The most recommended books about social networks

Who picked these books? Meet our 26 experts.

26 authors created a book list connected to social networks, and here are their favorite social network books.
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What type of social network book?


Book cover of Collaborate or Perish!: Reaching Across Boundaries in a Networked World

Wes Denham

From my list on crime and criminal justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write books and newspaper columns on criminal justice and criminal defense. As an investigator for criminal defense attorneys, I spent years in the jails and prisons of Florida and Georgia interviewing felony defendants—murderers, child molesters, con men, robbers, drug dealers, whores, wife beaters, and shooters for hire. Some were insane; most weren’t. My interest is personal as well as professional. I live in Police Zone 1, the most dangerous area of my city. It’s a place where kids and church ladies can distinguish a Chinese AK from a Glock nine by sound alone. It’s a place where I carry an extra-large can of pepper spray and a combat knife, just to walk the dog!

Wes' book list on crime and criminal justice

Wes Denham Why did Wes love this book?

Bill Bratton had the original insight that crime is a city problem, not just a cop problem. In this book, he discusses how collaboration between city, state, and federal agencies is essential to reduce murder and violent felonies. How easy is it to get government agencies to cooperate? Like herding cats, you say? More like herding rabid lions and tigers. You’re dealing with bureaucrats who imbibed the subtleties of the double and triple cross with their mothers’ milk!

By William Bratton, Zachary Tumin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Collaborate or Perish! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Collaborate or Perish! former Los Angeles police chief and New York police commissioner William Bratton and Harvard Kennedy School’s Zachary Tumin lay out a field-tested playbook for collaborating across the boundaries of our networked world. Today, when everyone is connected, collaboration is the game changer. Agencies and firms, citizens and groups who can collaborate, Bratton and Tumin argue, will thrive in the networked world; those who can’t are doomed to perish.

No one today is better known around the world for his ability to get citizens, governments, and industries working together to improve the safety of cities than William…

Book cover of Our Days Are Numbered: How Mathematics Orders Our Lives

Richard Hoshino Author Of The Math Olympian

From my list on mathematics and life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have devoted my entire career to mathematics, and have a life filled with meaning and purpose through my roles as an educator, researcher, and consultant. I teach at the Vancouver campus of Northeastern University and am the owner and principal of Hoshino Math Services, a boutique math consulting firm. 

Richard's book list on mathematics and life

Richard Hoshino Why did Richard love this book?

For decades, the most famous opening chord in rock and roll was an unsolved problem, since no one could reproduce it. But in 2004, Jason Brown, a professor at Dalhousie University, used mathematics to recreate the opening chord of the Beatles hit song, “A Hard Day’s Night”. I remember when newspapers around the world reported on Jason’s findings, as I was at Dalhousie at the time, as one of Jason’s Ph.D. students.

Jason’s Beatles story serves as the final chapter in this wonderful book, a collection of short vignettes about how mathematics relates to every aspect of our lives, including garbage pickup routes, grocery shopping, political polling, and social networks. The book’s thesis is that as we understand mathematics better, our lives become more meaningful. I couldn’t agree more.    

By Jason I. Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Days Are Numbered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A revealing and entertaining look at the world, as viewed through mathematical eyeglasses.

From the moment our feet touch the floor in the morning until our head hits the pillow, numbers are everywhere. And yet most of us go through each day unaware of the mathematics that shapes our lives.

In fact, many people go through life fearing and avoiding mathematics, making choices that keep it at arm’s length or further. Even basic math — like arithmetic — can seem baffling.

In Our Days Are Numbered, Jason Brown leads the reader through a typical day, on a fascinating journey. He…

Book cover of How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions

Marianne E. Krasny Author Of In This Together: Connecting with Your Community to Combat the Climate Crisis

From my list on influencing others to do about climate change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor at Cornell University who struggles with the meaning of individual action in the face of looming crises—be they plastics and litter, or climate. The idea of Network Climate Action bubbled up one morning as a way to magnify individual actions, such as eating a plant-rich diet, donating money to a climate organization, or joining in an advocacy group. Network Climate Action helps me achieve my role-ideals as a teacher, volunteer, friend, mom, and grandmother, and it gives meaning and happiness to my life. I live in beautiful Ithaca, NY, with my chosen family, which includes an Afghan artist and a Ukrainian mom and her two kids.

Marianne's book list on influencing others to do about climate change

Marianne E. Krasny Why did Marianne love this book?

At first I thought that spreading plant-rich diet or other climate-friendly behaviors would be easy—all my students and I had to do was post photos of enticing meals on Instagram, and hundreds if not thousands would rush to their kitchens.

Then I read Centola’s book and realized that measles spread rapidly with minimal effort, but complex behaviors spread only through repeated exposure in tight networks—through multiple messages from multiple messengers.

Host vegan meals for close friends and family and you might see more plant-rich options when you get invited back. 

