10 Best Books on Sociology for Beginners

If we state the literal meaning of sociology, then it is defined as a subject that studies the concepts concerned with our society. There are various renowned sociologists in the world who did seminal works in understanding sociology and enlightening the world about this subject which can be categorized in different categories each concerning an individual aspect of society.

Harvard Professor and the winner of the 2017 Erasmus Prize winner Michele Lamont says, “If we come to understand the human value and dignity of people from different backgrounds, we can do a bit to deflect inequality in our everyday interactions.”

In the light of that, Sociology is not just important to study our society, but it is also important to evaluate the cultural differences that we have among us and use it to demonstrate the diversity of our world rather than using it for the purpose to discriminate. This subject is also very crucial to complement economic approaches to inequality that concerns the distribution of resources.

It also teaches us the values that we are forgetting in the modern world, the love for the people, our prestigious history as a society and how we survive now, our political system and how it has evolved through years, our judiciary system and how it was before the formation of a legal body or authority, the study of population and how it impacts the economy of the country and how developed and developing countries are differentiated. All this wisdom in just one book!

If you are also thrilled to learn all this and more about our society and the world then you may want to take a look at the books we have mentioned below.

1. The Cultural Map: Breaking Through The Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

Author Name: Erin Meyer

Publishing Year: 2014

In every industry, people with humongous cultural differences and starkly different backgrounds are made to work together and it doesn’t matter that which part of the world you belong, for making your business successful and global, it is important to have contact with countries other than your own. Today’s world requires you to have essential skills to navigate through these differences and get aware of the foreign culture of your own.

If this is your necessity, then Erin Meyer is your guide. The renowned expert in foreign relations will serve as a guide for you through this book in understanding and learning the foreign aspect of business and how you can ace it. Though English is the global language that lets us unanimously communicate with each other but it doesn’t stop us from falling into the cultural traps.

The Culture Map will provide you with all the essential tools that serve as a field-tested model for decoding how these differences in our culture have a direct impact on the international business. The author, with the combination of smart, analytical framework and practical advice, will teach you to succeed on a global level.

2. Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard

Author Name: Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Publishing Year: 2010

Making lasting changes in your company as well as your own life is definitely a tough step to take. But have you ever wondered why? Well, to anser this question, the primary obstacle in your way of making a strong decision is a conflict that’ arises in our mind according to the authors of this book, Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The renowned psychologists are famous for their bestseller Made to Stick and they are here with their yet another beautiful work, ‘Switch’.

With the help of this book, the authors tried to explain the complexities of our mind and how it affects our decision-making process. According to Chip and Dan Heath, a human body is led by two different systems and they are, a rational mind and an emotional mind. Rational works on logic and practicality while emotional one focuses on feelings and sentiments and both of theme compete within your brain to take control.

Let’s take an example, it’s summer time, your rational mind wants to have you a beach body but emotional one wants oreo cookies and will lure you towards it. Similarly, the rational one wants to bring a change, a change in the routine or your workplace, but the emotional work is loving the comfort of the existing routine and wants to keep things the way they are and here’s when the conflict arises and makes it hard for us to get anything done.

Switch is a compelling story-driven narrative, in which the authors have used their decades of research in psychology and sociology and along with that, other fields that shed a new light on how we can accept the change. With this study, they were able to find out that the transformative changes in one’s life follows a pattern, so you can make a pattern of the kind of change that you want in your life.

3. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Author Name: David Epstein

Publishing Year: 2019

A famous leadership expert and a renowned author has described this book as, “Urgent and important… an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.” The book ‘Range’ by the author, David Epstein serves a very powerful argument that how one can succeed in their life within literally any field. This book will help you develop broad interests and skills.

It is not a necessity of the world or your own to specialize in a specific matter. Experts in the area have always demonstrated that no matter what kind of skill you want to learn, the key to perfection and getting better is practicing. You need to focus on things as much as possible and dedicated hours of deliberate practice. If you remain consistent during the learning phase, you can easily get ahead of the people who got a head start.

