The best 53 Democracy books

The concept of democracy is vital for our society, shaping our values, systems, and freedoms. Understanding its complexities is crucial, which is why our list of books on democracy offers valuable insights and perspectives, shedding light on its significance and challenges.

Delve into our collection to gain a comprehensive understanding of democracy's evolution and impact on society. Ready to broaden your knowledge and engage in critical discourse? Start exploring these thought-provoking titles today!

The best 53 Democracy books
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1
Democracy Books: Second Treatise of the Government by John Locke

Second Treatise of the Government

John Locke
An Essay Concerning the True Origin, Extent and End of Civil Government
4.4 (51 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's Second Treatise of the Government about?

Locke’s Second Treatise offers an in-depth analysis on the origin of our right to liberty and the rights of governments. It shows how, by respecting the laws of nature, we can limit the power of government to best protect ourselves and our property from destruction or worse, tyranny.

Who should read Second Treatise of the Government?

  • Anybody interested in politics
  • Anybody interested in the history of ideas and philosophy
  • Anybody interested in the foundations of liberalism and democracy

2
Democracy Books: The End of Power by Moisés Naím

The End of Power

Moisés Naím
From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used To Be
4.5 (16 ratings)
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00:00

What's The End of Power about?

The End of Power makes the case for how advances changes in technology and society have caused the old fortresses of power to crumble. We now face a brand new paradigm of power, one that isn’t hoarded by an elite few, but rather split amongst us all. But what does that mean for society and government?

Who should read The End of Power?

  • Anyone interested in foreign policy
  • Anyone interested in culture and social phenomena
  • Anyone interested in political science

3
Democracy Books: ISIS by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan

ISIS

Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
Inside the Army of Terror
4.1 (42 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's ISIS about?

ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (2015) charts the rapid rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, from its early beginnings to its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Grippingly told, the story of ISIS’s domination over al-Qaeda in Iraq and its slow but ruthless push in Syria also shines light on the failings of the West in dealing with this fanatical yet disciplined jihadi group.

Who should read ISIS?

  • People interested in international politics and the rise of terrorism
  • Historians or students of Middle Eastern studies
  • Anyone with an interest in examples of religious extremism

4
Democracy Books: Failed States by Noam Chomsky

Failed States

Noam Chomsky
The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy
3.9 (134 ratings)
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What's Failed States about?

In Failed States, author Noam Chomsky details the ways in which the United States has used its power to relentlessly pursue its own geopolitical and economic interests. The book cites examples from throughout history to demonstrate why the United States’ stated goal of promoting democracy is inconsistent with its own actions, at home and abroad.

Who should read Failed States?

  • Anyone critical of US foreign policy
  • Anyone interested in international politics
  • Anyone interested in history

5
Democracy Books: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

Leviathan

Thomas Hobbes
or the Matter, Forme and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil
4.5 (139 ratings)
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00:00

What's Leviathan about?

Leviathan (1651) examines the relationship of society and rulers and is widely held as a classic work on the nature of statecraft. English philosopher Thomas Hobbes believed that man’s natural inclination to war could only be tamed by a strong, centralized government. In these blinks, you’ll learn why Hobbes felt a commonwealth of men under a strong monarch was the only solution to securing peace and security for all.

Who should read Leviathan?

  • Sociologists, historians and political scientists or students of political science
  • People interested in how certain forms of government came to be
  • Students examining the origins of law and early government

6
Democracy Books: Frontier Justice by Andy Lamey

Frontier Justice

Andy Lamey
The Global Refugee Crisis and What to Do About It
3.9 (86 ratings)
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What's Frontier Justice about?

Frontier Justice (2011) offers a detailed historical account of the plight of refugees. It also presents viable solutions that could improve the lives of refugees while ensuring a higher degree of safety for their host countries.

Who should read Frontier Justice?

  • Anyone with an interest in global politics
  • People interested in the origins and impacts of international refugee crises
  • Anyone concerned about human rights violations and humanitarian efforts

7
Democracy Books: The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown

The Myth of the Strong Leader

Archie Brown
Political Leadership in the Modern Age
3.8 (83 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Myth of the Strong Leader about?

