The best social psychology books

Who picked these books? Meet our 66 experts.

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



By Matthew D. Lieberman,

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

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

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Russell's favorite books.

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…

The Lies That Bind

By Kwame Anthony Appiah,

Book cover of The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity

Friederike Otto Author Of Angry Weather: Heat Waves, Floods, Storms, and the New Science of Climate Change

From the list on starting to think about the much abused idea of freedom.

Who am I?

I’m a physicist who ended up doing their PhD in philosophy, because the “so what” question for me always was more interesting to answer than finding out how the physical world is changing. Working as a climate scientist I see how climate change and extreme weather devastate livelihoods on a daily basis. It makes me very aware I know nothing, but also that the philosophical and humanist ideas we build our societies upon are much more important to solve the climate crisis than physics and technology. One of the most important ones is to reclaim freedom and actually allow people to live good lives.

Friederike's book list on starting to think about the much abused idea of freedom

Discover why each book is one of Friederike's favorite books.

Why did Friederike love this book?

Identity isn’t personal, it is shaped by all sorts of influences, some of them we are very aware of and some of them we have never thought about. To be free means to be aware of all of them.

Appiah shows that while you cannot escape identity, you can pick and choose much more than most people make us believe. There is no inevitability and that is extremely liberating.

As a white woman, it made me see much better how not to equate privilege with guilt only, but responsibility and agency. 

By Kwame Anthony Appiah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Who do you think you are? That's a question bound up in another: What do you think you are? Gender. Religion. Race. Nationality. Class. Culture. Such affiliations give contours to our sense of self, and shape our polarized world. Yet the collective identities they spawn are riddled with contradictions, and cratered with falsehoods.

Kwame Anthony Appiah's The Lies That Bind is an incandescent exploration of the nature and history of the identities that define us. It challenges our assumptions about how identities work. We all know there are conflicts between identities, but Appiah shows how identities are created by conflict.…


By James Wallman,

Book cover of Stuffocation: Why We've Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever

David Bergman Author Of Sustainable Design: A Critical Guide

From the list on the climate crisis that actually offer hope.

Who am I?

I’m an architect, ecodesigner, economist, environmentalist, author, and professor. I like making use of all or parts of these to break down silos between fields in order to better understand and communicate sustainability. As a professor who is hoping to entice the next generation to not repeat our environmental mistakes, I try to emphasize carrots rather than sticks. I look to the win-win-win approaches: the symbiotic overlaps between sustainability, health, happiness, and economics. I call this EcoOptimism, and it’s the focus of my blog by the same title. Though it can be harder to remain optimistic amidst the worsening climate crisis and other environmental issues, I still find it one of the most viable routes.

David's book list on the climate crisis that actually offer hope

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

A large part of our environmental issues, including climate change, arises from the massive amount of materials needed for our consumption habits (and the resulting waste when we tire of our things). And we all consume a lot! James Wallman’s thesis is that both we and the environment would be better off if, instead of buying things, we had experiences. Experiences often (though not always, I might add—flying to your experiences is problematic) engender less material consumption and, topping it off, tend to make us happier and stay with us longer.

By James Wallman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stuffocation is a movement manifesto for “experiential” living, a call to arms to stop accumulating stuff and start accumulating experiences, and a road map for a new way forward with the potential to transform our lives.

Reject materialism. Embrace experientialism. Live more with less.
Stuffocationis one of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century. We have more stuff than we could ever need, and it isn’t making us happier. It’s bad for the planet. It’s cluttering up our homes. It’s making us stressed—and it might even be killing us.
A rising number of us are already turning our backs…

Social Cognition

By Susan T. Fiske, Shelley E. Taylor,

Book cover of Social Cognition: From Brains to Culture

Frank R. Kardes Author Of Handbook of Research Methods in Consumer Psychology

From the list on consumer psychology.

Who am I?

