Whilst reading academic material isn’t always the most exciting activity, it is sometimes necessary, especially if you are a college student, with an upcoming exam, or conducting research to complete essays and papers for your course.

We’ve rounded up the 10 most popular sociology textbooks amongst US students so far this year, chosen for how often they’ve been searched on BookScouter. We also included digital textbooks in our list. We’ve eliminated copies and outdated editions; access card lookups stats were also properly processed.

Whether you’re looking for a textbook for an upcoming semester or general advice on best sociology books, take a look at these 10 most searched ones in 2024.

Essentials of Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age 3E 

By Kenneth J. Guest 

This book combines videos and interactive learning with the essential tools of cultural anthropology, to give students a new way of looking at the world and enable them to ask diverse questions when they start class.  

Preparing students to engage in meaningful discussions on the main topics of our time is the main success of this book and makes it the most successful textbook for learning about living in a multicultural and global age. 

Reviews praise this sociology book for its overview of different cultures and for broadening perceptions and appreciations for others.

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Introduction to Physical Anthropology, Loose-Leaf Version 

By Robert Jurmain, Lynn Kilgore, Wenda Trevathan, Russell L. Ciochon 

Focusing on human evolution this book develops mastery of the basic ideas and understanding of humans as a species and our place within the biological world. Including the most up-to-date, balanced, and comprehensive information on the subject, is a must for any ambitious student. 

Keeping current within the field and incorporating discussions on genetic technology, scientific findings and our connection to all life in its frameworks makes this a great introduction to physical anthropology. 

An engaging and refreshing read say, reviewers. Lots of visuals, diagrams, and explanations make the subject matter interesting and readers want to find out more.

You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation 

By Deborah Tannen 

Creating many discussions about communication, speaking styles, and general gender differences. This sociology book takes a detailed look at the range of interpersonal relationships between men and women, and after reading this book you will never approach conversations in the same way again. It identifies why men and women can leave the same conversation with completely different interpretations, and this is what makes this book truly spectacular.  

Full of real-life conversations to help improve your communication both at work and in the home, it’s no wonder it’s been on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly 4 years. 

Introducing Anthropology: An Integrated Approach 

By Michael Park 

A general introduction to anthropology is student-friendly and presents information in a holistic way. A concise look at the traditional topics is needed to form a solid base when beginning to study anthropology. Information is presented through a clear sequence of ideas and examines the biocultural, nature, evolution, and behavior of the human species.  

A great insight into the human species and an overview of other cultures according to Goodreads. Perfectly sized to carry to lectures or speed read the weekend before an exam this introduction to anthropology is perfect for anyone new to the subject. 

Women and Men: Cultural Constructs of Gender 

By Nancy Bonvillain 

Focusing on the wide range of data around ethnographic and historic roles of men, women, and gender-nonconforming people in different societies. This sociology book discusses the material conditions and ideological values that affect and reflect different genders.  

Topics include marriage through discussions on the intersectionality of gender class and race. It includes information about the transmigration of women from poorer countries to work as nannies, cooks and household help in the western world. 

Discussions around gender and religion, body, and language give insight into the impact of cultural constraints of gender around the world. 

ENVY: A Theory of Social Behaviour 

By Helmut Schoeck 

A detailed exclamation of the many faces of envy “The drive which lives the core of man’s life as a social being”. This book explores one of the few studies around constructive and destructive consequences of envy in social life. Demonstrating how quickly totalitarian regimes can take effect and why egalitarian impulse is most likely rooted in envy in democratic societies. 

A truly extraordinary and surprising sociology book, tackling a subject shrouded in taboo says, reviewers. Offering views on a multitude of topics within social society including its involvement in crime and origins in ancient cultures such as witchcraft.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition 

By American Psychological Association 

The publication manual is the go-to user-friendly manual for many writers, editors, students, and educators. A great resource to help and inform writers in the behavioural sciences, and social sciences. Presented using text, data, and images meaning finding answers to your questions is quick and easy.  

The information in this book will help you write papers for college, university, professional journals and create presentations for colleagues.  

A clear, concise look at how to format and present a scholarly paper on a multitude of subjects with examples of how to correctly include citations and references, Goodreads. 

Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History 

By Paul Nugent 

This study compares experiences from different trajectories and independent African states. It follows the independence of different African countries in the 1950s and work done to create political and economic freedoms for the post-colonial age.  

The author analyses boundary problems within Africa and describes the reshaping of territorial structures by both civilian and military regimes. Topics also include discussions around HIV and AIDS and their impact since gaining independence. 

A truly fabulous study with a comprehensive look at modern African history, perfect for those who know little of the history as well as seasoned historians. Explaining such complex and varied topics within one book makes this a valuable resource. 

Introduction to Sociology 2e by OpenStax (Official Print Version, hardcover, full color) 

By OpenStax College, et al 

Offering a typical introduction to any sociology course this book covers the core concepts, important foundation scholars, and emerging theories. Each section stops to pause and ask questions to ensure understanding of the concepts discussed and helps students improve their knowledge by applying the subject matter in a meaningful way. 

Covering three major approaches in sociology; functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interaction alongside other topics such as family, race, and social change this book is excellent in explaining the subject matter and linking it back to theory to give students a good head start into the world of sociology.

Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Principles 

By Arie W. Kruglanski (Editor), E. Tory Higgins (Editor) 

This sociology book offers breadth and depth of its coverage of the basic principles of social behaviour. Important topics and research included are; biological, cognitive, motivational, and interpersonal systems. As well as social psychologists reviewing a broad range of principles, such as goals, explanations, arousal, social influence, interdependence, social conflict, and social standards. 

Through presenting ideas in a clear, innovative way the author has achieved an exciting read for anyone wanting to understand more about sociology. Each chapter focuses on psychology right from the minuscule, up through information processing and onto the social interaction and relationship level.