The Myth of the Strong Leader (2014) explores why people tend to favor charismatic leaders, those they perceive as “strong.” These blinks show which factors allow such leaders to rise to power and why such a personality type shouldn’t necessarily lead a democratic society. Importantly, you’ll learn what can happen on an international scale when ill-suited “strong leaders” take the reins of a democracy.

Who should read The Myth of the Strong Leader?

  • Students of politics or history
  • People curious how authoritarian leaders rise to power
  • Aspiring leaders who want to lead fairly

8
Democracy Books: Political Order and Political Decay by Francis Fukuyama

Political Order and Political Decay

Francis Fukuyama
From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy
4.0 (196 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's Political Order and Political Decay about?

Political Order and Political Decay (2014) contrasts the history of democracy in America with its current condition to reveal the fundamental flaws of our modern democracy. From a declining middle class to selfish lobbyists and unadaptable institutions, these blinks explain just a few sources of political decay in the United States.

Who should read Political Order and Political Decay?

  • Anyone curious as to how the American political system has developed over time
  • American voters interested in the underlying problems with their government
  • Political science students seeking an introduction to the more complex aspects of democracies

9
Democracy Books: Blueprint for Revolution by Srdja Popovic and Matthew Miller

Blueprint for Revolution

Srdja Popovic and Matthew Miller
How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Non-Violent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators or Simply Change the World
4.4 (40 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Blueprint for Revolution about?

Blueprint for Revolution (2015) is your guide to starting a social movement that inspires people to come together and make real change happen. These blinks use historical anecdotes to detail a variety of nonviolent techniques that can be used to apply political pressure, fight oppression and diminish fear.

Who should read Blueprint for Revolution?

  • Political activists who want to change the world
  • Students of politics and history
  • People who are new to the history of revolutionary movements

10
Democracy Books: Engines of Liberty by David Cole

Engines of Liberty

David Cole
The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law
3.5 (17 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Engines of Liberty about?

Engines of Liberty (2016) is an exploration into the influence citizens can have on government, and the changes that can be brought about through activism, the spreading of information and the mobilization of one’s peers. When it comes to the big issues of our time, like gay marriage, guns and human rights, it’s passionate citizens who are speaking up for what they believe in and bringing about change.

Who should read Engines of Liberty?

  • Activists passionate about civil liberties
  • Lawyers and politicians interested in the history of civil rights
  • Concerned citizens who want to become more active

11
Democracy Books: The Myth of the Rational Voter by Bryan Caplan

The Myth of the Rational Voter

Bryan Caplan
Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
3.4 (39 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Myth of the Rational Voter about?

The Myth of the Rational Voter (2007) is all about the barriers our democracy faces and why they matter. These blinks break down the various misconceptions people have regarding democracy, explaining how they connect to flaws in the democratic method and show why our current forms of democracy don’t work.

Who should read The Myth of the Rational Voter?

  • People who care about politics and leadership
  • Anyone with an interest in economics and its everyday applications
  • Any reader wondering how democratic elections can consistently produce such bad results

12
Democracy Books: Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil

Weapons of Math Destruction

Cathy O’Neil
How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
4.1 (167 ratings)
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00:00

What's Weapons of Math Destruction about?

Weapons of Math Destruction (2016) offers a critical look at the growing number of algorithms that could be impacting your day-to-day life in ways you’re not even aware of. As more businesses and services, including schools and police, use algorithms to automate jobs, an increasing number of people are suffering the adverse effects. So don’t leave yourself at the mercy of automation – find out what you can do to protect yourself and your data.

Who should read Weapons of Math Destruction?

  • Students and enthusiasts of computer science and statistics
  • Internet activists
  • Readers worried about their privacy rights

13
Democracy Books: Shattered by Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes

Shattered

Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes
Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign
3.8 (25 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Shattered about?

Shattered (2017) takes you behind the scenes of the 2016 US presidential election campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In these blinks, you’ll learn what went wrong for Clinton and her team, leading a seasoned politician to come second to a reality TV star in a tumultuous and bitter race for the nation’s highest office.

Who should read Shattered?

  • News and politics junkies
  • Citizens concerned about the future of the United States and the global political order
  • American voters who can’t figure out what happened in 2016

14
Democracy Books: On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder

On Tyranny

Timothy Snyder
Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
4.4 (67 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's On Tyranny about?