Frank R. Kardes, Ph.D. is the Donald E. Weston Professor of Marketing and Distinguished Research Professor at the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award of the Society for Consumer Psychology, and a Fellow of five national professional societies. His research focuses on omission neglect, consumer judgment, and inference processes, persuasion and advertising, and consumer and managerial decision making. He was Co-Editor of Advances in Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Handbook of Consumer Psychology, and Marketing Letters, and serves or has served on seven editorial boards. He has published nine books and over 100 articles and chapters on consumer psychology.

Frank's book list on consumer psychology

Discover why each book is one of Frank's favorite books.

Why did Frank love this book?

The new fourth edition of the classic text on cognitive social psychology with many important implications for understanding consumer psychology. The authors are leading researchers and the text is organized using an information processing perspective. The text covers classic social psychological topics, such as person perception, person memory, stereotyping, attitudes and persuasion, causal inference, and decision making. The text is science-based, high level, but also very readable and appropriate for a general audience.

By Susan T. Fiske, Shelley E. Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The social world is complicated and our minds are limited, so we take shortcuts. You have to make quick decisions - this person is dangerous, this one is not. The shortcuts we take mostly work well enough, because, after all, we survive. But some are deeply unjust, including racial or social class categories or other unfair stereotypes.

This book will help you understand how these shortcuts work, why they exist, and how they are changing.

There are examples in each chapter which
* Show applications in the real world to help with your understanding
* Highlight significant pieces of research…


By Timothy D. Wilson,

Book cover of Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live by

Susan M. Weinschenk Author Of How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the art and science of persuasion and motivation

From the list on understanding human behavior.

Who am I?

I have a Ph.D. in Psychology and a lifelong fascination with people and why they do the things they do, including why I do the things I do. My life and career have been all about trying to learn as much as I can about psychology, brain science, how people think, how people learn, and how to use this body of knowledge and research to understand myself and others. My work is about applying behavioral science to the design of technology to better fit and serve people.

Susan's book list on understanding human behavior

Discover why each book is one of Susan's favorite books.

Why did Susan love this book?

Redirect describes the research on how self-stories drive our behavior. “Self-stories” are the small stories we tell ourselves and others about why we do what we do. There are two reasons why this book is so amazing: First, it makes you see that these largely unconscious self-stories are really controlling our whole lives, and secondly, Dr. Wilson shares his research on how very easy it actually is to change the stories and therefore change our lives. I’ve used his techniques many times to make it through my own life challenges and it works. Changing your self-story is the only way to get your life to change. Luckily, if you follow Dr. Wilson’s research and techniques you will discover it is much easier than you think to change the stories.

By Timothy D. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What if there were a magic pill that could make you happier, turn you into a better parent, solve a number of your teenager's behavior problems, reduce racial prejudice, and close the achievement gap in education? There is no such pill, but story editing -- the scientifically based approach described in Redirect -- can accomplish all of this.

The world-renowned psychologist Timothy Wilson shows us how to redirect the stories we tell about ourselves and the world around us, with subtle prompts, in ways that lead to lasting change. Fascinating, groundbreaking, and practical, Redirect demonstrates the remarkable power small changes…

The Tipping Point

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Book cover of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

David M. Weiss Author Of Software Product-Line Engineering: A Family-Based Software Development Process

From the list on for those interested in becoming engineers.

Who am I?

I took a job as a programmer at the Naval Research Laboratory, working for astronomers who needed someone to write the code that would analyze the data coming back from the experiments that they flew on satellites and spacecraft. The first day on the job they showed me a sheet of FORTAN code and said “we want you to learn this.” It turned out to be the most fun thing I had ever done, and I went back to grad school and changed my major to computer science. I ended up as the Lanh and Oanh Nguyen Endowed Chair of Software Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University.

David's book list on for those interested in becoming engineers

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

Whereas Kuhn shows us the signs of new paradigm creation, Malcolm Gladwell, in this book, shows us how ideas spread.

This book is not just useful on the grand scale for spreading a paradigm shift, but also on small scales to spread new ideas about virtually anything, such as how your company should use particular tools or techniques, a particular process, or even why other developers should use your design.

