100 books like The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium

By Martin Gurri,

Here are 100 books that The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium fans have personally recommended if you like The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium. 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 Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

John Iceland Author Of Why We Disagree about Inequality: Social Justice vs. Social Order

From my list on explaining political polarization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Penn State professor of sociology and demography who is interested in social inequality, demography, and public opinion. My family moved frequently when I was growing up—I lived in Colombia, Greece, and Mexico. I attended Brown University and worked at the U.S. Census Bureau as an analyst and Branch Chief for several years before returning to academia. My interest in inequality dates back to living in different countries with different cultures, politics, and standards of living. While I have long been interested in the demographics of poverty and inequality, in more recent years I’ve become interested in political polarization and why people disagree about a variety of social issues.

John's book list on explaining political polarization

John Iceland Why did John love this book?

Pinker challenges the widely held belief that human beings are born as blank slates, shaped solely by their environment and experiences.

As a cognitive psychologist, he makes this case with a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence on evolutionary psychological adaptations. I especially appreciate how Pinker conveys a lot of complicated information so plainly. He argues that the belief in the “blank slate” has often led to misguided policies, such as in education and the criminal justice system.

By Steven Pinker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Blank Slate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature from the author of Rationality, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and Enlightenment Now.

"Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." --Time

Updated with a new afterword

One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses…


Book cover of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Larry Cahoone Author Of The Emergence of Value: Human Norms in a Natural World

From my list on history and science books that tell us who we are now.

Why am I passionate about this?

A philosophy professor, my central interest has always been something historical: what is going on in this strange modern world we live in? Addressing this required forty years of background work in the natural sciences, history, social sciences, and the variety of contemporary philosophical theories that try to put them all together. In the process, I taught philosophy courses on philosophical topics, social theory, and the sciences, wrote books, and produced video courses, mostly focused on that central interest. The books listed are some of my favorites to read and to teach. They are crucial steps on the journey to understand who we are in this unprecedented modern world.

Larry's book list on history and science books that tell us who we are now

Larry Cahoone Why did Larry love this book?

Best recent book examining human morality from a scientific, psychological point of view.

Darwinians used to think humans had to be selfish and immoral. Contemporary evolution argues the opposite, that humans evolved moral limits on our selfishness in order to live together. Haidt’s is the best book presenting this new evolutionary psychology.

But it goes further to connect those scientific issues with contemporary politics, explaining why people from “red” and “blue” states cannot understand each other: they each embody a short list of human moral values, but different ones. This is a great book for thinking carefully about human morality and contemporary politics. Students love it, and so do I. 

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Righteous Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A landmark contribution to humanity's understanding of itself' The New York Times

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe? Why do ideas such as 'fairness' and 'freedom' mean such different things to different people? Why is it so hard to see things from another viewpoint? Why do we come to blows over politics and religion?

Jonathan Haidt reveals that we often find it hard to get along because our minds are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous. He explores how morality evolved to enable us to form communities, and…


Book cover of A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles

John Iceland Author Of Why We Disagree about Inequality: Social Justice vs. Social Order

From my list on explaining political polarization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Penn State professor of sociology and demography who is interested in social inequality, demography, and public opinion. My family moved frequently when I was growing up—I lived in Colombia, Greece, and Mexico. I attended Brown University and worked at the U.S. Census Bureau as an analyst and Branch Chief for several years before returning to academia. My interest in inequality dates back to living in different countries with different cultures, politics, and standards of living. While I have long been interested in the demographics of poverty and inequality, in more recent years I’ve become interested in political polarization and why people disagree about a variety of social issues.

John's book list on explaining political polarization

John Iceland Why did John love this book?

Liberals and conservatives strongly disagree on the appropriate scope of government. No book has helped me understand why more than Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions.

He describes how the ideological difference results from disagreements about the malleability of human nature. The unconstrained vision, typically associated with liberals, sees human nature as altruistic and perfectible. The government should be used expansively to promote social justice and equality to realize this vision. 

