Psychology: Book Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere.

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

  • Culture's Consequences

    Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutes and Organizations across Nations

    By Katherine Erdman

    The Dutch anthropologist Geert Hofstede is recognized as a pioneer in the fields of international management and social psychology – and his work is a perfect example of the ways in which interpretative skills can help solve problems and provide the foundation for strong thinking and understanding…

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  • Situated Learning

    By Charmi Patel

    Social anthropologist Jean Lave and computer scientist Etienne Wenger’s seminal Situated Learning helped change the fields of cognitive science and pedagogy by approaching learning from a novel angle. Traditionally, theories of learning and education had focused on processes of cognition – the…

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  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street

    By Nicholas Pierpan

    Burton Malkiel’s 1973 A Random Walk Down Wall Street was an explosive contribution to debates about how to reap a good return on investing in stocks and shares. Reissued and updated many times since, Malkiel’s text remains an indispensable contribution to the world of investment strategy – one that…

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  • Centuries of Childhood

    By Eva-Marie Prag, Joseph Tendler

    In Centuries of Childhood, the French historian Philippe Aries offers a fundamentally fresh interpretation of what childhood is and what the institution means for society at large. Aries's core idea is that ‘childhood,’ as we understand it today – a special time that requires special efforts and…

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  • The Old Social Classes And The Revolutionary Movements Of Iraq

    By Dale J. Stahl

    How do you solve a problem like understanding Iraq? For Hanna Batatu, the solution to this conundrum lay in generating alternative possibilities that effectively side-stepped the conventional wisdom of the time. Historians had long held that Iraq – like other artificial creations of ex-colonial…

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  • The Problem of Unbelief in the 16th Century

    By Joseph Tendler

    Febvre asked this core question in The Problem of Unbelief: “Could sixteenth-century people hold religious views that were not those of official, Church-sanctioned Christianity, or could they simply not believe at all?” The answer informed a wider debate on modern history, particularly modern…

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  • Ethics

    By Gary Slater, Andreas Vrahimis

    Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics is a dense masterpiece of sustained argumentative reasoning. It earned its place as one of the most important and influential books in Western philosophy by virtue of its uncompromisingly direct arguments about the nature of God, the universe, free will, and human morals.…

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  • An Image of Africa

    Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness

    By Clare Clarke, Lindsay Scorgie-Porter

    Few works of scholarship have so comprehensively recast an existing debate as Chinua Achebe’s essay on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Achebe – a highly distinguished Nigerian novelist and university teacher – looked with fresh eyes at a novel that was set in Africa, but in which Africans appear…

    Paperback – 2017-07-15
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  • Bloodlands

    Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

    By Helen Roche

    A flagbearer for the increasingly fashionable genre of "transnational history," Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands is, first and foremost, a stunning example of the critical thinking skill of evaluation. Snyder's linguistic precocity allows him to cite evidence in 10 languages, putting fresh twists on the…

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  • Everyday Stalinism

    Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s

    By Victor Petrov, Riley Quinn

    How was the Soviet Union like a soup kitchen? In this important and highly revisionist work, historian Sheila Fitzpatrick explains that a reimagining of the Communist state as a provider of goods for the ‘deserving poor’ can be seen as a powerful metaphor for understanding Soviet life as a whole.…

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  • Gender and the Politics of History

    By Pilar Zazueta, Etienne Stockland

    Joan Scott's work has influenced several generations of historians and helped make the topic of gender central to the way in which the discipline is taught and studied today. At root a new way of conceptualizing capitalist societies, Scott's theories suggest that gender is better understood as a…

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  • Homeward Bound

    American Families in the Cold War Era

    By Jarrod Homer

    Elaine Tyler May’s 1988 Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era is a ground-breaking piece of historical and cultural analysis that uses its findings to build a strong argument for its author’s view of the course of modern US history. The aim of May’s study is to trace the links…

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  • In Defence of History

    By Nicholas Piercey, Tom Stammers

    Richard Evans wrote In Defence of History at a time when the historian's profession was coming under heavy attack as a result of the ‘cultural turn’ taken by the discipline during the late 1980s and the 1990s. Historians were being forced to face up to postmodern thinking, which argued that,…

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  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities

    By Martin Fuller, Ryan Moore

    Despite having no formal training in urban planning, Jane Jacobs deftly explores the strengths and weaknesses of policy arguments put forward by American urban planners in the era after World War II. They believed that the efficient movement of cars was of more value in the development of US cities…

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  • The Crusades

    Islamic Perspectives

    By Robert Houghton, Damien Peters

    For many centuries, the history of the crusades, as written by Western historians, was based solidly on Western sources. Evidence from the Islamic societies that the crusaders attacked was used only sparingly – in part because it was hard for most westerners to read, and in part because much of it…

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  • The Coming of the French Revolution

    By Tom Stammers

    Georges Lefebvre was one of the most highly-regarded historians of the 20th century – and a key reason for the high reputation he enjoys can be found in The Coming of the French Revolution. Lefebvre's key contribution to the debate over what remains arguably one of history's most contentious and…

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  • The "Hitler Myth"

