Philosophy & Critical Theory
Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

   
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Bullshit Jobs
A Theory
David Graeber
From bestselling writer David Graeber, a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs, and their consequences. Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled "On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs." It went viral.
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Alienation and Freedom
Frantz Fanon
A fascinating array of uncollected (and several previously lost) essays by the great Pan-African philosopher and post-colonial theorist. This tome gives us a deeper and more personal portrait of the man himself, and his essays on racism, anti-imperialism and the psychology of fascism remain deeply relevant today.—Recommended by Michael
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Pictures of a Gone City
Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area
Richard Walker
This exploration begins by tracing the concentration of IT in Greater Silicon Valley and the resulting growth in start-ups, jobs, and wealth. This is followed by a look at the new working class of color and the millions earning poverty wages. The middle chapters survey the urban scene, including the housing bubble and the newly exploded metropolis.
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Bunk
The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News
Kevin Young
Award-winning poet and critic Kevin Young tours us through a rogue's gallery of hoaxers, plagiarists, forgers, and fakers. —Recommended by Paul
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The Red Atlas
How the Soviet Union Secretly Mapped the World
John Davies, Alexander J. Kent
Fascinating and full of detail. A wonderful rabbit hole to fall down, especially when Russian involvement in foreign politics has again made the news... —Recommended by Vanessa
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Life in Code
A Personal History of Technology
The never-more-necessary return of one of our most vital and eloquent voices on technology and culture, the author of the seminal Close to the Machine The last twenty years have brought us the rise of the internet, the development of artificial intelligence, the ubiquity of once unimaginably powerful computers, and the thorough transformation...
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At the Existentialist Cafe
Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others
Sarah Bakewell
Bakewell manifests the freedom and thrill of existentialism with hardly any of the dread. You are free. You decide. —Recommended by Caitlyn
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The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge
Abraham Flexner
A short, provocative book about why "useless" science often leads to humanity's greatest technological breakthroughs A forty-year tightening of funding for scientific research has meant that resources are increasingly directed toward applied or practical outcomes, with the intent of creating products of immediate value.
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I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
Mark Dery
"I must not think bad thoughts. I must not think bad thoughts." These lyrics by the band X have been my mantra on many occasions as I trudged my way here and there. Lucky for us that Mark Dery goes deep into the territories that many of us shun, illuminating the absurdity, humor and truths found on the dark side. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights
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Nan Dòmi
An Initiate's Journey into Haitian Vodou
Mimerose Beaubrun
The first and only insider's account of Vodou's private, mystical, interior practice, a compelling story of initiation and transformation.
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Why Does the World Exist?
An Existential Detective Story
Jim Holt
In this astonishing and profound work, an irreverent sleuth traces the riddle of existence from the ancient world to modern times. Whether framed philosophically as "Why is there a world rather than nothing at all?" or more colloquially as...
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The Trouble with Being Born
E. M. Cioran
Crotchety old man snarks about the pointlessness of life. Wonderful. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Pataphysical Essays
René Daumal
Pataphysical Essays collects Daumal's overtly pataphysical writings from 1929 to 1941, from his landmark exposition on pataphysics and laughter to his late essay, "The Pataphysics of Ghosts." Daumal's "Treatise on Patagrams" offers the reader...
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The Grey Album
On the Blackness of Blackness
Kevin Young
Taking its title from Danger Mouse's pioneering mashup of Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' The White Album, Kevin Young’s encyclopedic book combines essay, cultural criticism, and lyrical chorus to illustrate the African American tradition of...

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