13 books directly related to society 📚

All 13 society books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make Or Break You

By Colin Christopher, Chris Simon (illustrator),

Book cover of Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make Or Break You

Why this book?

Our future is determined by us, and our actions are determined by our thought processes. In other words, the future of human society can be influenced by manipulating group thought. Colin applies years of training and experience as a hypnotist to give us a view of how the human brain functions and how it can be manipulated.

He views it as two computing systems. A subconscious mind performing 40 million tasks/second deals only in the present, ignoring abstract things like “yesterday,” “don’t,” etc. The second conscious mind uses 40 tasks/second to control and program the first. It doesn’t exist in babies and develops during childhood. How that growth is managed determines its adult thought process and ultimately group thought. Colin provides insights on how it can be manipulated for good or bad results.


By Cecelia Ahern,

Book cover of Flawed

Why this book?

I love Cecelia Ahern’s earlier books and this was her first YA duology. The second book is called Perfect. This society also praises beauty and perfection, but mistakes are punishable offenses with a serious consequence of being branded, literally, are Flawed. The book is chilling in so many ways, but what I loved about it is that making mistakes is an inherently ‘human’ thing to do. Older generations have been taught to avoid making mistakes at all costs, or at least never own up to them. The younger ones are learning that it’s all part of life and we should all have a little more compassion. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Book cover of Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know

Why this book?

How well do we know someone? Malcom Gladwell asks readers to explore biases in a way that begins to question the personal interactions we have each day. Using examples based on prejudice, assumption, fear, false trust, and preconceived notion, the book exposes the nature of human connection and an internal battle we face when interacting with or judging others. Our unconscious actions are built from survival instinct and previous experiences that become exposed when we meet someone new or cannot reconcile someone’s actions with whom we thought they were. This inability to understand others impacts how we navigate our lives and decern perceived threats that often result in wrong actions being taken. This book begs us to look deeper into the assumptions we carry within ourselves when Talking to Strangers.

The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall

By Mark W. Moffett,

Book cover of The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall

Why this book?

Moffett is a leading specialist on social insects, and the core of his penetrating insight is that we ought to clearly distinguish between collective behavior and social behavior. Our ability to see that one stranger belongs to our society, while another stranger does not, is utterly crucial, and Moffett speaks with authority when he claims that humans are the only animals where different societies merge over time. In particular, he correctly notes that time and time again there has been a fusion between human societies under the heel of a conquering force. By carefully considering our bee-like nature, as well as our chimp-like nature, The Human Swarm reveals how mankind has created sprawling civilizations of unrivalled complexity and provides some valuable insights into what it will take to sustain them.

Breastfeeding Uncovered: Who Really Decides How We Feed Our Babies?

By Amy Brown,

Book cover of Breastfeeding Uncovered: Who Really Decides How We Feed Our Babies?

Why this book?

Amy nails the many aspects of today’s UK society that make breastfeeding so difficult for mothers and their babies. She looks at the myriad subtle – and not-so-subtle – ways in which breastfeeding is discussed and presented, so that it comes across as something laudable in theory but unrealistic and undesirable in practice: great if you can do it, but keep it to yourself and don’t frighten the horses. She also explores the many, seemingly unrelated, notions we have about how babies should be cared for, such as where and for how long they should sleep, which are quite simply incompatible with what babies really need, and with helping breastfeeding to work. Never mind pressurising women to breastfeed – how about we just support them to do it!

Parental Mental Health: Factoring in Fathers

By Jane I. Honikman, Daniel B. Singley,

Book cover of Parental Mental Health: Factoring in Fathers

Why this book?

This is an honest and very direct look at how our society should include men in the discussion of becoming new parents and illustrates many examples of how men have been left out until now. Dads’ mental health is considered carefully which is very important to my mission. This small yet excellent book offers a gender-equitable, whole family viewpoint of parental mental health and increases awareness about best practices in the care of fathers and fathers-to-be.  


By Sherryl Jordan,

Book cover of Rocco

Why this book?

