15 Essential Books on Social Issues That Will Open Your Eyes
The books you read can often change the way you see yourself, as well as the world around you. The last years were full of challenges, having the world struggle with all kinds of issues. As a direct consequence of all these problems, understanding economics and social statuses might need a new reflection. These books will also help to understand the most important political issues that the presidential candidates need to face.
What Are The Most Important Social Issues of our Time?
Some social issues that are widely considered to be important include poverty, inequality, discrimination, and climate change.
Poverty is an enduring problem in many parts of the world and has a profound impact on people's lives. It can trap individuals and families in a cycle of deprivation, preventing them from accessing essential services and opportunities.
Inequality is also a major social issue. It can take many forms, such as economic inequality, gender inequality, or racial inequality. Discrimination occurs when people are treated unfairly or differently based on certain characteristics, such as their race, ethnicity, or gender.
Climate change is another significant social issue that is affecting our planet. It refers to the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place.
Human rights issues are often complex and multi-faceted. They can be difficult to address because there are often many different stakeholders involved. However, it is important to continue to raise awareness about human rights issues and work towards finding solutions.
Here are the topics, that are also important for authors to fully discover the current problems of our society:
- Books on human rights
- Books on inequality and the downside of capitalism
- Books on me too. & women rights
- Books on poverty
- Books on addiction (drug, substance abuse)
- Fair play & BLM
- Books on racism
- Climate change books
- The impact of technology of our lives (smart phone addiction)
These books can provide valuable insights and perspectives on these important topics.
All in all, here are the best social-economical non-ficion books that open eyes for social issues. The list is also available on Goodreads, feel free to vote to your candidates!
What Is Our Selection of Books on Social Issues?
Young, Broke, And Educated, by Alexander Baima
Book on inequality and higher education
Alexander Baima wrote this book from personal experience. He graduated from college with over $80,000 in student debt. By 29 years old, his parents had a house and a child and they only lived on a single income. By 29, the author still had $50,000 in student debt. It makes you wonder – how can generations from the past gain so much more than today's generations?
This book analyzes the way purchasing power has moved – sadly, in the wrong direction. Economics systems might have evolved, but people are doing worse and worse. You will learn what needs to be done to ensure future generations benefit from the same level of wealth in the long run – simple steps, nothing fancy and clear instructions.
Deaths Of Despair And The Future Of Capitalism, by Angus Deaton and Anne Case
Book on inequality, poverty, addiction
Only in the USA, life expectancy has fallen for a few years in a row. Last time it happened, it was 1918. The so called deaths of despair are clearly responsible for these issues and they include drug overdoses, alcoholism and even suicide. It is not the first time the authors try to raise some attention on this topic, but this book has done it in a marvelous way.
The book underlines the American dream, but in a way that more and more people avoid. Despair and pain are extremely common and the gap between the poor and the rich gets bigger with time. Capitalism, which has successfully helped countries go back on track, is now killing the USA in an obvious manner. Apart from underlining these problems, the book also indicates the steps forward.
More: The 10,000 Year Rise Of The World Economy, by Philip Coggan
Book on economics
In a world where everyone is trying to be ahead by anticipating the next big thing, this book takes you through the history of the trade industry – all the way back to the ancient Rome. Not only do you get a glimpse over past economies that were extremely sophisticated, but understanding cycles and factors behind growth will help you determine what might come next.
At a first glance, it may look like a history book. You learn about the economy of Mesopotamia, as well as mining in the United Kingdom or factories in the Philippines. However, you also get to see how agriculture, technology and demographics – among other factors – can influence the human civilization in terms of progress and prosperity.
Basic Income and Sovereign Money, by Geoff Crocker
Book on equality and solving poverty
As you go through the first few chapters, you might find this book to be a bit radical. It is not. Instead, it aims to challenge your beliefs and expectations about today's economy. Believe it or not, the author actually comes up with some impressive arguments, even if you do not necessarily agree with all the statements.
You do not have to be a genius to see it – today's economic system is not really functional. There is plenty of austerity and everyone seems to be in debt. Moreover, the pay gets lower and lower. Poverty inevitably kicks in, not to mention the ecological damage that tops all these issues. All the policies in today's system prevent it from modern engineering though. The author pleads for a universal basic income then – a limited system according to the economic output, only to prevent inflation. It sounds incredible, but the author believes it can be done.
The Uncounted, by Alex Cobham
Book on economics
The Uncounted is one of the best economics books that open eyes for social issues. The book works on a simple principle – what you can count really matters. Everything is dictated by numbers, from major decisions to actual policies. Data is driven by statistics – you see numbers wherever you look. The general idea is fairly simple – if you cannot be counted, you do not count. It sounds like a game, but it is actually true.
The author argues that this kind of mentality is responsible for plenty of damage in today's society. It is also the main issue behind so many inequalities out there. The author shows how statistics from all fields and industries make it obvious – disadvantaged groups end up underrepresented. They are marginalized even further and the gap grows bigger and bigger. Meanwhile, the super rich population and large corporations gain even more – more opacity and less transparency.
The book is well researched and shows how what you count can make the difference, while what you do not count will become forgotten overtime, leading to even more drama and inequality.
How To Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
Book on solving racism
Black Lives Matter movement opened the eyes of many people that racism is still a serious issue. On the first presidential debate in September 2020, racism was the most important political issue.
Equality starts when people are treated evenly. In this deeply empathetic book, the author shows that when it comes to racism, neutrality is not an option. We need to become part of the solution.
Ibram X. Kendi helps the readers to recognise that everyone is, at times, complicit in racism whether they realise it or not. Along the way, Kendi reveals all the myths and taboos that so often cloud our eyesight.
Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making Beyond The Numbers, by John Kay and Mervyn King
Book on economics and uncertainty
This book aims to answer a question that every grown up will need an answer to at some point or another – how can you make a good decision with all the uncertainty around you? Prior to moving on to decisions, the book underlines some of the most common concerns out there. Financial crises strike when least expected. People need certainties for decisions, but they can never have. The impact of taking risks can be tremendous in the long run.
However, this is not the first generation to face uncertainty and definitely not the last one. People have managed to find specific ways to deal with uncertainty and risk overtime. All in all, this masterpiece draws some attention over economics, philosophies and mathematical algorithms that can help the world deal with the unknown future. Moreover, it can teach you how to overcome today's problems in the safest possible way.
The Deficit Myth, by Stephanie Kelton
Book on economics and monetary policy
This book is a bestseller and it is easy to tell why. It explored the modern monetary theory, which practically affects every individual out there. This theory affects how you see things like poverty, wealth, climate and so on. No matter what the issue is about, everything revolves around the exact same thing – how to find the money to make it happen. This is where people and governments get stuck.
The author goes through all the myths and misconceptions that prevent people from acting and reacting. She talks about the issue regarding future generations in debt, private investments, longterm effects and so on. There are other ways to understand money, taxes and the effects over the society. From the author's point of view, the modern monetary theory can push things forward, bring in some opportunities and create a new economy – and she has some good arguments for it too.
Angrynomics, by Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth
Book on inequality
Angrynomics has a pretty self explanatory title and can easily qualify among the best economics books that open eyes for social issues. To understand the idea behind the book, you have to ask yourself a simple question – why do politicians tell you the world has never done better when anxiety and stress are on the rise? Why are people told everything is alright when they are clearly not as happy as previous generations?
Statistics claim people get richer and richer, but in reality, people face more and more challenges. They struggle more and more to survive. Authors try to explore the growing anger among the general population. They also underline the fact that it could be helpful and useful at times, yet terribly wrong in many situations too – especially if it becomes radical. At the same time, they propose a bunch of ideas and solutions to remove confusion in terms of economics and finances. Simply put, this book is ideal for everyone, regardless of their location and financial status.
What’s Wrong With Economics, by Robert Jacob Alexander Skidelsky
Book on economics
The reputable author aims to find answers to a few common questions. He aims to understand how scientific certainty has led to uncertainty in finances. Societies end up making decisions on economic models that are currently outdated. There are, of course, some circumstances and causes that led to such issues.
The current situation is the obvious result of an outdated system. Students learn about economics in universities, but the principles are old and have nothing to do with today's society. The author underlines the necessity of further education for better decision and he agrees that an economist should also be a statesman, mathematician, philosopher and historian.
Healthcare From The Trenches, by Alejandro Badia
Book on public healthcare
The U.S. healthcare system is in crisis. People in the United State are facing serious problems, and not just because of COVID-19, the problem is much deeper. The constantly rising healthcare costs and the ineffective medical care leads to constant discontent. The COVID-19 crisis amplified the whole situation. Despite all the political efforts and media coverage the situation isn't changed since the Obamacare.
This book is written from a doctor’s view. Dr. Alejandro Badia, didn’t want to write this book but felt he had to because of the incredible problems he sees every day in getting the patient the care they need. As an doctor, his treatment plans are constantly hindered by the system which has a no insight of the problem that patients are facing. It became impossible for the author to continue to practice without calling out what is happening.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty
Book on inequality
In this long work Thomas Piketty systematically introduces the main factors that drove the economy to the big problem of capitalism: income inequality.
The main driver of inequality is again threatening to generate extreme dissatisfaction among people and weakens democratic values. The author’s findings in this ambitious, original book will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about poverty and inequality.
Windfall, by Meghan L. O'Sullivan
Book on energy policy and climate change issues
Energy politics is closely connected to sustainable economics and climate crisis. Windfall describes how new energy realities have deeply affected the world of international relations. New technologies led to destroy the oil market. This is more then just about oil prices, it changed the structure of markets and altered the way many nations handle power.
With bold and provocative analysis, Daniel Yergin and coauthor Joseph Stanislaw offer an eye-opening new vision of global energy. Gone is the constant fear of running out; replaced by a world awash in fossil fuels. They assert that the new energy abundance—due to oil and gas resources once deemed too expensive—is transforming the geo-political order and is boosting American power.
Chaos Monkeys, by Antonio García Martínez
Book on social interactions and the impact of technology on our lives
Internet economy is skyrocketing and online giants like Google or Facebook are living in another world. A world where money and shareholders are first.
García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team years ago. Forced out in the aftermath of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy. The author on one day landed at another giant Twitter. In Chaos Monkeys, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is destroying our lives and shaping our future.
If you are familiar with the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, this book will give you valuable further knowledge about this topic.
We Want to Do More Than Survive, by Bettina L. Love
Book on higher education and social justice
The author argues that the US educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color. This isn't acceptable real reform would be necessary.
Teachers, parents, and community leaders must approach education with the vision and urgency of an reformist. The book introduces an alternative to traditional modes of educational reform and expands our ideas of civic engagement and intersectional justice.
The contents of this book were so clear and comprehensible that educators need to read it.
Final Thoughts on some Outstanding Books on Social Issues
As a short final conclusion, the list could have gone a bit further, but these are some of the books on social issues. Some of them are educative, while others will raise some question marks and challenge your beliefs a little – anyhow, each of them will open your eyes and add to your thinking.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has it's unique value.