9 Interesting & Insightful Social Science Books

Not every science can be measured with numbers and objective data. Humans are complex creatures, and in order to fully understand how they work (both as individuals and in groups) you're going to need to use different criteria. The nine books listed here are fascinating looks into everything from history to psychology to education. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Books About the Social Sciences: Our 9 Picks

Title Author(s)
1. Snoop Sam Gosling
2. The World Until Yesterday Jared Diamond
3. The Curious History of Dating Nichi Hodgson
4. Phoenix Generation Kingsley L. Dennis
5. American Character Colin Woodard
6. Man Disconnected Philip G. Zimbardo & Nikita D. Coulombe
7. Excellent Sheep William Deresiewicz
8. An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence Bruno Latour
9. You May Also Like Tom Vanderbilt

The Main Branches of Social Science

What Is Social Science?

In Depth

Social science is a very broad topic that branches out into many different disciplines, including, but not limited to, psychology, anthropology, and even history. If you're looking to widen your perspective of the world, or perhaps learn more about the intricacies of human behavior, you should check out these nine insightful social science books, listed in no particular order.

First up, at #1, we have "Snoop" by Sam Gosling. Typically, when we want to learn more about someone, one would spend more time with that person and ask them questions about their life. Gosling claims that our belongings and environments reveal more about our personalities than even the most intimate conversations could. Through anecdotes and original research, the author aims to show readers just how much we can learn about a person by merely taking a closer look at their personal space.

Next, at #2, is "The World Until Yesterday" by Jared Diamond. As technology and culture advance, old practices and lifestyles slowly fade into obscurity. By carefully examining some of the few traditional societies that still remain in the world, Diamond hopes to educate people on how our ancestors used to live and what we can learn from them. It's a very insightful read that shows just how much society has changed over the years and how some traditional practices could still prove beneficial in present times.

As technology and culture advance, old practices and lifestyles slowly fade into obscurity.

At #3 is "The Curious History of Dating" by Nichi Hodgson. The world of dating continues to evolve as technological advances bring people new ways to connect with one another. Hodgson delves deep into history, from the Victorian era all the way to the advent of services such as Tinder, to compare and rate the different dating practices over the centuries.

Next up, at #4, we have "The Phoenix Generation" by Kingsley L. Dennis. This book presents Dennis' vision of the near future. According to him, the generation of children that will be young adults by around 2030 will be the ones to eventually change the world for the better. Kingsley believes that the titular generation will be born with increased intelligence and wisdom, making them capable of leading society towards a harmonious era where problems such as inequality have been successfully curbed.

At #5 is "American Character" by Colin Woodard. The author claims that, over the centuries, America has never truly been a united country and is instead made up of eleven different nations, each with its own distinct culture. By delving deep into the history of the United States, Woodard analyzes the country's turbulent political climate over the years and offers some suggestions on how to finally break the deadlock.

The author claims that, over the centuries, America has never truly been a united country and is instead made up of eleven different nations, each with its own distinct culture.

Next, at #6, is "Man Disconnected" by Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita D. Coulombe. According to the authors, the young men of this generation are lacking in social skills and have no sense of direction in life. They claim that this is mainly a result of people's obsession with digital media, which they believe is driving men away from more physically and mentally demanding activities. Together, Coulombe and Zimbardo attempt to explain how these problems came to be and how we can fix them.

Next up, at #7, we have "Excellent Sheep." Written by William Deresiewicz, it presents his criticism of elite schools in America and how he believes that the current system is pressuring students to take up more "practical" courses over humanities and liberal arts, stifling their creativity in the process. As a former Yale professor, Deresiewicz also uses his own personal experiences and anecdotes from students to show how top tier universities instill values that mainly serve to reinforce the upper class.

At #8 is "An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence." Written by Bruno Latour, it acts as a continuation of his "We Have Never Been Modern" book, which explores the dualism between nature and culture. In this follow-up, he answers some of the questions asked in his previous book, further arguing that there is no real distinction between nature and society.

In this follow-up, he answers some of the questions asked in his previous book, further arguing that there is no real distinction between nature and society.

Finally, at #9, we have "You May Also Like" by Tom Vanderbilt. Through meticulous research and by diving deep into the subjects of psychology and marketing, Vanderbilt attempts to answer the difficult question of just how one's personal tastes are formed. The book also reveals how the success of businesses, especially those that curate content, such as Netflix and Spotify, rely heavily on the difficult task of predicting what users will enjoy.