I loved this book when it came out in 1990 and I still love it. Rocco has disturbing dreams of being in a primitive, cave-dwelling society then shockingly the dreams become reality. He must learn to live with the people who struggle to survive in a harsh landscape. He learns to hunt with primitive weapons just as he must learn how to live with the people he’s found himself amongst. But why has he ended up here? There’s something amiss with this life and the wise woman seems to hold the key but she won’t tell him. When he finds himself back home recovering from bubonic plague he has to find the answer.

Rocco is a book I wished I’d written! The story is fascinating with its well-researched depiction of surviving in a harsh environment without modern technology or tools. Also, the plot is clever – how is it that Rocco is transported to life in a primitive world, why and importantly – how is the author going to get him back? Or not.

Natural History of Infectious Disease

By Macfarlane Burnet, David O. White,

Book cover of Natural History of Infectious Disease

Why this book?

This provides the reader with the background to understand what happens when a pathogen invades both an individual and a society. It’s an absolutely brilliant book by a Nobel laureate scientist, one of my all-time favorites on any subject.

A Door Into Ocean

By Joan Slonczewski,

Book cover of A Door Into Ocean

Why this book?

Microbiologist professor Joan Slonczewski loved Dune (as do I), so she decided to create a living world with no dry land (which would work) instead of a living world without free water (which, sadly, wouldn’t...). Shora, colonised by an all-female human society, and maintained in continual creation (but untamed) by Shoran microbiologists, is dangerous, beautiful—and threatened by the Evil Empire of Profit. Gripping, harrowing take on how to win a war, save the world, and utterly renounce violence all at the same time.

When You Can, You Will

By Lynne Bernfield,

Book cover of When You Can, You Will

Why this book?

The subtitle to this insightful book is Why you Can't Always do What You Want to do.. and What to Do About It. The author says that in our instant soup society you're encouraged to do more, be more, have more, and achieve more. Technology enables us to accomplish more faster. No matter how quickly society moves, however, human beings still have to be ready before they can make certain changes. And really, you can't hurry change. You might have to try on the change several times before you're accustomed to the way it feels. Amazingly, even if you don't know you're ready to change, your subconscious will know.

Changes made the easy way are effortless. You often find yourself thinking, saying, and doing things that would have been unthinkable even the day before. Changes made the hard way can be difficult, unpleasant, and even frightening. You might feel as if you're breaking down or disintegrating, when in fact this will lead to the changes you need to make.

Women of Ideas: And What Men Have Done to Them

By Dale Spender,

Book cover of Women of Ideas: And What Men Have Done to Them

Why this book?

Feminist theorist Dale Spender wrote, in Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them, “We need to know how women disappear….”  Although she spoke of women who disappear from the historical record, all too many women seem to disappear from any sort of public life as soon as they leave high school: so many shine there, but once they graduate, they become invisible. What happens?  

Marriage and kids is an inadequate answer because married-with-kids straight-A boys are visible.  Everywhere. Even the straight-B boys are out there. So what happens?

This is what happens.

Where The World Turns Wild

By Nicola Penfold,

Book cover of Where The World Turns Wild

Why this book?

Where the World Turns Wild plays on one of my biggest fears about the future – a world without nature. Juniper and her little brother Bear live in a walled city where nature has been almost completely eradicated following the outbreak of a disease. What remains is a tightly controlled and terrifying society that they must escape. Juniper’s bravery and her capacity for survival are driven by the fierce, protective love she has for her little brother. This is an adventure story like no other and one I have returned to time and again.

The Girl Within

By Emily Hancock,

Book cover of The Girl Within

Why this book?

I’m just realising now that some of my favourite books were accidental finds – I think that this one turned up at a sidewalk sale. The author is a psychologist who uses the life stories of twenty women to illustrate her theory that girls are their most powerful, authentic selves up to the age of about twelve; that after that, their sense of personhood comes under attack from a whole range of sources, so that much of adulthood is spent trying to piece that pre-teen girl and her distinct sense of self back together. It’s extremely convincing and something I’ve found really interesting to discuss with my now tween-age daughter.