On Tyranny (2017) is a guide to recognizing the warning signs of tyranny, which, unfortunately, is a political climate that many are all too familiar with. Find out what you can do to protect yourself and keep your community vigilant and resistant to dangerous political leaders.

Who should read On Tyranny?

  • Citizens against oppressive regimes
  • Freedom fighters
  • Activists and demonstration organizers

15
Democracy Books: The American Presidency by Charles O. Jones

The American Presidency

Charles O. Jones
A Very Short Introduction
4.3 (34 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The American Presidency about?

The American Presidency (2007) offers an introduction to the US presidency and the unique role each president must play in world politics. Find out what kind of thinking went into the creation of this job and how it has changed over the years. America’s Founding Fathers created a uniquely experimental government when they broke free from British influence; even today, their experiment continues to surprise us.

Who should read The American Presidency?

  • Readers interested in American history
  • Students of politics or public policy
  • Frustrated voters trying to understand the electoral college

16
Democracy Books: Go Back to Where You Came From by Sasha Polakow-Suransky

Go Back to Where You Came From

Sasha Polakow-Suransky
The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy
4.2 (24 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Go Back to Where You Came From about?

Go Back to Where You Came From (2017) takes a look at the current international political landscape and explains how the increase in refugees in Europe has contributed to the rise of the right-wing populist movement. It also explains why Muslim immigrants are the subject of such political demonization, how this issue has strengthened political extremism and why the populist movement is a serious threat to democracy as we know it.

Who should read Go Back to Where You Came From?

  • Political science students or avid news readers
  • Immigrants, refugees and activists
  • Legislators and political decision makers

17
Democracy Books: Move Fast and Break Things by Jonathan Taplin

Move Fast and Break Things

Jonathan Taplin
How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy
3.6 (77 ratings)
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What's Move Fast and Break Things about?

Move Fast and Break Things (2017) takes a look at the grim reality of how giant tech companies are harming society in ways both big and small. By dodging taxes, they’re keeping money from government programs that have been behind some of our greatest innovations, and in their desperate hunt for data and profits, they’re invading our privacy while fleecing the creators of art and high-quality entertainment. Author Jonathan Taplin offers some light at the end of this dark tunnel, suggesting there may be better ways of negotiating with this technology.

Who should read Move Fast and Break Things?

  • Anyone concerned about the ethics of modern technology
  • Creative types interested in the economics of art
  • Socially conscious artists interested in alternative distribution methods

18
Democracy Books: How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky, Daniel Ziblatt

How Democracies Die

Steven Levitsky, Daniel Ziblatt
4.0 (166 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's How Democracies Die about?

How Democracies Die (2018) examines the fundamental principles of democracy, with a look at historical cases – particularly in Latin America – where democracies have turned into dictatorships or autocracies. The authors examine how these democratic downfalls have happened, whether it could happen again in the future, and what could be done to prevent this dangerous and often lethal outcome. Attention is also given to the presidency of Donald Trump, to question his motives and determine whether he qualifies as an American autocrat.

Who should read How Democracies Die?

  • Anyone interested in current affairs
  • Students of political science or government
  • Readers interested in the historical relevance of the Trump presidency

19
Democracy Books: Fascism by Madeleine Albright

Fascism

Madeleine Albright
A Warning
4.3 (98 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's Fascism about?

Fascism (2018) examines fascism, both as a historical phenomenon and a present-day threat. It explores the factors that lead to fascist governments as well as the common threads connecting them, while also cautioning citizens against complacency. Even today, there are many reasons to fear for the health of democracy.

Who should read Fascism?

  • History buffs curious about the origins of fascism
  • Citizens concerned about the state of political debate and government in America
  • Defenders of democracy

20
Democracy Books: Adults in The Room by Yanis Varoufakis

Adults in The Room

Yanis Varoufakis
My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment
4.1 (76 ratings)
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What's Adults in The Room about?

Adults in the Room (2017) is a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of what it’s like to deal with the European Union establishment, as experienced by the former Minister of Finance of Greece. This scathing exposé shows that, when it comes to global politics, the best interests of weaker nations aren’t always of the utmost importance to those in charge.

