The Forest and the Trees

Please note that the third edition of The Forest and the TreesThe Forest and the Trees (new cover on left) will be published on Setpember 12, 2014. The information below applies to the current edition. For more on the new edition, click here.

If sociology could teach everyone just one thing, what would it be? The Forest and the Trees is one sociologist’s response to the hypothetical – the core insight with the greatest potential to change how people see the world and themselves in relation to it. It is about what that insight is an why it matters that we understand it, use it, and pass it on. It is about the future of a discipline whose influence and credibility will stand or fall on the ability to foster a clear and widespread understanding of what it means to think sociologically. (from the publisher)

For an excerpt from chapter one, click here. For additional excerpts, see “Why Is There Poverty?” and “Where White Privilege Came From.”

To purchase The Forest and the Trees:
The Forest and the Trees, 3rd edition, is available online at Amazon (including a Kindle edition) or Barnes & Noble or through your local bookstore. Instructors wanting to order an exam copy for their courses should click here.

Praise for The Forest and the Trees:

There is no better book to help college students understand the sociological mindset. In the tradition of Peter Berger’s Invitation to Sociology, Johnson speaks directly to students in clear language, using strong examples to clarify key sociological concepts such as culture, structure, socialization, and privilege. For students who have not perceived their own privileged status, this serves as a challenging but affirming first step toward sociological self-awareness.” Terence J. McGinn, The University of Michigan

The Forest and the Trees integrates the topic of social inequality (both oppression and privilege) seamlessly into the narrative in a way that no other book I’ve considered does. I have so much respect for Johnson’s clear and compelling writing style, as well as his ability to explain and elaborate on concepts in a way that is easy for my students to understand.” Betsy Lucal, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Indiana University South Bend

I love The Forest and the Trees. And, honestly, if there was not a new edition, I am not sure how I would teach my introduction to sociology course. My students often comment that it was the best book in a class they have ever read. I cannot sing the praises of The Forest and the Trees enough!” Marisol Clark-Ibáñez, Associate Professor of Sociology, California State University, San Marcos

Johnson’s prolegomenon to the study of sociology, written for beginning sociology students at all levels, presents a ‘core view’ of sociology; individuals always participate in something larger than themselves – social system; social life flows from this relationship between smaller and larger, between the forest and the trees. . . . Johnson’s discussion is masterful.”  Choice

[A]n inspiring resource. . . . I highly recommend this book as a very useful teaching aid for introductory sociology in the Berger and Mills traditions.”  The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology

Johnson explains the sociological imagination and its importance in simple, easy to understand language. He references the major thinkers in sociology such as Mills, Marx, Mead, etc. while describing their ideas in more contemporary language. My students love reading this book prior to everything else in the course.”  Arizona Professor’s review on Amazon.com