?

It’s easy to assume that our daily rituals are merely recent traditions that have taken shape in recent generations. In reality, a surprising amount of basic habits can be traced all the way back to the Stone Age. Greg Jenner’s A Million Years In A Day (2015) depicts a typical modern Sunday, from brushing one’s teeth to reading the newspaper, and reveals the long and hefty history behind our everyday lives.

Who should read A Million Years In A Day?

  • People interested in cultural history
  • Scholars of the Stone Age

17
Anthropology Books: Southern Theory by Raewyn Connell

Southern Theory

Raewyn Connell
The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science
4.0 (46 ratings)
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What's Southern Theory about?

In Southern Theory (2007), sociologist Raewyn Connell investigates the emergence of the social sciences in the context of Western imperialism. She explains how sociological knowledge and theory was and is primarily produced from the perspective of the colonizers, and not the colonized.

Who should read Southern Theory?

  • Sociology and humanities students
  • Anyone interested in globalization and postcolonialism
  • People interested in international politics

18
Anthropology Books: The Great Escape by Angus Deaton

The Great Escape

Angus Deaton
Health, Wealth and the Origin of Inequality
3.8 (32 ratings)
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What's The Great Escape about?

The Great Escape (2013) clearly explains that humanity is doing better than ever before. But not everyone has benefited from the technological and political developments that have made our prosperity possible. By examining both historical and modern inequality, this book offers solid advice on how to close the gap.

Who should read The Great Escape?

  • Anyone interested in global inequality
  • Anyone interested in economics and health

19
Anthropology Books: The Big Necessity by Rose George

The Big Necessity

Rose George
The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters
4.9 (11 ratings)
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What's The Big Necessity about?

The Big Necessity (2008) takes a detailed look at the issues surrounding human excrement. Most people would rather ignore these issues – but turning a deaf ear is precisely what’s led to the sanitation crises plaguing the world today. Sanitation is too important to dismiss; a lack of it is causing thousands of needless deaths worldwide. Find out what can be done to help in these blinks.

Who should read The Big Necessity?

  • Anyone who’s ever had a bowel movement
  • Anthropologists interested in city-planning, urban design and living
  • Activists interested in global health and saving lives

20
Anthropology Books: The Global Code by Clotaire Rapaille

The Global Code

Clotaire Rapaille
How a New Culture of Universal Values Is Reshaping Business and Marketing
3.1 (19 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Global Code about?

The Global Code (2015) is about a recent worldwide phenomenon: a global unconsciousness, or code, that contains a new system of values, beliefs and principles. This code is formed and shared by the Global Tribe, a highly mobile and cross-cultural group of people who are setting trends, shaking up the old status quo and becoming the target demographic for global luxury brands.

Who should read The Global Code?

  • Sociology and anthropology students
  • People interested in cultural differences and similarities
  • Marketers and advertisers who want to make their brand a global success

21
Anthropology Books: The Age of Empathy by Frans de Waal

The Age of Empathy

Frans de Waal
Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society
4.2 (91 ratings)
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What's The Age of Empathy about?

The Age of Empathy (2009) debunks popular theories which suggest that human nature is inherently selfish, cut-throat and prone to violence. Evidence provided by biology, history and science makes clear that cooperation, peace and empathy are qualities that are as natural and innate to us as our less desirable traits.

Who should read The Age of Empathy?

  • Anthropologists curious about human nature
  • Sociologists interested in our innate biological ability to bond with others
  • Students interested in how social science, politics, evolution and biology intersect

22
Anthropology Books: Beyond Culture by Edward Hall

Beyond Culture

Edward Hall
4.1 (80 ratings)
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What's Beyond Culture about?

Beyond Culture (1976) explores how people across cultures display such diverse patterns of behavior, from resolving conflict to perceiving the passage of time. These blinks highlight the contrasts among cultures, showing us why we need to look beyond our culture to better understand other people.

Who should read Beyond Culture?

  • Readers interested in the influence of culture on human behavior
  • Travelers or adventurers who want to learn more about cultural subtleties
  • Students eager to explore the work of famous anthropologist Edward Hall

23
Anthropology Books: Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra

Age of Anger

Pankaj Mishra
A History of the Present
3.7 (66 ratings)
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What's Age of Anger about?

Age of Anger (2017) examines the world and the upheaval it’s undergoing. These blinks look back to earlier societies and dissect the origins of our current travails. They also pay close attention to the philosophical teachings of the Enlightenment, which still influence Western thought today.

Who should read Age of Anger?

  • Anyone with questions about the societal effects of globalization
  • Students of philosophy and history
  • Anyone with unanswered questions about the current state of the world

24
Anthropology Books: The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth

The Almost Nearly Perfect People

Michael Booth
Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
4.4 (34 ratings)
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What's The Almost Nearly Perfect People about?

In The Almost Nearly Perfect People (2014), Danish resident Michael Booth takes us on a journey through the continent (and beyond) in an attempt to deconstruct and understand the popular belief that Scandinavia is some sort of cultural utopia – albeit a very cold one. Since the turn of the century, the influence and popularity of Scandinavian culture has cropped up almost everywhere, from books and TV to IKEA and Spotify.

Who should read The Almost Nearly Perfect People?

  • Those with an anthropological interest in Scandinavia
  • History buffs interested in the lesser-known stories of Scandinavian history
  • Anyone who has been bitten by the Nordic bug

25
Anthropology Books: Origin Story by David Christian

Origin Story

David Christian
A Big History of Everything
4.3 (155 ratings)
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What's Origin Story about?

Origin Story (2018) tells the story of our universe, from the Big Bang to the present day. It traces how the right conditions have allowed the development of forms, organisms and ultimately societies of incredible complexity. From the emergence of single-celled organisms to the development of agriculture, it tells the epic story of our origins.

Who should read Origin Story?

