41 books like The Logic of Collective Action

By Mancur Olson,

Here are 41 books that The Logic of Collective Action fans have personally recommended if you like The Logic of Collective Action. 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 Thank You for Smoking

Anthony J. Nownes Author Of Interest Groups in American Politics: Pressure and Power

From my list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was attracted to the study of interest groups for two main reasons. First, not too many scholars study interest groups and lobbying. This means I might have something to contribute. Second, interest groups are fascinating. Almost every interest you can think of has an interest group trying to affect (or retard) change. Every year, for example, I get to regale my students with stories about little-known interest groups such as the American Frozen Food Institute, the Pink Pistols (a pro-gun LGBTQ group), the California Prune Board, and Declassify UAP (an anti-UFO secrecy group). Talking and learning about interest groups is fun. 

Anthony's book list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States

Anthony J. Nownes Why did Anthony love this book?

I recommend this book because it is about lobbying and it is funny. “Lobbying” and “funny” are not usually words you see in the same sentence. I am pretty cynical, but not as cynical as the author of this book.

Our protagonist, Nick Naylor, is a tobacco lobbyist with no shame and a lot of money. His opponents, including a self-righteous anti-tobacco senator from Vermont, are not much better than Naylor, obsessed as they are with attention and power. Most lobbyists are not like Nick Naylor. But some are.

The book skewers platitudes about “freedom” and “personal choice,” which are familiar lobbyist tropes.

By Christopher Buckley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nobody blows smoke like Nick Naylor. He’s a spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies–in other words, a flack for cigarette companies, paid to promote their product on talk and news shows. The problem? He’s so good at his job, so effortlessly unethical, that he’s become a target for both anti-tobacco terrorists and for the FBI. In a country where half the people want to outlaw pleasure and the other want to sell you a disease, what will become of the original Puff Daddy?

From the Trade Paperback edition.


Book cover of Lobbying and Policy Change: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why

Anthony J. Nownes Author Of Interest Groups in American Politics: Pressure and Power

From my list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was attracted to the study of interest groups for two main reasons. First, not too many scholars study interest groups and lobbying. This means I might have something to contribute. Second, interest groups are fascinating. Almost every interest you can think of has an interest group trying to affect (or retard) change. Every year, for example, I get to regale my students with stories about little-known interest groups such as the American Frozen Food Institute, the Pink Pistols (a pro-gun LGBTQ group), the California Prune Board, and Declassify UAP (an anti-UFO secrecy group). Talking and learning about interest groups is fun. 

Anthony's book list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States

Anthony J. Nownes Why did Anthony love this book?

This is the preeminent academic study of interest group influence. The book is long, dense, and scholarly. The book is perhaps best known for its conclusion that money isn’t everything; groups with lots of money lose policy battles all the time.

Based on in-depth research on almost 100 issues before the federal government, the book's findings support my view that the answer to the question, “How influential are interest groups?” is, “It depends.” This conclusion is not satisfying to people who seek easy answers to complex questions. But it is undoubtedly true.

By Frank R. Baumgartner, Jeffrey M. Berry, Marie Hojnacki , David C. Kimball , Beth L. Leech

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the 2008 election season, politicians from both sides of the aisle promised to rid government of lobbyists' undue influence. For the authors of Lobbying and Policy Change, the most extensive study ever done on the topic, these promises ring hollow - not because politicians fail to keep them but because lobbies are far less influential than political rhetoric suggests. Based on a comprehensive examination of ninety-eight issues, this volume demonstrates that sixty percent of recent lobbying campaigns failed to change policy despite millions of dollars spent trying. Why? The authors find that resources explain less than five percent of…


Book cover of Groups, Interests, and U.S. Public Policy

Anthony J. Nownes Author Of Interest Groups in American Politics: Pressure and Power

From my list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was attracted to the study of interest groups for two main reasons. First, not too many scholars study interest groups and lobbying. This means I might have something to contribute. Second, interest groups are fascinating. Almost every interest you can think of has an interest group trying to affect (or retard) change. Every year, for example, I get to regale my students with stories about little-known interest groups such as the American Frozen Food Institute, the Pink Pistols (a pro-gun LGBTQ group), the California Prune Board, and Declassify UAP (an anti-UFO secrecy group). Talking and learning about interest groups is fun. 

Anthony's book list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States

Anthony J. Nownes Why did Anthony love this book?

The late William Browne pioneered the study of interest group influence. His empirical studies noted that interest groups often get what they want from government because they ask for relatively small changes in policy to which no one objects.

