The best books if you are interested in wildlife conservation

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a conservation and taxidermy historian who writes about wildlife economics specifically for people new to the subject. I live in Brooklyn, travel constantly, love museums, and collect too many things (my grandmother owned an antique shop which kicked off my love of history.) My love for animals, history, and the outdoors created a bizarre career path that I have followed like an excited scent hound from the outdoor industry, butchery, museum sphere to conservation education and wildlife economics. I’m either in the woods, a Japanese restaurant, or on the road giving lectures about anything from the history of taxidermy to effective conservation structures in southern Africa. 


I wrote...

The Shotgun Conservationist: Why Environmentalists Should Love Hunting

By Brant MacDuff,

Book cover of The Shotgun Conservationist: Why Environmentalists Should Love Hunting

What is my book about?

Shotgun is about the connections between hunting, conservation, wildlife economics, and how people relate to animals. All mixed together with a dash of memoir glue and hopefully more *funny* jokes than one might expect from that title. Hunting is a touchy subject to some, and utterly forgotten by others. The goal of my book is to expand how people think about hunting, and its importance as an economic good for global conservation. In the U.S. it’s more than some guy with a dead deer, it’s one of the most perfect government conservation funding systems in the entire world. Seriously. In Africa, regulated big game hunting prevents species loss from unregulated poaching and habitat conversion.

Did you know mountain bikes are more dangerous to animals than hunters? I wanted to write something accessible, fascinating, and fun about a topic that is too often seen as controversial or depressing. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World

Brant MacDuff Why did I love this book?

Emma Marris is a phenomenal writer; her nature writing has been compared to that of Aldo Leopold and Rachael Carson.

Wild Souls focuses on how people relate to other animals. That might sound like a philosophical topic but it has real world consequences. Her stories will force you to question your own motives and morals when asked to compare one animal to another or define what “nature” even is anymore.

Full of entertaining stories and nutritious food for thought.  

By Emma Marris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wild Souls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2022 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award * Winner of the 2022 Science in Society Journalism Award (Books) * Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

“Thoughtful, insightful, and wise, Wild Souls is a landmark work.”--Ed Yong, author of An Immense World

"Fascinating . . . hands-on philosophy, put to test in the real world . . . Marris believes that our idea of wildness--our obsession with purity--is misguided. No animal remains untouched by human hands . . . the science isn’t the hard part. The real challenge is the ethics, the act of imagining our appropriate…


Book cover of Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter

Brant MacDuff Why did I love this book?

If my book brings the perspective of a new hunter and old conservationist, then Meat Eater is the perspective of the old hunter and new conservationist.

The entertaining memoir begins with Rinella’s earliest hunting memories so the reader can follow how hunting informed his connection to land and animals over time and how that made him the activist conservationist he is today.

A great book for the non-hunter to glean some perspective from someone who was born into hunting culture.   

By Steven Rinella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meat Eater as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Revelatory . . . With every chapter, you get a history lesson, a hunting lesson, a nature lesson and a cooking lesson. . . . Meat Eater offers an overabundance to savor.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
Steven Rinella grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, the son of a hunter who taught his three sons to love the natural world the way he did. As a child, Rinella devoured stories of the American wilderness, especially the exploits of his hero, Daniel Boone. He began fishing at the age of three and shot his first squirrel at eight and his first…


Book cover of Heart and Blood: Living with Deer in America

Brant MacDuff Why did I love this book?

"Deer: The Book" as I often refer to it. Part natural history, part sneaky wildlife economics, all full of awe and wonder for this one animal that is maligned, worshiped, and ignored by so many Americans.

What does it have to do with conservation? If you can laser focus on one species and see the complicated web it lives in, then you can begin to extrapolate that to other species and see what a tricky business true conservation becomes.

Conservation isn’t a national park, and environmentally friendly food isn’t a frozen soybean patty from a multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  

By Richard Nelson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heart and Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"When it comes to deer, wildness is the greatest truth. And tameness is a tender, innocent lie."  So writes Richard Nelson, award-winning author of The Island Within, in this far-ranging and deeply personal look at our complex relationship with this most beautiful, but amazingly elusive, creature.Heart and Blood: Living with Deer in America  begins with the author tracking a deer on a remote island off the Alaskan coast. From there he takes us on a kaleidoscopic journey, visiting such disparate territories of the deer as a hunting ranch in Texas; a state park in California; a Wisconsin forest on opening…


Book cover of Bringing Back the Lions: International Hunters, Local Tribespeople, and the Miraculous Rescue of a Doomed Ecosystem in Mozambique

Brant MacDuff Why did I love this book?

If you read my book and still don’t believe that big game hunting is an integral part of wildlife conservation in Africa (and everywhere else) then pick this book up next (and after you finish Lions read Cries of the Savanna by Sue Tidwell.)

The book’s subtitle tells you the story and unlike my book or the ones I mentioned by Emma Marris and Steven Rinella, this book stays in one place.

You get to see what it takes to go from empty, ravaged, soil-dead landscapes back to a thriving habitat and how to build an effective, sustainable conservation structure. 

Book cover of Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer

Brant MacDuff Why did I love this book?

If you can’t wrap your head around outdoor cats, you’ll never be a successful conservationist.

Outdoor cats are the ultimate litmus test of conservation theory and practice, the end-all-be-all of “trolly car problem” thought experiments.

Outdoor cats are directly responsible for the extinction of at least 63 entire species of animal, but people have trouble taking action against them because we perceive them as pets even if they’re not. So who’s more important, the population of feral cats in New Zealand, or the survival of their last remaining endangered ground birds?   

By Peter P. Marra, Chris Santella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cat Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1894, a lighthouse keeper named David Lyall arrived on Stephens Island off New Zealand with a cat named Tibbles. In just over a year, the Stephens Island Wren, a rare bird endemic to the island, was rendered extinct. Mounting scientific evidence confirms what many conservationists have suspected for some time--that in the United States alone, free-ranging cats are killing birds and other animals by the billions. Equally alarming are the little-known but potentially devastating public health consequences of rabies and parasitic Toxoplasma passing from cats to humans at rising rates. Cat Wars tells the story of the threats free-ranging…


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Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

By Jim Brown,

Book cover of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

What is my book about?

In this thoroughly researched and exquisitely crafted treatise, Jim Brown synthesizes the newest understandings in neuroscience, developmental psychology, and dynamical systems theory for educators and others committed to nurturing human development.

He explains complex concepts in down-to-earth terms, suggesting how these understandings can transform education to engender optimal learning and intelligence. He explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and mind.

Brown then offers a model of optimal human learning through lifelong brain development within a supportive culture--drawing on the work of Piaget, Erickson, Maslow, Kohlberg, and Steiner--and how that work is being vastly expanded by neuroscience and dynamical systems thinking.

Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

By Jim Brown,

What is this book about?

In this thoroughly-researched and exquisitely crafted treatise, Jim Brown synthesizes the newest understandings in neuroscience, developmental psychology, and dynamical systems theory for educators and others committed to nurturing human development. He explains complex concepts in down-to-earth terms, suggesting how these understandings can transform education to truly engender optimal learning and intelligence. He explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and mind. Brown then offers a model of optimal human learning through life-long brain development within a supportive culture--drawing on the work of Piaget, Erickson, Maslow, Kohlberg, and Steiner--and how that work is being vastly expanded by neuroscience and dynamical systems thinking.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in wildlife conservation, Anthrozoology, and hunting?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about wildlife conservation, Anthrozoology, and hunting.

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