100 books like Rescuing Socrates

By Roosevelt Montás,

Here are 100 books that Rescuing Socrates fans have personally recommended if you like Rescuing Socrates. 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 Humanity at Sea: Maritime Migration and the Foundations of International Law

Robert F. Barsky Author Of Clamouring for Legal Protection: What the Great Books Teach Us about People Fleeing from Persecution

From my list on to help us harness the ‘classics’ to address crises.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have taught a broad array of humanities and social sciences courses over the years, sometimes employing case studies from the realm of law, most notably stories about undocumented migrants, refugees, or homeless people. I’ve also had occasion to teach in law schools, usually in ways that bridge the gap between the legality of forced displacement, and the lived experiences of those who have done it. I won a Rockefeller Foundation grant to write my newest book, Clamouring for Legal Protection, in which I considered the idea that we can learn a lot about refugees and vulnerable migrants with references to people we know well: Ulysses, Dante, Satan, and even Alice in Wonderland.

Robert's book list on to help us harness the ‘classics’ to address crises

Robert F. Barsky Why did Robert love this book?

This book addresses the well-known issue of refugees who are attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in order to gain refugee status in Europe, but it does so by adding historical detail that helps us to understand the legal issues pertaining to their flight. Mann links these overloaded vessels filled with desperate peoples to the actions of Jewish migrants to Palestine after WWII, Vietnamese 'boatpeople', Haitian refugees seeking to reach Florida, Middle Eastern migrants and refugees bound to Australia, and Syrian refugees currently crossing the Mediterranean, and then legal responses by states and international organizations to these movements. Along the way, he also helps us to understand the value of reading works by twentieth-century thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and Emmanuel Levinas, and other legal materials to form a rich account of an issue of increasing global concern.

By Itamar Mann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This interdisciplinary study engages law, history, and political theory in a first attempt to crystallize the lessons the global 'refugee crisis' can teach us about the nature of international law. It connects the dots between the actions of Jewish migrants to Palestine after WWII, Vietnamese 'boatpeople', Haitian refugees seeking to reach Florida, Middle Eastern migrants and refugees bound to Australia, and Syrian refugees currently crossing the Mediterranean, and then legal responses by states and international organizations to these movements. Through its account of maritime migration, the book proposes a theory of human rights modelled around an encounter between individuals in…


Book cover of Tears of Salt: A Doctor's Story of the Refugee Crisis

Robert F. Barsky Author Of Clamouring for Legal Protection: What the Great Books Teach Us about People Fleeing from Persecution

From my list on to help us harness the ‘classics’ to address crises.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have taught a broad array of humanities and social sciences courses over the years, sometimes employing case studies from the realm of law, most notably stories about undocumented migrants, refugees, or homeless people. I’ve also had occasion to teach in law schools, usually in ways that bridge the gap between the legality of forced displacement, and the lived experiences of those who have done it. I won a Rockefeller Foundation grant to write my newest book, Clamouring for Legal Protection, in which I considered the idea that we can learn a lot about refugees and vulnerable migrants with references to people we know well: Ulysses, Dante, Satan, and even Alice in Wonderland.

Robert's book list on to help us harness the ‘classics’ to address crises

Robert F. Barsky Why did Robert love this book?

This moving narrative describes the life of a doctor working on the Italian island of Lampedusa, who learns firsthand about hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees fleeing civil war and terrorism and hoping to make a new life in Europe. Dr. Pietro Bartolo, who runs the lone medical clinic on the island, took care of these refugees for more than 25 years, before being the subject of a remarkable film, which is both fictional and real, called Fire At Sea. That film, and this book, shed light on the remarkable life and work of Dr. Bartolo and, moreover, tells the stories of refugees, alive and dead, whose worlds collided with a complex geopolitical system that creates hardship, and then seeks ways of helping those affected.