In this book, he reflects on his work and that of others. He concludes that interest groups are an integral part of the American political system and that they seldom manage to strongarm the government into doing things that lots of ordinary Americans do not support.

This book is good because it is the rare academic piece that sings the praises of interest groups and acknowledges all the good they do. After all, most Americans, whether they believe it or not, identify with, support, or belong to some interest group.

And as Browne points out, interest groups have been integral to the adoption of some of the most important and beneficial…

By William P. Browne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Groups, Interests, and U.S. Public Policy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Synthesizing theory, personal research, and prior studies on interest groups and other lobbies, William P. Browne offers a new, insightful overview of organized political interests and explains how and why they affect public policy. Drawing on his extensive experience researching interest groups, Browne assesses the impact that special interests have long had in shaping policy. He explains how they fit into the policymaking process and into society, how they exercise their influence, and how they adapt to changing circumstances. Browne describes the diversity of existing interests-associations, businesses, foundations, churches, and others-and explores the multidimensional tasks of lobbying, from disseminating information…


Book cover of Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy

Anthony J. Nownes Author Of Interest Groups in American Politics: Pressure and Power

From my list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was attracted to the study of interest groups for two main reasons. First, not too many scholars study interest groups and lobbying. This means I might have something to contribute. Second, interest groups are fascinating. Almost every interest you can think of has an interest group trying to affect (or retard) change. Every year, for example, I get to regale my students with stories about little-known interest groups such as the American Frozen Food Institute, the Pink Pistols (a pro-gun LGBTQ group), the California Prune Board, and Declassify UAP (an anti-UFO secrecy group). Talking and learning about interest groups is fun. 

Anthony's book list on lobbying and advocacy in the United States

Anthony J. Nownes Why did Anthony love this book?

There has been more “grassroots” advocacy in the last 25 years than during any 25-year period in U.S. history. The Black Lives Matter, pro-Trump, anti-Trump, New Christian Right, and Tea Party movements are some of the biggest mass movements in our history.

When most people hear the word “grassroots,” they think of ordinary citizens mobilizing, marching, or protesting on important issues. But in this book, sociologist Edward Walker shows us that behind many instances of seemingly “grassroots” advocacy are legions of political consultants who sell their ability to mobilize ordinary citizens to their wealthy clients, including giant corporations and business-oriented interest groups.

This book is epiphanic. Most of us realize on some level that political consulting is a big business. But most of us—and I mean regular people and people like me who study politics for a living—assume that political consultants advise political parties and candidates for office on the…

By Edward T. Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Although 'grassroots' conjures up images of independent citizen organizing, much mass participation today is sponsored by elite consultants working for corporations and powerful interest groups. This book pulls back the curtain to reveal a lucrative industry of consulting firms that incentivize public activism as a marketable service. Edward Walker illustrates how, spurred by the post-sixties advocacy explosion and rising business political engagement, elite consultants have deployed new technologies to commercialize mass participation. Using evidence from interviews, surveys and public records, Grassroots for Hire paints a detailed portrait of these consultants and their clients. Today, Fortune 500 firms hire them to…


Book cover of Interaction Ritual: Essays in Face-to-Face Behavior

Corey Anton Author Of Sources of Significance: Worldly Rejuvenation and Neo-Stoic Heroism

From my list on language and symbols and how they relate to the human condition.

Why am I passionate about this?

Corey Anton is Professor of Communication Studies at Grand Valley State University, Vice-President of the Institute of General Semantics, Past President of the Media Ecology Association, and a Fellow of the International Communicology Institute. He is an award-winning teacher and author. His research spans the fields of media ecology, semiotics, phenomenology, stoicism, death studies, the philosophy of communication, and multidisciplinary communication theory.

Corey's book list on language and symbols and how they relate to the human condition

Corey Anton Why did Corey love this book?

Erving Goffman was a Canadian sociologist and the founder of the “dramaturgical” tradition within sociology, where metaphors of the stage and theatre are brought to the analysis of everyday life. This particular book is a collection of his early essays concerning “encounters,” or what happens when people, wittingly or unwittingly, come face-to-face and share information, handle interpersonal incidents, and manage identities. With surgeon-like precision, Goffman engages in “micro-sociology” analyses, nuanced descriptions of the ritual expression games in which interactants engage when they come into each other’s presence. The book is a delight to read partly due to Goffman’s uncanny ability to verbally capture the most subtle of expressions and to sum up relevant dynamics within interpersonal interaction; many of his sentences bear the fine-grade clarity of high-definition TV.