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Tipping Point as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An introduction to the Tipping Point theory explains how minor changes in ideas and products can increase their popularity and how small adjustments in an individual's immediate environment can alter group behavior.

Becoming Evil

By James E. Waller,

Book cover of Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing

Michael S. Bryant Author Of Confronting the "Good Death": Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953

From the list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes.

Who am I?

I’ve had a life-long interest in genocide dating back to my teenage years, when I read Simon Wiesenthal’s book The Murderers Among Us. Wiesenthal introduced me to the idea that governments sometimes murdered innocent people and could elude justice for their crimes. The question of human evil interacted with my theological interest in the problem of evil generally. Both genocide scholars and theologians were posing similar questions: how could people or God permit the occurrence of wanton evil when it was in their power to avoid it? And what should we do about genocide after it has happened? These questions launched my research into genocide and continue to fuel my study of this topic.

Michael's book list on pondering the worst of the Nazis’ crimes

Discover why each book is one of Michael's favorite books.

Why did Michael love this book?

James Waller’s scintillating book is for readers seeking answers to big questions. When studying the Holocaust and similar events, students invariably ask: how could human beings do such things to other people? Waller addresses this question in a tour-de-force that may be the best single book yet written on the “why” of genocide. His study is particularly compelling because he focuses not on race fanatics (Hitler, Himmler) nor ideological zealots (Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung) but on the rank-and-file, without whom the architects of genocide could never build their charnel empires in the first place. 

The second edition of his book is especially useful because he reviews both iconic and newer psychological theories of genocide perpetration. For Waller, the dynamics underlying genocide are complex. His key finding is that the potential for extreme violence resides within each person. Eschewing aberrationist theories that portray such violence as deviant, Waller invites us…

By James E. Waller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Social psychologist James Waller uncovers the internal and external factors that can lead ordinary people to commit extraordinary acts of evil. Waller offers a sophisticated and comprehensive psychological view of how anyone can potentially participate in heinous crimes against humanity. He outlines the evolutionary forces that shape human nature, the individual dispositions that are more likely to engage in acts of evil, and the context of cruelty in which these
extraordinary acts can emerge. Eyewitness accounts are presented at the end of each chapter. In this second edition, Waller has revised and updated eyewitness accounts and substantially reworked Part II…


By Haggai Ram,

Book cover of Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession

Lior B. Sternfeld Author Of Between Iran and Zion: Jewish Histories of Twentieth-Century Iran

From the list on Jewish histories of the Middle East.

Who am I?

I always felt that Middle Eastern studies is different from other fields of history. Its ever-presence in our life, the news cycle, religious life, political life, yet, because of language barriers and other filters, there’s a gap in knowledge that is highly conspicuous when forming one’s opinion. When I started my academic training, I felt like I was swimming in this ocean of histories that were completely unknown to me. I studied the Jewish histories of the region only later in my training and found that this gap is even more visible when talking about the history of Jews in the Middle East, because of misconceptions of antisemitism, the Israel-Palestine conflict, political tilt of media outlet, and more. For me, entering this field was a way to understand long-term processes in my own society, and expand the body of scholarship to enrich the public conversation on top of the academic one.

Lior's book list on Jewish histories of the Middle East

Discover why each book is one of Lior's favorite books.

Why did Lior love this book?

Haggai Ram was one of my Master’s thesis advisors. In this book, he shows how the idea of the Iranian threat was developed, partly as a process of Israeli self-reflection. Iranophobia is indispensable for the reader who would like to know about the roots of animosity between Iran and Israel, the history of the imagination of Iran and Israel vis-à-vis The West, and critical gaze on Zionism and Jewish Statehood in the Middle East. This book exemplifies the importance of looking beyond filters of mythmaking and the political tendencies of history writing and being on the lookout when reading contemporary history for political persuasions and connections between politics and academia.

