One day when I was a student in Oxford, I went to a student auction to buy a bicycle. Instead, I bought a book. It was only 3 GBP and it was second hand. It was called “Social Theory: a Historical Introduction” by Alex Callinicos, and this was a start of my passion for social theory.
I remember long evenings over this book, I remember slow Saturday breakfasts over this book, and I still have it on my shelve in my university office in Baku, Azerbaijan. I since bought a new edition published in 2007 which also includes an extra chapter on globalization and imperialism.
I strongly recommend this book for an introduction to philosophy, social theory and social science in general. It’s lightly written, contains interesting biographical detail and covers all major thinkers from Plato to Naomi Klein.