Books for IB Global Politics

Global Politics by Andrew Heywood

Heywood’s Global Politics is probably the best textbook for the IB Global Politics course though I don’t think it is the kind of book students can simply read on their own cover to cover (at least my students can’t). The book provides great foundational and content knowledge for teachers and selected sections can be assigned to students. This is probably the book I have used most often for the course. If you buy only one book this should be it though the “current” Second Edition was published in 2014 so some parts of it are somewhat outdated.



Introduction to Global Politics (6th Edition)

I’ve heard good things about this book but haven’t used it yet. The most recent edition is the 6th edition but you can find previous editions a lot cheaper. I bought the 4th edition (used from Abebooks), published in 2017, for around $4.

Introduction to Global Politics, Sixth Edition, provides a current, engaging, and non-U.S. perspective on global politics. It shows students how to analyze global political events using theoretical approaches–both mainstream and alternative–and emphasizes non-state actors more than any otherglobal politics text. The book offers a robust ancillary resource program, including FREE interactive media activities designed to reinforce key concepts by simulating real-world situations, making Introduction to Global Politics, Sixth Edition, the perfect text to engage your students.

International Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings 1st Edition

Great collection of essays, selections from books and other written sources that span a wide historical range. Not good as a textbook for the course but good source material for teachers to find appropriate readings for class.

This comprehensive, smartly-organized reader showcases the very best international relations scholarship: over 90 readings represent the field′s traditions and contemporary debates, helping students trace the development of the scholarly field. International Politics: Classic and Contemporary Reading′s four main parts―theoretical traditions, war and peace, international political economy, and emerging issues―dovetail with how most IR courses are taught, making the book easy to use. But this is more than just a collection of readings: International Politics is designed to help readers engage critically, in the spirit of intellectual pluralism, with some of the world′s most provocative questions.

The World: A Brief Introduction by Richard Haas


This is a useful book but it is probably too complex for students to read on their own prior to starting the course but could be useful for students to read after Year 1. As far as practical use of the book, the author starts the book by providing a very useful, succinct historical summary that led us to our current world order. This section of the book could provide a good blueprint for how to start the course and what background might be necessary.

Later, the author provides overviews and summaries of different regions of the world which could be interesting ways to provide background and context for different case studies. The background section on Europe could be useful as an introduction to a unit on Brexit.

I only recently read this book and have not integrated it into my course just yet but there are many useful possibilities. If nothing else, could be a good resource for a new Global Politics teacher refreshing background knowledge while preparing for the course.

Global Politics IB Essentials by Murphy and Gleek, Pearson

This book works best as a review book for students and can provide some help and guidance while planning the course. It does a great job boiling the course down into its bare bones. I think it is far better than the Oxford IB Global Politics.







21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Really engaging book that covers a wide variety of topics of interest to the Global Politics course. It would be an interesting book to have students read after Year 1 since many students would lack the context to read before starting the course. I have  yet to integrate the book into my class but have some ideas on how different topics could be used.

From the publisher: “Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.”

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli

Currently working on translating various parts of the book into readings for students for the development unit. So much great stuff in this book and well-balanced as well. Points of interest include: the structural political impediments to developments in west African countries (particularly with their cotton farming), the conflict between global manufacturing and labor activism, the nature of global markets and MNCs.

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a critically-acclaimed narrative that illuminates the globalization debates and reveals the key factors to success in global business. Tracing a T-shirt’s life story from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a U.S. storefront before arriving at the used clothing market in Africa, the book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy. Along the way, this fascinating exploration addresses a wealth of compelling questions about politics, trade, economics, ethics, and the impact of history on today’s business landscape. This new printing of the second edition includes a revised preface and a new epilogue with updates through 2014 on the people, industries, and policies related to the T-shirt’s life story.

Planet Money podcast did an excellent series adapting various ideas and concepts from this book that is also worth listening to. Here is a link to the series of podcasts.

Here is a link to the main page for that series with additional visuals.

Factulness by Hans Rosling

This book provides some great insights into global trends that fly in the face of preconceived notions of the state of global development and its challenges. Rosling provides some great ways to categorize development and understand meaningful ways of thinking about what development means in a real life way. Great way to introduce this topic or this book is to introduce the multiple choice quiz he gives students and development experts to assess the level of their misconceptions.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

The New Middle East: What Everyone Needs to Know by James L. Gelvin

Formatted as a series of questions and answers, this book provides great background and insight into what is a complicated region. Short enough that a student could reasonably read this on their own or have sections assigned along with a unit on the region.

From the publisher: “In The New Middle East: What Everyone Needs to Know®, renowned Middle East scholar James L. Gelvin explains all these developments and more in a concise question-and-answer format. Outlining the social, political, and economic contours of the New Middle East, he illuminates the current crisis in the region and explores how the region will continue to change in the decades to come.”