  • Anyone interested in the history of natural and human innovation
  • Anyone with an interest in popular science
  • Those seeking to understand our place in the universe

26
Anthropology Books: Tribe by Sebastian Junger

Tribe

Sebastian Junger
On Homecoming and Belonging
4.6 (80 ratings)
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What's Tribe about?

Tribe (2016) scans the historical horizon and plumbs psychological depths to ask what it takes for us to feel at home in the world. Drawing on a wealth of evidence from multiple disciplines, author Sebastian Junger has an unsettling answer: it’s often in the midst of chaos and war that we develop our deepest sense of belonging. From the Blitz to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, extreme danger welds groups together and highlights the sense of community so sorely missing in everyday life.

Who should read Tribe?

  • Soldiers, veterans and their families
  • Anyone fascinated by the life of the mind
  • History buffs

27
Anthropology Books: Discipline & Punish by Michel Foucault

Discipline & Punish

Michel Foucault
The Birth of the Prison
4.3 (123 ratings)
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00:00

What's Discipline & Punish about?

Discipline & Punish (1975) is a celebrated work of renowned French philosopher and sociologist Michel Foucault. Foucault studies the history of forms of power, punishment, discipline and surveillance from the French Ancien Régime through to more modern times, seeing it as a reflection of a changing society.

Who should read Discipline & Punish?

  • Concerned citizens worried about the overreach of mass surveillance
  • Philosophers, historians, cultural scientists and sociologists
  • Anyone interested in modern prisons

28
Anthropology Books: The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond

The Third Chimpanzee

Jared Diamond
The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
4.4 (188 ratings)
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What's The Third Chimpanzee about?

In The Third Chimpanzee (1991), Jared Diamond explores the evolution of Homo sapiens, which started out like any other animal and gradually became a unique creature capable of producing speech, making art and inventing technology. The book reveals some extraordinary insights about the nature of human beings.

Who should read The Third Chimpanzee?

  • Students of history and anthropology
  • People interested in human evolution
  • Readers querying the essence of humankind

29
Anthropology Books: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

Adam Rutherford
The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes
4.5 (218 ratings)
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What's A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived about?

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived (2016) tells the story of humanity through genetics. These blinks explain how humans evolved, the role that genes played – and continue to play – in our development, and the ways in which our genetic past can shine a light on the present.

Who should read A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived?

  • Historians, archaeologists, geneticists and biologists
  • Anyone interested in the history and biology of human life
  • Students fascinated by evolution, genes and DNA

30
Anthropology Books: Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault

Madness and Civilization

Michel Foucault
A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason
4.4 (138 ratings)
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What's Madness and Civilization about?

Madness and Civilization (1961) explores the bumpy road taken by European society in learning how to understand and treat mental illness. Famed philosopher and critic Michel Foucault offers insight into civilization’s troubled history of treating the mentally ill as social outcasts, wild animals and misbehaving children.

Who should read Madness and Civilization?

  • Historians of Europe and medicine
  • Those who want a greater understanding of mental illness and psychiatric institutions
  • Readers interested in French philosophers and sociologists

31
Anthropology Books: Drinking Water by James Salzman

Drinking Water

James Salzman
A History
4.4 (47 ratings)
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What's Drinking Water about?

Drinking Water (2012) looks at our relationship with potable water. Weaving through history to the present day, the book reveals interesting and sometimes shocking facts about drinking water and our thirst-quenching habits.

Who should read Drinking Water?

  • Anyone concerned about what goes into their bodies
  • People who care about the environment
  • Lovers of water

32
Anthropology Books: Identity by Francis Fukuyama

Identity

Francis Fukuyama
The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment
4.3 (100 ratings)
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What's Identity about?

Today, there is an increasing tendency for groups of people to form alliances based on shared traits, like gender, religion or sexual orientation; this is known as identity politics. But while we should be proud of our identities, they can also divide us. In Identity (2019), Francis Fukuyama charts the evolution of one of modern society’s most divisive topics, explains the problems it raises, and suggests what can be done to fix this situation.

Who should read Identity?

  • Progressive citizens curious about the weakness of left-wing politics
  • History buffs puzzled over the origins of identity
  • Activists searching for a different opinion on their objectives

33
Anthropology Books: Who Can You Trust? by Rachel Botsman

Who Can You Trust?

Rachel Botsman
How Technology Brought Us Together – and Why It Could Drive Us Apart
4.3 (64 ratings)
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00:00

What's Who Can You Trust? about?

Who Can You Trust (2017) analyzes the past, present and future of trust. Rachel Botsman addresses the most pressing questions of our networked age, asking why it is that we now trust complete strangers with the most intimate aspects of our lives. She also explores how new technologies like blockchains will continue to revolutionize our relationship with others.

Who should read Who Can You Trust??

  • Anyone fascinated by the big ideas that make the world tick
  • People interested in the cutting edge of technological change
  • Futurologists burning to know what our societies will look like in ten years

34
Anthropology Books: The Golden Thread by Kassia St Clair

The Golden Thread

Kassia St Clair
How Fabric Changed History
4.0 (25 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Golden Thread about?

Textiles are woven into every part of human history. Our continual reinvention of cloth is a testament to the irrepressibility of human ingenuity. The Golden Thread (2018) surveys the role of fabrics in numerous epochs and cultures, making it clear that fabric has always been more than simply clothing – it is an ever-evolving vehicle for human ingenuity and achievement.

Who should read The Golden Thread?

  • Lovers of fabric and textiles
  • History buffs
  • Fashionistas looking for inspiration

35
Anthropology Books: Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti

Crowds and Power

Elias Canetti
4.0 (49 ratings)
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00:00

What's Crowds and Power about?

Crowds and Power (1960) is a troubling, prophetic and erudite analysis of human groups and their interaction with power. Written by Nobel laureate Elias Canetti, it asks why humans who prize individuality seek out membership in crowds and how rulers exploit that desire. This study is as wide-ranging in the sources it draws upon as it is thought-provoking in the conclusions it reaches.

