100 books like Connected

By Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler,

Here are 100 books that Connected fans have personally recommended if you like Connected. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

Marianne E. Krasny Author Of In This Together: Connecting with Your Community to Combat the Climate Crisis

From my list on influencing others to do about climate change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor at Cornell University who struggles with the meaning of individual action in the face of looming crises—be they plastics and litter, or climate. The idea of Network Climate Action bubbled up one morning as a way to magnify individual actions, such as eating a plant-rich diet, donating money to a climate organization, or joining in an advocacy group. Network Climate Action helps me achieve my role-ideals as a teacher, volunteer, friend, mom, and grandmother, and it gives meaning and happiness to my life. I live in beautiful Ithaca, NY, with my chosen family, which includes an Afghan artist and a Ukrainian mom and her two kids.

Marianne's book list on influencing others to do about climate change

Marianne E. Krasny Why did Marianne love this book?

Trudging up Ithaca’s steep hills in the morning, I asked myself: what are the most effective climate actions I can take?

Then I came upon the drawdown.org website, which constantly updates the information in the book of the same name. Project Drawdown lists over 80 climate “solutions” ranked in terms of their effectiveness in drawing down greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Among the top five most effective are reducing food waste, plant-rich diet, and health and education—solutions that can be realized in one’s daily life, by donating money, or through volunteering for an advocacy organization.

By applying research in the above books, these actions also can be intentionally spread through close social networks—that, in a nutshell, is Network Climate Action.

By Paul Hawken (editor),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Drawdown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

• New York Times bestseller •

The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world

“At this point in time, the Drawdown book is exactly what is needed; a credible, conservative solution-by-solution narrative that we can do it. Reading it is an effective inoculation against the widespread perception of doom that humanity cannot and will not solve the climate crisis. Reported by-effects include increased determination and a sense of grounded hope.” —Per Espen Stoknes, Author, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming…


Book cover of The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter

Michael Muthukrishna Author Of A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going

From my list on changing how you see the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of economic psychology at the London School of Economics with affiliations in developmental economics and data science. Before that, I was at Harvard in Human Evolutionary Biology. During my PhD, I took graduate courses in psychology, economics, evolutionary biology, and statistics. I have undergraduate degrees in engineering and in psychology and took courses in everything from economics and biology to philosophy and political science. As a child, I witnessed the civil war in Sri Lanka; a violent coup in Papua New Guinea; the end of apartheid in South Africa, living in neighboring Botswana; and London’s 7/7 bomb attacks. I’ve also lived in Australia, Canada, USA, and UK.

Michael's book list on changing how you see the world

Michael Muthukrishna Why did Michael love this book?

Henrich is a frequent collaborator and was my PhD advisor, so I’m somewhat biased, but in my opinion, this remains the best book showcasing the evidence for cultural evolution and dual inheritance theory.

I use it as a second textbook for my undergraduates learning about the foundations of psychological science. 

By Joseph Henrich,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Secret of Our Success as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often failing to overcome even basic challenges, like obtaining food, building shelters, or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced ingenious technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions that have permitted us to successfully expand into a vast range of diverse environments. What has enabled us to dominate the globe, more than any other species, while remaining virtually helpless as lone individuals? This book shows that the secret of our success lies not in our innate intelligence, but in…


Book cover of The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World

Dimitris Xygalatas Author Of Ritual: How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living

From my list on the things that make us human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist and cognitive scientist who studies some of the things that make us human—but not the obvious ones. I am mostly interested in those things that may appear puzzling or pointless, but fill our lives with meaning and purpose. Growing up in Greece, I read National Geographic Magazine and reveled in the documentaries of Jane Goodall, David Attenborough, and Jacques Cousteau, which sparked in me a passion for exploration through the combined lenses of personal experience and scientific scrutiny. In my own research, I have spent two decades studying ritual by conducting several years of ethnographic research and bringing scientific measurements into real-life settings.

Dimitris' book list on the things that make us human

Dimitris Xygalatas Why did Dimitris love this book?

Why do we cooperate? To a highly cooperative species like ourselves, it might seem obvious that we do, but from a rational perspective, individuals benefit more from pursuing their own narrow interests. To answer this question, this book takes a step back, or rather a few million steps, evolutionarily speaking. From the level of the cell to that of complex societies, it examines cooperation as a driving force in nature, allowing us to see ourselves as part of a much bigger story.

