100 books like The Order of Forms

By Anna Kornbluh,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

This is the one classic text on my list. Marcuse’s book was like a bible to protesting students in the 1960s, and its critique of the psychic levelling that occurs under capitalism remains just as germane today, if not more so. This is the most successful marriage of Freud and Marx that emerged from the famous Frankfurt School, which was a group of cultural Marxist invested in psychoanalysis. Marcuse grasps how capitalism employs technology to ensure its psychic dominance. 

By Herbert Marcuse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One-Dimensional Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1964, One-Dimensional Man quickly became one of the most important texts in the ensuing decade of radical political change. This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events.


Book cover of Living in the End Times

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

I could really choose any book by Slavoj Žižek as the starting for a psychoanalytic critique of capitalism, but this one is very accessible for someone who has never read him. It also gets into the current dilemmas that are rocking capitalist society. In this book, Žižek shows how psychoanalysis (combined with Hegel’s philosophy) can provide a corrective to the traditional Marxist critique of capitalism. We see here how the attempt to construct an ethical capitalism inevitably fails and obscures a new barbarism. 

By Slavoj Zizek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living in the End Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There should no longer be any doubt: global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis. But if the end of capitalism seems to many like the end of the world, how is it possible for Western society to face up to the end times? In a major new analysis of our global situation, Zizek argues that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the stages of grief: ideological denial, explosions of anger and attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and withdrawal. For this edition, Zizek has written a long afterword that leaves almost no subject untouched, from WikiLeaks to…


Book cover of Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings: The Emotional Costs of Everyday Life

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

Although Ruti’s book is not directly about capitalism, it includes perhaps the best psychoanalytic proposal of confronting the imperatives of capitalist society that I have ever read. Ruti discusses how sexism operates within capitalism primarily in the book, but her point is always about how concepts from psychoanalysis that seem retrograde—such as penis envy—can actually be the basis for a critique of capitalism and sexism. 

By Mari Ruti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mari Ruti combines theoretical reflection, cultural critique, feminist politics, and personal experience to analyze the prevalence of bad feelings in contemporary everyday life. Proceeding from a playful engagement with Freud's idea of penis envy, Ruti's autotheoretical commentary fans out to a broader consideration of neoliberal pragmatism. She focuses on the emphasis on good performance, high productivity, constant self-improvement, and relentless cheerfulness that characterizes present-day Western society. Revealing the treacherousness of our fantasies of the good life, particularly the idea that our efforts will eventually be rewarded-that things will eventually get better-Ruti demystifies the false hope that often causes us to…


Book cover of The Labour of Enjoyment: Towards a Critique of Libidinal Economy: Lacanian Explorations IV

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

Tomšič basically identifies why psychoanalysis is an anti-capitalist technique and how it emerged in response to the social structure of capitalist society. Psychoanalysis counters resistance to psychic change and to social change, a resistance that manifests itself in capitalism. Tomšič very nicely sees how the neurotic suffering that psychoanalysis treats is the result of one’s integration into the capitalist system, which is why treating it requires an anticapitalist method.  

By Samo Tomsic,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new theory of libidinal economy―the intersection between desire and capitalism―from the author of The Capitalist Unconscious

The fourth book in Slavoj Žižek's Lacanian Explorations series, The Labour of Enjoyment sees Slovenian philosopher Samo Tomšic continue his exploration of the connections between capitalism and psychoanalysis that he began in his 2015 book The Capitalist Unconscious.

In this new text, Tomšic critiques the use of psychoanalysis to discuss political economy, focusing specifically on the concept of "libidinal economy," the intersection between desire and capitalism most famously proposed by Jean-François Lyotard.

Contrasting Marxist and Freudian thought with the philosophies of Aristotle and…


Book cover of Capital: Volume I

William Clare Roberts Author Of Marx's Inferno: The Political Theory of Capital

From my list on understanding how power works.

Who am I?

I’m a teacher, a student, and a reader by trade (that is, a university professor), and I spend most of my time trying to understand social and political power: why some people have it, and others don’t, how it circulates and changes (gradually or suddenly), why it sometimes oppresses us and sometimes liberates, how it can be created and destroyed. I mostly do this by reading and teaching the history of political theory, which I am lucky enough to do at McGill University, in conversation and cooperation with some wonderful colleagues.

William's book list on understanding how power works

William Clare Roberts Why did William love this book?

I have spent more time with this book than with probably any other, and I still learn new things from it all the time.

Parts of it are very hard, but that’s because Marx is trying to show how the whole world is put into motion by economic power, money, and competition. But he also knows how to liven up even very technical parts of the argument with dark humor, arresting images, and biting sarcasm. 

