100 books like An Immense World

By Ed Yong,

Here are 100 books that An Immense World fans have personally recommended if you like An Immense World. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm

Caro Feely Author Of Cultivating Change: Regenerating Land and Love in the Age of Climate Crisis

From my list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a published author specializing in nature, travel, and wine writing, and I have been an organic farmer for nearly two decades on an award-winning estate in France. I’ve written four books about the transformation of our organic farm. In my latest, Cultivating Change, I explore how biodiversity helps us address climate change and how important it is to the health of the land. It is also a human story; like the books below, stories are key to bringing these subjects to life. My list is women authors, not because I set out to do that, but because these books are beautiful, intuitive, and deep, like the women who wrote them.

Caro's book list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic

Caro Feely Why did Caro love this book?

This book by Isabella Tree is the story of how Isabella and her husband, Charlie Burrell, transformed their massive 3500-acre farm in England (100 times the size of our organic farm in France) from an intensively farmed operation that was losing money into a conservation haven and an icon of rewilding or ‘wilding’ as Isabella has termed it. Questions remain about exactly how this model can work without subsidies and/or a heavy emphasis on tourism (they are less than 2 hours drive from London and offer glamping and more) and where/how serious food production fits into this picture.

That said, the other model of intensive farming at Knepp failed both economically and environmentally. Wilding at Knepp is far kinder to the land and the wider environment. It’s economically successful, employing far more people than it did as an intensive farm, and the environmental benefits are off the charts. This book…

By Isabella Tree,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Wilding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope' - Chris Packham

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the 'Knepp experiment', a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize.

Forced to accept that intensive farming on…


Book cover of Cutting for Stone

Carl F. Nathan Author Of An Arrow's ARC: Journey of a Physician-Scientist

From my list on a life in science or medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I experienced “otherness.” My family was hard up amidst affluence. Typecast as Jewish, where that was a rarity, we were met with suspicion and unease. Being a woman held my mother back from her preferred profession. Racism was rampant; my growing appreciation of it and efforts to intervene added to “otherness.”  My childhood was shadowed by illness, including my mother’s cancer. These influences drew me to medicine and science. Both are a way to overcome “otherness” and to protect one’s family, even as my sense of family expanded. Medicine forges extraordinary bonds between doctor and patient. Science brings people together from diverse backgrounds to share goals. These connections make meaningful stories. 

Carl's book list on a life in science or medicine

Carl F. Nathan Why did Carl love this book?

This riveting novel by an infectious disease physician demonstrates how something as seemingly stereotypic as a medical career can be profoundly shaped by circumstance, accident, location, and political events, as well as by family and personality.

The practice of surgery—be it closing a wound or removing a lesion—can be both of those things for the emotions of the person performing it. There is an analogous message for other fields of medicine—practice and practitioner become interrelated at a deeply personal level.

By Abraham Verghese,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Cutting for Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954. We took our first breaths in the thick air of Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia. Bound by birth, we were driven apart by bitter betrayal. No surgeon can heal the would that divides two brothers. Where silk and steel fail, story must succeed. To begin at the beginning...


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

Lloyd Sederer Author Of Caught in the Crosshairs of American Healthcare

From my list on books to read if you want to write the best of non-fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychiatrist and public health doctor, non-fiction writer, and lay and medical editor. For over 12 years, I have taught non-fiction writing for a general audience at Columbia medical and public health schools to physicians, neuroscientists, epidemiologists, psychologists, and other professionals. I have published 14 books and over 500 written articles and videos. I love to write and help others write...well.

Lloyd's book list on books to read if you want to write the best of non-fiction

Lloyd Sederer Why did Lloyd love this book?

I loved this book because it demonstrates we can write about any subject we have a passion for: bowling, the bassoon, the Canary Islands, UFOs, opium, truffles, cats and dogs, evil and good, or cells!

Thomas starts his book by marveling about cells. Vivid imagination, not labor, carries him to subjects like insects, music, language, computers, and medicine. After all, they are interconnected, like we are. 

Which means I need only start with one subject* that stirs my wonder or worry and holds meaning for me. I don’t need to hunt for something to write about, it is right in front of my eyes. 

*BTW, the author of my book choice #1, Bill Zinsser, covered war, theatre, baseball, music, nonfiction writing, and memoirs. Note to self: One subject will do.

By Lewis Thomas,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Lives of a Cell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elegant, suggestive, and clarifying, Lewis Thomas's profoundly humane vision explores the world around us and examines the complex interdependence of all things.  Extending beyond the usual limitations of biological science and into a vast and wondrous world of hidden relationships, this provocative book explores in personal, poetic essays to topics such as computers, germs, language, music, death, insects, and medicine.  Lewis Thomas writes, "Once you have become permanently startled, as I am, by the realization that we are a social species, you tend to keep an eye out for the pieces of evidence that this is, by and large, good…


Book cover of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

Maddalena Bearzi Author Of Stranded: Finding Nature in Uncertain Times

From my list on what animals feel and think.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been passionate about nature since childhood. In my youth, I spent many summers on a pristine shore in Sardinia, snorkeling in a sea full of life. Later on, I became a scientist, conservationist, and author. My research on dolphins in California represents one of the longest studies worldwide. I co-wrote Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins, authored Dolphin Confidential, and Stranded, and written for many media, including National Geographic. My goal is to share my love for nature and what I have learned from it, with the hope to instill a deeper appreciation for wildlife and involve others in the protection of our planet.

