The best 65 Social Philosophy books

Social philosophy delves into the complexities of human society, ethics, and justice, offering profound insights into our interconnected world. Our carefully curated book list sheds light on key theories and perspectives, making this fundamental topic more accessible.

Discover diverse viewpoints and enrich your understanding of social dynamics with our selection. Ready to deepen your grasp of society's intricacies and explore thought-provoking ideas? Start your journey now.

The best 65 Social Philosophy books
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1
Social Philosophy Books: Gang Leader For A Day by Sudhir Venkatesh

Gang Leader For A Day

Sudhir Venkatesh
A Rogue Sociologist Crosses The Line
3.8 (17 ratings)
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What's Gang Leader For A Day about?

Gang Leader For A Day is based on author Sudhir Venkatesh’s ten years of personal, in-depth research conducted on-site at the notorious Robert Taylor Homes public housing projects in Chicago. Ignored by city government and law enforcement, residents in the close-knit community rely only on local gangs and each other for basic services and social support.

Who should read Gang Leader For A Day?

  • Anyone interested in the influence of gangs in the United States
  • Anyone curious about what it takes to be a gang leader
  • Anyone interested in how poor communities are supported by underground economies

2
Social Philosophy Books: Discipline & Punish by Michel Foucault

Discipline & Punish

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

3
Social Philosophy Books: Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault

Madness and Civilization

Michel Foucault
A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason
4.4 (137 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

4
Social Philosophy Books: The Broken Ladder by Keith Payne

The Broken Ladder

Keith Payne
How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die
4.2 (66 ratings)
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What's The Broken Ladder about?

The Broken Ladder (2017) explores the psychological, physical, and social ramifications of rising inequality. As the rich get richer, it powerfully demonstrates, everyone else feels poorer, regardless of material circumstances – with devastating consequences for all.

Who should read The Broken Ladder?

  • Social psychology
  • Anyone who wants to better understand inequality

5
Social Philosophy Books: The Soul of the World by Roger Scruton

The Soul of the World

Roger Scruton
3.7 (219 ratings)
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What's The Soul of the World about?

In an age where science and atheism seek to explain everything we are, The Soul of the World (2014) argues for the continued importance of religion. It doesn’t preach for a particular doctrine; rather, it claims that in art, music, architecture, and interpersonal relations, there is a striving toward the sacred that science alone can’t explain or fulfill. Finally, it argues that by devaluing or ignoring the transcendent, we are willfully giving up one of the very things that makes us human.

Who should read The Soul of the World?

  • Atheists, agnostics, and scientists seeking a challenge to their worldview
  • Conservatives, traditionalists, and religious people
  • Lovers of philosophy, music, or art

6
Social Philosophy Books: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

David Hume
4.5 (295 ratings)
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What's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding about?

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) presents a succinct summary of Hume’s empirical and skeptical philosophy, and is one of the most influential texts of the early modern period. In calling for the use of reason in rejecting the “superstitions” of metaphysical philosophy and religion, this text helped to furnish the philosophical basis for the scientific method that was then coming to prominence in Enlightenment Europe. Even today, Hume’s Enquiry remains one of the best introductions to modern philosophy.

Who should read An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding?

  • Philosophy students looking for an introduction to Hume’s most important ideas
  • Rationalists who want to sharpen their reasoning skills
  • Anyone interested in the classics of Western philosophy

7
Social Philosophy Books: Wanting by Luke Burgis

Wanting

Luke Burgis
The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life
4.5 (134 ratings)
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What's Wanting about?

Wanting (2021) provides a riveting, philosophical answer to the question Why do we want the things we want? Drawing on theories originally developed by the celebrated polymath René Girard, it reveals an uncomfortable truth: that our desires are all ultimately a product of other people’s desires. The point isn’t to eliminate them,⁠ but rather to choose, carefully and consciously, which ones we should actually strive for. 

Who should read Wanting?

  • Lovers of philosophy, psychology, and literature
  • Dedicated self-improvers
  • Young entrepreneurs and business leaders

8
Social Philosophy Books: The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Social Contract

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
A cornerstone in modern political and social thought
4.5 (337 ratings)
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What's The Social Contract about?

The Social Contract (1762) is a seminal work of political and social theory, and is Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s most important and influential text. In the book, Rousseau lays out the conditions required for the legitimate founding and governing of a nation state. Playing a role in both the French Revolution and the founding of the US Constitution, The Social Contract is a cornerstone of modern political thought and essential reading for anyone interested in political theory.