By Nichola Raihani,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why cooperate? This may be the most important scientific question we have ever, and will ever, face.

The science of cooperation tells us not only how we got here, but also where we might end up. Cooperation explains how strands of DNA gave rise to modern-day nation states. It defines our extraordinary ecological success as well as many of the most surprising features of what make us human: not only why we live in families, why we have grandmothers and why women experience the menopause, but also why we become paranoid and jealous, and why we cheat.

Nichola Raihani also…


Book cover of New Power: How Anyone Can Persuade, Mobilize, and Succeed in Our Chaotic, Connected Age

Marianne E. Krasny Author Of In This Together: Connecting with Your Community to Combat the Climate Crisis

From my list on influencing others to do about climate change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor at Cornell University who struggles with the meaning of individual action in the face of looming crises—be they plastics and litter, or climate. The idea of Network Climate Action bubbled up one morning as a way to magnify individual actions, such as eating a plant-rich diet, donating money to a climate organization, or joining in an advocacy group. Network Climate Action helps me achieve my role-ideals as a teacher, volunteer, friend, mom, and grandmother, and it gives meaning and happiness to my life. I live in beautiful Ithaca, NY, with my chosen family, which includes an Afghan artist and a Ukrainian mom and her two kids.

Marianne's book list on influencing others to do about climate change

Marianne E. Krasny Why did Marianne love this book?

An important Network Climate Action is raising money for environmental and women’s health NGOs.

Although our fundraising efforts don’t all go viral, design principles derived from successful campaigns—such as the Ice Bucket Challenge—help us exploit the way power is leveraged over the internet.

In addition to connectivity or creating a feeling of community, “new power” campaigns encourage participants to customize ideas for their own context.

Arising in opposition to consumerist Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday is about donating money to nonprofits. Its heart-shaped logo is designed to be adapted for different causes, including climate. 

By Jeremy Heimans, Henry Timms,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked New Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

“The best window I’ve seen into this new world.” —David Brooks, The New York Times
 
In this indispensable guide to navigating the twenty-first century, two visionary thinkers reveal how “new power” is reshaping politics, business, and life to be more open, participatory, and peer-driven. Here, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms reveal a new and compelling lens on the biggest stories of our age—from the out-of-nowhere victory of Donald Trump to the rise of mega-platforms like Facebook. They show the strength of new power—movements like #MeToo; platforms like…


Book cover of The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning

Dimitris Xygalatas Author Of Ritual: How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living

From my list on the things that make us human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist and cognitive scientist who studies some of the things that make us human—but not the obvious ones. I am mostly interested in those things that may appear puzzling or pointless, but fill our lives with meaning and purpose. Growing up in Greece, I read National Geographic Magazine and reveled in the documentaries of Jane Goodall, David Attenborough, and Jacques Cousteau, which sparked in me a passion for exploration through the combined lenses of personal experience and scientific scrutiny. In my own research, I have spent two decades studying ritual by conducting several years of ethnographic research and bringing scientific measurements into real-life settings.

Dimitris' book list on the things that make us human

Dimitris Xygalatas Why did Dimitris love this book?

This book relates to a lot of what I’ve learned in my own research about rituals. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it argues that we humans are not hedonists by nature. Yes, we desire comfort and we pursue all kinds of pleasures. But we also often embrace struggle, effort, and even fear and pain, and those are in fact the things that make our lives truly meaningful. From watching horror films and climbing mountains to raising children and performing painful rituals, Paul Bloom argues that, in the right context, suffering can be part of a life well-lived.

By Paul Bloom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“This book will challenge you to rethink your vision of a good life. With sharp insights and lucid prose, Paul Bloom makes a captivating case that pain and suffering are essential to happiness. It’s an exhilarating antidote to toxic positivity.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

One of BehavioralScientist's"Notable Books of 2021"

From the author of Against Empathy, a different kind of happiness book, one that shows us how suffering is an essential source of both pleasure and meaning in our lives

Why do we so often seek…


Book cover of Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization

Dimitris Xygalatas Author Of Ritual: How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living

From my list on the things that make us human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist and cognitive scientist who studies some of the things that make us human—but not the obvious ones. I am mostly interested in those things that may appear puzzling or pointless, but fill our lives with meaning and purpose. Growing up in Greece, I read National Geographic Magazine and reveled in the documentaries of Jane Goodall, David Attenborough, and Jacques Cousteau, which sparked in me a passion for exploration through the combined lenses of personal experience and scientific scrutiny. In my own research, I have spent two decades studying ritual by conducting several years of ethnographic research and bringing scientific measurements into real-life settings.

