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Non-Fiction Picks: Social Science Bestsellers

A collection of bestselling non-fiction audiobooks that dive into the world of social science and beyond.

Playlist Tags: topic: non-fiction mood: curious topic: science topic: bestsellers topic: social science

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Talking to Strangers

What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know

By Malcolm Gladwell
Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
Length: 8 hours 42 minutes

Talking to Strangers

“In TALKING TO STRANGERS, Gladwell examines how communication is the key to basically everything. With historical as well as current case studies, this book makes you examine your prejudices and preconceived notions. This is not your typical audiobook. Gladwell uses original clips from news stories, segments from other audio books, and he even has a theme song for this book. This listens like a tightly orchestrated podcast and it is a fabulous way to consume this book. Highly recommend.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop
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Why Fish Don't Exist

A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

By Lulu Miller
Narrated by: Lulu Miller
Length: 4 hours 55 minutes

A Best Book of 2020: The Washington Post * NPR * Chicago Tribune * Smithsonian

A “remarkable” (Los Angeles Times), “seductive” (The Wall Street Journal) debut from the new cohost of Radiolab, Why Fish Don’t Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, and—possibly—even murder.​

“At one point, Miller dives into the... Read more »

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Hidden Valley Road

Inside the Mind of an American Family

By Robert Kolker
Narrated by: Sean Pratt
Length: 13 hours 8 minutes

OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR
ONE OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR
PEOPLE'S #1 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York TimesThe Washington Post, NPR, TIME, SlateSmithsonian, The New York Post, and Amazon 


The heartrending story...
Read more »

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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

By Carlo Rovelli
Narrated by: Carlo Rovelli
Length: 1 hours 45 minutes

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

“With a deft sensibility associated more often with poetry than theoretical physics, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics not only makes understandable the transcendent physical discoveries of the past century, but also reveals their powerful relevance to the human spirit. A revelatory and concise account of quantum mechanics, relativity, and the delight in both finding answers and seeking new questions, this jewel of a book lyrically demystifies the extraordinary realities of the cosmos.”

Robin J. Dunn image Robin J. Dunn, St. John's College Bookstore
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Braiding Sweetgrass

Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Narrated by: Robin Wall Kimmerer
Length: 16 hours 44 minutes

As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our... Read more »

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning

By Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
Narrated by: Jason Reynolds
Length: 4 hours 11 minutes

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

“The history of Black Americans from two people who get it. But this isn't just a history book: it's a recount of why America is the way that it is today, why we have people who think they way they do, and why we have a racist in the White House. Jason Reynolds melodic voice comes through in audio and on the pages. You are guaranteed to learn something new (no matter how learned or woke you are), and it's a good one.”

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The Undocumented Americans

A Homecoming

By Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
Narrated by: Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
Length: 4 hours 53 minutes

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation.

“Karla’s book sheds light on people’s personal experiences and allows their stories to be told and their voices to be... Read more »

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Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind

By Yuval Noah Harari
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 15 hours 17 minutes

Sapiens

“I don't own many books. I read books and give them away. However, I will NOT be giving away my copy of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. It's a keeper! Sapiens was an intense read for me. I found myself taking breaks every dozen pages or so. Not because I was bored - just the opposite. I needed time to let the author's perspective on the history of our species (you, me, us!) sink in. Yuval Noah Harari is irreverent at times and makes mind-blowing assertions in his book. You may not agree with all of his theories, but what he claims will make you see yourself as the animal you are in a refreshing new light. It's even possible that after you read Sapiens your view of the human condition will have shifted dramatically. Superbly translated from the original Hebrew into English by the author himself, Sapiens is accessible to readers of all types of non-fiction and fiction alike.”

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How to Change Your Mind

What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

By Michael Pollan
Narrated by: Michael Pollan
Length: 13 hours 34 minutes

If you enjoyed A Really Good Day, then you’ll love How to Change Your Mind.

“Take an over-medicated, moody, middle-aged mother of four, add a month of experimental microdosing with LSD and it makes for A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman. This mesmerizing memoir of mental exploration tackles the taboo topic of drug use in our society, the frightening rise of prescription pills and the devastating addictions developing during the War on Drugs. A rollicking ride through the realm of self-realization, Waldman’s creative quest for sanity is painfully honest, hysterically funny and deeply human. I loved it!”

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Killers of the Flower Moon

The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

By David Grann
Narrated by: Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee & Danny Campbell
Length: 9 hours 4 minutes

Killers of the Flower Moon

“In "Killers of the Flower Moon", David Grann recounts the tragic tale of the Osage Indian Nations decimation and deceit at the hands of their government appointed guardians. Motivated by money, morally corrupt and masterfully manipulative, the true role of these benevolent benefactors, perpetrators of mass murder, is still a mystery today. Granns detailed, yet deeply disturbing detective work, back to the birth of the FBI and the rise of J. Edgar Hoover, unveils an unimaginable injustice overlooked for 85 years. Let’s not allow this atrocious act against the Osage to slip back into obscurity ever again.”

