The best books about money, relationships and family violence

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and a sociologist of money. I am passionate about money, relationships, and family violence, because I know from my research that talking about money opens up intimate conversations about the way people see themselves, their aspirations and hopes. Sometimes through hearing other people’s stories I have found mine. I realised while researching family violence that I too had suffered economic abuse. For me too economic abuse was ‘hidden in plain sight’. One of the most meaningful things for me is to help women and men overcome family violence and empower themselves to live with freedom.  

I wrote...

Domestic Economic Abuse: The Violence of Money

By Supriya Singh,

Book cover of Domestic Economic Abuse: The Violence of Money

What is my book about?

I tell the stories of 12 Anglo-Celtic and Indian women in Australia who survived economic abuse. Each story shows how the woman was trapped and lost her freedom because her husband denied her money, appropriated her assets, sabotaged her ability to be in paid work, and drove her to coerced debt. 

The stories of Anglo-Celtic and Indian women show economic abuse is not associated with a specific system of money management and control. It is when the morality of money is betrayed that control becomes coercive. Money as a medium of care then becomes a medium of abuse.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Social Meaning of Money: Pin Money, Paychecks, Poor Relief, and Other Currencies

Supriya Singh Why did I love this book?

Viviana Zelizer opened the world of money and relationships for me. I read her when I was doing my doctoral thesis on money, banking, and Anglo-Celtic consumers in Australia. 

Her basic tenet is that money is a social phenomenon. Money shapes and is shaped by social relationships and cultural values. Viviana’s work helped transform my thesis about banking to that of money and marriage.

It was my first step to becoming a sociologist of money and discovering how researching money opens the whole field of human relationships. 

By Viviana A. Zelizer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Social Meaning of Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dollar is a dollar--or so most of us believe. Indeed, it is part of the ideology of our time that money is a single, impersonal instrument that impoverishes social life by reducing relations to cold, hard cash. After all, it's just money. Or is it? Distinguished social scientist and prize-winning author Viviana Zelizer argues against this conventional wisdom. She shows how people have invented their own forms of currency, earmarking money in ways that baffle market theorists, incorporating funds into webs of friendship and family relations, and otherwise varying the process by which spending and saving takes place. Zelizer…

Book cover of Money and Marriage

Supriya Singh Why did I love this book?

Jan Pahl’s work opened the ‘black box’ of the household for me, to examine how men and women in intimate relationships managed and controlled their money across cultures.

She set up a typology of separate, joint, and independent money management and control that became my starting point for researching money and families also cultures. Her work also started me thinking of the gender of money, that is how men and women use, think, and own money differently, particularly when spending on children and the home.  

Book cover of Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life

Supriya Singh Why did I love this book?

Evan Stark’s book introduced me to the concept of  ‘coercive control’.

It is a continued and malevolent pattern of domination and entrapment that makes family violence a human rights crime. He also noted that the perpetrator, often a man, uses gendered stereotypes to control the woman, to convince her that it is she who is at fault.

Evan Stark’s insights helped me connect the gendered cultural practices of money with family violence. When these cultural ways of dealing with money were used for entrapment and abuse, money as a medium of care became a medium of coercive control.

By Evan D. Stark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coercive Control as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite its great achievements, the domestic violence revolution is stalled, Evan Stark argues, a provocative conclusion he documents by showing that interventions have failed to improve women's long-term safety in relationships or to hold perpetrators accountable. Stark traces this failure to a startling paradox, that the singular focus on violence against women masks an even more devastating reality. In millions of abusive relationships, men use a largely unidentified form of subjugation that more closely resembles kidnapping or indentured servitude than assault. He calls this pattern "coercive control". Drawing on sources that range from FBI statistics and film to dozens of…

Book cover of The Sociological Imagination

Supriya Singh Why did I love this book?

Mills’ description of the sociological imagination has become central to the way I think.

He writes of the importance of linking personal troubles to social issues, of moving from the deeply personal to the impersonal, and of linking biography and history.

The sociological imagination is at the heart of my research on domestic economic abuse. It links the stories of personal devastation to the global social issue of family violence. The personal gets transformed to policy and legal issues of the criminalisation of coercive control.  

By C. Wright Mills,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sociological Imagination as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

C. Wright Mills is best remembered for his highly acclaimed work The Sociological Imagination, in which he set forth his views on how social science should be pursued. Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. The
sociological imagination Mills calls for is a sociological vision, a way of looking at the world that can see links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important social issues.…

Book cover of Understanding and Responding to Economic Abuse

Supriya Singh Why did I love this book?

Nicola Sharp-Jeff’s book makes a great contribution by linking research on economic abuse to policy and practice.

She has been able to use her research to set up an important organisation, Surviving Economic Abuse, to help raise awareness of economic abuse, influence law and policy and work with industry and government to address and prevent family violence.

I recognise the book’s value because I know how difficult it is to draw on research to suggest ways forward for policymakers and industry. This is a necessary step for all researchers if they want to prevent family violence and empower women.    

By Nicola Sharp-Jeffs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Understanding and Responding to Economic Abuse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite being recognised by victim-survivors as a tactic used by abusers, economic abuse has received little attention in research, policy, or practice. Written by an internationally recognised expert on economic abuse, this powerful book provides a crucial validation of the lived experience of victim-survivors, and highlights the urgent need to develop effective responses to the issue.

Breaking fresh ground, Understanding and Responding to Economic Abuse exposes the many ways in which abusers seek to control their intimate partners through economic resources and reinforces the importance of holding abusers accountable for their behaviour. Whilst the focus of this book is on…

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The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

By Sammy Stein,

Book cover of The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

Sammy Stein Author Of Fabulous Female Musicians

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been passionate about music for almost my entire life. Jazz music in particular speaks to me but not just jazz. I love music, full stop. I really discovered jazz when I attended a jazz club workshop in London and there, I had to join in or leave. I chose to join in and since then I have never looked back. I was introduced to more jazz musicians and now write about music for three major columns as well as Readers’ Digest. My Women In Jazz book won several awards. I have been International Editor for the Jazz Journalist Association and had my work commissioned by the Library of Congress. 

Sammy's book list on female musicians

What is my book about?

With input from over 100 musicians, the book discusses what exactly jazz is, and how you know you are listening to it. Do we truly know when and how jazz first originated? Who was the first jazz musician? How does jazz link to other genres? What about women in jazz? And writers and journalists? Do reviews make any difference? 

This book is a deep dive into jazz's history, impact, and future. It discusses jazz's social, cultural, and political influence and reveals areas where jazz has had an impact we may not even realize.Its influences on hip hop, the connection to…

The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

By Sammy Stein,

What is this book about?

This book is very different from other, more general jazz books. It is packed with information, advice, well researched and includes experiences from jazz musicians who gleefully add their rich voices to Sammy's in-depth research. All genres, from hard bop to be-bop, vocal jazz, must instrumental, free jazz, and everything between is covered in one way or another and given Sammy's forensic eye. There is social commentary and discussions of careers in jazz music. The musical background of those in the book is rich and diverse.
Critics comment:
"This new book by Sammy Stein is a highly individual take on…

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Interested in domestic violence, sociology, and psychological abuse?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about domestic violence, sociology, and psychological abuse.

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