Who should read The Social Contract?

  • Students looking for an introduction to Rousseau
  • Politics buffs interested in the foundational texts of liberalism
  • Life-long learners who want to know all the classics of Western thought

9
Social Philosophy Books: How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton

How Proust Can Change Your Life

Alain de Botton
4.6 (342 ratings)
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What's How Proust Can Change Your Life about?

How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997) melds literary biography with a self-help structure to argue that reading the work of twentieth-century French author Marcel Proust is not only culturally enriching, but potentially life-enhancing. Botton’s close reading of Proust’s masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time, offers up surprising and delightful insights into how to live better.

Who should read How Proust Can Change Your Life?

  • Voracious readers who have yet to embark on In Search of Lost Time
  • Reluctant readers who’d like to read more than they currently do
  • Anyone looking to take on a literary challenge

10
Social Philosophy Books: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf
4.5 (238 ratings)
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What's A Room of One’s Own about?

A Room of One's Own (1929) is a perceptive rumination on gender and self-expression. This extended essay explores the social and structural barriers women face when creating art.

Who should read A Room of One’s Own?

  • Artists looking for inspiring words
  • Women exploring the history of feminism 
  • Those struggling to understand social injustice

11
Social Philosophy Books: The Quick Fix by Jesse Singal

The Quick Fix

Jesse Singal
Why Fad Psychology Can't Cure Our Social Ills
4.2 (81 ratings)
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What's The Quick Fix about?

The Quick Fix (2021) is a skeptical study of recent trends in behavioral psychology. Academic studies and TED talks may appear to make a convincing case for the power of positive thinking or the impact of implicit bias, but sometimes the evidence just isn’t there. In a complex world, the explanations for human behavior are often more nuanced than some modern psychologists would have you believe.

Who should read The Quick Fix?

  • Psychology skeptics
  • Those interested in societal problems and human behavior
  • Anyone who has ever viewed a TED talk

12
Social Philosophy Books: What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill

What We Owe the Future

William MacAskill
4.3 (240 ratings)
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What's What We Owe the Future about?

What We Owe the Future (2022) makes the case for longtermism –⁠ the idea that people today have an obligation to create a good future for successive generations. Using philosophical reasoning, historical anecdotes, and social science research, it argues that the current moment could decide whether future people will live happy, flourishing lives or extraordinarily miserable ones. By carefully considering our actions with respect to issues like AI safety, biotechnology, and value lock-in, we increase the chances that future people will thrive –⁠ just as many of us do, now, thanks to people from the past.

Who should read What We Owe the Future?

  • Activists and charity donors who want to maximize the good they do
  • People interested in moral philosophy and ethics 
  • Anyone concerned about the future of humanity

13
Social Philosophy Books: Longpath by Ari Wallach

Longpath

Ari Wallach
Becoming the Great Ancestors Our Future Needs - an Antidote for Short-Termism
4.3 (263 ratings)
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What's Longpath about?

Longpath (2022) is written to change the way you think about humankind. By teaching the lessons of the Longpath mentality, it shows how to break the bad habit of short-term thinking and embrace a mentality that helps connect humanity’s past, present, and future in order to make a better world. 

Who should read Longpath?

  • Individuals interested in improving their connection to others
  • Anyone held back by short-term thinking
  • Policymakers at the local, state, or federal level

14
Social Philosophy Books: Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe

Rogues

Patrick Radden Keefe
True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks
4.0 (138 ratings)
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What's Rogues about?

Rogues (2022) is a compilation of veteran journalist Patrick Radden Keefe’s most famous profiles for the New Yorker Magazine. Keefe delves into the lives of notorious criminals and con artists, exploring their complex motivations. He examines the societies that made them and the systems we have for bringing people to justice.

Who should read Rogues?

  • Fans of long-form journalism 
  • Anyone interested in how the rogues of this world get away with their crimes
  • People interested in psychology and how past events can influence human behavior

15
Social Philosophy Books: Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Starry Messenger

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization
4.3 (483 ratings)
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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

16
Social Philosophy 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)
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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.

17
Social Philosophy Books: Future Stories by David Christian

Future Stories

David Christian
What's Next?
4.2 (377 ratings)
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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

18
Social Philosophy Books: Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth

William Shakespeare
4.7 (126 ratings)
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What's Macbeth about?

Macbeth (1606) is the Shakespearean tragedy of Scottish general Macbeth and his doomed attempt to seize his country’s throne. His ambitions ignited by a prophecy spoken to him by three witches, Macbeth’s path to power begins with anxiety and reticence and ends with callousness and cruelty. His story is a timeless exploration of guilt, paranoia, madness, prophecy, and the evils of ambition.