In contrast, the constrained vision, typically associated with conservatives, sees human nature as limited, selfish, and imperfectible. The government should play a limited role in society, as elites cannot hope to restructure society without unintended destructive consequences.

By Thomas Sowell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Conflict of Visions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic work, Thomas Sowell analyzes the two competing visions that shape our debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power: the constrained" vision, which sees human nature as unchanging and selfish, and the unconstrained" vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible. He describes how these two radically opposed views have manifested themselves in the political controversies of the past two centuries, including such contemporary issues as welfare reform, social justice, and crime. Updated to include sweeping political changes since its first publication in 1987, this revised edition of A Conflict of Visions offers a…


Book cover of Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding: Community Action in the War on Poverty

Greg Berman Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on if you want government to work better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my professional career attempting to reform the justice system and create safer communities. For nearly two decades, I served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation). Now, I co-edit a policy journal called Vital City that attempts to spark new thinking about how to achieve public safety. Over the years, I have worked with numerous city, state, and federal officials. I have seen that most of the people working within government are trying their best in difficult circumstances. I have also seen that it is enormously difficult to change government systems and solve complicated social problems.

Greg's book list on if you want government to work better

Greg Berman Why did Greg love this book?

What would it look like if the federal government launched an ambitious campaign to mobilize community residents to reduce poverty? 

Daniel Patrick Moynihan offers an insider’s account of one such effort, launched in the 1960s as part of the War on Poverty. What he finds is a fundamental disconnect between the ambitions and high-minded theories of reformers in Washington DC, and the hard realities of practice on the ground.

Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding is a cautionary tale and a heartbreaking catalog of missed opportunities, unintended consequences, and wasted resources. I wish someone had handed me this book at the start of my career to help temper my youthful idealism.

By Daniel Patrick Moynihan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Describes the origin, implementation and results of the sociological theory, incorporated in the 1964 Opportunity Act, that anti-poverty programs be carried out with the maximum participation of community residents


Book cover of Tilting at Mills: Green Dreams, Dirty Dealings, and the Corporate Squeeze

Greg Berman Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on if you want government to work better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my professional career attempting to reform the justice system and create safer communities. For nearly two decades, I served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation). Now, I co-edit a policy journal called Vital City that attempts to spark new thinking about how to achieve public safety. Over the years, I have worked with numerous city, state, and federal officials. I have seen that most of the people working within government are trying their best in difficult circumstances. I have also seen that it is enormously difficult to change government systems and solve complicated social problems.

Greg's book list on if you want government to work better

Greg Berman Why did Greg love this book?

My friend and co-author Aubrey Fox recommended this book to me not long after we met. 

I liked it so much that I think it is actually one of the reasons we became friends in the first place. Tilting at Mils is the story of an innovative effort by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environmental nonprofit, to create a paper mill in the Bronx in the 1990s. 

The initiative attracted millions of dollars and high-level political support, both in New York City and Washington DC. But the project never happened.

Tilting at Mills is a gripping story of failure, not due to malfeasance or incompetence, but because achieving anything is difficult and lots of things can go wrong, including rotten luck and bad timing. 

By Lis Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Describes the efforts of Allen Hershkowitz to build a large, environmentally friendly paper mill in the South Bronx, and the local politics, neighborhood activists, corporate greed, and other obstacles that derailed the project.


Book cover of The Cost of Good Intentions: New York City and the Liberal Experiment

Greg Berman Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on if you want government to work better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my professional career attempting to reform the justice system and create safer communities. For nearly two decades, I served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation). Now, I co-edit a policy journal called Vital City that attempts to spark new thinking about how to achieve public safety. Over the years, I have worked with numerous city, state, and federal officials. I have seen that most of the people working within government are trying their best in difficult circumstances. I have also seen that it is enormously difficult to change government systems and solve complicated social problems.