McLean & Eakin Booksellers image Kristin, McLean & Eakin Booksellers
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Outliers

The Story of Success

By Malcolm Gladwell
Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
Length: 7 hours 16 minutes

From the bestselling author of The Bomber Mafia, learn what sets high achievers apart—from Bill Gates to the Beatlesin this seminal work from "a singular talent" (New York Times Book Review).

In this stunning book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"—the best and the brightest, the most famous... Read more »

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Together

The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World

By Vivek H. Murthy
Narrated by: Vivek H. Murthy
Length: 10 hours 52 minutes

Together

“Dramatic in both its scope and the frightening truths it reveals about loneliness and its effects, "Together" is a book that should be required reading for every teacher, community leader, healthcare practitioner, and mental health specialist. Dr. Murthy's introduction to the audiobook reveals that he did the research and writing well before the pandemic, but that the contents of "Together" might be more important to learn than ever during this time of social isolation. I've brought it up in conversation multiple times in the last few months, and I think about it at least once a day.”

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The Only Plane in the Sky

An Oral History of September 11, 2001

By Holter Graham & Garrett M. Graff
Narrated by: A Full 45-Person Cast
Length: 15 hours 54 minutes

The Only Plane in the Sky

“Today I had a day off and listened to Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff on Libro.fm. I was in tears after the first 30 minutes. Has it really been 18 years since 9-11-01? It seems like it happened yesterday since it's still all so raw. I listened to the whole book nonstop until I was finished today. The style of the book reminds me of one of my favorite authors Studs Terkel. Let the people tell their own stories and the overall heart of the story will be told clearly and honestly. This will be a great gift suggestion for book buyers looking for the perfect gift for fathers, history bluffs, anyone that lived through those very tough days surrounding 9-11-01. Never forget!”

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Catch and Kill

Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators

By Ronan Farrow
Narrated by: Ronan Farrow
Length: 10 hours 43 minutes

Catch and Kill

“A timely, incredibly important account of the difficulties Farrow faced at NBC while working on the Weinstein expose, which he took to the New Yorker and subsequently won a Pulitzer for. The audiobook is grippingly read by Farrow (though the accents he attempts are... let's go with 'confusing'). It's upsetting, sure, but heartening to see the exhaustive research and the very clearly laid-out account of how Farrow had to work against the very powerful high-profile members of the media establishment--including his own bosses--not only because of Weinstein's well-oiled intimidation machine but also as part of those figures attempting to cover up their own histories of being harassers. Highly recommend this important piece of current events journalism, which reads like a thriller novel.”

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White Fragility

Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

By Robin DiAngelo & Michael Eric Dyson
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 6 hours 20 minutes

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white... Read more »

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The Library Book

By Susan Orlean
Narrated by: Susan Orlean
Length: 12 hours 8 minutes

The Library Book

“On the day I turned 2, Chernobyl was struck by disaster. Three days later, hidden among the news and chaos, the Los Angeles Public Library was in flames. Two thousand degrees, more than a million books destroyed or damaged, and the source of the fire unknown. Susan Orlean centers her book on the fire and then moves outward to include librarians past and present, the role of a library in a community, and our own relationships with books. Like Orlean’s other books, there is some crime, some travelling, fascinating people, and an amazing tangle of details. ”

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The Great Influenza

The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

By John M. Barry
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 19 hours 24 minutes

In the winter of 1918, at the height of World War I, history's most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death... Read more »

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How to Be an Antiracist

By Ibram X. Kendi
Narrated by: Ibram X. Kendi
Length: 10 hours 43 minutes

How to Be an Antiracist

“Among the multi-faceted array of antiracist literature newly published in the last two years, Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be an Antiracist stands alone as a definitive source of history and socio-political critique, while offering a new paradigm of thought aimed at paving the way for correcting centuries of social injustice. Hearing this visionary and transformative work in Kendi’s own voice will no doubt bring it all straight into your heart, humanizing his ideas, and firmly setting you on your own path to doing the work of becoming an antiracist.”

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The Enneagram of Belonging

A Compassionate Journey of Self-Acceptance

By Christopher L. Heuertz & Brené Brown
Narrated by: Christopher L. Heuertz & Brene Brown
Length: 6 hours 33 minutes

For the Enneagram enthusiast looking to deepen their transformation, The Enneagram of Belonging offers an enlightening, enriching path forward.

Many have discovered the Enneagram to be a powerful tool for self-understanding, yet knowing ourselves doesn't necessarily mean we accept ourselves. Most of us tend to curate the personality of our type:... Read more »

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Hood Feminism

Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot

By Mikki Kendall
Narrated by: Mikki Kendall
Length: 6 hours 57 minutes

Hood Feminism

“Powerful. Important. Compulsively readable. Kendall’s narrative style is top notch - riveting and un-put-down-able. Not only is this a must read, it's a must pay attention. It's a must revisit and keep learning kind of book. Kendall dives deep and doesn't pull punches, but she doesn't seek to shame either. This is necessary reading for anyone who considers themselves a feminist. Because solidarity needs to be for ALL.”

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