Who should read Macbeth?

  • Shakespeare lovers who haven’t had the chance to read Macbeth 
  • Those who find Shakespeare’s original language difficult to enjoy
  • Macbeth fans who want a refresher

19
Social Philosophy Books: What’s Our Problem? by Tim Urban

What’s Our Problem?

Tim Urban
A Self-Help Book for Societies
4.4 (438 ratings)
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What's What’s Our Problem? about?

What’s Our Problem (2023) offers a fun and unique perspective on the strange state of the modern world in which we live. Using the author’s iconic comedic style, it draws on observations from political theory, psychology, history, and modern-day events to explain what is going on in our society, and what we can potentially do to fix it.

Who should read What’s Our Problem??

  • Followers of Tim Urban and his blog, Wait But Why
  • The socially-minded looking for clear and clever explanations of complex problems
  • Anyone confused and overwhelmed by the crazy state of the world

20
Social Philosophy Books: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies

William Golding
4.6 (192 ratings)
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What's Lord of the Flies about?

Lord of the Flies (1954) is the allegorical story of a group of young boys stranded on a deserted island and left to fend for themselves and create a society. As the boys struggle with the complexities of leadership, cooperation, and survival, they are forced to face some fundamental questions about human nature and the fragility of civilization.

Who should read Lord of the Flies?

  • Readers looking for fresh eyes on an old classic
  • Literature lovers who somehow never got around to this important book
  • Anyone looking for insight into the nature of society and the humans who build it

21
Social Philosophy Books: Selfless by Brian Lowery

Selfless

Brian Lowery
The Social Creation of “You”
4.2 (33 ratings)
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What's Selfless about?

Selfless (2023) explores the concept of the self as an entity formed by relationships and society in general. It tackles the roles of family, social groups, the country, and technology in shaping the self. 

Who should read Selfless?

  • Social psychology enthusiasts
  • Anyone interested in the idea of the self as a social creation
  • People looking to understand themselves and others better

22
Social Philosophy Books: Humanly Possible by Sarah Bakewell

Humanly Possible

Sarah Bakewell
Seven Hundred Years of Humanist Freethinking, Inquiry, and Hope
4.2 (211 ratings)
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What's Humanly Possible about?

Humanly Possible (2023) traces the roots of humanism in literature and science back through history. While telling the stories of the great humanist thinkers, it sheds light on humanity today as well as how we can better relate to our lives and environment through humanist beliefs and pursuits. 

Who should read Humanly Possible?

  • Anyone interested in the humanities
  • People looking for non-religious alternatives to moral thinking
  • Optimists

23
Social Philosophy Books: Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King

Devil in the Grove

Gilbert King
Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America
4.6 (10 ratings)
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What's Devil in the Grove about?

Devil in the Grove (2012) tells the true story of four young Black men falsely accused of rape in 1949 Florida. It follows lawyer Thurgood Marshall’s tireless efforts to save their lives in the face of racial hatred, obstruction, violence, and injustice at every turn. Ultimately, Marshall exposed devastating flaws in the case, achieving some semblance of justice despite a system aligned against the defendants. 

Who should read Devil in the Grove?

  • People interested in the Groveland case
  • Those curious about Thurgood Marshall’s legal career
  • Anyone who wants to learn more about the history of racial injustice in the US

24
Social Philosophy Books: Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Friedrich Nietzsche
4.3 (427 ratings)
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What's Thus Spoke Zarathustra about?

Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883) is a philosophical novel by Friedrich Nietzsche that explores the themes of religion, morality, culture, and society. It follows the journey of Zarathustra, a prophet who leaves his cave to share his wisdom with humanity. Along the way he encounters various characters who test his vision, and grapples with his own shortcomings.

Who should read Thus Spoke Zarathustra?

  • Those who like to challenge their own assumptions and values
  • People who enjoy poetic and metaphorical language and imagery
  • Students of history, philosophy, and culture

25
Social Philosophy Books: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

The Prince and the Pauper

Mark Twain
4.6 (22 ratings)
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What's The Prince and the Pauper about?

The Prince and the Pauper (1881) is a classic tale that explores the societal framework of the sixteenth-century English society. The story unravels the unexpected journey of two identical boys – Prince Edward, the royal heir, and Tom Canty, a destitute pauper, as they swap their lives. In exploring each other's worlds, they gain insightful lessons about society, identity, and human kindness, with the story offering a profound commentary on class disparities and social norms.