Greg's book list on if you want government to work better

Greg Berman Why did Greg love this book?

Like many New Yorkers, I am fascinated by the history of the city.

The Cost of Good Intentions details the run-up to a crucial turning point for the city: the fiscal crisis of 1975.

Written by a high-ranking city official after the fact, the book is an insightful analysis of how local government, particularly under Mayor John Lindsay, attempted to respond to a range of significant challenges, including the civil right movement, rising crime, and changing economic conditions. 

Despite the best of intentions, the administration’s reach ended up exceeding its grasp, laying the groundwork not only for the fiscal crisis and for an era of declining public trust in government.  

By Charles R. Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is about public policy making in New York during the zenith of the great liberal experiment, from 1960, Mayor Robert Wagner's third term, through John V. Lindsay, Abraham Beame, and, finally, to Edward Koch and the inevitable return of fiscal conservatism.

The bigger they come the harder they fall. When New York City fell and its intricate, often exotic, budget gimmickry came unstuck, they foundations of every other large city in America shook. If we are not to relive this history it is important to learn the lessons taught so cogently and entertainingly in this book.


Book cover of A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism

Greg Berman Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on if you want government to work better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my professional career attempting to reform the justice system and create safer communities. For nearly two decades, I served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation). Now, I co-edit a policy journal called Vital City that attempts to spark new thinking about how to achieve public safety. Over the years, I have worked with numerous city, state, and federal officials. I have seen that most of the people working within government are trying their best in difficult circumstances. I have also seen that it is enormously difficult to change government systems and solve complicated social problems.

Greg's book list on if you want government to work better

Greg Berman Why did Greg love this book?

When I was the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation), I made a habit of sharing interesting essays with the rest of the team.

One of my all-time favorites was Adam Gopnik’s “The Caging of America.” In the essay, Gopnik offers this analysis of how crime was reduced in New York City throughout the 1990s and 2000s: “There was no miracle cure, just the intercession of a thousand smaller sanities.”

The idea that small changes can make a big difference has been a bit of a personal crusade for me ever since. 

In A Thousand Small Sanities, Gopnik expands upon this argument, offering a full-throated defense of liberalism against critics on both the right and the left. 

By Adam Gopnik,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Small Sanities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'WITTY, HUMANE, LEARNED' NEW YORK TIMES

The New York Times-bestselling author offers a stirring defence of liberalism against the dogmatisms of our time

Not since the early twentieth century has liberalism, and liberals, been under such relentless attack, from both right and left. The crisis of democracy in our era has produced a crisis of faith in liberal institutions and, even worse, in liberal thought.

A Thousand Small Sanities is a manifesto rooted in the lives of people who invented and extended the liberal tradition. Taking us from Montaigne to Mill, and from Middlemarch to the civil rights movement, Adam…


Book cover of The Three Languages of Politics: Talking Across the Political Divides

John Iceland Author Of Why We Disagree about Inequality: Social Justice vs. Social Order

From my list on explaining political polarization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Penn State professor of sociology and demography who is interested in social inequality, demography, and public opinion. My family moved frequently when I was growing up—I lived in Colombia, Greece, and Mexico. I attended Brown University and worked at the U.S. Census Bureau as an analyst and Branch Chief for several years before returning to academia. My interest in inequality dates back to living in different countries with different cultures, politics, and standards of living. While I have long been interested in the demographics of poverty and inequality, in more recent years I’ve become interested in political polarization and why people disagree about a variety of social issues.

John's book list on explaining political polarization

John Iceland Why did John love this book?

I am often struck by how differently people from across the political spectrum frame any given issue.

Arnold Kling systematically describes this phenomenon and highlights how progressives, conservatives, and libertarians use different language to highlight their concerns. Conservatives focus on threats to traditional values. Progressives highlight threats to the underprivileged. Libertarians worry about threats to freedom.

