Social Sciences Books

Two of the things that make humans unique include our brain and our relationships with one another. Our brain gives us incredible capabilities (at least compared to most of the animal kingdom) to communicate and to study the world around us. And one of the things we quite like to study is: ourselves. We study that magnificent brain, the way we use it to communicate, the things we create with it, and how societies function through complex human interactions. This is more or less what the social sciences cover, and what you can read more about in the books in this section of Direct Knowledge.

Social Sciences Books - An array of young people Multiethnicity

Social Sciences Books Categories

The social sciences books here fall into six main categories: anthropology, psychology, sociology, economics, education, and geography. They each look at a unique facet of human society, from location and economies to brain function and history. The following passages give you an idea of what you can gain by reading the books from each category:


As humans try to understand themselves, they first look to the past. Anthropology looks at the origin of the species with both biological and societal perspectives. Professionals in the field study physical remains and written texts from the past to determine why humans turned out the way they did. Topics of study include evolution, language, culture, and similar overlapping areas.

It may sound like a lot to take in. But anthropology books such as The Art of Being Human: A Textbook for Cultural Anthropology start readers off with foundations of anthropology as a whole. This particular book even has an accompanying online course if you want an extra thorough experience. The course is by the same author of the book, but if you want to try exploring the minds of various different anthropologists then An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology might be a good place to start. It includes a collection of essays from multiple authors around the globe. This social sciences book makes a great introduction for beginners looking for some variety in anthropology.


This category of books narrows in on the human mind. It aims to understand mental processes and how they influence behavior in order to improve peoples’ lives. This often means treating mental illnesses, but that’s just one small part of the field. Other areas of psychology relate to different fields like neuroscience, biology, education, and development.

A good social science book to get you started in this field would be Introduction to Psychology. It starts with the basic concepts everyone should know, accompanied by real-life examples. Professors, too, will find that this book offers a great resource for putting together a class syllabus. Similarly, Principles of Social Psychology clears a path for instructors wanting to teach this interdisciplinary topic. It covers topics such as religion, race, sexuality, family, and more in ways that aren’t overwhelming for teachers or students.


This category of social sciences books branches away from the individual and looks at society as a whole. Although this includes individual relationships, a big part is also the differences and interactions between larger groups. The methods in this field count on observation and analysis, of which there are a variety of approaches. The books here will explore these methods and how sociology looks at both new and old theories.

For those wanting a broad overview of the subject, Introduction to Sociology 2e provides just that. It’s a great tool made for introductory sociology students and curious minds that lays everything out in a clear way. You’ll learn about the factors that shape society in the same trajectory that most standard intro sociology classes follow. Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World also gives an introductory look at sociology, but with some added features. It looks more at how learning outcomes apply to current events and theories in the field, making it more relevant to the world around us.


Social sciences books on economics will typically cover more technical topics. They get into the applications of math and finance in the economic systems of the world. Production of goods, distribution of them, their consumption, and all the transactions that allow those processes to occur are the main focus.

A good book to start with is one that emphasizes the real world applications, such as Economics (Theory Through Applications). It is designed for readers with little to no experience in the field, and made to relate economics to their own lives. Books such as Principles of Economics then help students move up into intermediate studies. The first half of the book reviews important basic concepts, while the second half covers more intricate concepts like income inequality and government policies.


This field contains many facets that embody the art of learning. Social sciences books in this category can help teachers better educate their students, or help students improve their own learning abilities and experience. For example, Blueprint for Success in College and Career is a great tool for students looking to help themselves in learning and potential career choices. It gives advice on work ethic, efficiency in learning, and time management.

Education for a Digital World can also help students as they adapt to modern tools for learning, but especially helps teachers. It provides a solid guide to digital teaching tools such as those used for online courses and resources.


The last category of social sciences books looks at the distribution of land and societal features affects the planet and people. Books such as World Regional Geography provide introductory material for students. It starts with basics such as human activity and globalization. Then, it moves on to other aspects of different land masses, habitats, and cultures.

Books such as Essentials of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) hone in on specific tools that help the modern-day geographer. In this case, GIS use computer programming to help create maps and manage data in new and useful ways. This technology and others like it are so widespread that being familiar with them is critical for working in the field.

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