    Image and Reality in the Third Reich

    By Helen Roche

    Few historical problems are more baffling in retrospect than the conundrum of how Hitler was able to rise to power in Germany and then command the German people – many of whom had only marginal interest in or affiliation to Nazism – and the Nazi state. It took Ian Kershaw – author of the standard…

    Paperback – 2017-07-15
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  • Postwar

    A History of Europe Since 1945

    By Simon Young

    Tony Judt decided to write Postwar in 1989, the year the collapse of the Soviet Union provided European history with a rare example of a clearly-signposted ‘end of an era’. It's scarcely surprising, then, that the great virtue of Judt's book is the clarity and the breadth of its account of postwar…

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  • The King's Two Bodies

    A Study in Medieval Political Theology

    By Simon Thomson

    Few historians trace grand themes across many centuries and places, but Ernst Kantorowicz's great work on the symbolic powers of kingship is a fine example of what can happen when they do. The King's Two Bodies is at once a superb example of the critical thinking skill of evaluation – assessing…

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  • The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading

    By Damien Peters

    Perhaps no work of history written in the 20th century has done more to undermine an existing consensus and cause its readers to re-evaluate their own preconceptions than has Jonathan Riley-Smith's revisionist account of the motives of the first crusaders. Riley-Smith's thesis – based on extensive…

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  • The Night Battles

    Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

    By Etienne Stockland, Luke Freeman

    In The Night Battles, Carlo Ginzburg does more than introduce his readers to a novel group of supposed witches – the Benandanti, from the northern Italian province of Friulia. He also invents and deploys new and creative ways of tackling his source material that allow him to move beyond their…

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  • The Return of Martin Guerre

    By Joseph Tendler

    Few stories are more captivating than the one told by Natalie Zemon Davis in The Return of Martin Guerre. Basing her research on records of a bizarre court case that occurred in 16th-century France, she uses the tale of a missing soldier – whose disappearance threatens the livelihood of his peasant…

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  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    By Jo Hedesan, Joseph Tendler

    Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions can be seen, without exaggeration, as a landmark text in intellectual history. In his analysis of shifts in scientific thinking, Kuhn questioned the prevailing view that science was an unbroken progression towards the truth. Progress was…

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  • The World Turned Upside Down

    Radical Ideas During the English Revolution

    By Harman Bhogal, Liam Haydon

    Few works of history have succeeded so completely in forcing their readers to take a fresh look at the evidence as Christopher Hill's The World Turned Upside Down – and that achievement is rooted firmly in Hill's exceptional problem-solving skills. Traditional interpretations of the English Civil…

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  • Common Sense

    By Ian Jackson

    Thomas Paine’s 1776 Common Sense has secured an unshakeable place as one of history’s most explosive and revolutionary books. A slim pamphlet published at the beginning of the American Revolution, it was so widely read that it remains the all-time best selling book in US history. An impassioned…

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  • Discipline and Punish

    By Meghan Kallman, Rachele Dini

    Michel Foucault is famous as one of the 20th-century’s most innovative thinkers – and his work on Discipline and Punish was so original and offered models so useful to other scholars that the book now ranks among the most influential academic works ever published. Foucault’s aim is to trace the way…

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  • Leviathan

    By Jeremy Kleidosty, Jason Xidias

    Thomas Hobbes is a towering figure in the history of modern thought and political philosophy. He remains best remembered for his 1651 treatise on government, Leviathan, a work that shows at the very best the reasoning skills of a deeply original and creative thinker. Creative thinking is all about…

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  • A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance

    By Camille Morvan, Alexander O’Connor

    Leon Festinger’s 1957 A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance is a key text in the history of psychology – one that made its author one of the most influential social psychologists of his time. It is also a prime example of how creative thinking and problem solving skills can come together to produce work…

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  • China Rising

    Peace, Power and Order in East Asia

    By Matteo Dian, Jason Xidias

    David C. Kang’s China Rising is a fine example of an author making use of creative thinking skills to reach a conclusion that flies in the face of traditional thinking. The conventional view that the book opposed, known in international relations as ‘realism,’ was that the rise of any new global…

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  • Civil Disobedience

    By Mano Toth, Jason Xidias

    In Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau looks at old issues in new ways, asking: is there ever a time when individuals should actively oppose their government and its justice system? After a thorough review of the evidence, Thoreau comes to the conclusion that opposition is legitimate whenever…

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  • The Prison Notebooks

    By Lorenzo Fusaro, Jason Xidias

    Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks is a remarkable work, not only because it was written in jail as the Italian Marxist thinker fell victim to political oppression in his home country, but also because it shows his impressive analytical ability. First published in 1948, 11 years after Gramsci’s…

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  • Democracy in America

    By Elizabeth Morrow

    Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1838 Democracy in America is a classic of political theory – and of the problem-solving skills central to putting forward political ideas. Problem-solving has several aspects: identifying problems, finding methodologies to deal with them, and applying the right criteria to…

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  • Nature's Metropolis

    Chicago And The Great West

    By Cheryl Hudson

    What caused the rise of Chicago, and how did the city's expansion fuel the westward movement of the American frontier – and influence the type of society that evolved as a result? Nature's Metropolis emerged as a result of William Cronon asking and answering those questions, and the work can…