By Damon Centola,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new, counterintuitive theory for how social networks influence the spread of behavior

New social movements, technologies, and public-health initiatives often struggle to take off, yet many diseases disperse rapidly without issue. Can the lessons learned from the viral diffusion of diseases improve the spread of beneficial behaviors and innovations? How Behavior Spreads presents over a decade of original research examining how changes in societal behavior-in voting, health, technology, and finance-occur and the ways social networks can be used to influence how they propagate. Damon Centola's startling findings show that the same conditions that accelerate the viral expansion of an…

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 How to Stay Safe on Social Media: Social Media Dos and Don'ts: What Kids and Parents Should Know

Eric J. Rzeszut Author Of 10 Don'ts on Your Digital Devices: The Non-Techie's Survival Guide to Cyber Security and Privacy

From my list on to help you protect your personal information.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an information technology and cybersecurity professional for over two decades. I’ve learned over and over again that “people are the weakest link.” You can build the most secure system in the world, with stringent password requirements. But if the user writes their password down and leaves it where someone else can see it, system security is irrelevant! The easiest way to gain access to a system is via “social engineering” – to trick a human being into giving you the access you need, rather than trying to hack the system itself. The books on this list will help the reader lower their chances of being exploited like this.

Eric's book list on to help you protect your personal information

Eric J. Rzeszut Why did Eric love this book?

This book focuses on cybersecurity for parents and teenagers, specifically focusing on social media. As a parent of a teenager myself, I know how critical this area really is. Teens are often using social networks and communication channels that their parents are mostly or completely unfamiliar with. Due to that lack of familiarity, parents have a hard time monitoring or setting appropriate limits on the ways their children use social media. Author Effie Manolas wrote this book for both parents and teens, enabling an open conversation on both the benefits and the risks of social media.

By Effie Manolas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Stay Safe on Social Media as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you feel your child isn’t using social media correctly?

Social media is a powerful platform that can either make the world better–or more dangerous. When a person doesn’t know how to use social media the right way, they can break relationships, disseminate false information, or even tarnish their own reputation.

As a parent, the last thing you want is for your child to be using social media in a way that can hurt them. But parents can hardly help their children if they themselves remain oblivious to the repercussions of their behavior on social media.

Teach your child to…

Book cover of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Stephen Shedletzky Author Of Speak-Up Culture: When Leaders Truly Listen, People Step Up

From my list on transforming your leadershit into leadership.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first day of my career began with 1,000 people being laid off citing “post-merger efficiencies.” I was the young whippersnapper walking in as many more were walking out, boxes in hand. I saw, firsthand, the impact of uncertainty, lack of clear and transparent communications, and leadership, not just on performance, but also on the health and well-being of the colleagues around me. In that first job I became fascinated and obsessed with how work can be something we enjoy and find meaning in. Since then, I’ve devoted my career to making work more inspiring, engaging, and fulfilling. This became my passion and cause because I felt the very opposite.

Stephen's book list on transforming your leadershit into leadership

Stephen Shedletzky Why did Stephen love this book?

As a budding professional I was told not to be so kind to others, so I wasn’t taken advantage of.

Changing who I was and wanted to be didn’t seem like the right recipe for my success. Grant’s debut book has likely had the most impact on how I show up in my career and in life – that being a giver can be the key to our success and fulfillment. A must read for anyone who wants to do well while doing good.

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Give and Take as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking look at why our interactions with others hold the key to success, from the bestselling author of Think Again and Originals

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today's dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton's highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate…

Book cover of Detroit's Hidden Channels: The Power of French-Indigenous Families in the Eighteenth Century

Krysta Ryzewski Author Of Detroit Remains: Archaeology and Community Histories of Six Legendary Places

From my list on Detroit’s hidden histories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Few things bother me more than the negative stereotypes that portray Detroit as a deserted city in ruins - a crime-infested, neglected place where residents don’t care about their connections to the city’s history or its future. Detroit is a proud, living city. As a historical archaeologist at Wayne State University, I’ve been on the front lines of leading community-based archaeology projects in Detroit for the past decade. These projects involve advocacy for more inclusive historic preservation efforts, youth training initiatives, collaborative exhibits, and lots of interactions with the media and public. I view historical archaeology as a tool for serving local community interests, unearthing underrepresented histories, and addressing the legacies of social justice issues.

Krysta's book list on Detroit’s hidden histories

Krysta Ryzewski Why did Krysta love this book?

If one were to travel in a time machine back to the early 1700s, to the French colony of Detroit, they’d arrive at a village inhabited by mixed French-indigenous families, where women were power-brokers and family ties were the basis for structuring business relationships. The village would be totally unrecognizable to those of us who have been taught to envision French colonial Detroit as a male-dominated outpost, where European soldiers and fur traders operated in the service of the Crown. Historian Karen Marrero digs deep into the archives to assemble an account that completely reorients our understandings of the cultural landscape and gender dynamics of early Detroit.

Drawing on a vast array of sources – from colonial records and oral histories to songs and indigenous stories – Detroit’s Hidden Channels is a remarkably inclusive history that unearths the enduring role French women and indigenous people played in the city’s development,…

By Karen L. Marrero,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Detroit's Hidden Channels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

French-Indigenous families were a central force in shaping Detroit's history. Detroit's Hidden Channels examines the role of these kinship networks in Detroit's development as a site of singular political and economic importance in the continental interior.

