These Are the Best Books for Each College Major, According to Students (Part 2)

Get ready for more picks to binge-read over fall break!

After reading your feedback from the first installment of this series, we’re back with even more book suggestions for you to read during your next break. Because of the amount of interest generated by the first piece, there will also be a part three following this one, so if you’re still waiting to see your major pop up, stay tuned for more!

Without any further ado, here are even more books recommended by real college students based on their majors of study:

The Best Books, According to Computer Science Majors:

1. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequalities and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil

There’s no better time than right now to read this book. Though hyperbolic at times, O’Neil’s work illustrates the pervasiveness of “Big Data” in our everyday lives. It also explains what to do once you’ve pulled back the curtain and seen inside our ever-expanding world of technology.

2. Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate by Zoe Quinn 

This book has been on my radar for some time now. Crash Override is important for any woman going into CompSci to read because we, unfortunately, live in a world where Quinn’s experiences as a woman in tech are all too common. Her resilience in the face of relentless trolls is an important lesson and message to all those who follow in her footsteps.

Honorable Mentions: Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin; Utopia is Creepy and Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

The Best Books, According to History Majors:

1. The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder & Forensics in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum 

This is an addictive retelling of the evolution of forensic science during the roaring twenties. Part scientific history, part detective novel, this book is highly recommended for history buffs who are fans of Law & Order or Criminal Minds.

2.City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic and the First Police Chief of Paris by Holly Tucker 

In a similar vein to our first book, this work looks at crime and the evolution of the police force in 17th century Paris. Following the first police chief of the City of Lights, Nicolas de La Reynie’s obsessive notes, court transcripts, and other historical documents give authenticity to this enticing tale of murder and deception that would otherwise seem like something straight out of an HBO period drama. 

Honorable Mentions: Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination by Paul Freedman

The Best Books, According to Economics Majors:

1. Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner?: A Story of Women and Economics by Katrine Marcal 

I first saw this book in my hometown’s library and was immediately fascinated by the premise, as finance is typically thought of as a man’s world. The discussions surrounding feminism so often center on social inequalities rather than economic ones and so this book will definitely be one of my next picks when I have free time!

2. The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel by Benjamin Graham 

This book connects the theoretical with the practical by explaining how to implement classical economic philosophies in your own investments. Time is key when investing, so if you can start investing even a tiny bit of money while in college, it will, literally, pay off in a big way.

3. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell

For those of you (like me) with zero knowledge or understanding of the economy, check out  for a beginners’ guide to the economy that anyone can follow, recommended by a CF Reader!

Honorable Mention: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist

The Best Books, According to Psychology Majors:

1. An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison 

This one was recommended to me by no less than three people because it is just that incredible. As someone who struggles with a depressive illness, I especially value that Dr. Jamison is retelling her own personal experiences, in often times heart-wrenching detail and brutal honesty. As her memoir focuses on her experiences in academic medicine, it is even more appropriate for college readers.

2. The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness by Amanda Bennett and Lori Schiller 

In this book, Schiller details her personal tale of survival and perseverance as she recounts her highest highs and lowest lows in her battle with schizophrenia. Her story is important because Schiller is shedding light on an often misunderstood and stereotyped disease in a way that is as compelling as it is heartbreaking.

Honorable Mentions: The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge; Mindsight by Daniel Seigel

Additionally, if there’s any interest in more psych books, I have a dear friend who focuses on Autism Spectrum Disorder and thus has a wealth of books she suggested I include. So let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see!

If you’re majoring in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies

1. The Power by Naomi Alderman 

I just started reading The Power, and I am already OBSESSED. It’s been called The Handmaid’s Tale for this generation and it details a reimagining of our world as one in which women and teenage girls possess the power to inflict torturous pain on anyone they choose. The writing is haunting and addictive and I am personally neglecting all of my assigned readings at the moments to finish this. It’s that good.

2. Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett 

This one has been recommended to me by so many professors that I’ve finally lost count. As humorous as it is informative, the Feminist Fight Club is a manifesto of sorts for how to survive (and thrive) in a world that continues to undervalue women and their contributions. And did I mention it’s funny? Seriously, in addition to a wealth of research and statistics, this book contains feminist Mad Libs and more.

Honorable Mentions: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit; White Teeth by Zadie Smith; Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay (reviewed by CF here!); literally anything and everything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What do you think?

Keep an eye out for the next installment which will include books for those of you studying engineering, bio, pre-law and more! What are you currently reading for class (or for fun) that you can’t put down no matter how hard you try? Let me know in the comments below.


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