By Karl Marx, Ben Fowkes (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A groundbreaking work of economic analysis. It is also a literary masterpice' Francis Wheen, Guardian

One of the most notorious and influential works of modern times, Capital is an incisive critique of private property and the social relations it generates. Living in exile in England, where this work was largely written, Marx drew on a wide-ranging knowledge of its society to support his analysis. Arguing that capitalism would cause an ever-increasing division in wealth and welfare, he predicted its abolition and replacement by a system with common ownership of the means of production. Capital rapidly acquired readership throughout the world,…


Book cover of Freud, Biologist of the Mind: Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend

Todd Dufresne Author Of The Late Sigmund Freud: Or, The Last Word on Psychoanalysis, Society, and All the Riddles of Life

From my list on Freud and his legacy.

Who am I?

I am a professor of philosophy and editor or author of 12 books. I started out in ‘Freud Studies’ in the 1990s with no agenda, just a deep interest in Freud’s ideas. Since then I’ve written quite a lot on it. Unfortunately, the field is so contentious, so overrun with books by former patients and analysts, that casual readers couldn’t possibly make heads or tails of it. Readers are best served by reading complete works of Freud and making their own assessments. After that, they can look at Freud’s voluminous and eye-opening correspondence with colleagues. Then they can consult good books, and lists of recommended works, that put them in the right direction.

Todd's book list on Freud and his legacy

Todd Dufresne Why did Todd love this book?

While some thinkers, such as Ernest Jones and Philip Rieff, had noted Freud’s lifelong reliance on 19th-century biology, it wasn’t until Sulloway’s tome of 1979 that a systematic investigation of Freud’s embarrassing biology was published. Hence the demystification Sulloway offers of a ‘psychoanalytic legend’ that routinely erases the foundational roles that Lamarckian inheritance and Haeckelian recapitulation play throughout Freud’s oeuvre. This dense, difficult, but well-argued and undeniable work is meant for experts but is key for all serious students of psychoanalysis. 

By Frank J. Sulloway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this monumental intellectual biography, Frank Sulloway demonstrates that Freud always remained, despite his denials, a biologist of the mind; and, indeed, that his most creative inspirations derived significantly from biology. Sulloway analyzes the political aspects of the complex myth of Freud as psychoanalytic hero as it served to consolidate the analytic movement. This is a revolutionary reassessment of Freud and psychoanalysis.


Book cover of Thinking in Cases

Bonnie Evans Author Of The Metamorphosis of Autism: A History of Child Development in Britain

From my list on the making of the modern self.

Who am I?

My interest in this topic began after my father died when I was a young teenager and I was left looking for answers, explanations, and meanings. My dad was an architect and had written a book on Jeremy Bentham’s panoptican and prison architecture published before the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s famous Discipline and Punish. A small collection of Foucault’s books stood prominently on my father’s bookshelves and I really wanted to understand them. At university I studied all of Foucault’s works and many authors inspired by him. These are the best books that explain how we have developed philosophical and psychological theories to understand ourselves in the contemporary world.

Bonnie's book list on the making of the modern self

Bonnie Evans Why did Bonnie love this book?

Forrester’s excellent, yet sadly unfinished, Thinking in Cases, advanced a radical new way to consider the history of the human sciences and their modelling of the self or the individual. Whereas Hacking and Foucault focused on population-based statistical styles of reasoning as the means by which the modern state operated, Forrester argues that these ‘styles of reasoning’ were always supported by what he has termed ‘case-based reasoning.’ In doing so, Forrester considers how biopolitical power has been advanced via both legal and medical cases. He describes his approach as being informed by ‘three rhizomic structures,’ namely ‘the psychoanalytic case history; the historical sociology of the sciences; and the individual in the human sciences.’ This rhizomic model is unique to Forrester’s approach, and allows him to move freely between law, anthropology, medicine, politics, psychoanalysis, and the social sciences, in his reflections on the case. He asks us to reflect on…

By John Forrester,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What exactly is involved in using particular case histories to think systematically about social, psychological and historical processes? Can one move from a textured particularity, like that in Freud's famous cases, to a level of reliable generality? In this book, Forrester teases out the meanings of the psychoanalytic case, how to characterize it and account for it as a particular kind of writing. In so doing, he moves from psychoanalysis to the law and medicine, to philosophy and the constituents of science. Freud and Foucault jostle here with Thomas Kuhn, Ian Hacking and Robert Stoller, and Einstein and Freud's connection…


Book cover of The Myth of Analysis: Three Essays in Archetypal Psychology

Shaun McNiff Author Of Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul

From my list on art healing.

Who am I?