By Haggai Ram,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Israel and Iran invariably are portrayed as sworn enemies, engaged in an unending conflict with potentially apocalyptic implications.Iranophobia offers an innovative and provocative new reading of this conflict. Concerned foremost with how Israelis perceive Iran, the author steps back from all-too-common geopolitical analyses to show that this conflict is as much a product of shared cultural trajectories and entangled histories as it is one of strategic concerns and political differences.

Haggai Ram, an Israeli scholar, explores prevalent Israeli assumptions about Iran to look at how these assumptions have, in turn, reflected and shaped Jewish Israeli identity. Drawing on diverse political,…

The Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization

By Maria Kronfeldner (editor),

Book cover of The Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization

David Livingstone Smith Author Of Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization

From the list on dehumanization and the impact of this phenomenon.

Who am I?

I have an international reputation as an expert on dehumanization. I have researched this subject for the past fifteen years, and have written three books and many articles, and given many talks on it, including a presentation at the 2012 G20 economic summit. I believe that dehumanization is an extremely important phenomenon to understand, because it fuels the worst atrocities that human beings inflict upon one another. If phrases like "never again" have any real meaning, we need to seriously investigate the processes, including dehumanization, that make such horrific actions possible.

David's book list on dehumanization and the impact of this phenomenon

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

There is surprisingly little research literature dealing specifically with dehumanization outside of academic papers by social psychologists. But this state of affairs is changing, as more and more scholars recognize that understanding this harrowing phenomenon is crucial for the future of humanity. This unique volume, with contributions from thirty scholars from a whole range of academic disciplines, provides an excellent snapshot of the vibrant state of dehumanization studies today.

By Maria Kronfeldner (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A striking feature of atrocities, as seen in genocides, civil wars, or violence against certain racial and ethnic groups, is the attempt to dehumanize - to deny and strip human beings of their humanity. Yet the very nature of dehumanization remains relatively poorly understood.

The Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization is the first comprehensive and multidisciplinary reference source on the subject and an outstanding survey of the key concepts, issues, and debates within dehumanization studies. Organized into four parts, the Handbook covers the following topics:

The history of dehumanization from Greek Antiquity to the 20th century, contextualizing the oscillating boundaries, dimensions,…

Raising Resilience

By Christopher Willard,

Book cover of Raising Resilience: The Wisdom and Science of Happy Families and Thriving Children

Linda Graham Author Of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being

From the list on resilience and how to cope skillfully with life’s difficulties.

Who am I?

Resilience - helping people recover their capacities to deal with any adversity, stress, loss or trauma – is the heart of my work as a licensed psychotherapist (25 years) and an international trainer of mental health professionals (more than a decade). Bouncing Back is the book I wanted to be able to hand my clients to help them learn to use the capacities of resilience innate in their brains to develop more effective patterns of response to life crises and catastrophes. No such book was available at the time, so I wrote my own. It has become a tremendous resource for people to learn to how to be more resilient, and to learn that they can learn.

Linda's book list on resilience and how to cope skillfully with life’s difficulties

Discover why each book is one of Linda's favorite books.

Why did Linda love this book?

In a charming, reader-friendly style, this book offers ten universal principles for skillful parenting that lead to genuine goodness and happiness in their children. A delight to know it’s possible.

By Christopher Willard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In every spiritual tradition, we find teachings on the virtues and qualities that we most want to pass on to our kids-such as generosity, kindness, honesty, determination, and patience. Today, a growing body of research from neuroscience and social psychology supports these teachings, offering insights into cultivating these virtues in ourselves and in our families. Raising Resilience is a practical guide for parents and educators of children from preschool through adolescence, detailing ten universal principles for happy families and thriving children.

Bridging the latest science with Eastern wisdom to explore ourselves and share with our children, Dr. Christopher Willard offers…


By Dan Heath,

Book cover of Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen

Mary Stewart Author Of Creative Inquiry: From Ideation to Implementation

From the list on for cultivating creativity.

Who am I?

