Best-selling Sociology

November 30, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

I was leafing through the New York Times Book Review on Sunday, and when I got to the best sellers page, I noticed that three of the top ten books on the nonfiction list are sociology. Well, maybe not exactly sociology in a narrow sense, but in the sense of social science that isn’t psychology.

(Click on the image for a larger view.)
At number four is Superfreakonomics. The authors claim to be doing economics, but in the sequel as in the original, purely financial matters play a secondary role. Much of both Freak books looks a lot like sociology.

Numbers five (What the Dog Saw) and 10 (Outliers) are collections of Malcolm Gladwell essays, many of them based on research by sociologists. Gladwell is a journalist, but sociology is a large sector in his beat. He even spoke at the ASA a couple of years back.

Should I mention Mitch Albom in the #2 spot – a sports writer who wouldn’t be on the list at all were it not for his first best-seller about Tuesdays with a sociology professor? No I shouldn’t mention it.


codeandculture said...

i've seen Gladwell speak at ASA twice. the first time he was on what i like to call the annual "monsters of econ soc" panel (c. 2000) and the second he was getting the popularization award (c. 2008).


I read Outliers (summer reading)-great read! Couldn't agree more with the 10,000 hour rule which means I've got about 9 more years to be a successful blogger. :)

Bought the book @ the Bookshelf (Guelph) When paying the girl told me Gladwell's mother comes into the shop often and each time says " do you know he's my son?" I knew he was Canadian but didn't realize he grew up and was educated around here.