Durkheim's 1897 work is a powerful evidence-based study of why people take their own lives. In the late nineteenth century, it was generally accepted that each suicide was an individual phenomenon, caused by such personal factors as grief, loss, and financial problems.
Rene Descartes posed questions about the nature of knowledge and the nature of being that philosophers still debate today. In Meditations, Descartes expands on his most famous pronouncement, "I think, therefore I am," which first appeared in an earlier text.
Edited and produced from the lecture notes of his students at the University of Geneva, the Course in General Linguistics was first published in 1916, three years after its author's death. The book sets out Saussure's theory that all languages share the same underlying structure, regardless of historical or cultural context.
After Hegemony has had a huge impact on policy debates over the last three decades. Hegemony means the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence of one dominant group, and Keohane asks if international cooperation can survive in the absence of a single superpower.
Gutierrez's 1971 book provides an inspiring argument as to how Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should support the poor. The Catholic Church had traditionally seen itself as politically neutral but in the 1960s and 70s reformers, such as Gutierrez, urged it to seriously address real-world issues such as poverty and oppression.
Considered the father of the philosophical movement known as Christian existentialism, which focuses on the living human being, Kierkegaard takes readers on a journey from the human self, its spirit, despair and sin, through to faith in this major 1849 work.
Sigmund Freud, "the father of psychoanalysis," was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1856. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna before opening a private practice in his hometown. His work with physician Josef Breuer on treating nervous disorders led to a book, Studies on Hysteria.
Carson's 1962 work Silent Spring was one of the first books ever to highlight environmentalist issues. Focusing on the negative, widespread, and long-lasting effects of human activity on the environment-particularly through the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture-Carson argued that we are all morally obliged to look after the environment.
Though nearly 1500 years old, The Rule of St. Benedict remains one of the most influential texts in the Western monastic movement. It offers a unique insight into the early development of Christian monasticism and for believers, continues to offer guidance about incorporating meditation and prayer into devotions.
"Black Skin, White Masks offers a radical analysis of the psychological effects of colonization on the colonized. Fanon witnessed the effects of colonization first hand both in his birthplace, Martinique, and again later in life when he worked as a psychiatrist in another French colony, Algeria.
One of the most important strategy manuals ever published, Chinese general Sun Tzu's The Art of War has also been used as a guide to modern business, giving executives an insight into the vital importance of tactics and preparation.
Democracy in America, published in 1835 and 1840, challenged conventional thinking about democracy when it first appeared and is still cited today for its in-depth analysis of what makes a successful democracy.
Published anonymously by Locke in 1689, Two Treatises claims that a monarch's right to rule does not come from God, but from the people he rules. In the mid-seventeenth century, England removed its king and tried different systems of government before opting to restore a monarchy.
The Selfish Gene is that rarest of things: an outstanding work of scholarship that has seeped into popular culture. Richard Dawkins's contentious notion that organisms are survival mechanisms for 'selfish genes' has helped shape the debate in evolutionary biology for almost 40 years.
The Second Sex caused uproar when it appeared in 1949. Simone de Beauvoir sets out groundbreaking ideas on what it meant to be a woman, charting the oppression of "the second sex." She argued that gender identity was shaped by upbringing in a world ruled by men, and her most startling thesis became a rallying cry for the feminist movement.
Though written more than 500 years ago, Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince is still both widely read and very influential. Readers turn to it for its direct advice on the question of how to attain - and retain - power. Machiavelli's answer, in brief: use any means necessary to make sure the state survives.
In The Age of Revolution, Eric Hobsbawm focuses on the tumultuous late 18th and early 19th centuries. He argues that the "dual revolutions" of the time -the French Revolution and the British Industrial Revolution - changed the way the whole world thought about politics and power, and fundamentally shaped the modern era.
More than 2,500 years after it was written, Symposium remains a key text for philosophers, historians, writers, artists and politicians. Plato imagines seven important historical figures, including the philosopher Socrates, debating eros (human love and desire).
'Politics as a Vocation' examines what makes good political leaders and explores the effects of political action on modern societies. On one level, it summarizes the political scholarship of one of the founding fathers of social science. On another, it reflects practical concerns about the future of Germany after its defeat in World War I.
In Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein presents a radical approach to the philosophy of language and the mind, setting out a startlingly fresh conception of philosophy itself. Wittgenstein begins from the insight that most philosophical problems trace back to incorrect assumptions about the nature of language.