Dimitris' book list on the things that make us human

Dimitris Xygalatas Why did Dimitris love this book?

If intoxication has so many negative outcomes, why do all human cultures practice it? In Drunk, historian Edward Slingerland puts forward a radical as well as fascinating hypothesis. He argues that far from being an evolutionary accident, the human penchant for alcohol (and other intoxicants) has played—and continues to play—important roles in human societies: it helps alleviate stress, boost creativity and innovation, and promote trust, bonding, and cooperation. Best read while mildly intoxicated.

By Edward Slingerland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

While plenty of entertaining books have been written about the history of alcohol and other intoxicants, none have offered a comprehensive, convincing answer to the basic question of why humans want to get high in the first place.

Drunk elegantly cuts through the tangle of urban legends and anecdotal impressions that surround our notions of intoxication to provide the first rigorous, scientifically-grounded explanation for our love of alcohol. Drawing on evidence from archaeology, history, cognitive neuroscience, psychopharmacology, social psychology, literature, and genetics, Drunk shows that our taste for chemical intoxicants is not an evolutionary mistake, as we are so often…


Book cover of How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions

Marianne E. Krasny Author Of In This Together: Connecting with Your Community to Combat the Climate Crisis

From my list on influencing others to do about climate change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor at Cornell University who struggles with the meaning of individual action in the face of looming crises—be they plastics and litter, or climate. The idea of Network Climate Action bubbled up one morning as a way to magnify individual actions, such as eating a plant-rich diet, donating money to a climate organization, or joining in an advocacy group. Network Climate Action helps me achieve my role-ideals as a teacher, volunteer, friend, mom, and grandmother, and it gives meaning and happiness to my life. I live in beautiful Ithaca, NY, with my chosen family, which includes an Afghan artist and a Ukrainian mom and her two kids.

Marianne's book list on influencing others to do about climate change

Marianne E. Krasny Why did Marianne love this book?

At first I thought that spreading plant-rich diet or other climate-friendly behaviors would be easy—all my students and I had to do was post photos of enticing meals on Instagram, and hundreds if not thousands would rush to their kitchens.

Then I read Centola’s book and realized that measles spread rapidly with minimal effort, but complex behaviors spread only through repeated exposure in tight networks—through multiple messages from multiple messengers.

Host vegan meals for close friends and family and you might see more plant-rich options when you get invited back. 

By Damon Centola,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new, counterintuitive theory for how social networks influence the spread of behavior

New social movements, technologies, and public-health initiatives often struggle to take off, yet many diseases disperse rapidly without issue. Can the lessons learned from the viral diffusion of diseases improve the spread of beneficial behaviors and innovations? How Behavior Spreads presents over a decade of original research examining how changes in societal behavior-in voting, health, technology, and finance-occur and the ways social networks can be used to influence how they propagate. Damon Centola's startling findings show that the same conditions that accelerate the viral expansion of an…


Book cover of Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work

Marianne E. Krasny Author Of In This Together: Connecting with Your Community to Combat the Climate Crisis

From my list on influencing others to do about climate change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor at Cornell University who struggles with the meaning of individual action in the face of looming crises—be they plastics and litter, or climate. The idea of Network Climate Action bubbled up one morning as a way to magnify individual actions, such as eating a plant-rich diet, donating money to a climate organization, or joining in an advocacy group. Network Climate Action helps me achieve my role-ideals as a teacher, volunteer, friend, mom, and grandmother, and it gives meaning and happiness to my life. I live in beautiful Ithaca, NY, with my chosen family, which includes an Afghan artist and a Ukrainian mom and her two kids.

Marianne's book list on influencing others to do about climate change

Marianne E. Krasny Why did Marianne love this book?

Destination weddings, glamorous McMansions, and luxury cars—this is the result of us seeing what our better-off compatriots do and wanting to have ever more.