By chance, just over 50 years ago, I became an art therapist in a state hospital on the Northshore of Boston where I have always lived. With support from Rudolf Arnheim at Harvard University and others, I committed myself to furthering personal and community well-being through art. In my mid-twenties I established a graduate program at Lesley University which spawned an international community of expressive arts therapy. I have worked worldwide in advancing art healing and art-based research. Now University Professor Emeritus, and for the first time without a full-time position, I am trying to embrace the unpredictable ways of creation, and as I wrote, Trust the Process.

Shaun's book list on art healing

Shaun McNiff Why did Shaun love this book?

James Hillman called for the revisioning of psychology based on art, culture, and imagination. Of his many books, The Myth of Analysis, offering three essays on psychological creativity, language, and femininity, is the one that I reference most, especially his position that “the language of psychology insults the soul.” Social science and the therapy jargon of the “establishment” are not getting better, and as Hillman says, we become ill in sync with it. He said to me that art therapists can “be the carriers of imagination into the culture at the grassroots level. I really do want to encourage them with all my heart.”

By James Hillman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this work, acclaimed Jungian James Hillman examines the concepts of myth, insights, eros, body, and the mytheme of female inferiority, as well as the need for the freedom to imagine and to feel psychic reality. By examining these ideas, and the role they have played both in and outside of the therapeutic setting, Hillman mounts a compelling argument that, rather than locking them away in some inner asylum or subjecting them to daily self-treatment, man's "peculiarities" can become an integral part of a rich and fulfilling daily life.

Originally published by Northwestern University Press in 1972, this work had…


Book cover of Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession

Timothy D. Wilson Author Of Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

From my list on self knowledge.

Who am I?

Like most adolescents, I was deeply concerned with what others thought of me and how I fit in. Unlike most adolescents, I sometimes did little experiments to test others’ reactions--such as lying down on a busy sidewalk, fully awake, to see how passersby would react (mostly with annoyance). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an entire discipline--social psychology--that does real experiments on self-knowledge and social behavior. I got a Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Michigan and have spent my career as a professor at the University of Virginia, where I have had great fun conducting such experiments.

Timothy's book list on self knowledge

Timothy D. Wilson Why did Timothy love this book?

Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis have cast a long shadow over our understanding of the human mind. Most research psychologists today find Freud’s ideas to be oversimplified, exaggerated, or simply wrong. It is important to understand his legacy, however, and there is no better way to do so than to read this entertaining, gossipy book about psychoanalytic theory and treatment. Malcolm provides a rare peek into the consulting room of the psychoanalyst, with insightful critiques of the practice and theory of psychoanalysis. What is Freud’s legacy, exactly? I discuss that in Strangers to Ourselves, in a chapter entitled, “Freud’s genius, Freud’s myopia.”

By Janet Malcolm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through an intensive study of 'Aaron Green,' a Freudian analyst in New York City, New Yorker writer Janet Malcolm reveals the inner workings of psychoanalysis.


Book cover of The Words to Say it

Helen Epstein Author Of The Long Half-Lives of Love and Trauma

From my list on healing from sexual trauma.

Who am I?

I'm a veteran author, journalist, and journalism professor who has taught over 1000 students. At the age of 50, through a memoir I began writing, I fell down a rabbit hole of memory and began to suspect I had been sexually abused as a child. The man was a close family friend, who liked to call himself my grandfather. He did not speak English. My parents were immigrants and the usual difficulties of retrieving memories from childhood were complicated by the fact that they were all in the Czech language. For years I read everything I could find about childhood sexual abuse and then everything I could read about psychoanalysis.

Helen's book list on healing from sexual trauma

Helen Epstein Why did Helen love this book?

This is the first book I ever read about how, exactly, a classic psychoanalysis worked to cure a woman deeply damaged by childhood abuse.

It is set in France and written by an Algerian/French writer and academic, who seeks out psychoanalysis after physicians have given up on curing her symptoms. It is an intricate examination of how psychotherapy works and has become a classic text. 

By Marie Cardinal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE WORDS TO SAY IT by Marie Cardinal, translated by Pat Goodheart, Van Vactor & Goodheart Publisher, is in the words of Bruno Bettelheim "the best account of a psychoanalysis as seen and experienced by the patient." It is the story of a healing set against the events in Algeria. Taught in over seven hundred and fifty colleges and universities as a text, and in over fifteen different departments, literature at Harvard University and in courses in medical ethics at Yale Medical School. It has received rave reviews in The London Sunday Times and the New York Times Book Review,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in psychoanalysis, capitalism, and math?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about psychoanalysis, capitalism, and math.

Psychoanalysis Explore 84 books about psychoanalysis
Capitalism Explore 167 books about capitalism
Math Explore 241 books about math