Seminal Books

I plan on continuously updating this; maybe I’ll simply add a new one; maybe, due to further reading, eliminate others from the list. This is for fun and is completely unabashedly subjective, of course. These books were crucial for me personally and helped steer me in certain directions; they also help me conceptualize inchoate ideas, feelings, and theories that I had myself. It’s fair to say that Hayes’ book and Nasr’s book are the two books that crystallized for me that I wanted to be a political scientist.

The Road to Serfdom (1944)
F. A. Hayek.

The Great Transformation (1944)
Karl Polanyi

The Independence of Nations (1981)
David Fromkin

The End of History and the Last Man (1992)
Francis Fukuyama

The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology (1994)
Robert Wright

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996)
Samuel P. Huntington

Ways of War and Peace (1997)
Michael W. Doyle

The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit From Identity Politics (1999), George Lipsitz

Social Theory of International Politics (1999),
Alexander Wendt

Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World (2001)
Walter Russell Mead

Global Capitalism: Its Rise and Fall in the Twentieth Century (2006)
Jeffry A. Frieden

Hitch:22: A Memoir (2010)
Christopher Hitchens

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Religion and Politics (2012)
Jonathan Haidt

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy (2012)
Chris Hayes

The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat (2013)
Vali Nasr

How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain (2017)
Lisa Feldman Barrett

Why Liberalism Failed (2018)
Patrick J. Deneen

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (2018)
Steven Pinker

On Grand Strategy (2018)
John Lewis Gaddis

A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism (2019)
Adam Gopnik