Trained as an artist, through my work as a college professor I became committed to helping others cultivate and expand their creativity. It has always been heartbreaking to hear friends and acquaintances bemoan their lack of creativity simply because they hadn't developed drawing skills. Creativity is a human characteristic that can be developed in any discipline and with practice and encouragement, is available to anyone. In my reading and my writing, I seek a combination of accessibility and substance. If a book is engaging enough to read at the beach yet substantial enough to provide fuel for thought long afterward, it is a winner!

Mary's book list on for cultivating creativity

Discover why each book is one of Mary's favorite books.

Why did Mary love this book?

This eye-opening and informative book provides vivid examples of small problems that became real tragedies due to inaction, miscommunication, and poor decision-making. By looking upstream to seek and address root causes of problems, we can save money, improve lives, and increase productivity. I loved the gripping examples Dan Heath used in this book. It was as engaging as reading a novel, yet provided substantial information based on careful research.

By Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Dan Heath asks what happens when we take our thinking upstream and try to prevent problems before they happen.

When we shift our energies upstream, we stop dealing with the symptoms of problems and we start fixing problems.

If we can stop crimes from being committed, we do not need to work to 'solve' crimes.
If we can prevent chronic diseases from developing, we do not need to treat these diseases.
If we can provide affordable housing, we do not need to provide shelter for the homeless.
Looking to business, politics, and society, Dan Heath…

The Righteous Mind

By Jonathan Haidt,

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

Zachary Elwood Author Of Defusing American Anger: A Guide to Understanding Our Fellow Citizens and Reducing Us-vs-Them Polarization

From the list on healing the political divides in America.

Who am I?

For my psychology podcast, I’ve interviewed many political and psychology experts on the subject of political polarization and conflict resolution. That led to me writing my book Defusing American Anger. I believe extreme us-vs-them polarization is humanity’s biggest problem: I see it as an existential threat not just to specific nations, including America, but to humanity as a whole, especially as our weapons and technologies get more powerful. And I think we need more people working on reducing our seemingly natural tendency to always be fighting with each other. 

Zachary's book list on healing the political divides in America

Discover why each book is one of Zachary's favorite books.

Why did Zachary love this book?

For anyone looking to understand our divides, or wanting to reduce those divides, I think reading Haidt's book is necessary.

Haidt examines the values that we typically associate with politically 'conservative' and 'liberal' points of view, and shows the underlying values there. And these values can be much more complex than we tend to think. This examination is especially helpful for American Democrats, who often perceive conservative stances through an excessively pessimistic and contemptuous lens. 

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

13 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 The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Rajiv Sethi Author Of Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice

From the list on human interactions and the complexity of social life.

Who am I?

Rajiv Sethi is an economist, currently a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. His research deals with information and beliefs, with particular focus on how stereotypes condition interactions among strangers. 

Rajiv's book list on human interactions and the complexity of social life

Discover why each book is one of Rajiv's favorite books.

Why did Rajiv love this book?

This path-breaking book presents a view of human communication as theater, where speakers choose their words to create desired impressions, and listeners try to interpret speech while guarding against manipulation and deceit.

Strategic interaction and interpretation are central to the argument. In effect, Goffman is examining dynamic games with incomplete information, decades below the formal language for such analyses was developed. 

By Erving Goffman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the defining works of twentieth-century sociology: a revelatory analysis of how we present ourselves to others

'The self, then, as a performed character, is not an organic thing ... it is a dramatic effect'

How do we communicate who we are to other people? This landmark work by one of the twentieth century's most influential sociologists argues that our behaviour in social situations is defined by how we wish to be perceived - resulting in displays startlingly similar to those of actors in a theatrical performance. From the houses and clothes that we use as 'fixed props' to…

Visions of Power in Cuba

By Lillian Guerra,

Book cover of Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 1959-1971

Rachel Hynson Author Of Laboring for the State: Women, Family, and Work in Revolutionary Cuba, 1959–1971

From the list on defying the narrative of early revolutionary Cuba.

