I am a politics and history hobbyist but my engineering life didn't give me enough time to dive more into politics and think about more advanced concepts and improve my formal political knowledge. So, in this regard, i want suggestions for books to formally understand the organization of a nation, the different structures it has, how they relate together, understanding different political systems and how they relate to economy; Kind of books from authors like : Karl Marx, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Vladimir Lenin or modern political philosophers.

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    This question was likely closed as too broad because the books written about this topic could fill a whole library. Which of them are worth reading and which aren't would be a matter of personal opinion. – Philipp Nov 20 '18 at 13:58
  • Voting to re-open. There is definitely space for answers based on professional opinion in this answer. Just like a surgeon could recommend surgery books, a political theorist can recommend books influential and important in the field of political theory. – indigochild Dec 5 '18 at 21:51
  • John Locke is mandatory for understanding Natural/Individual Rights and the principles which inspired the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Friedman & Murry Rothbard to understand government's role in economics. Marx, Hegel, Lenin & Hitler's Mein Kampf to understand tyranny & oppression. – Aporter Jan 1 '19 at 10:36

I would suggest first the classics such as Plato, Machiavelli, and then John Locke and Adam Smith to understand the capitalist grounds of today. More recently, I would suggest Jason Brennan's Against Democracy for a delightful criticism of democracy.

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This Q. supposes there's been a "formal" treatment of nations that's universally satisfactory the way a good physics textbook might be. While various people talk as if this is the case, politics is more of a strange art, or a proto-science, (like alchemy), than it is a hard science; and this art presently has several competing "formal" theories and schools that attempt to describe what nations are, why things are the way they are, what's feasible, and how to achieve political goals; there's also endless critiques between competing schools that are as rivalrous as competing religious sects.

About the only formal approach that's not contentious is historical, which consists of studying various theories for the last few thousand years. Which ideally would allow students to learn from history, so that when they finally get around to studying the present day and its contentious competing theories, the student will better be able to distinguish the promising ideas from the less useful ones. Whether students of politics actually are made more able by such studies seems less clear.

The contentious formal approaches are all the same in the abstract. Some partisan political pope declares a set of certain truths, and their students narrowly study the books of whoever their pope commends. For devoted students there's two possible outcomes:

  1. The student becomes a lifelong adherent of their pope's political theories or truths.
  2. The student finds too many inconsistencies, becomes a heretic, and either follows another school's pope, or, if he should live so long, starts his own school...

As an alternative to these, the student can follow the example of engineering -- many excellent engineers and inventors were not scholars of science, but nevertheless wound up contributing to it. For politics the method would be to find a problem, (unsolved), study various approaches, and select or devise some feasible remedy, then test it, note the results, and perhaps share those with some like-minded community.

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