Who should read Crowds and Power?

  • Readers of classic books
  • Sociologists, historians and philosophers
  • Anyone with an interest in the dynamics of crowds and power

36
Anthropology Books: The Human Swarm by Mark W. Moffett

The Human Swarm

Mark W. Moffett
How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall
4.4 (79 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Human Swarm about?

The Human Swarm (2019) is a groundbreaking exploration of human society, from its origins to the huge civilizations found on the planet today. Drawing on psychology, anthropology and biology, it shows how humans have managed to create and maintain societies of a size and complexity unrivaled in the animal kingdom.

Who should read The Human Swarm?

  • Those interested in how society works
  • Armchair psychologists who’d like to understand our relations better
  • People curious about the evolution of human behavior

37
Anthropology Books: The Moral Animal by Robert Wright

The Moral Animal

Robert Wright
Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology
4.4 (181 ratings)
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What's The Moral Animal about?

The Moral Animal (1994) delves into the fascinating – and occasionally controversial – field of evolutionary psychology to ask what really motivates human behavior. Drawing on the work of Darwin as well as a wealth of anthropological sources, Robert Wright sheds new light on a range of familiar everyday situations in the animal kingdom and our own societies.

Who should read The Moral Animal?

  • Psychologists and keen observers of human behavior
  • Biologists and other natural scientists
  • Anyone fascinated by the evolution of our species

38
Anthropology Books: Gods of the Upper Air by Charles King

Gods of the Upper Air

Charles King
How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century
4.1 (54 ratings)
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00:00

What's Gods of the Upper Air about?

Gods of the Upper Air (2019) details the story of how Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, Zora Neale Hurston and other researchers challenged pseudoscientific theories upholding racism and established the modern discipline of cultural anthropology. Tracing the travels, romances and ideas that bound this group together, these blinks recount what became a seismic shift in notions of race, sex and gender identity.

Who should read Gods of the Upper Air?

  • Students of anthropology, sociology and gender studies
  • Zora Neale Hurston fans
  • Americans interested in racial history

39
Anthropology Books: Blueprint by Nicholas A. Christakis

Blueprint

Nicholas A. Christakis
The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
4.2 (91 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Blueprint about?

Blueprint (2019) explores the psychological traits that all humans share. Examining the evolutionary underpinnings of our social behavior, these blinks shine a light on our ancestral past and investigate how love, cooperation and friendship came to be indispensable items in our social tool kit.

Who should read Blueprint?

  • Budding social scientists
  • Evolutionary psychology buffs
  • History junkies looking for a fresh perspective

40
Anthropology Books: America Before by Graham Hancock

America Before

Graham Hancock
The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization
4.1 (127 ratings)
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00:00

What's America Before about?

America Before (2019) is a mind-expanding quest for an ancient and lost way of life. Drawing on lesser-known DNA and archeological evidence, it proposes the existence of a great, early civilization based in North America. Lost to history in the aftermath of a cataclysmic comet strike, this civilization is visible today only in the traces it left in Egyptian, Native American and other great ancient cultures.

Who should read America Before?

  • Anyone looking for an imaginative adventure into the past
  • Historians and archeologists willing to challenge the established view

41
Anthropology Books: Social Empathy by Elizabeth Segal

Social Empathy

Elizabeth Segal
The Art of Understanding Others
3.8 (146 ratings)
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What's Social Empathy about?

Social Empathy (2018) shows how we can widen our sense of empathy and extend it not just to individuals who are different from us, but to entire social and cultural groups. It explains the ways we’re able to not just imagine what it’s like to be another person, but also consider the historical and political factors that have made them who they are, which increases our ability to be more empathetic. It also explores the barriers that block empathy – like stress and fear of otherness – and the steps we can take to overcome them.

Who should read Social Empathy?

  • Compassionate people who’d like to become more empathetic
  • Psychology enthusiasts curious about how empathy works
  • Fighters for social justice interested in understanding the role of empathy in social change

42
Anthropology Books: Humankind by Rutger Bregman

Humankind

Rutger Bregman
A Hopeful History
4.6 (200 ratings)
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00:00

What's Humankind about?

Humankind (2020) is an optimistic study of its namesake. For centuries, the message seemed to be carved in stone: Humans are evil by nature, and only the veneer of civilization keeps us from terrorizing and murdering each other. The author Rutger Bregman aims to dispel that prejudice and reveal that our essential nature is peaceful and friendly. Perhaps humanity – as recent discoveries from disciplines like archeology and criminology suggest – is actually much less selfish than we think. 

Who should read Humankind?

  • Optimists
  • Pessimists
  • Anyone in need of good news

43
Anthropology Books: Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels by Ian Morris

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels

Ian Morris
How Human Values Evolve
4.0 (229 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels about?

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels (2015) argues that the values we hold most dear stem from one fundamental source: energy. While anthropologists have spent centuries attempting to understand differences between cultures, few have attempted to explain those differences. These blinks do just that.

Who should read Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels?

  • History and philosophy enthusiasts
  • Futurists wondering how and why our values and ethical concerns may soon change
  • Anyone curious about how moral systems work

44
Anthropology Books: The Chemistry Book by Derek B Lowe

The Chemistry Book

Derek B Lowe
From Gunpowder to Graphene, 250 Milestones in the History of Chemistry
4.6 (217 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Chemistry Book about?

The Chemistry Book (2016) takes us on a tour through the history of chemistry from the first Bronze Age advancements to a possible future where clean, renewable energy is an everyday reality. Learn about the events and discoveries that have changed the world.

Who should read The Chemistry Book?