By Erving Goffman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Not then, men and their moments. Rather, moment and their men," writes Erving Goffman in the introduction to his groundbreaking 1967 Interaction Ritual, a study of face-to-face interaction in natural settings, that class of events which occurs during co-presence and by virtue of co-presence. The ultimate behavioral materials are the glances, gestures, positionings, and verbal statements that people continuously feed into situations, whether intended or not.

A sociology of occasions is here advocated. Social organization is the central theme, but what is organized is the co-mingling of persons and the temporary interactional enterprises that can arise therefrom. A normatively stabilized…


Book cover of Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication

Jenny Foss Author Of Do This, Not That: Career

From my list on taking charge of your career.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I dreamed of becoming a California beach lifeguard. Considering I grew up in Michigan, this was a rather aspirational choice. To my parents’ relief, my career goals shifted over time, as I realized my gift for writing. I became a journalist then went into marketing. But after years of cranking out corporate content, I (sadly) burned out on it, dropped everything, and became a recruiter. Within months, I missed writing – so much so that I started a career-related blog, which became a thriving business dedicated to helping people move their careers forward. Gratefully, this work led to an amazing assignment, writing Do This, Not That: Career

Jenny's book list on taking charge of your career

Jenny Foss Why did Jenny love this book?

I devoured body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards’ first book, Captivate, and was thrilled when I learned that she’d written Cues. What I love about Vanessa’s writing, and particularly this book, is that she makes scientific research (in this case, research on how to become more charismatic) interesting, easy to digest, and (importantly!) actionable.

It’s a great read for anyone who finds themselves struggling to connect with and engage others in the workplace, at interviews, or in day-to-day life. The book teaches you the cues that will help you be more charismatic in any setting.

By Vanessa Van Edwards,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's not enough to have great ideas. You also need to know how to communicate them.

What makes someone charismatic? Why do some people captivate a room, while others have trouble managing a small meeting? What makes some ideas spread, while other good ones fall by the wayside?

Cues - the tiny signals we send to others 24/7 through our body language, facial expressions, word choices and vocal inflection - have a massive impact on how we, and our ideas, come across. Our cues can either enhance our message or undermine it.

In this entertaining and accessible guide to the…


Book cover of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

Kurt Mortensen Author Of The Laws of Charisma: How to Captivate, Inspire, and Influence for Maximum Success

From my list on how to inspire, influence, and become more charismatic.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kurt Mortensen is an international authority on charisma, negotiation, and influence. Kurt has spent over 20 years researching influence, leadership, sales, persuasive presentations, and he teaches at the university level. Kurt is the author of Persuasion IQ, Laws of Charisma, and the best-selling book Maximum Influence. His books have been translated into 28 languages. He is also the host of the popular podcast Maximize Your Influence. Mortensen teaches that professional success, personal relationships, and leadership all depend on the ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others. The key is to get others to want to do, what you want them to do and like doing it. 

Kurt's book list on how to inspire, influence, and become more charismatic

Kurt Mortensen Why did Kurt love this book?

Vanessa calls herself a human behavior investigator. She talks about the formula for charisma and how to read people. These critical influence tools help people adapt their ability to bond with people and persuade them how they want to be persuaded. This book gives you the hacks to influence better and faster. I love how she focuses on first impressions. We all know that the first impression is critical to having charisma and connecting with people.

By Vanessa Van Edwards,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do you feel awkward at networking events? Do you wonder what your date really thinks of you? Do you wish you could decode people? You need to learn the science of people.
 
As a human behavior hacker, Vanessa Van Edwards created a research lab to study the hidden forces that drive us. And she’s cracked the code. In Captivate, she shares shortcuts, systems, and secrets for taking charge of your interactions at work, at home, and in any social situation. These aren’t the people skills you learned in school. This is the first comprehensive, science backed, real life manual on…


Book cover of Social Physics: How Social Networks Can Make Us Smarter

Marcus Collins Author Of For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be

From my list on helping people get people to take action.

Why am I passionate about this?

I study cultural contagion and how it influences people to help bridge the academic-practitioner gap for companies (from “blue-chip” brands to non-profits) that aim to put ideas in the world that inspire people to take action. When I’m not putting ideas in the world as the Head of Strategy at Wieden+Kennedy New York, I put people in the world as a Clinical Marketing Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. My entire career has centered on getting people to move, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some of the most notable campaigns in the past years that have created both cultural and commercial impact.

Marcus' book list on helping people get people to take action

Marcus Collins Why did Marcus love this book?

We operate in networked collectives—social groups to which we subscribe our identities, like families, teams, congregations, etc.

