100 books like Minima Moralia

By Theodor Adorno, Edmund FN Jephcott (translator),

Here are 100 books that Minima Moralia fans have personally recommended if you like Minima Moralia. 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 The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation

Will Kitchen Author Of Film, Negation and Freedom: Capitalism and Romantic Critique

From my list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My background is in academic film analysis, although this has opened doors to many subjects: literature, music, philosophy, political economy… My students are always encouraged to think beyond their "home" discipline when they come to university. I believe that if you study a subject deep enough, it will lead to all the others. So far, my research has led me from classical music through Hollywood biopics and Romanic philosophy to some of the most fundamental questions about the construction and social organisation of creative labour in the modern world. I find that the most enjoyable books explain the world to us whilst reflecting upon what that act of explanation means. 

Will's book list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom

Will Kitchen Why did Will love this book?

Like most students, I first came to classes expecting to absorb knowledge from my teachers. Rancière made me think again.

Every good professor knows from experience that learning is always a two-way process. Rope learning might prepare us for ‘the real world,’ but the real world is not a place of freedom.

For Rancière, if we really want to change the world, the educator must be transformed from the venerable sage into the honest tyrant who proclaims: “You’ve got to think for yourselves, even if you must be told to do it.”

By Jacques Ranciere,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This extraordinary book can be read on several levels. Primarily, it is the story of Joseph Jacotot, an exiles French schoolteacher who discovered in 1818 an unconventional teaching method that spread panic throughout the learned community of Europe.

Knowing no Flemish, Jacotot found himself able to teach in French to Flemish students who knew no French; knowledge, Jacotot concluded, was not necessary to teach, nor explication necessary to learn. The results of this unusual experiment in pedagogy led him to announce that all people were equally intelligent. From this postulate, Jacotot devised a philosophy and a method for what he…


Book cover of Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge

Will Kitchen Author Of Film, Negation and Freedom: Capitalism and Romantic Critique

From my list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My background is in academic film analysis, although this has opened doors to many subjects: literature, music, philosophy, political economy… My students are always encouraged to think beyond their "home" discipline when they come to university. I believe that if you study a subject deep enough, it will lead to all the others. So far, my research has led me from classical music through Hollywood biopics and Romanic philosophy to some of the most fundamental questions about the construction and social organisation of creative labour in the modern world. I find that the most enjoyable books explain the world to us whilst reflecting upon what that act of explanation means. 

Will's book list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom

Will Kitchen Why did Will love this book?

The book that made the philosophy of science relevant to everything.

Popper’s rejection of inductive reasoning had fascinating implications for politics, psychology, and (through E. H. Gombrich) art. The simple idea that perception is always predetermined by experience was not new, of course (Popper always credited his predecessors, including Xenophanes), but I find his ability to develop this theme against the contemporary vogue for empirical positivism deeply rewarding.

Popper helped to establish our modern intellectual climate with his most important lesson, adapted from Darwin: Embrace criticism. 

By Karl Popper,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.


Book cover of Language and Symbolic Power

Will Kitchen Author Of Film, Negation and Freedom: Capitalism and Romantic Critique

From my list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My background is in academic film analysis, although this has opened doors to many subjects: literature, music, philosophy, political economy… My students are always encouraged to think beyond their "home" discipline when they come to university. I believe that if you study a subject deep enough, it will lead to all the others. So far, my research has led me from classical music through Hollywood biopics and Romanic philosophy to some of the most fundamental questions about the construction and social organisation of creative labour in the modern world. I find that the most enjoyable books explain the world to us whilst reflecting upon what that act of explanation means. 

Will's book list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom

Will Kitchen Why did Will love this book?

Capital requires agreement. This was Bourdieu’s fundamental lesson, and he reveals how it can apply to everything: money, authority, language, prestige, leadership, education, and even knowledge itself. Bourdieu was not alone in subjecting the social field to market analysis, but in books like this one, he attained a level of analytical rigour and sociological imagination which has rarely been equalled.

Throughout my education, I have found (and still find) that the best books will expose the reader to completely new ideas that seem like the kind of thing you always already knew. That could almost be a definition of ‘philosophy’–one that empowers the reader. Bourdieu writes that way. 