  • Anyone curious about how the world works
  • Students of chemistry and biology
  • People who enjoy stories about inventions and discoveries

45
Anthropology Books: Superior by Angela Saini

Superior

Angela Saini
The Return of Race Science
4.2 (63 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Superior about?

Superior (2019) tracks the history of race science, from its origins in the Enlightenment to its hidden – but growing – presence in the twenty-first century. The uncomfortable truth is that science is not always apolitical, and the theory of biological race lives on in subtle ways, despite the mounting evidence against it. Groups of people might look, sound, and do things differently – but genetically, we’re very much the same. 

Who should read Superior?

  • Students of human biology, genetics, and anthropology
  • Anyone searching for the truth about the science of race
  • People of color and those considered minorities

46
Anthropology Books: The Alchemy of Us by Ainissa Ramirez

The Alchemy of Us

Ainissa Ramirez
How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another
4.3 (73 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Alchemy of Us about?

The Alchemy of Us (2020) offers a history of some of the most important technologies ever developed, from clocks to glass to the steel rails used to make railway tracks. It explains how these technologies were created and explores how they shaped human culture.

Who should read The Alchemy of Us?

  • People curious about the innovations that paved the way for computers
  • Those who want to know how technology has changed our brains and our bodies
  • History buffs interested in the great inventions of modern times

47
Anthropology Books: The Next Great Migration by Sonia Shah

The Next Great Migration

Sonia Shah
The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move
4.1 (79 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Next Great Migration about?

The Next Great Migration (2020) reveals how humans have always moved across oceans and continents, just like any other migratory species on Earth. Sonia Shah upends the notion that we’ve ever been a stationary species. She also demonstrates how racist and xenophobic belief systems have led us to erect artificial borders and walls. 

Who should read The Next Great Migration?

  • Anyone interested in the history, present, and future of migration
  • Campaigners against racism and discriminatory borders 
  • Ecologists, biologists, and naturalists looking for a more holistic view of the world

48
Anthropology Books: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Caste

Isabel Wilkerson
The Origins of Our Discontents
4.5 (273 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Caste about?

Caste (2020) takes a revealing look at the caste system that continues to exist in American society, and its disturbing similarities to caste systems in India and WWII-era Germany. It explains how the attitudes of the dominant castes have become ingrained, on conscious and subconscious levels, through generations of subjugation. You’ll find out what it takes to maintain a caste system as well as what can be done to break free from it.

Who should read Caste?

  • People interested in American politics
  • History buffs
  • Those curious about how inequality can persist in a society

49
Anthropology Books: Survival of the Friendliest by Brian Hare and Vanessa Wood

Survival of the Friendliest

Brian Hare and Vanessa Wood
Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity
4.3 (137 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Survival of the Friendliest about?

Survival of the Friendliest (2020) presents a scientific look at the origins of human sociability. This history of humanity demonstrates how evolutionary pressure made us the friendly, community-oriented species we are today.

Who should read Survival of the Friendliest?

  • Loners looking for an empirical reason to mingle
  • History buffs seeking a deep look at ancient communities
  • Anyone interested in an evolutionary take on human friendship

50
Anthropology Books: The Social Leap by William von Hippel

The Social Leap

William von Hippel
The New Evolutionary Science of Who We Are, Where We Come From, and What Makes Us Happy
4.4 (80 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Social Leap about?

The Social Leap (2018) casts a critical eye on our modern world through the lens of evolutionary psychology. This provocative text argues that human nature is the product of generations spent struggling to survive on the savannah and that many of our contemporary problems can be understood by looking backward.

Who should read The Social Leap?

  • Those interested in the evolution of humanity
  • Frazzled souls hoping to understand the modern condition
  • Anyone interested in explaining human behavior

51
Anthropology Books: Black-and-White Thinking by Kevin Dutton

Black-and-White Thinking

Kevin Dutton
The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World
4.4 (315 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Black-and-White Thinking about?

Black and White Thinking (2020) examines the human brain’s irresistible impulse to sort things into binary categories: black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. The instinct to categorize is strong –⁠ and we have evolution to thank for it. But while categorization helped us survive in ancient times – when every trip into the forest was life or death – it’s become an obstacle in the modern world. Today, life’s rarely black-and-white, but often shades of gray.

Who should read Black-and-White Thinking?

  • Anyone fascinated by the human brain
  • People who love to pick apart the intricacies of language
  • Those who want to think more clearly in their daily lives

52
Anthropology Books: Not Born Yesterday by Hugo Mercier

Not Born Yesterday

Hugo Mercier
The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe
4.0 (67 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Not Born Yesterday about?

What’s it about?

Not Born Yesterday (2020) investigates common claims that humans are inherently gullible creatures. With the help of studies, evolutionary biology, and historical anecdotes, the author chips away at these claims one by one. He shows that humans have actually developed sophisticated cognitive mechanisms designed to aid the decisions of who to trust, what to believe, when to change our minds, and how to reject implausible information.

Who should read Not Born Yesterday?

Who’s it for?

  • History buffs
  • Anyone interested in evolutionary psychology
  • People wondering how to trust what others say and do

53
Anthropology Books: Open by Johan Norberg

Open

Johan Norberg
The Story of Human Progress
4.5 (67 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Open about?

Open (2020) traces the progress of ancient and modern human accomplishments, and reveals that behind all of our major advancements is a policy of openness, tolerance, and free trade. You’ll see how, from the Phoenicians to the Dutch East India Trading Company, the free flow of commerce and ideas has led to wealth, innovation, and problem-solving that would have never been possible otherwise.

Who should read Open?

  • History buffs
  • Those interested in the Brexit debate
  • People keen to know the secrets of innovation and progress

54
Anthropology Books: The Lost Art of Scripture by Karen Armstrong

The Lost Art of Scripture

Karen Armstrong
Rescuing the Sacred Texts
4.1 (76 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Lost Art of Scripture about?