Maddalena's book list on what animals feel and think

Maddalena Bearzi Why did Maddalena love this book?

This is another amazing nonfiction book by ecologist and New York Times bestselling author Carl Safina.

With his usual exquisite prose, the author delves deep into the lives and feelings of other beings, from elephants to dolphins. And once again, Safina does an outstanding job in uncovering the secrets of the natural world that surrounds us using many of his personal experiences in the wild and his wonderful ability to tell stories to the general public.

By Carl Safina,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and animals. Travelling to the threatened landscape of Kenya to witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then on to Yellowstone…


Book cover of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Lars Chittka Author Of The Mind of a Bee

From my list on animal intelligence – from aliens to octopuses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Professor of Sensory and Behavioural Ecology at Queen Mary College of the University of London and also the founder of the Research Centre for Psychology at Queen Mary. I've been fascinated by the strange world of insects since childhood and after taking the first glance into a beehive, I was hooked – I instantly knew that I was looking into a form of alien civilization. Since becoming a scientist, I have explored their strange perceptual worlds as well as their intelligence, and most recently the question of their consciousness. I hope you find wonderful insights in the books that I have suggested and a new respect for the animal minds that surround us. 

Lars' book list on animal intelligence – from aliens to octopuses

Lars Chittka Why did Lars love this book?

This captivating book dismantles the prevalent notion that various facets of human intelligence are exclusive to our species.

Through a compelling array of examples spanning the animal kingdom, the author illuminates how skills like crafting tools, understanding mental perspectives, recognizing oneself, and even exhibiting cultural practices are not confined to humans and their nearest kin. Instead, these abilities have independently emerged in a diverse array of other creatures.

Consequently, the book serves as a stimulating challenge to the idea of human superiority, offering numerous indications that when an animal's environment demands it, evolution is inclined to yield intelligent behavior in a myriad of manifestations.

By Frans de Waal,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognition-in crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobos-to reveal how smart animals really are, and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you…


Book cover of The Seabird's Cry: The Lives and Loves of the Planet's Great Ocean Voyagers

Julian Caldecott Author Of Water: Life in Every Drop

From my list on building peace with nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started off studying tropical rainforest creatures and saw the catastrophic impacts of modern humanity on nature and indigenous peoples. My work then focused on how to resolve conflicts between people and nature, at first in and around national parks and then more widely. I became quite good at dissecting environmental aid portfolios, and writing up what I had found in a series of books. I was also drawn into the great climate protests of 2019 and 2020, and now I'm working on pulling it all together into a book on Restoring Peace with Nature.

Julian's book list on building peace with nature

Julian Caldecott Why did Julian love this book?

This book hurled me into a compassionate and respectful understanding of puffins, gannets, fulmars, cormorants, and other seabirds, and their varied and extraordinary relationships with the world ocean and its winds and sea cliffs. It left me aware of huge gaps in my perception of these different worlds, of the otherness and perfection of seabirds, and of my own species' abuse of such wonders. It re-set my standard for beautiful writing, and for appreciating the feeling of standing against a gale above the sea while surrounded by creatures who are truly at home there.

By Adam Nicolson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Seabird's Cry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Enter ancient lands of wind and waves where the planet’s greatest flyers battle for survival.

As the only creatures at home on land, at sea, and in the air, seabirds have evolved to thrive in the most demanding environment on Earth.

In The Seabird’s Cry, Adam Nicolson travels ocean paths, fusing traditional knowledge with astonishing facts science has recently learned about these creatures: the way their bodies actually work, their dazzling navigational skills, their ability to smell their way to fish or home and to understand the discipline of the winds upon which they depend.

This book is a paean…


Book cover of Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Lars Chittka Author Of The Mind of a Bee

From my list on animal intelligence – from aliens to octopuses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Professor of Sensory and Behavioural Ecology at Queen Mary College of the University of London and also the founder of the Research Centre for Psychology at Queen Mary. I've been fascinated by the strange world of insects since childhood and after taking the first glance into a beehive, I was hooked – I instantly knew that I was looking into a form of alien civilization. Since becoming a scientist, I have explored their strange perceptual worlds as well as their intelligence, and most recently the question of their consciousness. I hope you find wonderful insights in the books that I have suggested and a new respect for the animal minds that surround us. 

Lars' book list on animal intelligence – from aliens to octopuses

Lars Chittka Why did Lars love this book?

Cephalopods, which encompass creatures like squids, cuttlefish, and octopuses, stand as some of nature's most peculiar inhabitants.

Without bones or outer shells, they possess the remarkable ability to alter their shape, almost resembling characters from Gary Larson's extraterrestrial sketches. What sets them apart further is their exceptional intelligence, a trait not commonly associated with their mollusk cousins like snails and oysters.