Who should read The Prince and the Pauper?

  • History enthusiasts
  • Fans of classic literature
  • Personal development seekers

26
Social Philosophy Books: The Sacred and the Profane by Mircea Eliade

The Sacred and the Profane

Mircea Eliade
The Nature of Religion
3.5 (48 ratings)
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What's The Sacred and the Profane about?

The Sacred and the Profane (1957) looks at the dichotomy between religious and secular life, exploring how various cultures perceive and experience the sacred. By contrasting the traditional understanding of sacred time and space with the secular, linear perspective prevalent in modern societies it offers a deep analysis of how the sacred has shaped religious practices and beliefs throughout history.

Who should read The Sacred and the Profane?

  • Students of religious studies and theology
  • Philosophers interested in existential and metaphysical concepts
  • Historians exploring the evolution of religious beliefs

Listen to the Intro
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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

28
Social Philosophy Books: The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

The Wretched of the Earth

Frantz Fanon
4.1 (16 ratings)
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What's The Wretched of the Earth about?

The Wretched of the Earth (2021) is a seminal work examining the psychological effects of colonialism and advocating for revolutionary struggle against racist and colonial oppression. It has profoundly influenced civil rights, anti-colonial, Black consciousness, and psychiatric reform movements globally since its publication in 1961.

Who should read The Wretched of the Earth?

  • Activists and organizers
  • Students and scholars
  • People who care about justice

29
Social Philosophy Books: Gender Trouble by Judith Butler

Gender Trouble

Judith Butler
Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
3.0 (34 ratings)
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What's Gender Trouble about?

Gender Trouble (1990) is a touchstone work of theory in gender studies. Notably, it introduces the concept of gender performativity, which has had a profound impact on feminist and LGBTQ+ scholarship and activism, and shaped contemporary ideas around gender. 

Who should read Gender Trouble?

  • Students of gender theory 
  • Feminists and LGBTQ+ activists 
  • Those keen to inform themselves about gender fluidity and performativity

30
Social Philosophy Books: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

Daniel Deronda

George Eliot
3.0 (4 ratings)
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What's Daniel Deronda about?

Moving between love and duty, Daniel Deronda (1876) explores the life of its eponymous protagonist, torn between his loyalty to his past and an unfamiliar Jewish heritage. It navigates through societal expectations, morality, self-realization, and the idea of destiny in Victorian England.

Who should read Daniel Deronda?

  • Fans of classic literature
  • Students of Victorian England
  • History and society enthusiasts

31
Social Philosophy Books: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Idiot

Fyodor Dostoevsky
4.0 (16 ratings)
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What's The Idiot about?

The Idiot (1869) follows the naïvely optimistic prince Myshkin as he moves through Russia’s confusing and cynical society, offering a profound discussion on the struggle between idealism and worldly disillusionment.

Who should read The Idiot?

  • Connoisseurs of Russian literature
  • Readers interested in philosophy
  • Enthusiasts of character-driven narratives

32
Social Philosophy Books: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Piketty
3.5 (156 ratings)
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What's Capital in the Twenty-First Century about?

Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013) offers a deep dive into the historical trends and dynamics of income and wealth inequality. Drawing from centuries of data, it examines how capital concentration perpetuates inequality and proposes bold solutions to address this growing divide.

Who should read Capital in the Twenty-First Century?

  • Economists studying wealth dynamics
  • Those who would like to contextualize modern economic issues with historical data
  • Advocates for social justice and economic equality

33
Social Philosophy 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)
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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

34
Social Philosophy Books: Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre

Being and Nothingness

Jean-Paul Sartre
A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology
4.3 (169 ratings)
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What's Being and Nothingness about?

Being and Nothingness (1943) is a seminal work of existentialist philosophy. It explores the major themes of existentialism, such as the intricacies of human consciousness, free will, and the interplay of objectivity and subjectivity.

Who should read Being and Nothingness?

  • Students and scholars of philosophy
  • People interested in intellectual history and influential philosophical texts
  • Anyone grappling with questions of meaning, identity, and consciousness

35
Social Philosophy Books: Social Justice Fallacies by Thomas Sowell

Social Justice Fallacies

Thomas Sowell
3.7 (153 ratings)
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00:00

What's Social Justice Fallacies about?

Social Justice Fallacies (2023) unravels the myths and misconceptions driving today's social justice movement. It turns out that many popular beliefs about how society should be improved often conflict with concrete facts. This exploration sheds light on the perilous path of good intentions paired with fallacious assertions.