David Epstein after examining and studying the world’s most successful scientists, musicians, athletes, artists, musicians, inventors or forecasters, discovered that in almost every field, people who are just generalists on the subjects who are rather complex and unpredictable are primed to excel instead of the specialists.

The author believes that their inability to decide at the beginning which area of study to choose makes them juggle through various interests and that is why they are more creative and curious. He has also talked about the importance of failing, that how it is an opportunity to learn and also said that frequent quitters are mostly likely to end up with fulfilling careers.

4. Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think and Do

Author Name: Jennifer L. Eberhardt PhD

Publishing Year: 2019

As many known personalities in the world as highly recommended this book to be read by everyone, you can imagine the kind of impact it had on the public. The book got featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, TIME Magazine, CBS This Morning, and Democracy Now! The book by Dr. Jennifer named Biased is about the unconscious bias at the workplace as well as in our life.

She believes that people can be biased even without realizing it and it doesn’t matter if you are not racist because, you don’t have to be one in order to discriminate. People who genuinely wants to treat people equally sometimes can become victim of the ingrained stereotypes that can affect our visual perception, behaviour towards people, memory, attention, etc.

Bias is a serious topic of discussion as over the years it has impacted criminal justice, employment, education, housing and even education. With the help of her personal experience, the author has tried to provide us with an insight in the dilemma and how to proceed with that. She has served as a consultant to law enforcement and also has a psychologist so we can imagine her insight to be too valuable on the subject.

5. Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach

Author Name: James M. Heslin

Publishing Year: 2016

The book Essentials of Sociology written by James Heslin is an introductory book that makes you familiar with the fundamentals of sociology. It will teach you about the sociology of every-day life and how it is relevant to other’s life. The author of this book, James M. Heslin has tried to stimulate the reader’s sociological imaginations through illuminating examples, personal reflection, and wit.

Essentials of Sociology cover a large range of topics that gives the readers a concise overview of the subject matter. It basically guides you on six central themes, which include globalization, cultural diversity, critical thinking, down-to-earth approach, the influence of mass media, and new technologies.

So if you are a beginner and want to learn the concepts of sociology from the very beginning, this book is the one. It will provide you with all the basic approaches that explain the fundamentals of sociology as well as it will make you familiar with some new aspects that conceptualize Sociology.

6. Introduction to Sociology 2e

Author Name: Heather Griffiths, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski

Publishing Year: 2013

Another introductory book that will teach you the basics of Sociology is the Introduction to Sociology 2e. It adheres to the scope of the subject and along with that, it focuses on the coverage of core concepts. It serves basically as a sequence of a typical one-semester college course. The learning material that is provided in this book will help you get aware of various emerging theories, foundational scholars, and the main focus concepts.

The book also contains a section where you get all the rich questions and discussions that gives you the opportunity to test the practicality of your knowledge. Introduction to Sociology 2e reflects the latest researches that have been done in the field recently. As compared to other textbooks on the matter, Introduction to Sociology 2e is considered significantly updated.

The book is not just the teachers’ but students’ favorite too, since you get to learn things for real-life examples, also, this is not some kind of a giant boring book, but it also has attractive picture-based content for better understanding of the subject.

7. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology

Author Name: Kerry Ferris and Jill Stein

Publishing Year: 2016

The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology is what you need to understand the subject in today’s world. The modern world has changed the aspects of sociology as the way things work now has changed and also the people that constitute society. In everyday life, we get faced with several challenges of our own whether it is concerned with the cultural differences or the societal norms, but this book will show you why that is such an important part of the world.

The young readers will find this book most relevant because it makes you familiar with sociology in the modern world and you will be able to differentiate as well as recognizes the changes that our society went through over the years. The authors Kerry Ferris and Jill Stein have tried to draw the readers into thinking sociologically.

With the help of this book, you will be able to find the relevance and significance of sociology to our jobs, relationships, our future, etc. The Real World will make you apply the concepts and theories of sociology in your personal lives and will get you more familiar with the practical aspect of it.

