Best Science Books - Non-Fiction Only

Top 10 Best Science Books - Non-Fiction Only : The Selfish Gene, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution, Chaos: Making a New Science, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

The Selfish Gene
AuthorRichard Dawkins
The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition—with a new Introduction by the Author

Inheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene....
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
AuthorJared Diamond
"Diamond has written a book of remarkable scope ... one of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years."

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a national bestseller: the global account of the rise of civilization that is also a stunning refutation of ideas of...
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
AuthorCarl Sagan
How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific...
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
AuthorDouglas R. Hofstadter
Douglas Hofstadter's book is concerned directly with the nature of “maps” or links between formal systems. However, according to Hofstadter, the formal system that underlies all mental activity transcends the system that supports it. If life can grow out of the formal chemical substrate of...
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
AuthorOliver Sacks
If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it. Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder. Here are people who...
The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus
AuthorRichard Preston
A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus....
The Feynman Lectures on Physics
AuthorRichard P. Feynman
The revised edition of Feynman's legendary lectures includes extensive corrections and updates collated by Feynman and his colleagues. A new foreword by Kip Thorne, the current Richard Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech, discusses the relevance of the new edition to today's readers....
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution
AuthorRichard Dawkins
The renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views. Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans...
Chaos: Making a New Science
AuthorJames Gleick
Few writers distinguish themselves by their ability to write about complicated, even obscure topics clearly and engagingly. In Chaos, James Gleick, a former science writer for the New York Times, shows that he resides in this exclusive category. Here he takes on the job of depicting the first years...
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
AuthorSam Kean
Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium (Cd, 48)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?

The periodic table is one of our crowning scientific...
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
AuthorJared Diamond
Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?

In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond...
Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters
AuthorMatt Ridley
I wish I could give this book 6 stars! It's really fantastic, and I want to recommend it to EVERYONE, but in my heart I know the tone would bore some of my friends... I suggest thinking of the author/narrator as a cool guy you'd be friends with telling you all this information, instead of a nerdy/haughty *scientist*...
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
AuthorDava Sobel
Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day—and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon...
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
AuthorBrian Greene
From Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading physicists and author the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Elegant Universe, comes a grand tour of the universe that makes us look at reality in a completely different way.

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the...
Silent Spring
AuthorRachel Carson
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land,...
Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
AuthorNeil Shubin
Why do we look the way we do? What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly? Are breasts, sweat glands, and scales connected in some way? To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today's most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources:...
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
AuthorRandall Munroe
Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD 'a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language' which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science...
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
AuthorThomas S. Kuhn
Thomas S. Kuhn's classic book is now available with a new index. "A landmark in intellectual history which has attracted attention far beyond its own immediate field. . . . It is written with a combination of depth and clarity that make it an almost unbroken series of aphorisms. . . . Kuhn does not permit...
The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
AuthorSimon Singh
In his first book since the bestselling Fermat’s Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo...
The Grand Design
AuthorStephen Hawking

When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are...
How the Mind Works
AuthorSteven Pinker
In this extraordinary bestseller, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists, does for the rest of the mind what he did for language in his 1994 book, The Language Instinct. He explains what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy...
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
AuthorSteven Pinker
“In a work of outstanding clarity and sheer brilliance Steven Pinker banishes forever fears that a biological understanding of human nature threatens humane values.”
—Helena Cronin, author of The Ant and The Peacock

“A mind blowing, mind openingexpos. Pinker's profoundly...
Man and His Symbols
AuthorC.G. Jung
My university professors never introduced me to Carl Jung. I understand why, I guess, but it's a shame that I didn't read Jung's work until now. Jungian psychology is amazing. It addresses the unconscious and the "self"/"psyche" in a unique and enlightening way. And, unlike most other psychologists,...
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing
AuthorLawrence M. Krauss
Bestselling author and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss offers a paradigm-shifting view of how everything that exists came to be in the first place.

“Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than...
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
AuthorMalcolm Gladwell
An alternate cover edition exists here.