Who should read Social Justice Fallacies?

  • Critical thinkers who find themselves questioning social justice movements
  • Enthusiasts of fact-driven political discourse
  • Anyone wanting to debunk widely accepted social narratives

36
Social Philosophy Books: How to Read Lacan by Slavoj Žižek

How to Read Lacan

Slavoj Žižek
3.7 (261 ratings)
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00:00

What's How to Read Lacan about?

How to Read Lacan (2007) offers a deep dive into the perplexing landscape of our inner psyche through the lens of twentieth-century psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan. It unravels the mysteries of unconscious beliefs, from the paradoxes of atheism to the rituals that mask genuine feelings. It leads us through an eye-opening journey, challenging our perceptions, and uncovering the unseen forces shaping our daily lives.

Who should read How to Read Lacan?

  • Philosophy lovers seeking deeper understanding
  • Students of psychological and behavioral sciences
  • Enthusiasts of introspection and self-exploration

37
Social Philosophy Books: Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky, Peter R. Mitchell & John Schoeffel

Understanding Power

Noam Chomsky, Peter R. Mitchell & John Schoeffel
The Indispensable Chomsky
4.4 (144 ratings)
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00:00

What's Understanding Power about?

Understanding Power (2002) is a compilation of discussions and seminars by Noam Chomsky curated by Peter R. Mitchell and John Schoeffel. Throughout this collection, Chomsky delves into a wide range of topics, primarily focusing on how power and politics shape societies – critiquing media, corporate power, and governmental control, all while examining how these forces influence public opinion, policy, and democracy. With a focus on America, it reinterprets events of the past concerning foreign and social policy, highlighting the many challenges that Americans continue to face.

Who should read Understanding Power?

  • Political and sociology students
  • Citizen historians interested in America
  • Changemakers and activists

38
Social Philosophy Books: Poor Things by Alasdair Gray

Poor Things

Alasdair Gray
A Novel
4.2 (65 ratings)
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What's Poor Things about?

Poor Things (1992) is an award-winning postmodern novel that takes readers on a whirlwind tour through the monstrous and gothic world of late-Victorian Glasgow. A Frankenstein-esque tale of a dubious scientific experiment, it playfully subverts genre conventions to provide a fresh perspective on the representation of women in literature.

Who should read Poor Things?

  • Fans of satirical postmodern literature
  • History buffs who love all things Victorian 
  • Sci-fi enthusiasts interested in a modern take on Frankenstein

39
Social Philosophy Books: The Capitalist Manifesto by Johan Norberg

The Capitalist Manifesto

Johan Norberg
Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World
3.8 (17 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Capitalist Manifesto about?

The Capitalist Manifesto (2023) delves into the transformative power of free markets, arguing that capitalism has historically led to unprecedented prosperity and technological progress. It asserts that the global free market system holds the key to solving world challenges, emphasizing capitalism’s role in fostering economic growth and innovation.

Who should read The Capitalist Manifesto?

  • Economics students interested in capitalism’s global impact
  • Business professionals exploring market-driven growth strategies
  • Free-market enthusiasts and capitalism advocates

40
Social Philosophy Books: Democracy Awakening by Heather Cox Richardson

Democracy Awakening

Heather Cox Richardson
Notes on the State of America
3.5 (67 ratings)
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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

41
Social Philosophy Books: Ours Was the Shining Future by David Leonhardt

Ours Was the Shining Future

David Leonhardt
The Story of the American Dream
3.9 (159 ratings)
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What's Ours Was the Shining Future about?

Ours Was the Shining Future (2023) reflects on the rise and fall of democratic capitalism and the American Dream. It highlights the growing disparity between political representation and the economic interests of the working class in the United States.

Who should read Ours Was the Shining Future?

  • History buffs and political junkies
  • Anyone interested in American economics
  • People wondering how US politics got to where it is today

42
Social Philosophy Books: Determined by Robert M. Sapolsky

Determined

Robert M. Sapolsky
Life without Free Will
4.2 (471 ratings)
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00:00

What's Determined about?

Determined (2023) argues that free will is an illusion – all human behavior stems from biological and cultural factors we don't control. Through scientific research and case studies, it lays out the argument in favor of determinism, and aims to persuade why rejecting the notion of free will might be a positive step.

Who should read Determined?