Godfrey-Smith puts forth a compelling argument suggesting that intelligent life may have independently evolved multiple times right here on our home planet. He contemplates whether consciousness, once believed to be a solely human attribute, emerged early in the animal kingdom's evolutionary journey, serving as a vital mechanism for interpreting sensory information, evading predators, and sourcing sustenance.

By Peter Godfrey-Smith,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Other Minds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Brilliant' Guardian 'Fascinating and often delightful' The Times

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE

What if intelligent life on Earth evolved not once, but twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?

In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how nature became aware of itself - a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared.

Tracking the mind's fitful development from unruly clumps of seaborne cells to…


Book cover of Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Caro Feely Author Of Cultivating Change: Regenerating Land and Love in the Age of Climate Crisis

From my list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a published author specializing in nature, travel, and wine writing, and I have been an organic farmer for nearly two decades on an award-winning estate in France. I’ve written four books about the transformation of our organic farm. In my latest, Cultivating Change, I explore how biodiversity helps us address climate change and how important it is to the health of the land. It is also a human story; like the books below, stories are key to bringing these subjects to life. My list is women authors, not because I set out to do that, but because these books are beautiful, intuitive, and deep, like the women who wrote them.

Caro's book list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic

Caro Feely Why did Caro love this book?

Dr. Suzanne Simard is also a professor of Forest Ecology, but like Robin Wall Kimmerer (above), she has created a readable and personal book about her subject. Her research, undertaken over decades, set out to prove that trees communicate and cooperate and that they help each other, both within a species and between different species.

Her gripping story includes how she overcame a Male Chauvinist work environment and proved that a weed-killed monoculture was far from the most optimal way to manage forests. Her book is a reminder of how little we know of the incredibly complex biosphere we are privileged to be part of.

By Suzanne Simard,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Finding the Mother Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest—a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery

“Finding the Mother Tree reminds us that the world is a web of stories, connecting us to one another. [The book] carries the stories of trees, fungi, soil and bears--and of a human being listening in on the conversation. The interplay of personal narrative, scientific insights and the amazing revelations about the life of the forest make a compelling story.”—Robin Wall…


Book cover of The Breathing Burren

Carsten Krieger Author Of The Crossbill Guide to Ireland

From my list on natural history that take you on a journey.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in natural history since my early childhood. A bit later I discovered photography and much later writing. Eventually I was lucky enough to combine the three and make a living from it. Over the past 20 years I have been working with conservation groups in Ireland, have published over 20 books, and more recently started developing and managing conservation projects. 

Carsten's book list on natural history that take you on a journey

Carsten Krieger Why did Carsten love this book?

The Burren is a limestone karst landscape in the west of Ireland, not too far away from where I live, and one of the reasons I settled in Ireland. This area is unlike anything you would expect in Ireland and blends a stark but beautiful landscape and unique flora and fauna. Gordon D’Arcy is an artist, author, and naturalist and has been exploring the Burren since the 1970s. This book is an accumulation of memories mixed with stories on the Burren’s natural heritage and its wild inhabitants and is illustrated with Gordon’s mesmerizing watercolors. Of all the books on the Burren I have read, this one truly captures the heart and soul of the area.

By Gordon D'Arcy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Breathing Burren as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrates the flora, the fauna, the people, and the places of the Burren region of Ireland with stories and original watercolors that convey a deep affection and intimacy for the land. First captivated by the Burren in the early 1970s, D'Arcy has spent


Book cover of Serengeti Shall Not Die

Carsten Krieger Author Of The Crossbill Guide to Ireland

From my list on natural history that take you on a journey.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in natural history since my early childhood. A bit later I discovered photography and much later writing. Eventually I was lucky enough to combine the three and make a living from it. Over the past 20 years I have been working with conservation groups in Ireland, have published over 20 books, and more recently started developing and managing conservation projects. 

Carsten's book list on natural history that take you on a journey

Carsten Krieger Why did Carsten love this book?

This is the book that kindled my interest in natural history and ecology. It was published in the early 1960s and probably the first widely read book on nature conservation. The work of Bernhard Grizmek and his son Michael (who died during the project in a plane crash) was vital in getting the plains of the Serengeti and their inhabitants the protection status they deserve and even over half a century later the book is a thrilling and interesting read. 

By Bernhard Grzimek, Michael Grzimek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Serengeti Shall Not Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wir müssen fliegen lernen. Diese Worte des 23-jährigen Wildtierenthusiasten Michael Grzimek, Sohn von Bernhard Grzimek, stehen am Anfang eines der ganz großen Abenteuer des internationalen Naturschutzes. Im Jahre 1957 fliegen Vater und Sohn mit ihrer Dornier-27 in Zebrastreifen-Lackierung nach Afrika, um das Wanderverhalten der großen Herden der Serengeti zu studieren, ihre Tierbestände zu erfassen und so die willkürliche Festlegung von Wildparkgrenzen zu verhindern. Eine legendäre Pioniertat. Während ihres Aufenthalts nähern sie sich nicht nur den Wildtieren, sondern suchen das Gespräch mit den Bewohnern der Steppe, und dies, anders als die Kolonialherren, von Gleich zu Gleich. Serengeti darf nicht sterben hat…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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