By Pietro Bartolo, Lidia Tilotta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Situated more than one hundred miles off Italy's southern coast, the rocky island of Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees fleeing civil war and terrorism and hoping to make a new life in Europe. Dr. Pietro Bartolo, who runs the lone medical clinic on the island, has been caring for many of them-both the living and the dead-for a quarter century. Tears of Salt is Dr. Bartolo's moving account of his life and work set against one of the signal crises of…


Book cover of The Lives of Literature: Reading, Teaching, Knowing

Robert F. Barsky Author Of Clamouring for Legal Protection: What the Great Books Teach Us about People Fleeing from Persecution

From my list on to help us harness the ‘classics’ to address crises.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have taught a broad array of humanities and social sciences courses over the years, sometimes employing case studies from the realm of law, most notably stories about undocumented migrants, refugees, or homeless people. I’ve also had occasion to teach in law schools, usually in ways that bridge the gap between the legality of forced displacement, and the lived experiences of those who have done it. I won a Rockefeller Foundation grant to write my newest book, Clamouring for Legal Protection, in which I considered the idea that we can learn a lot about refugees and vulnerable migrants with references to people we know well: Ulysses, Dante, Satan, and even Alice in Wonderland.

Robert's book list on to help us harness the ‘classics’ to address crises

Robert F. Barsky Why did Robert love this book?

Weinstein takes the age-old question – what is literature? – and transforms it into why we (would want to) read literature. For him, literature changes us, allows us to be someone else, and provides us insight into the world we inhabit, and many more worlds we haven’t. He reads a broad array of works, from Sophocles to James Joyce and Toni Morrison, and thinks about such issues as identification, empathy, and sympathy with those we come to ‘know’ through our reading.

By Arnold Weinstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mixing passion and humor, a personal work of literary criticism that demonstrates how the greatest books illuminate our lives

Why do we read literature? For Arnold Weinstein, the answer is clear: literature allows us to become someone else. Literature changes us by giving us intimate access to an astonishing variety of other lives, experiences, and places across the ages. Reflecting on a lifetime of reading, teaching, and writing, The Lives of Literature explores, with passion, humor, and whirring intellect, a professor's life, the thrills and traps of teaching, and, most of all, the power of literature to lead us to…


Book cover of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life

Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman Author Of Girls with Bright Futures

From my list on college admissions mania.

Why are we passionate about this?

When each of our older boys were in the midst of the college admissions process, our husbands suffered life-threatening health crises. It was such a bizarre coincidence that we both experienced intense brushes with mortality during this time of high anxiety. The juxtaposition between health and college admissions gave us a unique perspective and led us to explore the impacts of college admissions anxiety on families, friendships, students, and school communities. We had entirely plotted Girls With Bright Futures and were nearly through the first draft when the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal broke in March 2019. We felt like the headlines had been ripped from our manuscript!

Tracy's book list on college admissions mania

Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman Why did Tracy love this book?

When we set out on our writing journey to understand the impacts of college admissions anxiety on families, friendships, students, and school communities, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, by William Deresiewicz, was one of the most insightful books we read. Deresiewicz does an outstanding job of tracing the history of the college admissions industrial complex, including the fascinating story behind the US News & World Report rankings, as well as the impact of airline deregulation and the break-up of Ma Bell on college admissions. If you’re trying to make sense of college admissions mania, this book is a great starting point.

By William Deresiewicz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As a professor at Yale, William Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation's brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively and how to find a sense of purpose. Now he argues that elite colleges are turning out conformists without a compass.

Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counsellors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw first-hand as a member of Yale's admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the…


Book cover of The Invention of Tradition

Naoíse Mac Sweeney Author Of The West: A New History in Fourteen Lives

From my list on why the past matters for the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love stories, and as a child I found that some of the best and most powerful stories I ever heard were those that people told about the past. When I grew up, I pursued a career as an academic archaeologist and historian, and I am now Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna. But while I am of course interested in the past, in recent years I have been increasingly thinking about the politics of the past as well. Why do we choose to celebrate some stories about the past and not others? I have found these books all useful in helping me to think through this.

Naoíse's book list on why the past matters for the future

Naoíse Mac Sweeney Why did Naoíse love this book?