  • Philosophers interested in free will, determinism, and human agency
  • Neuroscientists and psychologists studying decision-making
  • Anyone curious about what guides human behavior and choices

43
Social Philosophy Books: How Trust Works by Peter H. Kim

How Trust Works

Peter H. Kim
The Science of How Relationships Are Built, Broken, and Repaired
3.8 (78 ratings)
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What's How Trust Works about?

How Trust Works (2023) delves into the intricate dynamics of trust, exploring its fundamental role in forming, breaking, and repairing relationships. It offers a comprehensive guide to understanding how trust operates within personal and community connections, backed by extensive research in the field of trust repair. 

Who should read How Trust Works?

  • Relationship counselors and therapists seeking trust-building strategies
  • Business leaders and managers focused on team cohesion
  • Anyone interested in improving personal and professional relationships

44
Social Philosophy Books: The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara

The Motorcycle Diaries

Ernesto Che Guevara
4.0 (36 ratings)
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What's The Motorcycle Diaries about?

The Motorcycle Diaries (1952) invites you on a pivotal journey across South America that transforms a youthful traveler into a revolutionary icon. As you delve into these vivid narratives, you'll experience an intimate glimpse of a continent’s rich cultures and the awakening of a profound social consciousness. This captivating odyssey is not just a travel tale, but also a profound coming-of-age story that challenges you to explore the depths of your own beliefs and ideals.

Who should read The Motorcycle Diaries?

  • Adventure enthusiasts seeking inspiration from epic journeys
  • History buffs interested in revolutionary figures and ideologies
  • Travel literature fans exploring diverse cultural narratives

45
Social Philosophy Books: Native Son by Richard Wright

Native Son

Richard Wright
3.7 (3 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Native Son about?

First released in 1940, Native Son tackles the brutal realities of living in a racially prejudiced society. Through its protagonist's story, it illustrates the devastating and tragic effects that systemic oppression can have on an individual.

Who should read Native Son?

  •  Fans of social realism
  •  Readers interested in racial themes
  •  Followers of American literature

46
Social Philosophy Books: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro
4.0 (101 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Remains of the Day about?

The Remains of the Day (1989) features one of contemporary literature’s most unforgettable narrators, Stevens, a butler who reminisces on his life in service at one of England’s stately homes in the years leading up to World War II. 

Who should read The Remains of the Day?

  • Fans of contemporary literature
  • History lovers interested in a literary take on the interwar years in England
  • Period drama devotees seeking a look at life in a stately home

47
Social Philosophy Books: The Order of Things by Michel Foucault

The Order of Things

Michel Foucault
An Archaeology of Human Sciences
4.3 (58 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Order of Things about?

The Order of Things (1966) is a philosophical examination of our most basic beliefs about knowledge. With depth and skill, it exposes the shaky foundations holding up society’s perceived truths and argues that much of what we know actually just relies on chance.

Who should read The Order of Things?

  • Philosophers interested in theories of language and knowledge
  • Students of history and science
  • Critical thinkers questioning modern scientific paradigms

48
Social Philosophy Books: Everyone Leads by Paul Schmitz

Everyone Leads

Paul Schmitz
Building Leadership from the Community Up
3.4 (129 ratings)
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00:00

What's Everyone Leads about?

Everyone Leads (2011) turns the leadership conversation on its head, asserting that the corner office isn't the only place for leaders. It paints a world where leadership is an action sport, open to all, from boardroom bigwigs to the unsung heroes in the break room. This narrative is a rally cry for every closet leader to step into the light, harnessing the power of collaboration and shared goals, regardless of their place on the organizational chart.

Who should read Everyone Leads?

  • Changemakers seeking grassroots impact
  • Aspiring leaders currently upskilling themselves
  • Social innovators hungry for inspiration

49
Social Philosophy Books: The Burnout Society by Byung-Chul Han

The Burnout Society

Byung-Chul Han
4.0 (142 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Burnout Society about?

The Burnout Society (2010) delves into the contemporary epidemic of exhaustion and mental overload, revealing how your pursuit of success and productivity in a hyper-connected world might be leading to a state of collective burnout. It challenges you to rethink societal norms and personal values, offering insights into navigating the pressures of modern life. 

Who should read The Burnout Society?

  • Professionals seeking work-life balance
  • Students studying societal trends and psychology
  • Advocates for mental health and wellness

50
Social Philosophy Books: The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory by Dedeker Winston

The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory

Dedeker Winston
Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love
3.8 (21 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory about?

The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory (2017) offers practical relationship advice for women seeking to break free from jealousy, possessiveness, and competition through discovering polyamory. Incorporating real-world experiences and practical exercises, it covers exploring your relationship style, conquering jealousy, and “coming out” as polyamorous – helping you craft unique connections tailored to your needs.