Who should read Adults in The Room?

  • European citizens
  • Anyone interested in European politics
  • Students of economics and world affairs

21
Democracy Books: The Soul of America by Jon Meacham

The Soul of America

Jon Meacham
The Battle for Our Better Angels
4.1 (65 ratings)
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What's The Soul of America about?

The Soul of America (2018) takes readers on an enlightening tour of America’s tumultuous past. From the final moments of the Civil War to the long overdue civil rights and voting legislation of the 1960s, the book reveals the United States for what it has always been: a nation of deep and lasting conflict. By looking to America’s past, we can see both where today’s political divides stem from and why the nation will likely be able to persevere.

Who should read The Soul of America?

  • Readers eager for perspective on current events
  • Students of history and politics
  • Fans of historical insight

22
Democracy Books: Suicide of the West by Jonah Goldberg

Suicide of the West

Jonah Goldberg
How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy
4.1 (82 ratings)
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What's Suicide of the West about?

Suicide of the West (2018) answers two vitally important questions: what made the triumph of Western civilization possible and how can we preserve its achievements. Tribalism, Goldberg argues, might be deeply rooted in human nature, but it can be held in check. If we want to discover how that can be done, we need to look at the two greatest examples of what he calls the “miracle” – the revolutions that put England and, later, America on the path to liberty and greatness. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. If we fail to learn history’s lessons, we’ll end up contributing to nothing less than the suicide of the West.

Who should read Suicide of the West?

  • Politics buffs of all stripes
  • Anyone who’s perplexed by the rise of tribalism and populism
  • Anyone interested in the foundations of liberalism

23
Democracy Books: The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder

The Road to Unfreedom

Timothy Snyder
Russia, Europe, America
4.1 (268 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Road to Unfreedom about?

The Road to Unfreedom (2018) chronicles the extraordinary political age we are now living in. Russian expansionism, led by Vladimir Putin, threatens to encroach on the freedoms that people in Europe and America enjoy. After having successfully helping to bring about Brexit, the Kremlin set its gaze on the United States and, in doing so, played a central role in ushering in the Donald Trump presidency. And with Europe in the midst of a right-wing ascendancy, Russia is wielding a greater influence than ever before.

Who should read The Road to Unfreedom?

  • Anyone hoping to understand why right-wing populism is on the rise
  • Americans looking to find out how Russia influenced the 2016 election
  • Students of political science, international relations or history

24
Democracy Books: The People Vs Tech by Jamie Bartlett

The People Vs Tech

Jamie Bartlett
How the Internet is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It)
4.6 (59 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The People Vs Tech about?

The People Vs Tech (2018) examines the rise of digital technology. It argues this process is undermining six of the key pillars of democracy: active citizenship, a shared democratic culture, free elections, free association, equality, and governmental authority. Looking to the future and observing how it is already unfolding in the present, it paints a chilling picture of the possible dystopian world to come. However, it also shows the paths that are leading us to that world and suggests that these paths can be redirected, pointing the way to a better future.

Who should read The People Vs Tech?

  • Citizens concerned about how the internet is impacting society 
  • Workers who fear their jobs may be replaced by AI
  • Fans of dystopian science fiction literature, movies, and television series

25
Democracy Books: The Future Is History by Masha Gessen

The Future Is History

Masha Gessen
How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
4.1 (97 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Future Is History about?

The Future Is History (2017) tackles the complex issue of Russia’s love/hate relationship with democracy. By looking at the lives of a select few, Masha Gessen takes us from the collapse of the Communist Party to deep within the activism of the Putin era – all in an attempt to show us how and why Russia’s modern brand of totalitarianism came about.

Who should read The Future Is History?

  • Readers curious about Russian politics
  • Students of sociology and world politics
  • History buffs

26
Democracy Books: Identity by Francis Fukuyama

Identity

Francis Fukuyama
The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment
4.3 (100 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

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

27
Democracy Books: Zucked by Roger McNamee

Zucked

Roger McNamee
Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe
4.3 (249 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's Zucked about?