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion...
The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
AuthorJared Diamond
Another great book from Jared Diamond. I found this to be just as engaging as Guns, Germs, and Steel, and also an easier read. I find that his books have so much information that it is helpful for me to outline them as I go. Here are my favorite bullet points from The Third Chimpanzee. Not at all a comprehensive...
Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
AuthorAlbert Einstein
An accesible version of Einstein's masterpiece of theory, written by the genius himself

According to Einstein himself, this book is intended "to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested...
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
AuthorSusan Cain
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many...
The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century
AuthorPeter Watson
The German Genius is a virtuoso cultural history of German ideas and influence, from 1750 to the present day, by acclaimed historian Peter Watson (Making of the Modern Mind, Ideas). From Bach, Goethe, and Schopenhauer to Nietzsche, Freud, and Einstein, from the arts and humanities to science and philosophy,...
Why Evolution Is True
AuthorJerry A. Coyne
Why evolution is more than just a theory: it is a fact.

In all the current highly publicized debates about creationism and its descendant "intelligent design," there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned-the "evidence," the empirical truth of evolution by natural selection....
How to Lie with Statistics
AuthorDarrell Huff

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: The Pirates of the Powerpoint

Darrell Huff uses a simple, but effective literary device to impress his readers about how much statistics affect their daily lives and their understanding of the world.

He does this by pretending that the book...
AuthorFritjof Capra
After a quarter of a century in print, Capra's groundbreaking work still challenges and inspires. This updated edition of The Tao of Physics includes a new preface and afterword in which the author reviews the developments of the twenty-five years since the book's first publication, discusses criticisms...
The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time
AuthorJonathan Weiner
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin...
The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
AuthorDeborah Blum
Deborah Blum, writing with the high style and skill for suspense that is characteristic of the very best mystery fiction, shares the untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. In The Poisoner's Handbook Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days...
The Ascent of Man
AuthorJacob Bronowski
Lauded by critics & devoured by readers, this companion to the BBC series traces the development of science as an expression of the special gifts that characterize humans & make us preeminent animals. Bronowski's exciting, illustrated investigation offers a perspective not just on science,...
The Mismeasure of Man
AuthorStephen Jay Gould
The definitive refutation to the argument of The Bell Curve.

How smart are you? If that question doesn't spark a dozen more questions in your mind (like "What do you mean by 'smart,'" "How do I measure it" and "Who's asking?"), then The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould's masterful demolition...
Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution
AuthorNeil deGrasse Tyson
Our true origins are not just human, or even terrestrial, but in fact cosmic. Drawing on recent scientific breakthroughs and the current cross-pollination among geology, biology, astrophysics, and cosmology, Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the...
Parallel Worlds: A Journey through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos
AuthorMichio Kaku
In this thrilling journey into the mysteries of our cosmos, bestselling author Michio Kaku takes us on a dizzying ride to explore black holes and time machines, multidimensional space and, most tantalizing of all, the possibility that parallel universes may lay alongside our own. Kaku skillfully...
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
AuthorCarl Sagan
On the 10th anniversary of his death, brilliant astrophysicist and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan's prescient exploration of the relationship between religion and science and his personal search for God.

Carl Sagan is considered one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. His remarkable...
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
AuthorMary Roach
Maybe she could have titled the book The Right Stiff.

I needed to have tissues handy while reading Mary Roach’s latest. No, it is not because it made me sad, but because I was laughing so hard my eyes were gushing. Mary Roach has had that effect on me before. I have read two of her books. Stiff and...
The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
AuthorBrian Greene
From the best-selling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos comes his most expansive and accessible book to date—a book that takes on the grandest question: Is ours the only universe?

There was a time when “universe” meant all there is. Everything. Yet, in recent...
Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History
AuthorStephen Jay Gould
More than any other modern scientists, Stephen Jay Gould has opened up to millions the wonders of evolutionary biology. His genius as an essayist lies in his unmatched ability to use his knowledge of the world, including popular culture, to illuminate the realm of science.

Ever Since Darwin,...
The Map That Changed the World
AuthorSimon Winchester
In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell -- clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world -- making it possible,...
SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
AuthorSteven D. Levitt
The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling over four million copies in thirty-five languages and changing the way we look at the world. Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the freakquel...
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