Social Science, Economics, and History Reading List
By Malcolm Gladwell
In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?
The Tipping Point
By Malcolm Gladwell
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.
The Ghost Map
By Steven Johnson
t’s the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure-garbage removal, clean water, sewers-necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure.
By Michael Lewis
Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis follows the low-budget Oakland A’s, visionary general manager Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball theorists.
Black Like Me
by John Howard Griffin
In the Deep South of the 1950’s, a color line was etched in blood across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross that line.
I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren’t allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn’t go to school.
Merchants of Doubt
by Naomi Oreskes
Merchants of Doubt has been praised―and attacked―around the world, for reasons easy to understand. This book tells, with “brutal clarity” (Huffington Post), the disquieting story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades.
Amusing Ourselves to Death
by Neil Postman
Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century.
by Dave Cullen
So begins a new epilogue, illustrating how Columbine became the template for nearly two decades of “spectacle murders.” It is a false script, seized upon by a generation of new killers.
by Steven D. Levitt
Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head.
The Better Angels of Our Nature/span>
by Steven Pinker
Believe it or not, today we may be living in the most peaceful moment in our species’ existence. In his gripping and controversial new work, New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows that despite the ceaseless news about war, crime, and terrorism, violence has actually been in decline over long stretches of history.
Newton and the Counterfeiter
by Thomas Levenson
When renowned scientist Isaac Newton took up the post of Warden of His Majesty’s Mint in London, another kind of genius—a preternaturally gifted counterfeiter named William Chaloner—had already taken up residence in the city, rising quickly in an unruly, competitive underworld.
Guns, Germs, and Steel
by Jared Diamond Ph.D.
In this “artful, informative, and delightful” (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world.
by Jared Diamond
Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted.
Lies My Teacher Told Me
by James W. Loewen
Since its first publication in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me has become one of the most important—and successful—history books of our time.
by Stephen Greenblatt
Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied.
by Walter Isaacson
Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.
Fast Food Nation
by Eric Schlosser
Schlosser discusses the growing interest in local and organic food, the continued exploitation of poor workers by the food industry, and the need to ensure that every American has access to good, healthy, affordable food.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
by Michael Pollan
What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species.
Reign of Error
by Diane Ravitch
From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
Team of Rivals
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln’s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.
A People’s History of the United States
by Howard Zinn
With a new introduction by Anthony Arnove, this edition of the classic national bestseller chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home and the workplace.
by Susan Cain
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams.
by Charles C. Mann
In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.
by Paul Greenberg
Investigating the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, Greenberg reveals our damaged relationship with the ocean and its inhabitants.
Nickel and Dimed
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job―any job―can be the ticket to a better life.