Zucked (2019) is one early Facebook investor’s personal warning about the dangers of the platform. It vividly describes how Facebook is damaging both public health and the health of our democracies. From manipulating public opinion to building our addiction to technology, the picture painted in Zucked is of a business unmoored from civic or moral responsibility.

Who should read Zucked?

  • Everyone who uses Facebook
  • People concerned about data privacy, the manipulation of public opinion or tech-addiction
  • Anyone interested in the future of social media and tech-giants

28
Democracy Books: Revolutionary Iran by Michael Axworthy

Revolutionary Iran

Michael Axworthy
A History of the Islamic Republic
4.0 (52 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's Revolutionary Iran about?

Revolutionary Iran (2013) tells the story of modern Iran, from the early twentieth-century origins of the 1979 revolution through to reactions to Ahmadinejad’s second presidential victory, in 2009. The book also dispels misconceptions and examines internal politics and cultural debates within the country.

Who should read Revolutionary Iran?

  • Students of contemporary global politics
  • Curious minds wanting to know more about contemporary Iranian history
  • Followers of the Middle East interested in understanding the relationship between religion and democracy

29
Democracy Books: Blowout by Rachel Maddow

Blowout

Rachel Maddow
Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth
4.2 (91 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Blowout about?

Blowout (2019) takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the global gas and oil industry and reveals just how toxic it is. Author Rachel Maddow looks at evidence of this in the US, along with the corrupt deals being made in Russia and Equatorial Guinea, and makes a strong case for why big gas and oil needs to be held accountable for its actions – before things get any worse.

Who should read Blowout?

  • Citizens worried about the erosion of democracy
  • Close followers of news about US-Russian relations 
  • People concerned about corporate influence on world affairs

30
Democracy Books: Un-Trumping America by Dan Pfeiffer

Un-Trumping America

Dan Pfeiffer
A Plan to Make America a Democracy Again
3.9 (98 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's Un-Trumping America about?

Un-Trumping America (2020) is former Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer’s playbook for beating Donald Trump and fixing the broken system of American democracy. Filled with practical campaigning and policy suggestions, it’s an ambitious guide to a brighter future.

Who should read Un-Trumping America?

  • Democrats eager for a plan to beat Trump
  • Policymakers and those interested in getting involved in politics
  • Citizens concerned with the direction the USA is headed in

31
Democracy Books: Impeachment by Jeffrey A. Engel, Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali and Peter Baker

Impeachment

Jeffrey A. Engel, Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali and Peter Baker
An American History
4.2 (38 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Impeachment about?

Impeachment (2018) details how the Framers of the US Constitution envisioned the process of removing a president, and how the three impeachment proceedings prior to Trump’s have played out. Spanning the years right after the American Revolution to the late twentieth century, Impeachment looks at how the Framers imagined impeachment as a safety valve for democracy, as well as how Congress used impeachment to sanction Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. 

Who should read Impeachment?

  • News junkies who’ve read every think piece about the Trump impeachment
  • History hounds obsessed with the American experiment 
  • Anyone looking for a better grasp on current US affairs

32
Democracy Books: A Warning by Anonymous

A Warning

Anonymous
4.1 (38 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A Warning about?

A Warning (2019) presents a harrowing view of the inner workings of the Donald Trump presidency. Penned by an anonymous White House insider, it details the tensions and turmoil behind the scenes of the most chaotic administration in modern American history.

Who should read A Warning?

  • Concerned citizens seeking to understand the current political zeitgeist
  • Political junkies eager for the latest White House gossip
  • Activists hoping to hamper the current administration

33
Democracy Books: Putin's People by Catherine Belton

Putin's People

Catherine Belton
How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West
4.3 (400 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Putin's People about?

Putin’s People (2020) is a shocking account of the corruption and political schemes that swirl around Russia’s infamous president, Vladimir Putin, and his close inner circle. The KGB is well-known as the former Soviet Union’s secret police force – but that was far from its only role in the Soviet government and economy. This is the story of how the KGB lost its power, gained it back, and has been exploiting it ever since.

Who should read Putin's People?

  • Fans of political intrigue and international relations
  • Students of Russian history and culture
  • Anyone curious about the inner workings of Vladimir Putin’s regime

34
Democracy Books: Evil Geniuses by Kurt Andersen

Evil Geniuses

Kurt Andersen
The Unmaking of America: A Recent History
3.8 (156 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Evil Geniuses about?