8. Identities and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersection of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality

Author Name: David M. Newman

Publishing Year: 2016

The book written by David Newman, Identities and Inequalities acknowledges the complex reality that we live in and introduces with the significance and importance of getting aware of the intersection between our society because whenever we see our society, we don’t see it from one lense, but we see all the elements of it, whether it is race, gender, class or sexuality.

These elements are not just a part of your own personal identity but they also serve as a source of social discrimination. We have seen inequality among people because of their race or class or gender and even their sexuality. This book will examine these factors and how they serve as a hindrance to one’s equal rights. Identities and Inequalities explore various occasions where people face the most inequality because of their differences.

It sheds light on the global health crisis, police violence, current events, legalization of same-sex marriage, and whatnot. The updated version of the book shows you all the latest statistics as well as a new perspective on these inequalities faced by the people because of their identities. Newman’s book is a must-read for people who want to know more about how people are discriminated in our society and what are the things that make them fall as a victim of it.

9. Feminist Criminology through a Biosocial Lens, Second Edition

Author Name: Anthony Walsh and Jamie C. Vaske

Publishing Year: 2015

Why males commit more crimes than females? Have you ever wondered? Many criminologists have tried to look for an answer to this question but their answer is stored in the sociological concepts. The book, Feminist Criminology has tried to take a look at female offenders through a biosocial lens. The gender ratio, the difference between male and female crimes has been explained perfectly through the criminology theories.

Travis Hirschi and other famous criminologists have tried to explain that the sociological concepts that explain the gender differences may not be as useful but somehow it excludes the underlying base of gender, biological sex. On the other hand, Francis Cullen who is another influential criminologist has concluded that the latest paradigm of the 21st century can be only explained through the biosocial lens.

Well, not just sociology, but this book ranges across a number of disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, molecular and behavioral genetics. Through all these disciplines the book attempts you to show you the reason behind the gender difference problem.

Sociology is definitely a very powerful ally for criminology and it also plays a role in explaining the feminist criminology. The new edition of this book has included a chapter that concerns domestic violence and rape and attempts to explain to you why it happens and what is the mentality that does behind it.

10. The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True

Author Name: Richard Dawkins

Publishing Year: 2012

The New York Times Bestseller textbook on sociology that is hailed as a definitive authority on literally everything is The Magic of Reality. The author of this book, Richard Dawkins is the world’s most celebrated evolutionary biologist, and he has spent all his adult life and his career in exploring the wonders of science.

In this book, The Magic of Reality, the author has attempted to illuminate the ways in which the world works by using a broader approach and his unrivaled explanatory powers. The book by Richard Dawkins has a very interesting take on the functioning of the world and he has also included some of the clever though experiments and mind-blowing facts. You will get to learn some really stunningly wide range of topics concerning the natural phenomenon.

The curious minds will give you the answers to the most asked questions such as What is the reason behind the tsunamis? Why does the international map look like a disconnected piece of jigsaw puzzles? Why there is so much variety in flora and fauna? How old is our universe is? Who were the first human beings to ever exist on this planet? And more like this.

The page-turning story about the stunning wonders of science is all you need to know about the beginning of our society and how it evolved over the years, how things have changed from then to today and why it is important to adopt a change that is an ever-happening phenomenon, etc. The book will wake the inner sociologist in you who will see the world through a scientist’s lens.


Sociology is a vast subject that involves a stunningly wide range of topics that goes from the political system to some aspects of evolution. These books of sociology are all you need in order to know how various systems in the world work and why it is important to accept change as an essential phenomenon and what are the things that require changing with time.

The above-mentioned books are some of the great books written on the subject that makes you familiar with the concepts of sociology. Different books cover different topics as all the concepts of sociology are difficult to be concise in a single book. Some of them are introductory books and some explain things at an expert level.

Do let us know in the comment section how you liked this article. Also if you have any questions or suggestions, you can give it to us by commenting below.


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