The Lost Art of Scripture (2019) traces five thousand years of religious tradition. It examines the common purpose and motivations of all scriptural revolutions, how literal readings of scripture birthed violent movements of fundamentalism, and how we can use scripture to address the political and intellectual concerns of today.

Who should read The Lost Art of Scripture?

  • Alternative-history buffs
  • Those who have questions about religion but are too afraid to ask
  • Anyone who loves a rollicking story

55
Anthropology Books: Nine Nasty Words by John McWhorter

Nine Nasty Words

John McWhorter
English in the Gutter: Then, Now, and Forever
4.0 (136 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Nine Nasty Words about?

Nine Nasty Words (2021) is a foul-mouthed exploration of our linguistic taboos. This title picks apart exactly why some words come to be profane.

Who should read Nine Nasty Words?

  • Language-lovers aiming to deepen their appreciation of words
  • Salty talkers looking to pick up new profanity
  • Anyone curious about the origin of taboos

56
Anthropology Books: Grand Transitions by Vaclav Smil

Grand Transitions

Vaclav Smil
How the Modern World Was Made
4.3 (258 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Grand Transitions about?

Grand Transitions (2020) offers a sweeping overview of global transitions, from population growth to environmental changes. It examines the ways that we’ve shaped the world, for better or worse, and looks at the challenges facing humanity in the decades to come.

Who should read Grand Transitions?

  • People who want to understand world history, and how we got where we are today
  • Environmentalists, and anyone interested in the state of the planet
  • Realists looking for a future forecast based on facts

57
Anthropology Books: Work by James Suzman

Work

James Suzman
A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots
4.2 (87 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Work about?

Work (2020) is an anthropological history of the human relationship with work. From the first single-celled bacteria in the oceans billions of years ago to the unprecedented wealth inequality we experience today, Work is a sweeping history of what motivates our species. 

Who should read Work?

  • All those wondering whether they have a “bullshit job”
  • Deep-divers who love human history and how we got here
  • People who worry about how they spend their time

58
Anthropology Books: Transcendence by Gaia Vince

Transcendence

Gaia Vince
How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time
4.2 (271 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Transcendence about?

Transcendence (2020) is a wide-ranging overview of humanity’s history, from its beginnings on the savannas of Africa to the globe-spanning civilization of today. This multifaceted exploration shows how fire, language, beauty, and time came to define our species.

Who should read Transcendence?

  • History buffs seeking a deep look at the past
  • Armchair anthropologists curious about the origins of human society
  • Anyone interested in what makes humans human

59
Anthropology Books: Mine! by Michael A. Heller and James Salzman

Mine!

Michael A. Heller and James Salzman
How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
3.9 (46 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Mine! about?

Mine! (2021) explores the hidden rules of ownership that govern our world and influence our behavior. From who rides first at Disney World to who owns the space behind your seat on an airplane, it reveals the secrets of who gets what and why.

Who should read Mine!?

  • Fans of Freakonomics or Nudge
  • Law students
  • Pop culture enthusiasts

60
Anthropology Books: Extra Life by Steven Johnson

Extra Life

Steven Johnson
A Short History of Living Longer
4.4 (59 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Extra Life about?

Extra Life (2021) looks at some of the breakthroughs that allowed the global human life expectancy to double in just one hundred years. From seat belts to explosives, from Ireland to Constantinople, it’s an account as gripping as it is wide-ranging.

Who should read Extra Life?

  • History buffs interested in lesser-known tales from times past 
  • Medical nerds fascinated by the history of human health
  • Humanitarians who want to learn from past progress

61
Anthropology Books: Subtract by Leidy Klotz

Subtract

Leidy Klotz
The Untapped Science of Less
4.1 (1,284 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Subtract about?

Subtract (2021) explores subtraction as a way to make positive change. It examines the human love affair with adding and having “more” – and it explains how our brains and environments work against subtraction. 

Who should read Subtract?

  • Design professionals looking for a fresh perspective
  • Psychology buffs wanting new insights
  • Anthropology enthusiasts

62
Anthropology Books: Arabs by Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Arabs

Tim Mackintosh-Smith
A 3,000 Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires
4.2 (200 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Arabs about?

Arabs (2021) is a deep dive into the 3,000-year history of the people we know as Arabs. It’s an exploration of the forces that gave birth to the idea of Arabs as a group – and the forces that have kept them apart ever since. 

Who should read Arabs?

  • Lovers of a good yarn
  • Those fascinated by transnational histories
  • News junkies looking to go deeper

63
Anthropology Books: How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith

How the Word Is Passed

Clint Smith
A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
4.5 (162 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's How the Word Is Passed about?

How the Word Is Passed (2021) is a travelogue that underscores how slavery has shaped America’s collective history and its reality today. Nine locations serve as gateways to important stories that are hidden in plain sight. They exemplify how communities have reckoned, or not, with their roles in the history of slavery and invite us all to dig deeper into what we believe – and why.

Who should read How the Word Is Passed?

  • Anyone who wants to better understand America’s relationship with slavery
  • Community members seeking historical context on Black Lives Matter
  • Activists and history buffs interested in how the past informs the present

64
Anthropology Books: Ancient Egypt by Ian Shaw

Ancient Egypt

Ian Shaw
A Very Short Introduction
4.2 (218 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Ancient Egypt about?

Ancient Egypt (2021) is a succinct introduction to the history and culture of one of humanity’s oldest civilizations. It touches on different aspects of Ancient Egyptian society and covers topics such as religion and mythology, the hieroglyphic writing system, and Egyptian ideas about death and mummification.

Who should read Ancient Egypt?

  • Students of archeology or Egyptology looking for a primer on Ancient Egypt
  • Museumgoers who want to learn more about the culture behind the exhibits
  • History buffs who just can't get enough of the Land of the Pharaohs

65
Anthropology Books: A Brief History of Motion by Tom Standage

A Brief History of Motion

Tom Standage
From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next
4.3 (94 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A Brief History of Motion about?