Who should read The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory?

  • People interested in exploring non-monogamy and alternative relationships
  • Those curious about opening up a current monogamous relationship
  • Anyone looking to gain confidence in communication skills

51
Social Philosophy Books: Tired of Winning by Jonathan Karl

Tired of Winning

Jonathan Karl
Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party
2.7 (172 ratings)
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00:00

What's Tired of Winning about?

Tired of Winning (2023) invites you into a gripping narrative of political intrigue and legal drama, centering on Donald Trump's unprecedented challenges and actions that reshaped American politics. Experience a compelling journey through political chess games, legal battles, and the ongoing saga of a figure who continues to dominate the American political landscape.

Who should read Tired of Winning?

  • Political history enthusiasts
  • Followers of US presidency studies
  • Anyone interested in contemporary American politics

52
Social Philosophy Books: Good for Business by Andrew Benett et al.

Good for Business

Andrew Benett et al.
The Rise of the Conscious Corporation
3.6 (7 ratings)
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00:00

What's Good for Business about?

Good for Business (2009) delves into the transformative journey of modern corporations, underscoring their shift toward prioritizing purpose beyond profit, humanized leadership, corporate consciousness, and collaborative partnerships. It illustrates how these key elements are essential in building a strong, authentic corporate brand that not only attracts loyal customers but also makes a meaningful social difference. This approach positions corporate culture and social responsibility at the heart of brand strategy.

Who should read Good for Business?

  • Business leaders seeking corporate transformation insights
  • Corporate social responsibility advocates
  • Entrepreneurs interested in sustainable business practices

53
Social Philosophy 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)
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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

54
Social Philosophy Books: The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord

The Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord
3.9 (60 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Society of the Spectacle about?

The Society of the Spectacle (1967) plunges into an intricate world where media, culture, and consumerism converge, shaping perceptions and experiences. It’s a journey through a labyrinth of modern life's illusions, offering insights on discerning reality amidst the dazzling distortions and finding your path in a world awash with reflective deceits.

Who should read The Society of the Spectacle?

  • Critical thinkers and social commentators
  • Students and enthusiasts of political theory
  • Budding philosophers and cultural theorists

55
Social Philosophy Books: Single, Dating, Engaged, Married by Ben Stuart

Single, Dating, Engaged, Married

Ben Stuart
Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age
2.6 (22 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Single, Dating, Engaged, Married about?

Single, Dating, Engaged, Married (2017) is filled with practical guidance for today’s Christian on four seasons of romantic relationship. This thoughtful collection of stories and scriptural wisdom offers ways to transform relationships, from navigating modern dating to honoring divine design within marriage.

Who should read Single, Dating, Engaged, Married?

  • Single Christians wondering if being alone is really part of God’s plan
  • Dating Christians who want to know if their current partner is “the one”
  • Engaged Christians about to embark on the adventure of marriage

56
Social Philosophy Books: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

James McBride
A Novel
3.3 (85 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store about?

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store (2023) is the richly-textured story of a small, diverse community centered around the Jewish-owned Heaven and Earth Grocery store in Pottstown Pennsylvania in the 20s and 30s, and of the big events – love, death, murder, kidnapping – that mark the lives of the people connected to it.

Who should read The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store?

  • Lovers of historical fiction
  • Fans of contemporary American literature
  • Anyone who likes a tale full of twists and turns

57
Social Philosophy Books: Hearts of Darkness by Jana Monroe

Hearts of Darkness

Jana Monroe
My Life Breaking Barriers in the FBI and Fighting the Evil Among Us
4.3 (9 ratings)
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00:00

What's Hearts of Darkness about?

Hearts of Darkness (2023) is a gripping memoir that details Jana Monroe’s career as one of the first female profilers in the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit. It provides a riveting account of her encounters with some of history’s most notorious criminals and her explorations into their dark psychology. Far from just a chronicle of her professional achievements, it also delves into the psychological toll of her job and the challenges she faced as a woman in a male-dominated field. 

Who should read Hearts of Darkness?

  • True-crime enthusiasts
  • Women pursuing or working in law enforcement
  • Fans of The Silence of the Lambs interested in the inspiration for Clarice Starling

58
Social Philosophy Books: The Seven Circles by Chelsey Luger & Thosh Collins

The Seven Circles

Chelsey Luger & Thosh Collins
Indigenous Teachings for Living Well
4.8 (34 ratings)
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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

59
Social Philosophy Books: The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

The Covenant of Water

Abraham Verghese
4.4 (10 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Covenant of Water about?

