The 11 Best Books on Science

Here’s my list of the 11 best books on science, in no particular order.

  1. Godel, Escher and Bach by Douglas Hofstadter – Perhaps the most dizzyingly brilliant, fascinating and interesting books I’ve ever read. The book is about paradoxes and how they can explain consciousness. But to understand his thesis, Hofstadter takes you on an unforgettable journey to get there.
  2. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking – A beautiful layman’s explanation of the Big Bang, astrophysics and the theoretical explanations behind our universe.
  3. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins – Sometimes an idea changes how you see the world. Dawkins explains the revolutionary idea in biology of gene selection, completely flipping evolutionary thought on its head.
  4. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert – A geological look at the climate crisis and how, by the standards of Earth’s lifespan, we are currently causing its sixth great extinction. 
  5. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson – A tour de force of modern scientific thought. Bryson starts at the Big Bang and brings us all the way up to present day.
  6. The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker – A tour de force against the desire to avoid, ignore and deny the role of genetics in human behavior and society.
  7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – Half biography of a woman, half a biography of science, Henrietta Lacks’ cells were the first that scientists managed to grow in labs in perpetuity. Today, there are more cells of her in the world–70 years after her death–than there ever was when she was alive.
  8. Emperor of All Maladies by Siddartha Muhkerjee – A history of cancer in all its forms and the medicines and techniques we’ve developed to fight it.
  9. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn – A controversial classic from the 60s, Kuhn argues that large leaps in scientific progress necessarily must come from outside the scientific establishment.
  10. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett – A history of the idea of evolution and the transformative effects it’s had on everything it’s touched.
  11. Factfulness by Hans Rosling – A wonderful book on how our minds resist accepting data that runs counter to our assumptions and beliefs.

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