A Brief History of Motion (2021) provides a revealing overview of the history, and possible future, of the automobile. From the invention of the wheel, to early steam engine contraptions and the enticing promises of automated cars, you’ll find out how these vehicles changed the course of human history, and the unexpected problems they’ve caused along the way. 

Who should read A Brief History of Motion?

  • Gearheads
  • Anyone concerned about climate change 
  • Investors wondering about the future of transportation

66
Anthropology Books: Drunk by Edward Slingerland

Drunk

Edward Slingerland
How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization
4.5 (573 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Drunk about?

Drunk (2021) is a scientific and historical inquiry into the evolutionary reasons why humans started getting drunk. Drunk examines how inebriation helped our ancestors evolve into creative, communal, cultural beings, and considers whether or not alcohol is an appropriate tool for the modern age.

In the audio version of these blinks, you'll hear "Also Sprach Zarathustra," composed by Richard Strauss, made available under a Creative Commons Attribution license by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks, Kevin! 

Who should read Drunk?

  • Anyone who drinks
  • People curious about human behavior
  • Anyone interested in evolution

67
Anthropology Books: Our Wild Calling by Richard Louv

Our Wild Calling

Richard Louv
How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our Lives—and Save Theirs
4.4 (45 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Our Wild Calling about?

Our Wild Calling (2020) examines how humans and other animals can enjoy mutually beneficial relationships. It explores stories and philosophy from the ecological movement, and outlines how we can move toward a more hopeful future for all Earthlings. 

Who should read Our Wild Calling?

  • Nature lovers looking for inspiration
  • Office dwellers seeking ways to reconnect with nature
  • Anyone looking for direct ways to respond to global climate change

68
Anthropology Books: War by Margaret MacMillan

War

Margaret MacMillan
How Conflict Shaped Us
4.0 (208 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's War about?

War (2020) is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of human conflict. It considers war from different angles, examining what causes it, how we think about it, and how it affects us. By making an effort to understand war, we become better prepared to avoid it.

Who should read War?

  • Students of international and military history 
  • People interested in cultural and philosophical differences
  • Anyone fascinated or affected by human conflict

69
Anthropology Books: 1491 by Charles C. Mann

1491

Charles C. Mann
New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
4.5 (216 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's 1491 about?

1491 (2005) is a study of the Western Hemisphere before 1492, the year in which an Italian sailor employed by the Spanish empire first set foot in the Americas. Within a century of Columbus’s “discovery” of the New World, some of humanity’s most sophisticated cultures had all but disappeared. In 1491, Charles Mann sets out to recover their ways of life and remarkable achievements.

Who should read 1491?

  • History buffs
  • Myth-busters 
  • Americaphiles

70
Anthropology Books: The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber & David Wengrow

The Dawn of Everything

David Graeber & David Wengrow
A New History of Humanity
4.1 (374 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Dawn of Everything about?

The Dawn of Everything (2021) is a reimagining of the history of humanity, based on new discoveries in the worlds of anthropology and archeology. According to the authors, new findings challenge what we thought we knew about hierarchies, inequality, property, and the state. 

Who should read The Dawn of Everything?

  • Anyone who’s ever shaken their fist at bureaucracy
  • History lovers of all stripes
  • Those who want to be Indiana Jones when they grow up

71
Anthropology Books: Purity and Danger by Mary Douglas

Purity and Danger

Mary Douglas
3.8 (159 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Purity and Danger about?

Purity and Danger (1966) presents a framework for understanding different societies and religions according to what they find pure and sacred and what they consider unclean and out of place. Cultures organize their experiences, values, and worldview into binary categories: either something is “dirty” and does not belong, or it is pure or holy. Sometimes, something – or someone – is both or neither. By looking at how other cultures make these distinctions, you can become more aware of how your own is organized.

Who should read Purity and Danger?

  • Cultural theory and anthropology students looking for an introduction to Douglas’s works
  • Anyone interested in comparative religion
  • Curious-minded people hungry for a new perspective

72
Anthropology Books: Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Starry Messenger

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization
4.3 (483 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Starry Messenger about?

Starry Messenger (2022) is about a way of looking at the world called the cosmic perspective. It’s the view that opens up when we think about human life in its largest possible context – that of the universe itself. This isn’t an exercise in making our worldly affairs seem small and trivial, though. It’s about unlocking insights that can help us live more happily and meaningfully on the cosmic anomaly we call Earth.

Who should read Starry Messenger?

  • Thinkers and stargazers
  • Politicos interested in new ways of looking at old questions
  • Scientists and rationalists

73
Anthropology Books: Indigenous Cultures in an Interconnected World by Claire Smith and Graeme K. Ward

Indigenous Cultures in an Interconnected World

Claire Smith and Graeme K. Ward
3.6 (153 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Indigenous Cultures in an Interconnected World about?

Indigenous Cultures in an Interconnected World (2000) examines how globalization and new technologies are affecting indigenous peoples. It provides an analysis of the many opportunities and threats that globalization entails for indigenous societies, along with success stories of how indigenous activists are using technology to benefit their communities. The book’s chapters present the perspectives of 14 authors from around the world.

Who should read Indigenous Cultures in an Interconnected World?

  • Citizens of countries born out of colonialism interested in their nation’s history
  • Students of anthropology and archaeology
  • Curious indigenous and nonindigenous minds looking to understand our changing world

74
Anthropology Books: The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is by Justin E.H. Smith

The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is

Justin E.H. Smith
A History, A Philosophy, A Warning
4.0 (143 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is about?

The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is (2022) offers startlingly new ways of understanding the world wide web, and strongly challenges us to examine our long-held beliefs about the supremacy of human cognition. It confronts our most closely-held (and least examined) ideas about the internet and social media, and weaves together observations from centuries of philosophy, mathematics, science and history.