This collection of essays offers a broad set of different examples of history and ideas about the past have been pressed into the service of nationalism – often resulting, as the title has it, in the invention of tradition.

I also love the quality of the writing in this book. Hobsbawm has such elegant prose, and as an editor he seems to have influenced the style of the other authors in the volume. 

By Eric Hobsbawm (editor), Terence Ranger (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Many of the traditions which we think of as very ancient in their origins were not in fact sanctioned by long usage over the centuries, but were invented comparatively recently. This book explores examples of this process of invention - the creation of Welsh and Scottish 'national culture'; the elaboration of British royal rituals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the origins of imperial rituals in British India and Africa; and the attempts by radical movements to develop counter-traditions of their own. It addresses the complex interaction of past and present, bringing together historians and anthropologists in a fascinating study…


Book cover of Christianity and Sociological Theory: Reclaiming the Promise

Joseph A. Scimecca Author Of The Not So Outrageous Idea of a Christian Sociology

From my list on scholarship on sociology and the Christian religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am currently a Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, a Research I Institution, and have now published 9 books. Until I wrote the book Christianity and Sociological Theory, I was a traditional sociologist, one who abided by the tenet of the discipline to profess neutrality in one’s scholarly work. My book, The Not So Outrageous Idea of a Christian Sociology, is not only my most controversial book, given its criticism of contemporary sociology, but also my most personal book.

Joseph's book list on scholarship on sociology and the Christian religion

Joseph A. Scimecca Why did Joseph love this book?

This book presents an alternative history of sociological theory. Sociological theory is usually seen as either emerging from the British and French philosophers of the 18th century or from the writings in the 19th century of Auguste Comte, generally considered to be the “father of sociology.” Beginning with the 12th century Scholastics, the influence of Christianity on science and social theory is discussed, and its influence is carried through today.

This book is so important to me because it represented the first time in print that I had declared I was a practicing Christian, something that is usually not done in sociology, which is one of the most, if not the most, secular of all the social sciences.

By Joseph A. Scimecca,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book offers a history of sociological theory from a Christian perspective, tracing the origins of sociology from the beginnings of Western science as introduced by the Scholastics of the twelfth century, which, when combined with their emphasis on rationality, led to the Enlightenment "science of man"-an emphasis that eventually resulted in sociology, which combined empiricism and a Christian moral philosophy. With chapters focusing on the Scholastics, the Enlightenment, the rise of sociology in France, Germany, and the United States, and the legacy of Positivism, Christianity and Sociological Theory shows how the emphasis on moral philosophy was eventually lost as…


Book cover of The Rag and Bone Shop: How We Make Memories and Memories Make Us

David J. Nutt Author Of Nutt Uncut

From my list on the brain and mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a doctor, psychiatrist, and brain researcher for nearly 50 years. I have treated thousands of patients, written over a thousand scientific articles, and given a similar number of lectures to medical and neuroscience students and to the general public. I have held many leadership positions in this field for academic groups both in UK and Europe and in 2009 I set up the charity Drug Science, to tell the truth about drugs and addiction.

David's book list on the brain and mind

David J. Nutt Why did David love this book?

Veronica is a professor of psychiatry with a special interest in psychosis such as schizophrenia and especially those that are seen in women after childbirth. These states of altered consciousness and the memories they produce give us insights into the nature of mental illness and the making of memories. The book develops as a series of case studies that are gently described in relation to the different brain regions that are involved in the experiences with a simple-to-understand diagram. Bringing together her clinical insights with beautiful perspectives from prose and poetry as well as from philosophers especially Henri Bergson, she makes a compelling case for memories being the core of what we as humans are.