Capitalism, thought Karl Marx, works by exploiting the working class. Their wages do not reflect the value of their labor. Marx concluded that capitalism would fail because of this contradiction at the heart of the capitalist system. He wrote Capital to give activists the theories and language they needed to criticise the system.
Butler's 1990 work shook the foundations of feminist theory and changed the conversation about gender. While many thinkers already accepted that "gender" was a category constructed by society defined by one's genitalia, Butler went further and argued that gender is performative-it exists only in the acts that express it.
Originally published in 1861, Mill's great work systematically details and defends the doctrine of utilitarianism. Arguing first that a "morally good" action is one that increases the general sum of happiness in the world, Mill then says that general principles of justice should be based on this idea.
Rawls' 1971 text links the idea of social justice to a basic sense of fairness that recognizes human rights and freedoms. Controversially, though, it also accepts differences in the distribution of goods and services-as long as they benefit the worst-off in society.
Turner's much-anthologized 1893 essay argues that the vast western frontier shaped the modern American character-and the course of US history. Interacting with both the wilderness and Native Americans, settlers on the frontier developed institutions and character traits quite distinct from Europe.
What is justice? How should an individual and a society behave justly? And how do they learn how to do so? These are just some of the core questions explored in The Republic, considered by many to be Plato's most important work.
Published in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man argues that capitalist democracy is the final destination for all societies. Fukuyama believed democracy triumphed during the Cold War because it lacks the "fundamental contradictions" inherent in communism and satisfies our yearning for freedom and equality.
Advertisements for soap. The image of a lm star. We accept these common objects as a normal part of our life. But each also carries hidden messages that none of us even suspect - as Barthes demonstrated in his unique analysis of the signs that generate meanings and assumptions we all take for granted.
Aristotle, a student of Plato, wrote Nicomachean Ethics in 350 BCE, in a time of extraordinary intellectual development. Over two millennia later, his thorough exploration of virtue, reason, and the ultimate human good still forms the basis of the values at the heart of Western civilization.
Advertisements for soap. The image of a film star. We accept these common objects as a normal part of our life. But each also carries hidden messages that none of us even suspect - as Barthes demonstrated in his unique analysis of the signs that generate meanings and assumptions we all take for granted.
Written around 397, Confessions is one of the most referenced works in the Western literary tradition. The initial nine of 13 books draw a compelling narrative of the first 43 years of Augustine's life. The tenth book uses these experiences as a meditation on the nature of memory, and the final three contemplate the Bible's Book of Genesis.
A game-changer when it was first published in 1961, Who Governs? remains one of the most influential political science books ever written. Dahl argues that American liberal democracy is a pluralist system in which policy is not, as is so often thought, shaped by a small group of powerful individuals.
In this 1920 collection of early critical essays, Eliot proposes rules for how a poet should relate to a poem and to the poetic tradition. Arguing against the Romantic tradition of self-expression, Eliot proposes instead that poetry should express universal values and emotions.
Why We Can't Wait (1964) is arguably the most vital book by one of the most important men in US history. Martin Luther King Jr. sets out the ideas that fuelled a large part of the 1960s civil rights movement.
Slavery had been accepted in Western culture for centuries. So why did a movement suddenly rise up in the industrial era calling for its abolition? Could it be that people had suddenly become more enlightened and humanitarian? Or were there other, more compelling and perhaps self-serving reasons for this sudden about-turn?
The story of the crusades has been told and retold in Western histories-but invariable from Western perspectives. Carole Hillenbrand's fresh interpretation drew on Islamic sources that describe the crusades from a Muslim point of view.
Riley-Smith's 1986 book gives convincing case for a 'revisionist' view of the crusades, challenging the common belief that the crusades were motivated by fanaticism and were designed to plunder the Holy Lands.
Politics was one of the first books to investigate the concept of political philosophy and the starting point of political science studies as we know them. Written in the fourth century B.C.E., it explores how best to create political communities that support, serve, and improve citizens.
Most likely written between 170 and 180, Meditations is a remarkable work, a unique insight into one of the most conscientious and able Roman emperors, Marcus Aurelius, who ruled at the apex of the empire's power.
Competitors have always existed in business, but what if it were possible to render your competition irrelevant? This is the critical question posed in Blue Ocean Strategy, which argues that the path to success of any company lies not in taking on potential competitors, but in the creation of "blue oceans" in uncontested market space.