And these groups operate the way they do not only because of the cultural operating system that governs expectations of the group and its members but also because of how the group is structured.

Social Physics unpacks how the dynamics of these networks dictate the way in which information is disseminated, ideas are adopted, and people decide what they accept and what they reject.

This book helped make the abstract nature of social networks tangible and provided concrete language to help make this idea applicable.     

By Alex Pentland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From one of the world’s leading data scientists, a landmark tour of the new science of idea flow, offering revolutionary insights into the mysteries of collective intelligence and social influence

If the Big Data revolution has a presiding genius, it is MIT’s Alex “Sandy” Pentland. Over years of groundbreaking experiments, he has distilled remarkable discoveries significant enough to become the bedrock of a whole new scientific field: social physics. Humans have more in common with bees than we like to admit: We’re social creatures first and foremost. Our most important habits of action—and most basic notions of common sense—are wired…


Book cover of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

Russell K. Schutt Author Of Social Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society

From my list on social evolution, social neuroscience, and social connection.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young sociologist, I shunned explanations of human behavior informed by psychology and biology, but over the years my research showed me that individual predispositions and capacities influence social structure, as well as the other way around.  Books like those I recommend helped me recognize how evolutionary dynamics gave rise to our intensely social nature and so explain many social processes.  And as I began this intellectual journey, events in my own life ripped off the psychological seal I had constructed over my childhood experiences of maternal abandonment and paternal suicide and finally enabled me to make sense of them. We can improve our individual and societal health by increasing our understanding of our fundamental social needs.   

Russell's book list on social evolution, social neuroscience, and social connection

Russell K. Schutt Why did Russell love this book?

“The bad news is that as a society we’re blowing it.” Not because the GDP isn’t high enough, distinguished psychologist Matthew Lieberman argues, but because we don’t understand basic facts about our social brains: (1) Physical and social pain share the same neurocognitive processes, as do responses to physical and social rewards; (2) Our ability (and proclivity) to mentalize—to understand others’ actions as driven by their thoughts—relies on and competes with a different neural system than nonsocial thinking; (3) Our sense of self is a Trojan horse transmitting social influence and so harmonizing behavior in groups.  As a result, improving our social relations—not increasing our financial wealth—makes us happier; maximizing social capital increases our productivity at work; and engaging our social brains improves our learning. If that gets your attention, you’re ready to read Social

By Matthew D. Lieberman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why are we influenced by the behaviour of complete strangers? Why does the brain register similar pleasure when I perceive something as 'fair' or when I eat chocolate? Why can we be so profoundly hurt by bereavement? What are the evolutionary benefits of these traits? The young discipline of 'social cognitive neuroscience' has been exploring this fascinating interface between brain science and human behaviour since the late 1990s.

Now one of its founding pioneers, Matthew D. Lieberman, presents the discoveries that he and fellow researchers have made. Using fMRI scanning and a range of other techniques, they have been able…


Book cover of The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous

Jay Belsky Author Of The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life

From my list on development from childhood to middle age.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was almost by accident that I became who I turned out to be as a professional, a developmental scientist interested in how early-life experiences shape who we become. Had someone asked me when I graduated from high school what were the chances of me becoming a scientist and teacher, I would have answered “zero, zero”! During my now 40+ year academic career I've come to appreciate how complex the many forces are that shape who we become. There's no nature without nurture and no nurture without nature. This emergent realization led me to learn about and study many aspects of developmental experience, like parenting and peer relations, and the role of genetics and evolution.

Jay's book list on development from childhood to middle age

Jay Belsky Why did Jay love this book?

This one does not follow children from childhood to adulthood, but rather reveals how 100s of years ago events occurred that radically changed who people interacted with, married and spent their lives relating to.

It is a bold, strikingly original, and epic account of how the co-evolution of psychology and culture created the peculiar Western mind that profoundly shaped the modern world. While Nature matters, what this volume made clear to me is how “big Nurture”, meaning cultural practices, have changed over the past 1,000 years and the dramatic implications of such change for the world we live in today.

By Joseph Henrich,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The WEIRDest People in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A landmark in social thought. Henrich may go down as the most influential social scientist of the first half of the twenty-first century' MATTHEW SYED

Do you identify yourself by your profession or achievements, rather than your family network? Do you cultivate your unique attributes and goals? If so, perhaps you are WEIRD: raised in a society that is Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic.

Unlike most who have ever lived, WEIRD people are highly individualistic, nonconformist, analytical and control-oriented. How did WEIRD populations become so psychologically peculiar? What part did these differences play in our history, and what do…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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