The best books to change the way you think

Who am I?

I’ve been called the Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Freud of the 21st century by Britain’s Channel 4 TV and the next Stephen Hawking by Gear Magazine. My passion is flying over all the sciences, all of history, and a chunk of the arts and pulling it all together in a new big picture. I’ve called this approach Omnology, the aspiration to omniscience. Sounds crazy, right? But I’ve published scientific papers or lectured at scholarly conferences in twelve different scientific disciplines, from quantum physics and cosmology to evolutionary biology, psychology, information science, and astronautics. And I’ve been published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, and many more.

I wrote...

The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History

By Howard Bloom,

Book cover of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History

What is my book about?

The Lucifer Principle is a revolutionary work that explores the intricate relationships among genetics, human behavior, and culture to put forth the thesis that “evil” is a by-product of nature’s strategies for creation and that it is woven into our most basic biological fabric.

The books I picked & why

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On Intelligence

By Jeff Hawkins, Sandra Blakeslee,

Book cover of On Intelligence: How a New Understanding of the Brain Will Lead to the Creation of Truly Intelligent Machines

Why this book?

The brain is a confusing mess, with all the Latin names of its parts and the machine-gun scatter of research. Jeff Hawkins helps you see what the brain does in a whole new way. A big-picture way. A way in which it all makes sense. Profound and science-changing sense.

Lives of a Cell

By Lewis Thomas,

Book cover of Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

Why this book?

Another big picture mind-blazer. Thomas shows you how everything from a single cell and the social life of ants to human culture and a planet filled with life works. And he shows you this in breathtaking ways.  Ways that will forever change the way you see.

The Whisperings Within

By David P. Barash,

Book cover of The Whisperings Within

Why this book?

In an easy, breezy style, Barash introduces you to sociobiology, the most mind-blowing perceptual lens since Charles Darwin’s 1857 introduction of evolution. Like Hawkins and Thomas, Barash reveals everything from the operation of genes to the culture of the Inuit in the impossible wastes of the arctic.  And he shows you, once again, how the findings of widely separated sciences fit into a spectacular big picture.


By Edward O. Wilson,

Book cover of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis

Why this book?

This is the book with which Wilson introduced sociobiology in 1975. It is encyclopedic and sometimes academic. But the big picture Wilson presents and the stories he turns to pixels in that panorama are astonishing. Wilson helps you see the connections between the social bonds that join you with the people you love and the way all of life works. And it’s not the tired old view of animals and humans in isolation.

The Tangled Wing

By Melvin Konner,

Book cover of The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit

Why this book?

Melvin Konner is an anthropologist who joined the sociobiology revolution of the 1970s.  Like Barash, his style is sheer pleasure. He ranges from biology and psychology to research on hormones.  And his tales, his evidence, are fascinating beyond belief. They are derived from research on primitive tribes like the !Kung San In southern Africa, whose way of life sheds new light on the things you and I do every day.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in human behavior, biology, and nature versus nurture?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about human behavior, biology, and nature versus nurture.

Human Behavior Explore 20 books about human behavior
Biology Explore 23 books about biology
Nature Versus Nurture Explore 13 books about nature versus nurture

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate, Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking, and Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World if you like this list.