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  • Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World

    By Etienne Stockland

    Understanding why revolutions take place when they do, and as they do, is important in itself. Understanding how they are rooted in the societies they upend – and the ways in which those societies share crucial similarities – is arguably even more so. The enduring influence of Jack Goldstone's…

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  • An Essay on the Principle of Population

    By Nick Broten

    Thomas Robert Malthus’ 1798 Essay on the Principle of Population helped change the direction of economics, politics, and the natural sciences with its reasoning and problem solving. The central topic of the essay was the idea, extremely prevalent in the 18th and 19th centuries, that human society…

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  • The Souls of Black Folk

    By Jason Xidias

    W.E.B Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk is a seminal work in the field of sociology, a classic of American literature – and a solid example of carefully-structured reasoning. One of the most important texts ever written on racism and black identity in America, the work contains powerful arguments…

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  • Kicking Away the Ladder

    By Sulaiman Hakemy

    South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang used his 2003 work Kicking Away The Ladder to challenge the central orthodoxies of development economics, using his creative thinking skills to shine new light on an old topic. Creative thinkers are often distinguished by their willingness to challenge received…

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  • Why We Can't Wait

    By Jason Xidias

    Martin Luther King’s policy of non-violent protest in the struggle for civil rights in the United States during the second half of the twentieth century led to fundamental shifts in American government policy relating to segregation, and a cultural shift in the treatment of African Americans. King’…

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  • The Prince

    By Riley Quinn, Ben Worthy

    How should rulers rule? What is the nature of power? These questions had already been asked when Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1513. But what made his thinking on the topic different was his ability to interpret evidence: to look at old issues and find new meaning within them. Many of…

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  • Capitalism and Freedom

    By Sulaiman Hakemy

    Milton Friedman was arguably the single most influential economist of the 20th-century. His influence, particularly on conservative politics in America and Great Britain, substantially helped – as both supporters and critics agree – to shape the global economy as it is today. Capitalism and…

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  • The End of History and the Last Man

    By Ian Jackson, Jason Xidias

    Francis Fukuyama’s controversial 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man demonstrates an important aspect of creative thinking: the ability to generate hypotheses and create novel explanations for evidence. In the case of Fukuyama’s work, the central hypothesis and explanation he put forward…

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  • States and Social Revolutions

    A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China

    By Riley Quinn

    Many people want to understand what revolutions are and – especially – how they come about, from the academics who study them to the states that wish to prevent (or, in some cases, provoke) them. But it is arguably the US scholar Theda Skocpol who has done most to create a viable model of…

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  • After Virtue

    By Jon W. Thompson

    Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1981 After Virtue was a ground-breaking contribution to modern moral philosophy. Dissatisfied with the major trends in the moral philosophy of his time, MacIntyre argued that modern moral discourse had no real rational basis. Instead, he suggested, if one wanted to build a…

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  • Theory of International Politics

    By Riley Quinn, Bryan Gibson

    Kenneth Waltz’s 1979 Theory of International Politics is credited with bringing about a “scientific revolution” in the study of international relations – bringing the field into a new era of systematic study. The book is also a lesson in reasoning carefully and critically. Good reasoning is…

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  • Characteristics of Negro Expression

    By Mercedes Aguirre, Benjamin Lempert

    The racial prejudices of 1930s America were many, and included a common presumption that African American art was unoriginal – merely poorly copying white culture. African-American novelist, anthropologist and essayist Zora Neale Hurston crushingly evaluated such assumptions in her 1934 essay ‘…

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  • Structural Anthropology

    By Jeffrey A. Becker, Kitty Wheater

    Claude Lévi-Strauss is probably the most complex anthropological theorist of all time. His work continues to influence present-day thinkers in his field, but he is perhaps even more influential beyond it. As one of the key figures in the development of what is known today as ‘French theory,’…

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  • Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason

    By Ian Jackson

    The eighteenth-century philosopher Immanuel Kant is as daunting as he is influential: widely considered to be not only one of the most challenging thinkers of all time, but also one of the most important. His Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason takes on two of his central preoccupations –…

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  • Symposium

    By Richard Ellis, Simon Ravenscroft

    Plato’s Symposium, composed in the early fourth century BC, demonstrates how powerful the skills of reasoning and evaluation can be. Known to philosophers for its seminal discussion of the relationship of love to knowledge, it is also a classic text for demonstrating the two critical thinking…

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  • Philosophical Investigations

    By Michael O' Sullivan

    Many still consider Ludwig Wittgenstein’s 1953 Philosophical Investigations to be one of the breakthrough works of twentieth-century philosophy. The book sets out a radically new conception of philosophy itself, and demonstrates all the attributes of a fine analytical mind. Taking an argument from…

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  • Competitive Strategy

    Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance

    By Pádraig Belton

    Michael E. Porter’s 1980 book Competitive Strategy is a fine example of critical thinking skills in action. Porter used his strong evaluative skills to overturn much of the accepted wisdom in the world of business. By exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the accepted argument that the best…

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