Recommended Reading from Political Pros

recommended reading from political pros

A Recommended Reading List from TCW Interviewees

We always try to ask the political pros we interview in our “7 questions” blog series what they’re reading. As a result, we’ve gotten some great recommended reading ideas from these folks. Some of these reads help shed light on the state of the American electorate; others will give you the break you deserve from the state of our politics. Behold, our latest recommended reading list, brought to you by experts in Democratic polling, messaging, political science, decision-making, fundraising, and beyond. Happy reading!

RECOMMENDED READING: MEMOIRS

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – recommended by Democratic pollster Alan Secrest

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – recommended by Democratic pollster Alan Secrest

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance – recommended by Democratic pollster Alan Secrest

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson – recommended by Democratic pollster Alan Secrest

RECOMMENDED READING: FICTION

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen – recommended by Democratic pollster Alan Secrest

Any noir mystery/crime/dystopian novels by Jo Nesbø, Philip Kerr, or Justin Cronin – recommended by Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – recommended by Democratic pollster Alan Secrest

RECOMMENDED READING: PSYCHOLOGY/MESSAGING

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt – recommended by Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg

Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear by Frank Luntz – recommended by progressive policy expert Bernie Horn

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu – recommended by political consultant and researcher Steve Vancore

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie – recommended by progressive policy expert Bernie Horn

“The Partisan Brain: An Identity-Based Model of Political Belief” by Jay Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira – recommended by decision-making expert Annie Duke

Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results by Alison Green and Jerry Hauser – recommended by fundraising professional Jason Mida

RECOMMENDED READING: HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild – recommended by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones – recommended by Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper

Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government by Chris Achen and Larry Bartels – recommended by political scientist Joshua Kalla

Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López – recommended by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake

Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town by Brian Alexander – recommended by Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper

The Democratic Faith: Essays on Democratic Citizenship by Paul Sniderman – recommended by political scientist Joshua Kalla

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder – recommended by Crowdpac co-founder Gisel Kordestani

Plus, don’t forget about our bonus recommended reads, recently authored by our interviewees:

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts by decision-making expert and former professional poker player Annie Duke

Looking for Votes in All the Wrong Places: Tales and Rules from the Campaign Trail by RBI Strategies president and co-founder Rick Ridder

The Wingman: A Jack Sharpe Political Thriller, a novel by Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper

Voicing Our Values: A Message Guide for Policymakers and Advocates by Bernie Horn, Senior Director for Policy and Communications at the Public Leadership Institute

“The Minimal Persuasive Effects of Campaign Contact in General Elections: Evidence from 49 Field Experiments” by Joshua Kalla and David Broockman

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