By Pierre Bourdieu, Gino Raymond (translator), Matthew Adamson (translator) , John Thompson (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume brings together Pierre Bourdieu's highly original writings on language and on the relations among language, power, and politics. Bourdieu develops a forceful critique of traditional approaches to language, including the linguistic theories of Saussure and Chomsky and the theory of speech-acts elaborated by Austin and others. He argues that language should be viewed not only as a means of communication but also as a medium of power through which individuals pursue their own interests and display their practical competence.

Drawing on the concepts that are part of his distinctive theoretical approach, Bourdieu maintains that linguistic utterances or expressions…


Book cover of Explanation and Power: The Control of Human Behavior

Will Kitchen Author Of Film, Negation and Freedom: Capitalism and Romantic Critique

From my list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My background is in academic film analysis, although this has opened doors to many subjects: literature, music, philosophy, political economy… My students are always encouraged to think beyond their "home" discipline when they come to university. I believe that if you study a subject deep enough, it will lead to all the others. So far, my research has led me from classical music through Hollywood biopics and Romanic philosophy to some of the most fundamental questions about the construction and social organisation of creative labour in the modern world. I find that the most enjoyable books explain the world to us whilst reflecting upon what that act of explanation means. 

Will's book list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom

Will Kitchen Why did Will love this book?

An interdisciplinary study taken to its logical conclusion. Starting with a powerful interpretation of Romanticism back in the 1950s, Peckham’s work culminated in an ambitious "general theory of human behaviour."

In essence, this book helped me understand that explanation is a form of violence–all languages, and all cultures, strive to enforce predictable behaviour in other human beings. Despite his flaws, Peckham offers a fascinating example of the power of interdisciplinarity. All subjects, when followed through, lead to all the others. 

By Morse Peckham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Explanation and Power was first published in 1988. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The meaning of any utterance or any sign is the response to that utterance or sign: this is the fundamental proposition behind Morse Peckham's Explanation and Power. Published in 1979 and now available in paperback for the first time, Explanation and Power grew out of Peckham's efforts, as a scholar of Victorian literature, to understand the nature of Romanticism. His search ultimately led back to-and built upon-the…


Book cover of Being and Nothingness

Mark Rowlands Author Of Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness

From my list on humans and other animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

The most important formative experiences of my life were contained in the years I spent living and traveling with Brenin, a wolfdog. I can safely say that just about every worthwhile idea I have had – I am a professor of philosophy and ideas are supposed to be my thing – stemmed from those years. I have written many books since Brenin died, all of them, in one way or another, concerned with the question of what it is to be human. I am convinced that we can only understand this if we begin with the idea that we are animals and work from there.

Mark's book list on humans and other animals

Mark Rowlands Why did Mark love this book?

Sartre was not a good philosopher in the classical sense. He wasn’t great at constructing arguments. But what he was unquestionably great at was intuitions. He had them, and they were usually spot on, and as a result he was right about most things. In this large book, we find a sustained development of a single brilliant, intuition: anything you are aware of is not you. You are the awareness rather than anything you are aware of. You are nothingness. One implication of this helped me get through the second half of my first marathon. Experiential unpleasantness is a motive to stop, but not part of me, and it is up to me how I interpret it. My motives can never compel me. I am in this sense free.

By Jean-Paul Sartre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sartre explains the theory of existential psychoanalysis in this treatise on human reality


Book cover of Becoming Beauvoir: A Life

Sandrine Bergès Author Of Liberty in Their Names: The Women Philosophers of the French Revolution

From my list on by or about women philosophers you should know.

Why am I passionate about this?

At school I fell in love philosophy. But at university, as I grew older, I started to feel out of place: all the authors we read were men. I loved Plato, but there was something missing. It didn’t occur to me until I was in my thirties to look for women in the history of philosophy! I read Wollstonecraft first, then Olympe de Gouges, and the other women I wrote about in my book, and now I’m looking at women philosophers from the tenth to the nineteenth century. There is a wealth of work by women philosophers out there. Reading their works has made philosophy come alive for me, all over again. 