By Veronica O'Keane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

'Vivid, unforgettable . . . a fascinating, instructive, wise and compassionate book' John Banville

A leading psychiatrist shows how the mysteries of the brain are illuminated at the extremes of human experience

A twinge of sadness, a rush of love, a knot of loss, a whiff of regret. Memories have the power to move us, often when we least expect it, a sign of the complex neural process that continues in the background of our everyday lives. A process that shapes us: filtering the world around us, informing our behaviour and feeding our…


Book cover of The Sociological Imagination

Supriya Singh Author Of Domestic Economic Abuse: The Violence of Money

From my list on 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.  

Supriya's book list on money, relationships and family violence

Supriya Singh Why did Supriya 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 Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

John A. List Author Of The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale

From my list on changing the world and/or yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion is using field experiments to explore economic questions. Since the early 1990s I have generated more than 200 papers published in academic journals using the world as my lab. That’s what we do as academics. The problem is that locked away in these journals is an enormous amount of wisdom and insights that can not only help the realm of academia, but also change the world as we know it. The brilliant authors of these books unlock the ideas and knowledge found in the academic papers that are full of jargon and math, aimed towards a narrow audience, and put them in language aimed towards the masses where real change can be implemented.  

John's book list on changing the world and/or yourself

John A. List Why did John love this book?

We all loved Freakonomics. The incredible Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt did it again in their second book Super Freakonomics.

Thinking like an economist is a powerful tool. What might surprise you are the motley assortment of questions that you can think about from the perspective of an economist.

This book is bold, funny, and insightful. And what’s the underlying theme? Well, it’s one thing all economists can agree on – incentives matter. Dubner and Levitt are masterful storytellers and teachers.

Even if you aren’t interested in thinking like an economist, their perspective on topics covered is worth the read. 

By Steven D Levitt, Stephen J Dubner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The international bestselling Freakquel to Levitt and Dubner's Freakonomics, this book sees them looking deeper, questioning harder and uncovering even more hidden truths about our world, from global cooling to patriotic prostitutes, drunk walking to why suicide bombers should buy life insurance.

'Mind-blowing' Wall Street Journal

'Page-turning, politically incorrect and ever-so-slightly intoxicating, like a large swig of tequila' The Times

'Like Freakonomics but better ... you are guaranteed a good time' Financial Times

'Great fun ... Levitt is a master at drawing counter-intuitive conclusions' Sunday Times

'Studded with intriguing examples' Daily Telegraph


Book cover of Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action

Jacqueline Kennelly Author Of Citizen Youth: Culture, Activism, and Agency in a Neoliberal Era

From my list on how neoliberalism f*&ks up democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to activism at a young age, inspired by a book given to me by a friend in Grade 10. I also grew up poor; my trajectory into university was unusual for my demographic, a fact I only discovered once I was doing my PhD in the sociology of education. By the time I started interviewing activists for my doctorate, I had a burning desire to understand how social change could happen, what democracy really looked like, and who was left out of participating. I am still trying to figure these things out. If you are, too, the books on this list might help!

Jacqueline's book list on how neoliberalism f*&ks up democracy

Jacqueline Kennelly Why did Jacqueline love this book?

I have an intellectual crush on Pierre Bourdieu. He has a sexy mind. Unfortunately, he passed away just as I was getting to know his work, back in 2002. Bourdieu wrote a mind-boggling number of books, but I have chosen this one as a good introduction for people who’d like to get to know his work. Practical Reason is actually made up of a series of lectures, all written relatively late in his career. They do quite a good job of accessibly summarizing his key ideas. Bourdieu supported the anti-globalization movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and was a vociferous critic of neoliberalism. Bourdieu’s work helps to explain how inequality is recreated across generations, and why dominant interests tend to shape the trajectory of the state. 

By Pierre Bourdieu, Randall Johnson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do social classes really exist? Is disinterested action really possible? What do the family, the church, and the intellectual world have in common? Can morality be founded on hypocrisy? What is the "subject" of action? In this new volume, one of France's foremost social thinkers of our time responds to these major questions and to others, thus tracing the outlines of a work that could be called "Pierre Bourdieu by himself."

In these texts, the author tries to go to the essential, that is, the most elementary and fundamental, questions. He thereby explains the philosophical principles that have led to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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