Evil Geniuses (2020) describes the rise of the economic right after the 1960s and the consequences of their policies today. From Milton Friedman to Ronald Reagan, it looks at the significance of some of the right’s central figures while also sketching a broader narrative that explains how the US has ended up as it has today.

Who should read Evil Geniuses?

  • Anyone interested in American history
  • Americans looking for a way to explain their present situation
  • Fans of political history and economics

35
Democracy Books: Honeybee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley

Honeybee Democracy

Thomas D. Seeley
4.5 (63 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Honeybee Democracy about?

Honeybee Democracy (2010) traces the fascinating story of how bees decide where to build their new hive. Using highly evolved skills, like independent research and community debate, the bees’ deeply democratic decision-making process is a model we can all learn from. 

Who should read Honeybee Democracy?

  • Popular science enthusiasts with a fondness for insects
  • Politics buffs who want to learn about democratic systems
  • Anyone and everyone who thinks bees are cool

36
Democracy Books: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter

Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

Joseph Schumpeter
Essential analysis on where the world economy is headed
4.2 (631 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy about?

Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942) is a seminal work of economics. Its ideas have proven prophetic, and remain relevant to this day. It claims that capitalism will ultimately be eroded by the very processes that define it. It also explains the differences between capitalism and socialism and their relationship to democracy, and helps readers understand the role of entrepreneurship and creative destruction in modern capitalism.

Who should read Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy?

  • Students of the social sciences
  • Those interested in politics, economy, and their histories
  • Critical thinkers curious about the future of capitalism

37
Democracy Books: Woke, Inc. by Vivek Ramaswamy

Woke, Inc.

Vivek Ramaswamy
Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam
3.9 (233 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Woke, Inc. about?

Woke, Inc. (2021) explores how the ideology of wokeness has come to infect America’s corporate sphere. While paying lip service to various social-justice causes, major American companies are acting in ways that are anything but just –⁠ and generating major profit in the process. Aside from being a nefarious way for corporations to make money, this strategy is also doing lasting damage to American democracy in surprising ways, and it’s time to snuff it out.

Who should read Woke, Inc.?

  • Conservatives and centrists worried about the excesses of progressivism
  • Liberals who want to hear the other side’s perspective
  • Anyone interested in American social ills

38
Democracy Books: The Dying Citizen by Victor Davis Hanson

The Dying Citizen

Victor Davis Hanson
How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America
2.8 (671 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Dying Citizen about?

The Dying Citizen (2021) explores the ways in which modern American democracy is being weakened. Touching on issues like globalization and identity politics, it discusses how left-wing progressives are damaging the foundations of the United States. 

Who should read The Dying Citizen?

  • Conservatives looking for fresh insights
  • Fans of Donald Trump 
  • Anyone interested in politics and current affairs

39
Democracy Books: The Constitution of Liberty by Friedrich A. Hayek

The Constitution of Liberty

Friedrich A. Hayek
In Defense of Freedom and a Free Society
3.9 (301 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Constitution of Liberty about?

The Constitution of Liberty (1960) is a classic of economic philosophy. As one of the seminal texts of modern liberalism, it reminds us of the values of individual freedom, limited government, and universal principles of law. First published in the 1960s, it contends that social progress depends on the free market rather than on socialist planning. This work remains relevant in an age where socialist ideas are gaining new popularity. 

Who should read The Constitution of Liberty?

  • Students of twentieth-century history, politics, and economy 
  • Progressives and conservatives curious about liberalism 
  • Anyone interested in economic philosophy

40
Democracy Books: After the Fall by Ben Rhodes

After the Fall

Ben Rhodes
Being American in the World We've Made
3.9 (232 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's After the Fall about?

After the Fall (2021) takes a sobering look at the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism in places like Hungary, China, Russia, and the United States of America. It examines how the standing and influence of the US changed in the years following the Cold War, and how this has led to the current challenges facing democracy around the world. 

Who should read After the Fall?

  • Political junkies
  • Fans of democracy
  • Students of modern history

41
Democracy Books: The January 6th Report by Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

The January 6th Report

Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol
3.6 (216 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The January 6th Report about?