Sandrine's book list on by or about women philosophers you should know

Sandrine Bergès Why did Sandrine love this book?

I’ve read a lot of biographies of Simone de Beauvoir.

But this is the one that best brought out her importance as a philosopher, the many ways in which her thought differed from Sartre’s and the ways in which this has been obscured by a posterity that just wants to see her as his sidekick.

One thing that this book did for me that others on Beauvoir didn’t was to reconcile me with the unpleasant aspects of her life and relationships – she was human, she was flawed, but so were her male peers! 

By Kate Kirkpatrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"One is not born a woman, but becomes one", Simone de Beauvoir A symbol of liberated womanhood, Simone de Beauvoir's unconventional relationships inspired and scandalised her generation. A philosopher, writer, and feminist icon, she won prestigious literary prizes and transformed the way we think about gender with The Second Sex. But despite her successes, she wondered if she had sold herself short. Her liaison with Jean-Paul Sartre has been billed as one of the most legendary love affairs of the twentieth century. But for Beauvoir it came at a cost: for decades she was dismissed as an unoriginal thinker who…


Book cover of Existentialism Is a Humanism

Mike James Ross Author Of Intention: The Surprising Psychology of High Performers

From my list on books to help you find meaning in your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in purpose and meaning since I snuck into a high school philosophy class when I was 10 years old. Since then, I have not only worked on my own quest for meaning in my life but also helped dozens of others through these types of questions as an executive coach and business leader. I believe that having an answer to the question “why am I here?” is the crucial ingredient to living a happy and fulfilled life, and I’ve been working for years to distill all that I have learned on the subject into a useable and accessible collection of insights.

Mike's book list on books to help you find meaning in your life

Mike James Ross Why did Mike love this book?

This is an amazing and brief explanation of what existentialism is and why it should matter to anyone looking for meaning in their life.

I love that Satre demystifies his philosophy, making it accessible and understandable to anyone. The book is actually the transcription of a lecture he gave, so it is wonderfully readable and full of examples and situations that I learned a lot from.

He also defends existentialism from some of its common critiques, which makes the book even more useful as an introduction. Many of my questions were answered here!

By Jean-Paul Sartre, Carol Macomber (translator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Existentialism Is a Humanism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Jean-Paul Sartre, the most dominent European intellectual of the post-World War II decades, accepted an invitation to speak on October 29, 1945, at the Club Maintenant in Paris. The unstated objective of his lecture ("Existentialism Is a Humanism") was to expound his philosophy as a form of "existentialism," a term much bandied about at the time. Sartre asserted that existentialism was essentially a doctrine for philosophers, though, ironically, he was about to make it accessible to a general audience. The published text of his lecture quickly became one of the…


Book cover of The Jargon of Authenticity

Richard Wolin Author Of Heidegger in Ruins: Between Philosophy and Ideology

From my list on intellectuals and fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a graduate student during the late 1970s, my mentor, Martin Jay, generously introduced me to two members of the Frankfurt School: Herbert Marcuse and Leo Lowenthal. These memorable personal encounters inspired me to write a dissertation on Walter Benjamin, who was closely allied with the Frankfurt School. The completed dissertation, Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption, became the first book on Benjamin in English and is still in print. The Frankfurt School thinkers published a series of pioneering socio-psychological treatises on political authoritarianism: The Authoritarian Personality, Prophets of Deceit, and One-Dimensional Man. These studies continue to provide an indispensable conceptual framework for understanding the contemporary reemergence of fascist political forms.

Richard's book list on intellectuals and fascism

Richard Wolin Why did Richard love this book?

To this day, Adorno’s pathbreaking Heidegger-critique, The Jargon of Authenticity, remains one of the most insightful and lucid exposés of fascist ideology ever written.

To begin with, Adorno wrote as an insider: as a scholar who had witnessed the implantation and criminality of German fascism firsthand. In Jargon, he used the Heideggerian's notion of “authenticity” as the point of departure for a brilliant semantic and rhetorical unmasking of the way that fascist linguistic habitudes suffuse the discourse of everyday life. After reading Adorno’s critique, it is impossible read Heidegger naïvely: that is, without careful attention to the ideological distortions of his Denkhabitus.