Who should read The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is?

  • Those feeling overwhelmed by the pace of life in the information age 
  • Anyone worried about the addictive side of social media 
  • The Zoom-fatigued looking for better ways to connect.

75
Anthropology Books: How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil

How the World Really Works

Vaclav Smil
The Science of Our Past, Present and Future
4.4 (626 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's How the World Really Works about?

How the World Really Works (2022) tackles a paradox at the heart of the modern world: we’ve never had so much information at our fingertips and never known so little about how things actually work. Of course, we can’t be experts in everything. But, Vaclav Smil argues, it’s our duty as citizens to be informed about the basics – the big questions that shape our societies and their futures.

Who should read How the World Really Works?

  • History and science enthusiasts
  • Anyone interested in how their food gets made
  • Those wondering what energy actually is

76
Anthropology Books: Tsunami by James Goff and Walter Dudley

Tsunami

James Goff and Walter Dudley
The World's Greatest Waves
4.5 (30 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Tsunami about?

Tsunami (2021) uses a combination of ancient legends, scientific research, and survivor stories to take readers on an in-depth learning journey about some of the most significant tsunamis that have occurred throughout history. Through detailed descriptions of these incredible natural disasters, it teaches us that the lessons we learn from the past can help us live a safer future.

Who should read Tsunami?

  • Anyone interested in learning about tsunamis
  • History buffs
  • Fans of natural disaster stories

77
Anthropology Books: Future Stories by David Christian

Future Stories

David Christian
What's Next?
4.2 (377 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Future Stories about?

Future Stories: What’s Next? (2022) explains the roots of how we make decisions about the future and illuminates the urgent responsibility on humanity’s shoulders today, with a multidisciplinary approach to time informed by biology, philosophy, and cosmology.

Who should read Future Stories?

  • Historians – both amateur and professional
  • Anyone concerned about climate change
  • Those interested in being a better human

78
Anthropology Books: The Science of Happily Ever After by Ty Tashiro

The Science of Happily Ever After

Ty Tashiro
What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love
4.3 (50 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Science of Happily Ever After about?

The Science of Happily Ever After (2014) digs into the history of mating throughout the history of the human species and answers the question of why some couples live happily ever after and some don’t. Part history and anthropology lesson, part self-help, it offers explanations and advice for anyone seeking love.

Who should read The Science of Happily Ever After?

  • Love seekers
  • People wondering why it never works out
  • Couples in relationships who want to live happily ever after

79
Anthropology Books: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis
4.3 (50 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's American Psycho about?

American Psycho (1991) is a controversial cult novel that uses graphic violence to satirize modern capitalism and consumer culture. It follows the life of Patrick Bateman, a wealthy and handsome investment banker living in Manhattan in the 1980s. Beneath his polished exterior lies a psychopathic killer who preys on his victims without remorse. Bateman’s exploits quickly grow more and more extreme, and his mask of sanity starts to slip.

Who should read American Psycho?

  • Fans of the the 2000 movie starring Christian Bale
  • Readers who enjoy Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon, and William S. Burroughs
  • Anyone who enjoys dark humor

80
Anthropology Books: Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins

Power vs. Force

David R. Hawkins
The Hidden Determinants of Human Behaviour
4.2 (437 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Power vs. Force about?

Power vs. Force (2014) explains how anyone can tap into their inner power to change their lives and the lives of those around them. It demonstrates that with consciousness, intention and discernment, anyone can find their truth and follow it toward a more fulfilled and impactful life. 

Who should read Power vs. Force?

  • People interested in alternative theories about science and humanity
  • Anyone who faces major doubts in their lives
  • Humanity nerds

81
Anthropology Books: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe
3.8 (24 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Things Fall Apart about?

Things Fall Apart (1958) was the first in the African Writers Series of 350 books published between 1962 and 2003 which provided an international audience for many African writers. It tells the story of a respected leader of an Igbo community and the problems faced by the community as white men arrive and bring with them their laws and religion.

Who should read Things Fall Apart?

  • Lovers of great story-telling
  • Anthropology students interested in understanding the cultural and religious practices of the Igbo people of Nigeria
  • History buffs interested in African history and the impact of colonialism

82
Anthropology Books: The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

The Anthropocene Reviewed

John Green
Essays on a Human-Centered Planet
4.2 (19 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Anthropocene Reviewed about?

The Anthropocene Reviewed (2021) offers a unique collection of essays exploring the human experience in the current geological age known as the Anthropocene. It delves into various aspects of human life and the world, reviewing them on a somewhat satirical five-star scale, blending humor with deep reflection on the complexities and paradoxes of modern human existence.

Who should read The Anthropocene Reviewed?

  • Environmental enthusiasts exploring the impact of humans on Earth
  • Young adults interested in introspective, reflective writings
  • Admirers of John Green's narrative style and humor

Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism about?

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) argues that the work ethic and values of early Protestant sects like Calvinism strongly influenced the development of capitalism in Western Europe. Weber's classic text traces these cultural origins, exploring how religious changes catalyzed the rise of modern economic systems by reshaping mindsets surrounding work, enterprise, and the accumulation of wealth.

Who should read The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism?

  • History buffs craving works that explore important cultural trends
  • Political minds seeking the foundations of contemporary social divides
  • Anyone curious about the roots of modern work culture – and how to change it

84
Anthropology Books: The Last of the Mohicans  by James Fenimore Cooper

The Last of the Mohicans

James Fenimore Cooper
4.6 (7 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Last of the Mohicans about?

The Last of the Mohicans (1826) chronicles the thrilling journey of two daughters of a British Colonel, lost in Native American territory during the French and Indian War. It explores themes of racial and cultural conflict, intertwined with poignant romance.

Who should read The Last of the Mohicans ?

