The 15 Most Riveting Sociology Books of the Twenty-First Century

Looking for the best sociology books? I’ve got you covered.

Some of the books below cover typical sociology topics, from poverty to human behaviour to social science, while others cover interesting topics like how to talk to strangers and the perils of modern romance. 

Let’s get right in!

Top 10 Sociology Books

1. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell | Sociology books list

In The Tipping Point, join Malcolm Gladwell as he delves into human behaviour, marketing, and business, exploring the science behind viral trends in these areas of life.

Malcolm defines the tipping point as the moment when a trend, idea, or behaviour spreads like wildfire, crossing a threshold and tipping in the process.

What’s in it for you: a sociology book that will change the way you think about selling stuff and sharing ideas

2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell takes you on a fascinating journey following the lives of outliers—the most successful, outstanding individuals of extraordinary talent.

Malcolm explores what sets high-achievers apart, and his answer is as intriguing as it is surprising.

What’s in it for you: discover what high achievers like Bill Gates and the Beatles have in common

3. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

Freakonomics opens up the hidden side of everything, from the truth about real-estate agents to the inner workings of a gang.

The authors combine economics, powerful storytelling, and shocking insights to answer simple, sometimes freakish, questions about life. 

What’s in it for you: a fascinating book that will make you think twice about our modern world

4. Evicted by Matthew Desmond

In Evicted, Mathew Desmond details the lives of eight families in Milwaukee as they hustle to make ends meet. 

Evicted provides new ideas for solving one of America’s most tragic issues while upending our understanding of economic exploitation and poverty. It also reminds us of the centrality of home, which is the basic foundation upon which everything else depends.

What’s in it for you: one of the best sociology books of our time

5. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond makes a convincing argument that the modern world was shaped by environmental and geographical factors. 

In doing so, Jared pulls apart racially-based theories of humankind’s history and chronicles how the modern world came into existence.

What’s in it for you: an influential sociology book that advances our understanding of human societies 

6. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to go undercover and join the millions of Americans who work full time, all year, for paltry wages. 

She was determined to question the idea surrounding the welfare reform, an idea that promised that the ticket to a better life was a job, any job. 

Throughout her journeys—from trailer parks to broken-down motels, working as a waiter, cleaning woman, maid, sales clerk, nursing-home aide—she discovers stunning truths about working and earning in the lowliest occupations in America.

What’s in it for you: a sociology book about surviving in America that is more relevant today than ever

7. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens explores how history and biology have shaped us and advanced our understanding of human existence. 

It combines science and history to analyze specific historical events, rethink accepted narratives, and connect past developments with modern concerns.

What’s in it for you: a glorious narrative of humankind’s creation and evolution

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

In this book, Erving Goffman explores human behavior in social situations, how we present ourselves to others, and how others see us.

Erving bases his ideas on extensive research and the observation of social customs in several regions. 

What’s in it for you: a monumental work that advances our understanding of ourselves 

9. Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet revolutionizes how the world sees introverts and how they see themselves.

Susan Cain argues that introverts are dramatically undervalued in society. With compelling narratives about successful introverts, Susan shows that introversion is not a flaw—as society would lead us to believe—but a surprisingly underestimated strength.

What’s in it for you: a superbly researched book that offers a deep understanding of introversion 

10. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

In Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell argues that something has gone awry with how we interact with people we don’t know. 

Malcolm asserts that we invite conflict and misunderstanding into our lives because we often don’t know how to talk to strangers.   

What’s in it for you: an insightful exploration of our interactions with strangers and what often goes wrong

Other Excellent Sociology Books

11. Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman details the negative effects of television on public discourse and politics. 

Neil makes a spot-on prediction of the consequences of subjecting education, journalism, politics, and religion to the demands of entertainment.

What’s in it for you: an indispensable guide to modern media and its afflictions 

12. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

In How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi shares antiracist ideas, from the very basic to visionary, to help you recognize all forms of racism, understand their negative effects, and challenge them in ourselves and our institutions.

Kendi combines history, science, law, and ethics and weaves in his personal story of waking up to antiracism.

What’s in it for you: a groundbreaking approach for eradicating inequality and racism in ourselves and in our society—an essential guide for anyone who wants to contribute to forming a just and fair society

13. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this book, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie uniquely defines feminism for the 21st century. 

She explores what it means to be a woman in this modern world and makes a compelling argument about why we should all be feminists.

What’s in it for you: A provocative, highly regarded essay on sexual politics and feminism

14. Collapse by Jared Diamond

Collapse by Jared Diamond

In Collapse, Jared Diamond explores how political discord, climate change, and population explosion are creating conditions for civilization’s collapse. 

Jared argues that despite our society’s seemingly supreme political power and limitless wealth, signs are beginning to emerge that threaten our world.

What’s in it for you: a brilliant sociology book that explores how our world can prevent ecological suicide

15. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

In Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari explores the delights and dangers of modern romance. 

Filled with humor and thoughtful insights, Aziz analyzes the unique problems of our time and why finding love is so frustrating when it’s supposed to be dramatically easier—with the rise of technology and social media?

What’s in it for you: a humorous social science book about our new romantic world

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