Who am I?

As the eldest daughter raised in an Evangelical home in rural Pennsylvania, I was immersed in normative, Anglo notions of gender and the family. I built on this embodied experience to cultivate expertise in discourse about the family and labor in early revolutionary Cuba. Perhaps surprisingly, the celebration of patriarchy, monogamy, and heterosexuality that bracketed my youth was also an important element of Cuban revolutionary discourse of the 1960s—albeit within a very different context. I received my PhD in Latin American and Caribbean History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College. I am now an independent scholar.

Rachel's book list on defying the narrative of early revolutionary Cuba

Discover why each book is one of Rachel's favorite books.

Why did Rachel love this book?

This transformative book explores the early years of the Cuban Revolution from the ground up, arguing that revolutionary leadership constructed hegemony gradually—gaining popular support by creating a “grand narrative” that envisioned the Revolution as an opportunity for spiritual and political redemption. Guerra shows that leaders also censured alternative narratives and voices that challenged their monopoly over power. And because government organizations deputized citizens to defend the state, they inadvertently created “unintended dissidents,” as well as vast numbers of supporters. These arguments and more make this exceptional book a controversial one as well.  

By Lillian Guerra,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tumultuous first decade of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro and other leaders saturated the media with altruistic images of themselves in a campaign to win the hearts of Cuba's six million citizens. In Visions of Power in Cuba, Lillian Guerra argues that these visual representations explained rapidly occurring events and encouraged radical change and mutual self-sacrifice.
Mass rallies and labor mobilizations of unprecedented scale produced tangible evidence of what Fidel Castro called ""unanimous support"" for a revolution whose ""moral power"" defied U.S. control. Yet participation in state-orchestrated spectacles quickly became a requirement for political inclusion in a new…


By James E. Alcock,

Book cover of Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling

John V. Petrocelli Author Of The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit

From the list on detecting bullshit, misinformation, and fake news.

Who am I?

As an experimental social psychologist, who has conducted years of empirical research on bullshitting behavior and bullshit detection, I’ve found compelling evidence that the worst outcomes of bullshit communications are false beliefs and bad decisions. I’m convinced that all of our problems, whether they be personal, interpersonal, professional, or societal are either directly or indirectly linked to mindless bullshit reasoning and communication. I’m just sick and tired of incompetent, bullshit artists who capitalize by repackaging and selling what I and other experimental psychologists do for free. It’s time the masses learn that some of us who actually do the research on the things we write about can actually do it better.    

John's book list on detecting bullshit, misinformation, and fake news

Discover why each book is one of John's favorite books.

Why did John love this book?

James Alcock is the only social psychologist I know who could write a clear, accessible, and comprehensive volume on the psychology of belief—particularly how our thoughts and feelings, actions and reactions, respond not to the world as it actually is but to the world as we believe it to be. No matter how much you think you know about beliefs, and no matter what you actually believe, any reader will find surprises in Alcock’s treatise, such as why so many people cling to beliefs that are foolish, self-destructive, and wrong, believing them to be wise, self-protective, and right. Belief convinced me that faulty beliefs, arising from misapprehension about the cause of a disease, misperceptions of an enemy’s actions, misreading a lover’s motive, misconceptions about which, if any, gods are real, can lead to irrational, maladaptive, and sometimes deadly actions.

By James E. Alcock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An expert on the psychology of belief examines how our thoughts and feelings, actions and reactions, respond not to the world as it actually is but to the world as we believe it to be.

This book explores the psychology of belief - how beliefs are formed, how they are influenced both by internal factors, such as perception, memory, reason, emotion, and prior beliefs, as well as external factors, such as experience, identification with a group, social pressure, and manipulation. It also reveals how vulnerable beliefs are to error, and how they can be held with great confidence even when…

The Power Of Regret

By Daniel H Pink,

Book cover of The Power Of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward

Dan Pontefract Author Of Work-Life Bloom: How to Nurture a Team that Flourishes

From the list on making you think about purpose and meaning.