Situated where Anishinaabe, Wendat, Myaamia, and later French communities were established and where the system of waterways linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico narrowed, Detroit's location was its primary attribute. While the French state viewed Detroit as a decaying site of illegal activities, the influence of the French-Indigenous networks grew as members diverted imperial resources to bolster an alternative configuration of…

Book cover of How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile

Mary S. Schaeffer Author Of 127 Best Practices for Accounts Payable

From my list on to build excellence in accounting and finance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m obsessed with spreading the word about best practices when it comes to the accounts payable function. It’s a lot more complicated than you might imagine – if you want to avoid fraud, excess costs, duplicate payments, problems with the IRS, etc. I regularly speak at both online and live events. As the host of the AP Now YouTube channel, I’m able to share opinions, interview industry thought leaders, and share the latest business intelligence needed to run an efficient, cost-effective accounts payable and payment function. I’ve written over 20 business books, most of them focusing on various aspects of the accounts payable function.

Mary's book list on to build excellence in accounting and finance

Mary S. Schaeffer Why did Mary love this book?

In today’s business environment, having a LinkedIn profile is essential. But just slapping some basic information up there is no longer adequate.

If you want to compete for the very best positions, recognized by those looking to hire without posting, and simply put your best foot forward when it comes to marketing yourself and networking, then you need some expert help – which Bernstein provides by the truckload.

By Brenda Bernstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, hosts the profiles of nearly 800 million people in over 200 countries and 2.8 million locales -- and up to 47% of them are active users. LinkedIn reports 97 million monthly unique visitors worldwide, 57% of whom log on via mobile devices. In the U.S., 27% of adults (180+ million users) have LinkedIn profiles. Over 30 million companies have company pages on LinkedIn. Furthermore, according to LinkedIn, there are executives from every Fortune 500 company using this social network, and 95% of those companies use LinkedIn's licensed recruiting software to search for job candidates.

LinkedIn is…

Book cover of The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to the Career You Love

Ted Fleming Author Of Develop: 7 Practical Tools to Take Charge of Your Career

From my list on managing your career.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a strategist, human resources executive, and business consultant who is passionate about helping people reach their potential, find enjoyable work, and perform their best. Born in Chicago, I grew up in New England and call Connecticut home with my wife Kathryn. I love learning and have found books to be the gateway to exploring innovative ideas, gaining insights, and achieving success. I am an avid tennis and squash player, and reader. I am part of an international book club that meets several times per year to explore diverse topics.

Ted's book list on managing your career

Ted Fleming Why did Ted love this book?

I am a huge fan of financial guru Dave Ramsey. Why mention finance in a list of career recommendations? Because an excellent job is the best wealth builder! I listen to one of Dave Ramsey’s podcasts weekly, and that is where I learned about Ken Coleman, his books and career show.  

If What Color is Your Parachute helps you understand who you are and what type of work you want, Coleman’s The Proximity Principle offers a plan for landing that job. Coleman says the best jobs are at the intersection of your talents, passions, and mission. We become who we hang around. If we hang with readers, we will read. Coleman provides advice for getting around the right people and being in the right places to land your ideal job. 

By Ken Coleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Right now, 70% of Americans aren’t passionate about their work and are desperately longing for meaning and purpose. They’re sick of “average” and know there’s something better out there, but they just don’t know how to reach it.

One basic principle―The Proximity Principle―can change everything you thought you knew about pursuing a career you love.

In his latest book, The Proximity Principle, national radio host and career expert Ken Coleman provides a simple plan of how positioning yourself near the right people and places can help you land the job you love.

Forget the traditional career advice you’ve heard! Networking,…

Book cover of Driving Results Through Social Networks: How Top Organizations Leverage Networks for Performance and Growth

Henrich Greve Author Of Network Advantage: How to Unlock Value From Your Alliances and Partnerships

From my list on business alliances and collaboration, and power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of entrepreneurship, entrepreneur, and manager who has spent much time thinking and doing research on why collaboration among firms and people is so valued, yet so hard to make successful. I was born in Bergen, Norway, and have spent my time studying and working worldwide – a PhD from Stanford, then working in Japan and Norway until settling in Singapore, working for INSEAD. Keeping my body and mind fit is important to me, so I train boxing and read anything from short articles to lengthy books, on any topic from business to wine. 

Henrich's book list on business alliances and collaboration, and power

Henrich Greve Why did Henrich love this book?

Before even thinking about collaborations and alliances with other firms, executives should consider whether their firm is collaborative enough. Surprisingly, the answer is often “no” because the structure and processes have not been established with an eye towards building a network that spreads information and facilitates collaboration. This book provides very helpful advice on how to improve firms through internal network building.

By Robert L. Cross, Robert J. Thomas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Driving Results Through Social Networks shows executives and managers how to obtain substantial performance and innovation impact by better leveraging these traditionally invisible assets. For the past decade, Rob Cross and Robert J. Thomas have worked closely with executives from over a hundred top-level companies and government agencies. In this groundbreaking book, they describe in-depth how these leaders are using network thinking to increase revenues, lower costs, and accelerate innovation.