5 books on society I’ve read this summer

5 books about society for your reading list

With all that is happening in the world lately, I have decided to read up. Not just consume the news everyday, but try to understand more about what’s actually going on. I feel like it’s easy to sit back helplessly. Of course, reading books won’t change the world as well, but actually knowing (a bit better) what’s going on in politics and why, seemed like a good place to start.

Thus, I put together a little reading list for myself. Politics, social sciences, history, you name it. Of course, I have realised that I have merely scratched the surface so far, but these books have made me hungry to learn more.

Exodus by Paul Collier

This book has made me think A LOT. I have read one work by Paul Collier before (The Bottom Billion) that I really liked and Exodus should be on everyone’s reading list as well. Collier shows in which places our migration policies aren’t working anymore. He shows how they are based on Western society after the Second Warld War and doesn’t fit today’s challenges anymore.

Furthermore, Collier describes what exactly lead to the refugee crisis in 2015 and how it could have actually been prevented. He also names new policies that might help struggling states today to prevent another crisis happening again.

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall

This book has really intrigued me at the book store and after reading it, I still want to learn more. It tells of the geopolitics and history that are still driving and influencing politics today. The subline is ’10 maps that tell you everything about the world’, which might be a bit far-fetched, but explains what Marshall is trying to do.

In each chapter, Marshall describes one country/society (Russia, China, Western Europe and so on) and how geography has shaped its history. It’s really interesting, but it has one minor flaw. The book has been written in 2015, so pre-Trump and all the Russia allegations and pre-Brexit. It is very obvious that Marshall is American (and very Pro-America), so it would be interesting how he sees the shift in politics today. This book has made me want to learn more about world history and geo-politics, so I’m excited to dig into more books on the topic.

Das Land, in dem wir leben wollen by Jutta Allmendinger

“Das Land, in dem wir leben wollen” is a study by Jutta Allmendinger, conducted over two years. It’s a lighter read, but still – a study. She talks about what German people actually want from their lives and the country they live in.

I found it quite interesting to learn more about the ideas others have of our country. They are people of different ages and social statuses, religion and educational levels. If you want to pick it up yourself you need to be clear though that it is not truly a non-fiction book. There will be charts and lots of numbers, so you might just want to read an article on the topic ;) I definitely would, a second time around.

Gestrandet by Alexander Betts + Paul Collier

This is another work partly written by Paul Collier. It looks at our way of dealing with migration from the perspective of migrants, their home country and the receiving countries. This book is a bit more academic than the previous ones I read. Still, if you’re willing to get into it, it’s a fascinating read. They look at the economic and social factors effected by migration.

This book is definitely food for thought and I’m not sure I agree with everything they say. Still, reading books like this is probably even more important if it makes you think about your own moral standpoints and ideas. So I recommend you to just read it and think about the different thesis’ they make.

Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee + Esther Duflo

I’m actually still reading this one (so I can’t give you a proper review). It claims to give a completely new view on how poor people consume and live to understand ‘poor economics’ better. So far, this promise definitely holds true and it’s a super-interesting read. I’m only halfway through, but you should definitely check it out!

There you have it – these are the books on society and politics I’ve read lately. My reading list is long, but still: Do you have any tips what to read? I’d love to hear!


Meet Hanna
Hanna's Places - a green lifestyle blog

Hanna’s Places is a green lifestyle magazine written by Hanna Ulatowski. It’s all about slowing down in a fast-paced society and finding ways to live a more sustainable, simple lifestyle.

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