The Covenant of Water (2023) follows a family in southern India across three generations as they grapple with a chilling affliction – the death by drowning of at least one member of every generation. Spanning almost the entire twentieth century, this masterful literary novel is a poignant tale of love and loss, chronicling the evolution of a family as well as India's turbulent passage into modernity.

Who should read The Covenant of Water?

  • Fans of literary fiction interested in emotional resonance and the human experience
  • People intrigued by the traditions and everyday lives of families in southern India
  • Those fascinated by India's culture and history, especially the changes in Indian society throughout the 1900s

60
Social Philosophy Books: Filterworld by Kyle Chayka

Filterworld

Kyle Chayka
How Algorithms Flattened Culture
4.2 (194 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Filterworld about?

Filterworld (2024) dives into the digital age's landscape, where algorithms are the unseen puppeteers of culture, taste, and social interaction. Peel back the digital curtain to uncover how your preferences are being shaped in echo chambers of sameness and how to be authentic in a world curated by code.

Who should read Filterworld?

  • Digital nomads and social media enthusiasts
  • Cultural critics investigating the intersection of technology and culture
  • Reclaimers of individuality

61
Social Philosophy Books: The Amen Effect by Sharon Brous

The Amen Effect

Sharon Brous
Ancient Wisdom to Mend Our Broken Hearts and World
3.7 (11 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Amen Effect about?

The Amen Effect (2024) is an inspiring exploration of the power of community to mend our broken hearts. It contends that our most basic human yearning for connection can reawaken our shared humanity, offering a hopeful blueprint for more meaning, connection, and compassion.

Who should read The Amen Effect?

  • People experiencing grief, loss, or life transitions
  • Anyone seeking inspiration for living boldly and with purpose
  • Leaders of faith-based or social justice organizations

62
Social Philosophy Books: In Praise of Folly by Erasmus

In Praise of Folly

Erasmus
4.1 (14 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's In Praise of Folly about?

In Praise of Folly (1511) is a critical examination of societal norms and institutions with a satirical lens, unveiling an unconventional wisdom that praises folly, or foolishness, as a driving force behind much human action and happiness.

Who should read In Praise of Folly?

  • Fans of Renaissance literature
  • Students of philosophy
  • Individuals questioning societal norms

63
Social Philosophy Books: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne
4.2 (10 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Scarlet Letter about?

The Scarlet Letter (1850) delves into the repercussions of sin, societal judgment, and the pathway to personal redemption, journeying through the life of Hester Prynne, an adulteress in a Puritan society.

Who should read The Scarlet Letter?

  • Fans of historical fiction
  • Readers interested in morality tales
  • Feminist literature enthusiasts

64
Social Philosophy Books: The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Adam Smith
4.0 (14 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Theory of Moral Sentiments about?

First released in 1759, The Theory of Moral Sentiments examines empathy as the primary driving force behind moral judgment, influencing everything from personal relationships to societal norms.

Who should read The Theory of Moral Sentiments?

  • Philosophy enthusiasts
  • Social science students
  • Readers interested in human behavior

65
Social Philosophy Books: The Other Significant Others by Rhaina Cohen

The Other Significant Others

Rhaina Cohen
Reimagining Life with Friendship at the Center
3.8 (4 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Other Significant Others about?

The Other Significant Others (2024) challenges conventional relationship wisdom by inviting us to imagine a life centered around friendship rather than romance. Through compelling stories of platonic partners who have built lives together, this thought-provoking work invites us to re-examine our assumptions about love, commitment, and family.

Who should read The Other Significant Others?

  • Readers seeking alternative perspectives on relationships and family structures
  • Friends who want to build a life together
  • Single, widowed, or divorced people searching for meaning, love, and connection

Related Topics

Social Philosophy Books
 FAQs 

What's the best Social Philosophy book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Gang Leader For A Day as the ultimate read on Social Philosophy.

What are the Top 10 Social Philosophy books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • Gang Leader For A Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
  • Discipline & Punish by Michel Foucault
  • Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault
  • The Broken Ladder by Keith Payne
  • The Soul of the World by Roger Scruton
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume
  • Wanting by Luke Burgis
  • The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Who are the top Social Philosophy book authors?

When it comes to Social Philosophy, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Sudhir Venkatesh
  • Michel Foucault
  • Michel Foucault
  • Keith Payne
  • Roger Scruton