9 votes

The Most Influential Academic Books in the Last 20 Years According to the Chronicle of Higher Education

10 comments

  1. [5]
    Yugioh_Mishima Link
    The list: The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander The History Manifesto by Jo Guldi and David Armitage Freaks of...

    The list:

    • The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
    • Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam
    • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
    • The History Manifesto by Jo Guldi and David Armitage
    • Freaks of Fortune by Jonathan Levy
    • What Art Is by Arthur Danto
    • Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
    • Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts
    • The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio
    • Paying for the Party by Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton
    • A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey
    • Critical Race Theory by Kimberle Crenshaw, et al
    • The Restless Clock by Jessica Riskin
    • Touching Feeling by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
    • Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement by Barbara Ransby
    • Truth and Truthfulness by Bernard Williams
    • War Powers by Peter Irons
    • Age of Fracture by Daniel Rodgers
    • Shapeshifters by Aimee Meredith Cox
    • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
    5 votes
    1. [4]
      Atvelonis Link Parent
      I'm a little concerned that I haven't read a single one of these. Are they all very intellectual books? I can read at a pretty high level, but I also don't have a ton of free time, so I'm...

      I'm a little concerned that I haven't read a single one of these. Are they all very intellectual books? I can read at a pretty high level, but I also don't have a ton of free time, so I'm skeptical about the denser stuff for my own sanity. Would you recommend I start with the ones you mentioned in your other comment?

      1 vote
      1. thundergolfer Link Parent
        I haven't read any of these specific books either, but I'm familiar with a number of them, and read their blurbs in the article. I'd say these aren't books for the time poor. Most of them are...

        I haven't read any of these specific books either, but I'm familiar with a number of them, and read their blurbs in the article.

        I'd say these aren't books for the time poor. Most of them are going to be dense like you fear, and introduce a bunch of academic ideas that even the well-read will be unfamiliar with.

        1 vote
      2. masochist Link Parent
        Any list like this is going to be based on popularity and the subjective judgement of the people making the list. No such list can possibly be definitive, and that you haven't read them (I haven't...

        Any list like this is going to be based on popularity and the subjective judgement of the people making the list. No such list can possibly be definitive, and that you haven't read them (I haven't even heard of most of them) does not reflect poorly on you or suggest that you need to read them all, or at all. It's exactly like awards for music, television, and film. It's the subjective opinion of a group of people, and some other group of people will have a different list. Don't worry yourself over what is currently in fashion.

      3. Yugioh_Mishima Link Parent
        A few like The Restless Clock and The Feeling of What Happens are for more academic audiences. I believe most are fairly accessible if you've got a baseline knowledge of their topics and are...

        A few like The Restless Clock and The Feeling of What Happens are for more academic audiences. I believe most are fairly accessible if you've got a baseline knowledge of their topics and are willing to look up things that are unfamiliar as you're reading, but Charlie Brown's 'Cyclopedia they are not.

        The ones I mentioned in the other comment as well as Bowling Alone are probably the ones most suitable for mass audiences, so if you're just looking to absorb some information they're good places to start.

  2. Yugioh_Mishima Link
    For what it's worth, here are a few I wish were the most influential, or think will be within the next decade: The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing The Money Cult by Chris Lehmann...

    For what it's worth, here are a few I wish were the most influential, or think will be within the next decade:

    • The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing
    • The Money Cult by Chris Lehmann
    • Twilight of the Elites by Chris Hayes
    • Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? by Katrine Kielos
    • Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher
    • Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber
    • Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
    • The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
    • Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang
    • Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto by Jessa Crispin
    • Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
    3 votes
  3. [4]
    kfwyre Link
    Anyone have any thoughts on any of these? Nonfiction of this type is right in my reading wheelhouse, but most of these are new to me.

    Anyone have any thoughts on any of these? Nonfiction of this type is right in my reading wheelhouse, but most of these are new to me.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      Yugioh_Mishima Link Parent
      The New Jim Crow, Homo Deus and The Argonauts are ones I can personally recommend. The Critical Race Theory anthology is apparently the authoritative book on the topic, but I haven’t read it cover...

      The New Jim Crow, Homo Deus and The Argonauts are ones I can personally recommend. The Critical Race Theory anthology is apparently the authoritative book on the topic, but I haven’t read it cover to cover. The Better Angels of Our Nature is junk.

      The rest are new to me as well.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        thundergolfer Link Parent
        In the post it's acknowledged that people think The Better Angels... is junk (in other words though), but that it may hold a place in the list because it's undoubtedly influential. That's entirely...

        In the post it's acknowledged that people think The Better Angels... is junk (in other words though), but that it may hold a place in the list because it's undoubtedly influential. That's entirely fair, and certainly a reason to recommend reading a book.

        As an example, I read Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative, and it was horridly dumb as I expected, but still worth reading on account of it's apparent influence in Conservative politics.

        1. Yugioh_Mishima Link Parent
          Yeah, that's why I still bothered to read Enlightenment Now even after Better Angels revealed Pinker to be not particularly insightful, just to see where the "I think about Big Ideas™, come to my...

          Yeah, that's why I still bothered to read Enlightenment Now even after Better Angels revealed Pinker to be not particularly insightful, just to see where the "I think about Big Ideas™, come to my TED Talk" crowd's minds are these days.

          Then I got to the bit about solar power being of greater harm than fossil fuels because panel installers might fall off the roof and felt guilty for helping legitimize the dimwit.

          1 vote