The January 6th Report (2022) is the official Congressional report into the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. The report confirms that Donald Trump, the outgoing president, was the root cause of the attack on the Capitol, and the committee recommended that he broke numerous laws in the process and should be brought to justice.

Who should read The January 6th Report?

  • News addicts who were gripped by the events of January 6
  • Politics enthusiasts
  • Anyone with an interest in democracy – and its limits

42
Democracy Books: Adrift by Scott Galloway

Adrift

Scott Galloway
America in 100 Charts
4.3 (308 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Adrift about?

Adrift (2022) argues that the United States is flailing, despite all its success and global dominance since World War II. It’s a country struggling to adapt to revolutionary changes in technology, facing deep economic and political divisions and threats of extremism, and quickly losing ground to rivals like China. Despite all of this, Scott Galloway still sees reason for hope, but first lays out what he sees as the biggest challenges facing the nation. 

Who should read Adrift?

  • Those who feel overwhelmed by the anger and divisiveness on social media
  • Investors who want to understand an evolving market
  • People wondering if higher education is worth their time

43
Democracy Books: Pegasus by Laurent Richard and Sandrine Rigaud

Pegasus

Laurent Richard and Sandrine Rigaud
How a Spy in Our Pocket Threatens the End of Privacy, Dignity, and Democracy
4.3 (286 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Pegasus about?

Pegasus (2023) follows the thrilling, worldwide investigation into one of the most powerful and insidious pieces of cyber surveillance software known to date. Beginning with a massive data leak to a small, independent news outlet, it tells the story of how Pegasus came to be, the hundreds of innocent individuals who have had their privacy taken away by it, and the global team of reporters and editors who risked everything to bring the story to light.

Who should read Pegasus?

  • Followers of the Pegasus Project and other cyber security international bombshells like the Panama Papers, or Wikileaks.
  • Fans of investigative journalism who want to know the stories behind the reports that shake the world.
  • Anyone who owns a phone and wants to know just how fragile their privacy really is.

44
Democracy Books: Propaganda by Edward Bernays

Propaganda

Edward Bernays
4.7 (369 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Propaganda about?

Propaganda (1928) is a plain-speaking and unashamed defense of the techniques of political and social manipulation. Far from being a dark art practiced by despots and dictators, Bernays suggests that propaganda instead plays an essential and necessary role in the life of modern democracies. Not everyone agrees, of course, but nearly 100 years later the enduring influence of Bernays’s arguments is reason enough to engage with them.

Who should read Propaganda?

  • Anyone who works in PR, advertising, or marketing
  • History buffs
  • Politicos interested in American democracy

45
Democracy Books: The Making of Modern South Africa by Nigel Worden

The Making of Modern South Africa

Nigel Worden
The Making of Modern South Africa
4.7 (185 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Making of Modern South Africa about?

The Making of Modern South Africa (2012) traces the history of South Africa from the colonial conquests of the eighteenth century to the birth of an inclusive democracy in 1994. Along the way, it unpacks how struggles over land, natural resources, and belonging shaped the country’s development. 

Who should read The Making of Modern South Africa?

  • Historians 
  • Politics buffs
  • Anyone interested in race and equality

46
Democracy Books: The WEIRDest People in the World by Joseph Henrich

The WEIRDest People in the World

Joseph Henrich
How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous
4.1 (147 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The WEIRDest People in the World about?

The WEIRDest People in the World (2020) describes why Westerners think and behave so differently from most other people. It also explains how the policies of the Western Church in the realms of marriage and kinship have helped cultivate these odd cultural attributes, transforming the world and helping the West flourish in the process. 

Who should read The WEIRDest People in the World?

  • Anyone interested in the confluence of history, anthropology, culture, and economics
  • Westerners seeking a greater understanding of cross-cultural differences
  • Fans of experimental psychology

47
Democracy Books: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm

George Orwell
4.8 (436 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Animal Farm about?

Animal Farm (1945) is a classic satirical novella that transplants the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 to a small English farm. Once the animals stage an uprising, a political battle ensues between an ideological pig named Snowball and a power-hungry pig named Napoleon. 

Who should read Animal Farm?

