The best books to influence human society

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the past decade, I’ve become very concerned with the direction authoritarianism is taking human society. It’s a global problem that now infects America, leaving us with a partisan divide we may not be able to bridge. My recommended books helped me understand the situation and how one might speak out against this negative force effectively. Convinced that bombarding readers with facts alone is useless, I chose to provide a novel that is interesting and captivates readers. My goal is to entice readers to press on to the end regardless of their political persuasion, in hopes that along the way some thought will be devoted to the issues raised.

I wrote...

You Speak For Me Now

By Sandy Graham,

Book cover of You Speak For Me Now

What is my book about?

In a world torn between democracy and dictatorship, can America survive the onslaught of authoritarianism and become once again a beacon of democratic leadership? Emergence of a powerful propaganda machine places the answer in doubt.

A musically gifted extrovert, John McEwan, becomes embroiled in this battle, dragging Emma Simon, a deaf introvert, in with him. Forces against them turn violent, driving them into seclusion, tearing them apart, and destroying their rapidly growing company. In a dramatic role reversal, Emma reveals how a strong individual can rise in the face of crises. This emotion-packed novel, at times heart-wrenching, at times heart-filling, lights a path to a brighter future.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal

Sandy Graham Why did I love this book?

I believe an understanding of how human society evolved into its current state is a key ingredient in the search for ways to influence its future. Desmond Morris provides an insightful foundation for this by analyzing the human-animal from a Zoologist’s viewpoint. He traces our evolution from a small insect-eating forest dweller to a fruit and nut-eating ape to a predominantly carnivorous hunting ape.

This last major transition most interests me because it explains the significant biological and cultural changes needed to compete with established carnivores. This includes lengthened brain development, communication, male/female bonding, social organization, and territorial protection. While this transition introduced major differences between humans and other primates, the inertia of evolution over millions of years still impacts our behavior.

By Desmond Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work has become a benchmark of popular anthropology and psychology.

Zoologist Desmond Morris considers humans as being simply another animal species in this classic book first published in 1967. Here is the Naked Ape at his most primal in love, at work, at war. Meet man as he really is: relative to the apes, stripped of his veneer as we see him courting, making love, sleeping, socializing, grooming, playing. The Naked Ape takes its place alongside Darwin’s Origin of the Species, presenting man not as a fallen angel, but as a risen ape, remarkable in his resilience, energy and…

Book cover of Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy

Sandy Graham Why did I love this book?

Doctor Konner gives an intriguing anthropologist’s view of animal development, tracing the introduction of genders, illustrating examples of male and female dominance, and describing the impact of evolution on human behavior. While he gives many fascinating examples of normal and abnormal sex and gender behavior in the animal world, what interested me most was his coverage of the shift from millions of years as hunter/gatherers to today’s complex male-dominated society, with its attendant aggression.

One point made is that the very different male and female roles caused brain development variation which typically makes females more tuned to communication and cooperation. He suggests the salvation of human society ultimately requires a strong female role.

By Melvin Konner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women After All as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Women After All, anthropologist Melvin Konner traces the arc of evolution to explain the relationships between women and men. Drawing on colourful examples from the natural world-the octopus, the black widow spider and coral reef fish, which can switch from male to female in a single reproductive career-he sheds light on our biologically different human identities and the poignant exceptions that challenge the male/female divide.

We meet hunter-gatherers in Botswana whose culture gave women a prominent place, inventing the working mother and respecting women's voices around the fire. History upset this balance as a dense world of war fostered…

Book cover of Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make Or Break You

Sandy Graham Why did I love this book?

Our future is determined by us, and our actions are determined by our thought processes. In other words, the future of human society can be influenced by manipulating group thought. Colin applies years of training and experience as a hypnotist to give us a view of how the human brain functions and how it can be manipulated.

He views it as two computing systems. A subconscious mind performing 40 million tasks/second deals only in the present, ignoring abstract things like “yesterday,” “don’t,” etc. The second conscious mind uses 40 tasks/second to control and program the first. It doesn’t exist in babies and develops during childhood. How that growth is managed determines its adult thought process and ultimately group thought. Colin provides insights on how it can be manipulated for good or bad results.

By Colin Christopher, Chris Simon (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Success Through Manipulation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

MANIPULATIONGet it, before it gets you! Do you realize you are being manipulated, or are you oblivious? Do you know who or what is manipulating you? Can you identify the manipulation? If you can identify it, can you do anything about it? How is manipulation affecting you? Can you change these effects? Can you use them to your advantage?Success through Manipulation delves deeply into how you think and how your mind reacts to your environment, friends, family, work, and much more.Learn how to stop reacting, become consciously aware and take control of your mind. Manipulate your thinking and become more…

Book cover of Mentalligence

Sandy Graham Why did I love this book?

