Recommended Reading for Democracy

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

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives (where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance) are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this book, the opposite is true.

White Fragility (2018)
by Robin

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” ( Time ) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society–and in ourselves.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time

Republic : divided democracy in the age of social media by Cass R. Sunstein

From the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars , a revealing account of how today’s Internet threatens democracy–and what can be done about it

Promises to Keep by Joe Biden

A New York Times Bestseller: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the author of Promise Me, Dad, tells the story of his extraordinary life and career prior to his emergence as Barack Obama’s beloved, influential vice president.

Great Again by Donald J. Trump

In this book (previously published as Crippled America), we’re going to look at the state of the world right now. It’s a terrible mess, and that’s putting it mildly. There has never been a more dangerous time. The politicians and special interests in Washington, DC are directly responsible for the mess we are in. So why should we continue listening to them?


  • Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy by Siva Vaidhyanathan
  • Democracy and Dysfunction by Sanford Levinson and Jack M. Balkin
  • The Democracy Fix: How to Win the Fight for Fair Rules, Fair Courts, and Fair Elections by Caroline Fredrickson
  • Democracy in Danger: How Hackers and Activists Exposed Fatal Flaws in the Election System by Jake Braun
  • Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn’t, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think by David Litt
  • Doing Data Science: Straight Talk From the Frontline by Rachel Schutt and Cathy O’Neil
  • Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • The Great Democracy: How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy & Unite America by Ganesh Sitaraman
  • If…Then: Algorithnic Power and Politics by Taina Bucher
  • Memes to Movements: How the World’s Most Viral Media is Changing Social Protest and Power by An Xiao Mina
  • Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin
  • Outnumbered: From Facebook and Google to Fake News and Filter-bubbles — The Algorithms That Control Our Lives by David Sumpter
  • Parties and Elections in America: The Electoral Process, Eighth Edition by Mark D. Brewer and L. Sandy Maisel
  • The Primary Rules: Parties, Voters, and Presidential Nominations by Caithlin E. Jewitt
  • Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media by Cass R. Sunstein
  • They Don’t’ Respect Us: Reclaiming Out Democracy by Lawrence Lessig
  • The Turnout Gap: Race, Ethnicity, and Political Inequality in a Diversifying America by Bernard L. Fraga
  • The Ultimate Guide to the 2020 Election: 101 Nonpartisan Solutions to All the Issues That Matter by Ryan Clancy and Margaret White
  • Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy by David Daley
  • We Must Not Be Enemies: Restoring America’s Civic Tradition by Michael Austin
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil
  • Why Vote?: Essential Questions About the Future of Elections in America by Daniel M. Shea


Cleveland Public Library series brings together authors, performers, journalists, activists, and educators to discuss the issues impacting our democracy. In conjunction with Democracy 2020, Cleveland Public Library welcomes authors who bring issues that matter most to voters to the forefront.

Authors Cathy O'Neil, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, and Bryan Stevenson

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