This book will change the way you consume the news in our polarized media landscape.

By Arnold Kling,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When it was first released in 2013, Arnold Kling’s The Three Languages of Politics was a prescient exploration of political communication, detailing the “three tribal coalitions” that make up America’s political landscape. Progressives, conservatives, and libertarians, he argued, are “like tribes speaking different languages. As a result, political discussions do not lead to agreement. Instead, most political commentary serves to increase polarization.”

Now available as a newly revised and expanded edition, Kling’s book could not be any more timely, as Americans—whether as media pundits or conversing at a party—talk past one another with even greater volume, heat, and disinterest in…


Book cover of Grassroots Innovation: Minds On The Margin Are Not Marginal Minds

Dinesh C. Sharma Author Of The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution

From my list on the history of modern India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist who has strayed into book writing with a particular interest in the history of post-independent and contemporary India. My interest in this subject developed as an offshoot of reporting on landmark changes during the period of economic liberalization in the 1990s. One of the astounding stories of this period was the rise of the technology industry and the outsourcing business. A deeper study of this took me back to the period of independence in 1947 and decades before it.  

Dinesh's book list on the history of modern India

Dinesh C. Sharma Why did Dinesh love this book?

The discourse on modern India is often about achievements in science and technology, R&D in national laboratories, and industry. However, in a country of one billion plus people, innovation is happening not just in formal sectors. Ordinary people – farmers, teachers, students, artisans, school dropouts, homemakers – are constantly innovating to solve everyday problems using frugal means. The book is an account of spotting grassroots innovations, nurturing them, and building networks with formal systems and markets. It is critical to understand this process for a deeper appreciation of contemporary India. 

By Anil K. Gupta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moral dilemma gripped Anil K. Gupta when he was invited by the Bangladeshi government to help restructure their agricultural on-farm research sector in 1985. He noticed how the marginalized farmers were being paid poorly for their otherwise unmatched knowledge. The gross injustice of this constant imbalance led Gupta to found what would turn into a resounding social and ethical movement-the Honey Bee Network-bringing together and elevating thousands of grassroots innovators.
For over two decades, Gupta has travelled through rural lands, along with hundreds of volunteers of the Network, unearthing innovations by the ranks-from the famed Mitti Cool refrigerator to…


Book cover of Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status

Mareike Jenner Author Of Netflix and the Re-invention of Television

From my list on contemporary television.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like understanding television as culturally situated. Television is constructed along a number of sites: cultural, institutional, ideological, historical, or via the different ways audiences understand it. Interrogating television and what it does as a medium was historically relevant because it was a mass medium. But how can we evaluate the medium in times of highly fragmented audiences? Because of this, exploring Netflix as a new form of ‘television’ has become so important to me. The authors all try to get to terms with how television has changed over its short existence. This helps us understand the medium better, as well as our current moment.

Mareike's book list on contemporary television

Mareike Jenner Why did Mareike love this book?

This is one of my favorite books about contemporary television.

It deals with the processes that changed how television was viewed following the changes in HBO-style ‘quality’ television. It also critically explores the ways legitimization and associated words like ‘quality’ work as an ultimately classist system where television works as cultural capital.

Netflix established itself on the back of this legitimization, using HBO-style ‘quality’ TV series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. But HBO also used DVDs to ‘filter’ the individual program out from the ‘flow’ of television, which helped Netflix to establish itself as television.

By Michael Z. Newman, Elana Levine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status explores how and why television is gaining a new level of cultural respectability in the 21st century. Once looked down upon as a "plug-in drug" offering little redeeming social or artistic value, television is now said to be in a creative renaissance, with critics hailing the rise of Quality series such as Mad Men and 30 Rock. Likewise, DVDs and DVRs, web video, HDTV, and mobile devices have shifted the longstanding conception of television as a household appliance toward a new understanding of TV as a sophisticated, high-tech gadget.

Newman and Levine argue…


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