Mentaligence takes conscious mind development one step further. It suggests that we are burdened with an indoctrination dictating how to behave and meet preordained goals pressed upon us by parents, teachers, religious leaders, and society in general. Its premise is that we must recognize these factors and any negative effect on our well-being; learn how to throw off their shackles; and develop a new attitude of thinking. In short, acquire what Dr. Lee calls mental agility.

Indoctrination, group-think, and social brain-washing are related terms for the negative force. While some indoctrination may be considered beneficial, few would disagree with the negative effect of Nazi group-think or that leading to mass suicides in Jamestown. They illustrate the need for objective thinking to all manifestations of indoctrination.

By Dr. Kristen Lee PhD,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves is rethinking what we've been taught, because thoughts become behaviors. The same mind that gets us stuck is the same one that can set us free. It's time to rip up the script society hands us, breathe deep, and reclaim a healthy definition of success that doesn't compartmentalize your mind, body and soul. We need a new organizing framework that allows more flexibility and moral grounding one that lets science, emotion and spirit to fuse. Too often, life's disorienting moments can leave us tumbling into messy, downward spirals. We lose…

Book cover of Civilization Critical: Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future

Sandy Graham Why did I love this book?

Despite the Covid pandemic, the two biggest threats to human society are political strife and degradation of its food supply through climate change and population explosion. Darren Qualman provides an easily understood discussion of the latter. He starts with the simple closed-loop plant/animal cycle powered by the sun’s energy, which existed up until about 300 years ago. Then, explains how the discovery of coal and oil, invention of the tractor, and development of a process to convert oil into fertilizer changed all that.

As a teenager, I was taught that the population explosion would cause mass starvation in the near future. Darren explains how force-feeding plants and domesticated animals, now using over 400 million tons of oil-based fertilizer each year, forestalled that. But combined with oil, gas, and coal burned today, human society is living with a time-bomb unless we learn to live with energy now available from the sun.

By Darrin Qualman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The modern world is wondrous. Its factories produce ten thousand cars every hour and ten trillion transistors every second. We carry supercomputers in our pockets, and nearly a million people are in the air at any time. In Civilization Critical, Darrin Qualman takes readers on a tour of the wonders of the 21st century.
But the great strength of our modern word is also its great weakness. Our immense powers to turn resources and nature into products and waste imperil our future. And plans to double and redouble the size of the global economy veto sustainability.
So, is our civilization…

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Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

By Lisa McCourt,

Book cover of Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

Lisa McCourt Author Of Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t always a joyful person. But today I’m freaking sunshine, and full-out committed to being an effective member of the team that’s elevating the level of love and joy in the world! My positions on that team have included writing dozens of mega-selling books (my own, and as a ghostwriter), founding my online Joy School at, hosting my Do Joy! podcast, and collaborating on projects with many other popular teachers of consciousness and joyful living. My books have sold over 9 million copies, earned 7 publishing industry awards, and garnered over 9,000 glowing Amazon reviews. Joy is my jam. I know a joyful book when I read one! 

Lisa's book list on igniting joy despite all the crap in your life

What is my book about?

We all want peace. We all want a life of joy and meaning. We want to feel blissfully comfortable in our own skin, moving through the world with grace and ease. But how many of us are actively taking the steps to create such a life? 

In Free Your Joy, millions-selling author and podcaster Lisa McCourt takes readers through the life-altering principles of vibration elevation that she has taught for 20 years through her online Joy School, sharing her unique formula for raising your “joy setpoint” to cultivate authentic, lasting peace and fulfillment in your daily life. Joy is…

Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

By Lisa McCourt,

What is this book about?

Bestselling author and creator of Joy School Lisa McCourt outlines her unique formula for sustainable happiness, offering a year's worth of activities, prompts, and techniques that raise your "joy setpoint" so you can cultivate authentic, lasting peace and fulfillment in your daily life.

Unprecedented global events have left many of us feeling depleted, depressed, isolated, and disconnected from many of the things that made us happy. Lisa McCourt, host of the Do Joy! podcast and founder of Joy School, helps people raise their joy setpoints regardless of what is happening around them.

Learning about joy is one thing, but it's…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about evolution, modernity, and self-actualization.

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