In fact, the biggest problem with carbon-intensive behavior is not any one rich person’s carbon footprint. Rather it’s the influence “affluencers” exert on others. But we can turn this around. Solar panels are often clustered in neighborhoods because people also copy each other’s climate-friendly behaviors.

For me, the important thing is not to hide what you are doing—make your sustainable behaviors visible for others to see.

By Robert H. Frank,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author and economics columnist Robert Frank, bold new ideas for creating environments that promise a brighter future

Psychologists have long understood that social environments profoundly shape our behavior, sometimes for the better, often for the worse. But social influence is a two-way street-our environments are themselves products of our behavior. Under the Influence explains how to unlock the latent power of social context. It reveals how our environments encourage smoking, bullying, tax cheating, sexual predation, problem drinking, and wasteful energy use. We are building bigger houses, driving heavier cars, and engaging in a host of…


Book cover of The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Nelson Johnson Author Of Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer

From my list on tell a story previously untold.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nelson Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author (Boardwalk Empire) and has been fascinated with history and Clarence Darrow’s career all his life. From having practiced law many years and presided over 200(+) jury trials as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Nelson is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Darrow’s and his wife Ruby’s worst two years together. Nelson’s first four books have all prepared him to tell this story. It’s a tale that asks the reader to judge Darrow.

Nelson's book list on tell a story previously untold

Nelson Johnson Why did Nelson love this book?

Ferguson’s book “connects a lot of dots” to help make sense of where we are with regards to the influence of social media and the dramatic changes unleashed by the digital revolution as it transforms our society. Ferguson does an excellent job explaining that “networks” have always been with us, but how/why the more complicated/intricate our societal networks become, the more vulnerable we are. He places the role of Facebook into a sorely needed but sobering context. I have re-read many entire portions of this book and have viewed the PBS documentary on this book twice.

By Niall Ferguson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The instant New York Times bestseller.

A brilliant recasting of the turning points in world history, including the one we're living through, as a collision between old power hierarchies and new social networks.

"Captivating and compelling." -The New York Times

"Niall Ferguson has again written a brilliant book...In 400 pages you will have restocked your mind. Do it." -The Wall Street Journal

"The Square and the Tower, in addition to being provocative history, may prove to be a bellwether work of the Internet Age." -Christian Science Monitor

Most history is hierarchical: it's about emperors, presidents, prime ministers and field marshals.…


Book cover of Someone To Talk To: How Networks Matter in Practice

Janice M. McCabe Author Of Connecting in College: How Friendship Networks Matter for Academic and Social Success

From my list on complicated friendships and meaningful connections.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been studying friendships for over 20 years. As a sociologist, I use social science research methods, particularly interviewing and network analysis, to better understand who people are friends with and how friendship ties help us. As a professor at Dartmouth College, I’m particularly interested in how friendship ties help college students academically and socially and how they get in the way academically and socially. My first research on friendship was a group project in a Women’s Studies course at Tulane University focused on undergraduate women’s close friendships. The best part of that study was developing close friendships with each other, some of which have lasted more than two decades!

Janice's book list on complicated friendships and meaningful connections

Janice M. McCabe Why did Janice love this book?

While friends are important in many ways, so are “weak ties” within our networks. In this non-fiction book, sociologist Mario Luis Small analyzes interviews with a group of graduate students, investigating who they turn to for support about a range of topics, including love, depression, and finances. Because of the obligations that close friends and family entail, Small finds that people often avoid turning to these close ties and instead rely on the convenience of people in their orbits. I’m drawn to this book because it contradicts what we think we know about who we talk to about important matters and because it’s such a rich investigation of people’s social ties and under what circumstances they actually turn to the people closest to them.

By Mario Luis Small,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the James Coleman Award for Best Book from the Rationality and Society section of the American Sociological Society
Winner of the Outstanding Recent Contribution from the Social Psychology section of the American Sociological Association
Winner of the Best Publication Award from the Mental Health section of the American Sociological Association
Honorable Mention, PROSE Book Award, Cultural Anthropology and Sociology, from the Association of American Publishers

When people are facing difficulties, they often feel the need for a confidant. How do they decide on whom to rely? In Someone To Talk To, Mario Luis Small follows a group of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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