As Adorno deftly shows, Heidegger’s idiolect of “authentic” being-in-the-world masks a deep-seated longing for German geopolitical supremacy.

By Theodor Adorno,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Theodor Adorno was no stranger to controversy. In The Jargon of Authenticity he gives full expression to his hostility to the language employed by certain existentialist thinkers such as Martin Heidegger. With his customary alertness to the uses and abuses of language, he calls into question the jargon, or 'aura', as his colleague Walter Benjamin described it, which clouded existentialists' thought. He argued that its use undermined the very message for meaning and liberation that it sought to make authentic. Moreover, such language - claiming to address the issue of freedom - signally failed to reveal the lack of freedom…


Book cover of Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Lee Braver Author Of Heidegger: Thinking of Being

From my list on everything you want to know on existentialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of philosophy because when I got to college, philosophy sounded like what Gandalf would study—the closest thing we have to the study of magic. It turns out, I wasn’t far from the mark. Philosophy shows you entire dimensions to the world that you never noticed because they exist at weird angles, and you have to change your way of thinking to see them. Entering them and seeing the world from those perspectives transforms everything. A great work of philosophy is like having the lights turn on in an annex of your mind you didn’t know was there, like an out-of-mind experience—or perhaps, an in-your-mind-for-the-first-time experience.

Lee's book list on everything you want to know on existentialism

Lee Braver Why did Lee love this book?

Existentialism spilled out of the ivory tower into heated conversations in cafes and smoky dorm rooms at 2:00 am all over the world, where it continues to be intensely discussed today (albeit, with more vape than smoke nowadays). It had an enormous influence on art, especially literature, inspiring many masterpieces. From the multitude I could point to (Kafka’s The Trial, Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Vonnegut’s, I don’t know, Slaughter-House 5, sure), I’ll pick Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, a play where, as an early critic wrote, nothing happens. Twice. One of the first US performances took place in San Quentin State Prison, where the prison newsletter wrote one of the most insightful reviews it ever received. After all, who knows more about waiting than those doing time? And, in the end, what else are we doing?

By Samuel Beckett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From an inauspicious beginning at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone in 1953, followed by bewilderment among American and British audiences, Waiting for Godot has become of the most important and enigmatic plays of the past fifty years and a cornerstone of twentieth-century drama. As Clive Barnes wrote, “Time catches up with genius … Waiting for Godot is one of the masterpieces of the century.”

The story revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree, inhabiting a drama spun of their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay…


Book cover of What Is Existentialism?

Zachary Austin Behlok Author Of Manipulating Nature: An Existential Essay Regarding Humanity's Impact on the World Around Us

From my list on finding meaning within your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, it has been of the utmost importance to find meaning in life, both for myself and for everyone else sharing this planet. I have spent much of my time over the course of the past few years pushing for a continued level of discourse in the field of philosophy. I have studied at and attended various educational institutions including Eastern Florida State College, The Florida Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and The University of Cambridge – the studies at such range between philosophy, psychology, behavior analysis, and engineering. I hope that my work will be of some assistance in pushing humanity towards positive progress.

Zachary Austin's book list on finding meaning within your life

Zachary Austin Behlok Why did Zachary Austin love this book?

This book is more or less a collection of excerpts from some of Simone de Beauvoir’s best works. In this text, her foundations in the field of existentialism are laid forth for the reader to read and interpret very easily. These excerpts provide the reader with an analysis on the field in a more fictional way, as opposed to much of the other works relating to such, yet maintain the same, if not a higher, level of emphasis on the positive influences it can bring about in any given individual’s life.

By Simone de Beauvoir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Is Existentialism? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'It is possible for man to snatch the world from the darkness of absurdity'

How should we think and act in the world? These writings on the human condition by one of the twentieth century's great philosophers explore the absurdity of our notions of good and evil, and show instead how we make our own destiny simply by being.

One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our world today, from anarchists to stoics, feminists to prophets, satirists to Zen Buddhists.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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