  • Fans of historical fiction
  • Readers keen on adventure tales
  • Individuals interested in Native American history

85
Anthropology Books: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson
4.1 (86 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Snow Crash about?

Snow Crash (1992) is a cyberpunk sci-fi novel starring katana-wielding, pizza-delivering hacker Hiro Protagonist and his partner, spunky teen skateboarder Y.T. It features a virus called Snow Crash which pervades both the physical world and the virtual world, also known as the Metaverse. But it soon becomes apparent that Snow Crash is more than just a virus –⁠ as Hiro delves deeper, he discovers a conspiracy that has its roots in ancient Sumerian legends and poses a dire threat to humanity.

Who should read Snow Crash?

  • Science fiction buffs
  • Tech enthusiasts and futurists 
  • Linguistics and anthropology nerds 

86
Anthropology Books: What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro

What Napoleon Could Not Do

DK Nnuro
3.9 (65 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's What Napoleon Could Not Do about?

What Napoleon Could Not Do (2023) explores the contrasting experiences of two Ghanaians, Jacob and Belinda, and their aspirations in the United States. Jacob, an awkward computer programmer who still lives with his father, wants to join his wife in America but is foiled by visa denials. His sister, Belinda, meanwhile, has studied in the US and married an American – Wilder, a prosperous Black Texan businessman. But she, too, contends with disappointment: as she waits for her green card, her perception of America is soured by racism. Their journeys reflect the allure and letdowns of life in a foreign land, and the narrative insightfully captures how each grapples with dreams both realized and thwarted.

Who should read What Napoleon Could Not Do?

  • Readers interested in immigrant experiences
  • Fans of emotional family dramas
  • Anyone who loves character-driven stories

87
Anthropology Books: Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Women Who Run with the Wolves

Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
4.2 (53 ratings)
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00:00

What's Women Who Run with the Wolves about?

Women Who Run with the Wolves (1989) is a profoundly influential work of Jungian psychology that has shown countless women how to connect with the wise, abiding, and untameable presence of the Wild Woman archetype in their own psyches.

Who should read Women Who Run with the Wolves?

  • Women who want to awaken their innate connection to wildness and instinct
  • Women who crave deeper experiences and relationships 
  • Women who yearn to rekindle their intuition

88
Anthropology Books: Killing the Witches by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

Killing the Witches

Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard
The Horror of Salem, Massachusetts
4.1 (36 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Killing the Witches about?

Killing the Witches (2023) revisits one of the most frightening episodes in American history: the Salem Witch Trials, which saw over 200 people accused of witchcraft and 20 killed. This dramatic history reveals how Puritan tradition shaped early America and examines its repercussions to this very day.

Who should read Killing the Witches?

  • Fans of Bill O’Reilly
  • Readers interested in Puritan history and early American culture 
  • Those interested in understanding mob mentality and mass hysteria

89
Anthropology Books: The Seven Circles by Chelsey Luger & Thosh Collins

The Seven Circles

Chelsey Luger & Thosh Collins
Indigenous Teachings for Living Well
4.7 (36 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Seven Circles about?

The Seven Circles (2022) draws on Indigenous ancestral wisdom for achieving spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. It proposes a holistic model called the Seven Circles – a template for modern living that’s intended to keep all aspects of life in balance including food, movement, sleep, ceremony, sacred space, land, and community.

Who should read The Seven Circles?

  • People interested in Native American culture and spirituality
  • Wellness and self-help enthusiasts
  • Individuals seeking community and connection

90
Anthropology Books: Metropolis by Ben Wilson

Metropolis

Ben Wilson
A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention
4.0 (97 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Metropolis about?

Metropolis (2020) charts how cities have profoundly shaped humanity. From Athenian democracy to Baghdad’s bazaars and London finance, it reveals cities as the driving force of civilization for over 200,000 years.

Who should read Metropolis?

  • History buffs interested in the evolution of cities
  • Readers curious about how people lived in past eras
  • Anyone wanting to understand the origins of human civilization

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Anthropology Books: Death Without Weeping by Nancy Scheper-Hughes

Death Without Weeping

Nancy Scheper-Hughes

What's Death Without Weeping about?

This book explores the devastating effects of poverty and inequality on the lives of women and children in a Brazilian shantytown. Through powerful firsthand accounts and in-depth analysis, Nancy Scheper-Hughes sheds light on the harsh realities of maternal and infant mortality, and the resilience of those who struggle to survive in the face of overwhelming adversity. It offers a poignant critique of social and economic systems that perpetuate such suffering.

Who should read Death Without Weeping?

  • Readers interested in understanding the impact of poverty and social inequality on women and children
  • Social workers and professionals in the field of public health
  • Individuals looking to broaden their perspective on the realities of life in impoverished communities

What's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down about?

Title: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall DownAuthor: Anne FadimanDescription: This book tells the story of a Hmong family in California and their struggle to navigate the American healthcare system for their daughter, who has epilepsy. It explores the clash between Western medicine and Hmong beliefs, and the tragic consequences that result from miscommunication and misunderstanding. A thought-provoking and compassionate examination of cultural differences and the impact they can have on healthcare.

Who should read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down?

that explores the clash between Western medicine and Hmong culture through the story of a young girl with epilepsy. It delves into the challenges of cross-cultural communication and the complexities of treating chronic illness in a multicultural society.


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Anthropology Books
 FAQs 

What's the best Anthropology book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard The World Without Us as the ultimate read on Anthropology.

What are the Top 10 Anthropology books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
  • Man, the State and War by Kenneth N. Waltz
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Rational Ritual by Michael Suk-Young Chwe
  • SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • Driven by Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria
  • Orientalism by Edward W. Said
  • The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldūn

Who are the top Anthropology book authors?

When it comes to Anthropology, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Alan Weisman
  • Kenneth N. Waltz
  • Steven Pinker
  • Viktor Frankl
  • Malala Yousafzai