Who am I?

Since 2014 I have studied, researched, and written about the concepts of meaning and purpose. In 2016, I published a book entitled The Purpose Effect dedicated solely to the topic. In Work-Life Bloom, two of the key work-life factors that make up the accompanying model focus on meaning and purpose. I am known for urging people to declare their purpose, writing it down, and sharing it far and wide. My declaration is as follows: “We’re not here to see through each other; we’re here to see each other through.”

Dan's book list on making you think about purpose and meaning

Discover why each book is one of Dan's favorite books.

Why did Dan love this book?

Daniel Pink provides a unique perspective on finding meaning and purpose in life by embracing the transformative potential of regret.

As you explore your sense of meaning and purpose, this book offers valuable insights into how reflecting on past experiences and learning from mistakes can enrich your life's journey. It made me rethink past so-called regrets, and whether they might have positively or negatively influenced my sense of meaning.

Through thorough primary research and compelling stories, Pink demonstrates how regret can inspire personal growth, self-improvement, and a clearer understanding of your life's direction. The book encourages you to use regret as a powerful resource, which only can help your sense of meaning and purpose.

By Daniel H Pink,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The world needs this book.” —Brené Brown, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead and Atlas of the Heart

An instant New York Times bestseller

As featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post

Named a Best Book of 2022 by NPR and Financial Times

From the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of When and Drive, a new book about the transforming power of our most misunderstood yet potentially most valuable emotion: regret.

Everybody has regrets, Daniel H. Pink explains in The Power of Regret. They’re a universal and healthy part of being human. And…

The Power of Us

By Jay Van Bavel, Dominic J. Packer,

Book cover of The Power of Us: Harnessing Our Shared Identities for Personal and Collective Success

Helge Thorbjørnsen Author Of More Numbers Every Day: How Data, Stats, and Figures Control Our Lives and How to Set Ourselves Free

From the list on who and what influences our thoughts and behavior.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by human behavior and decision-making. What influences our thoughts and behavior and why? In hindsight, I probably should have majored in psychology instead of business, but as a business school professor I still get to investigate all the little quirks and biases of the human mind. I live in Bergen, Norway and devote much of my time researching and teaching consumer psychology and decision-making. I hope you find some inspiration in this list of brilliant books!   

Helge's book list on who and what influences our thoughts and behavior

Discover why each book is one of Helge's favorite books.

Why did Helge love this book?

This is a book about (social) identity and how our understanding of self is derived from the social groups we are part of.

Two brilliant psychologists, Jay Van Bavel and Dominic Packer, use their own research and insights from social psychology and neuroscience to explain how identity really works and how it influences our thinking and doing every single day.

The book really makes you think about how our social nature impacts on all kinds of decision-making, and it will give you new ideas and insights about power and influence. 

By Jay Van Bavel, Dominic J. Packer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you're like most people, you probably believe that your identity is stable. But in fact, your identity is constantly changing - often outside your conscious awareness and sometimes even against your wishes - to reflect the interests of the groups of which you're a part. And that fluid identity has a powerful influence over your feelings, beliefs, and behaviours.

In THE POWER OF US, psychologists Packer and Van Bavel integrate their own cutting-edge research in psychology, neuroscience and economics to explain what identity really is and show how to harness its dynamic nature to:

Increase our productivity - Improve…

Arguing and Thinking

By Michael Billig,

Book cover of Arguing and Thinking: A Rhetorical Approach to Social Psychology

Roy van den Brink-Budgen Author Of Advanced Critical Thinking Skills

From the list on learning how to think critically.

Who am I?

I have been working in critical thinking since 1987. This work has taken me to many countries in the world, working with both teachers and students, business people and other decision-makers, and it continues to excite me greatly. I always stress that critical thinking shouldn’t be seen as just a set of technical skills, but that it should make a real difference to people. For example, I’ve used it in working with juvenile offenders who had committed violent crimes and was impressed by how it got them to look at their lives in a much more positive way. These books provide a range of ways into and around the subject.