  • Fans of political satire
  • Animal lovers
  • Anyone who likes a classic story

48
Democracy Books: The Shadow Docket by Stephen Vladeck

The Shadow Docket

Stephen Vladeck
How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic
4.5 (13 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Shadow Docket about?

The Shadow Docket (2022) explores the Supreme Court’s growing abuse of its shadow docket – the procedural rulings it issues, often anonymously and without explanation. Since the mid-2010s, the conservative wing of the Court has increasingly relied on this opaque tactic to empower Republican administrations, influence elections, and transform the law in ways that threaten their own legitimacy.

Who should read The Shadow Docket?

  • Citizens affected by the Supreme Court’s decisions
  • Students curious about the court system
  • Anyone interested in the rule of law

49
Democracy Books: Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond

Poverty, by America

Matthew Desmond
3.8 (179 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Poverty, by America about?

Poverty, by America (2023) delves into the paradoxical issue of poverty in the abundant country of the United States. It explores potential solutions to this pervasive issue, based on extensive research.

Who should read Poverty, by America?

  • Poverty abolitionists
  • Lawmakers
  • Corporate leaders and shareholders

50
Democracy Books: Democracy Awakening by Heather Cox Richardson

Democracy Awakening

Heather Cox Richardson
Notes on the State of America
3.5 (67 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Democracy Awakening about?

Democracy Awakening (2023) looks back at the unique relationship America has had with the concept of democracy over the years. It puts modern events into the larger context of the nation’s ongoing struggle for voting rights, equality, and the looming threat of authoritarian politics.

Who should read Democracy Awakening?

  • History buffs
  • Political junkies
  • Anyone interested in current events

51
Democracy Books: Renegade by Adam Kinzinger & Michael D'Antonio

Renegade

Adam Kinzinger & Michael D'Antonio
Defending Democracy and Liberty in Our Divided Country
3.0 (9 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Renegade about?

Renegade (2023) offers an insider’s perspective on the turbulent political landscape in the United States. Focusing on the challenges and divisions within the Republican Party, it delves into the personal and political consequences of standing against party norms during a time of heightened partisanship, showcasing the complexities of democracy and liberty in a divided country.

Who should read Renegade?

  • Political science students and researchers
  • Members of the Republican Party seeking introspection
  • American history and contemporary politics enthusiasts

52
Democracy Books: Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Common Sense

Thomas Paine
4.3 (27 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Common Sense about?

Common Sense argues for American independence from British rule, combining clear moral principles with practical economic and political insights. It played a crucial role in persuading Americans to pursue a revolutionary break from Britain.

Who should read Common Sense?

  • History enthusiasts
  • Political theory students
  • Revolutionary thought admirers

53
Democracy Books: Twilight of Democracy by Anne Applebaum

Twilight of Democracy

Anne Applebaum
The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

What's Twilight of Democracy about?

In "Twilight of Democracy," Anne Applebaum examines the rise of authoritarianism and the erosion of democratic values in Western societies. Drawing on her own experiences and interviews with former friends and colleagues who have embraced far-right ideologies, Applebaum offers a compelling analysis of the factors contributing to this troubling trend and its potential consequences for the future of democracy. This thought-provoking book provides valuable insights into the challenges facing liberal democracies today.

Who should read Twilight of Democracy?

  • Readers interested in understanding the challenges to democracy in the modern world
  • Individuals who want to gain insight into the rise of populist movements and their impact on society
  • Those who seek to broaden their perspective on political polarization and its consequences

Related Topics

Democracy Books
 FAQs 

What's the best Democracy book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Second Treatise of the Government as the ultimate read on Democracy.

What are the Top 10 Democracy books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • Second Treatise of the Government by John Locke
  • The End of Power by Moisés Naím
  • ISIS by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
  • Failed States by Noam Chomsky
  • Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
  • Frontier Justice by Andy Lamey
  • The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown
  • Political Order and Political Decay by Francis Fukuyama
  • Blueprint for Revolution by Srdja Popovic and Matthew Miller
  • Engines of Liberty by David Cole

Who are the top Democracy book authors?

When it comes to Democracy, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • John Locke
  • Moisés Naím
  • Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
  • Noam Chomsky
  • Thomas Hobbes