Roy's book list on learning how to think critically

Discover why each book is one of Roy's favorite books.

Why did Roy love this book?

This book provides a very important background to how critical thinking needs to be seen in terms of how it fits with the ancient skills of rhetoric.

The author demonstrates how the skills of argumentation (central to critical thinking) were central to how classical scholars (including Aristotle, Protagoras, Quintilian, and Cicero) saw the huge value in being skilled in rhetoric. For example, the maxim of Protagoras that there are two sides to every question is given (with a worry for us -is there?).

The celebrated discussion between God and Moses in the Midrash is a wonderful example of how one’s position with regard to power and authority cannot trump the quality of an argument (such that Moses wins the day). This is a lively and thrilling ride in critical thinking.

By Michael Billig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Michael Billig's rhetorical approach has been key to the discursive turn in the social sciences. His witty and original book examines argumentation and its psychological importance in human conduct, and traces the connections between ancient rhetorical ideas and modern social psychology. In a new introduction, he offers further reflections on rhetoric and social psychology, discusses the recent scholarship, and allows some forgotten voices in the history of rhetoric to be heard.


By Steven Johnson,

Book cover of Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most

Rick Szostak Author Of Making Sense of the Future

From the list on the future.

Who am I?

I have read the future studies literature for decades. A few years ago an alumnus suggested that my university should create a course about the future. My dean encouraged me to look into it. On reading Bishop and Hines, Teaching About the Future, I was struck by the maturity of the field, the strength of their program that they describe, and the fact that they bemoan the lack of a book that could introduce newcomers to the field. I decided that I could write such a book, combining the latest research in the field with my own understandings of interdisciplinarity, world history, economics, and political activism.

Rick's book list on the future

Discover why each book is one of Rick's favorite books.

Why did Rick love this book?

This is a pleasure to read and full of good ideas.

Most of the book deals with errors in how people make future-oriented decisions, and how we can overcome these errors. Yet the author also has good advice about how we should go about predicting plausible futures. He notes that experts with a flexible worldview make better predictions than those who follow a narrow belief or ideology.

By Steven Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Plenty of books offer useful advice on how to get better at making quick-thinking, intuitive choices. But what about more consequential decisions, the ones that affect our lives for years, or centuries, to come? Our most powerful stories revolve around these kinds of decisions: where to live, whom to marry, what to believe, whether to start a company, how to end a war.

Full of the beautifully crafted storytelling and novel insights that Steven Johnson's fans know to expect, Farsighted draws lessons from cognitive science, social psychology, military strategy, environmental planning, and great works of literature. Everyone thinks we are…

How Modernity Forgets

By Paul Connerton,

Book cover of How Modernity Forgets

Guy Beiner Author Of Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

From the list on forgetting.

Who am I?

Guy Beiner specializes in the history of social remembering in the late modern era. An interest in Irish folklore and oral traditions as historical sources led him to explore folk memory, which in turn aroused an interest in forgetting. He examines the many ways in which communities recall their past, as well as how they struggle with the urge to supress troublesome memories of discomfiting episodes.

Guy's book list on forgetting

Discover why each book is one of Guy's favorite books.

Why did Guy love this book?

A concise and lucid sociological treatise that relates forgetting to the transitions and rapid changes of contemporary urban life, which has eroded the ways in which societies traditionally remembered the past.

By Paul Connerton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why are we sometimes unable to remember events, places and objects? This concise overview explores the concept of 'forgetting', and how modern society affects our ability to remember things. It takes ideas from Francis Yates classic work, The Art of Memory, which viewed memory as being dependent on stability, and argues that today's world is full of change, making 'forgetting' characteristic of contemporary society. We live our lives at great speed; cities have become so enormous that they are unmemorable; consumerism has become disconnected from the labour process; urban architecture has a short life-span; and social relationships are less clearly…