100 books like Buzz

By Thor Hanson,

Here are 100 books that Buzz fans have personally recommended if you like Buzz. 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 Cuckoo: Cheating by Nature

John N. Thompson Author Of Relentless Evolution

From my list on coevolution and relentless evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am captivated and never cease to be astonished by the seemingly endless variety of ways in which coevolution shapes the millions of species on earth into intricate and ever-changing webs of life. The reasons for my fascination are simple. Most species require other species to survive or reproduce, which means that the evolution of biodiversity is as much about evolution of the links among species as it is about evolution of the species themselves. I find immense joy in following the connections among species within the web of life, trying to understand how coevolution has shaped, and relentlessly reshapes, each link. There are always surprises along the way.

John's book list on coevolution and relentless evolution

John N. Thompson Why did John love this book?

There are few clearer examples of how species have coevolved relentlessly than the interactions between cuckoos and other birds. Cuckoos have evolved an arsenal of ways to deceive other avian species into raising their young, and their avian hosts have evolved a counter-arsenal of defenses to protect themselves from cuckoos. Nick Davies, who is one of the world’s leading ornithologists and evolutionary ecologists, has been studying this evolutionary arms race for decades at Wicken Fen near Cambridge, England. In this engaging book, he takes us on a scientific journey, relating what others had already discovered before he began his work and then what he and others have discovered since the 1980s at Wicken Fen and elsewhere through many years of patient observations and experiments. 

By Nick Davies,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beloved as the herald of spring, cuckoos have held a place in our affections for centuries. The oldest song in English celebrates the cuckoo's arrival, telling us that 'Sumer is icumen in'. But for many other birds the cuckoo is a signal of doom, for it is Nature's most notorious cheat. Cuckoos across the world have evolved extraordinary tricks to manipulate other species into raising their young. How do they get away with it?

In this enormously engaging book, naturalist and scientist Nick Davies reveals how cuckoos trick their hosts. Using shrewd detective skills and field experiments, he uncovers an…


Book cover of A Planet of Viruses

John N. Thompson Author Of Relentless Evolution

From my list on coevolution and relentless evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am captivated and never cease to be astonished by the seemingly endless variety of ways in which coevolution shapes the millions of species on earth into intricate and ever-changing webs of life. The reasons for my fascination are simple. Most species require other species to survive or reproduce, which means that the evolution of biodiversity is as much about evolution of the links among species as it is about evolution of the species themselves. I find immense joy in following the connections among species within the web of life, trying to understand how coevolution has shaped, and relentlessly reshapes, each link. There are always surprises along the way.

John's book list on coevolution and relentless evolution

John N. Thompson Why did John love this book?

Parasitism of other species is probably the most common way of life on earth. It is not uncommon for a species to have tens to hundreds of parasites that exploit it. Viruses have fine-tuned the parasitic lifestyle to the extreme, attacking just about all other forms of life and fueling the evolution of counter-defenses in their hosts. Viruses co-opt the genetic machinery of their hosts for just about everything they need to replicate themselves. Carl Zimmer’s book is not only the best introduction I know to the remarkable diversity of viruses, it also is written with the crystal clear, elegant prose and solid scientific grounding that are the hallmarks of all his writing. 

By Carl Zimmer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Planet of Viruses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2020, an invisible germ-a virus-wholly upended our lives. We're most familiar with the viruses that give us colds or Covid-19. But viruses also cause a vast range of other diseases, including one disorder that makes people sprout branch-like growths as if they were trees. Viruses have been a part of our lives for so long that we are actually part virus: the human genome contains more DNA from viruses than our own genes. Meanwhile, scientists are discovering viruses everywhere they look: in the soil, in the ocean, even in deep caves miles underground.

Fully revised and updated, with new…


Book cover of A Naturalist at Large: The Best Essays of Bernd Heinrich

John N. Thompson Author Of Relentless Evolution

From my list on coevolution and relentless evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am captivated and never cease to be astonished by the seemingly endless variety of ways in which coevolution shapes the millions of species on earth into intricate and ever-changing webs of life. The reasons for my fascination are simple. Most species require other species to survive or reproduce, which means that the evolution of biodiversity is as much about evolution of the links among species as it is about evolution of the species themselves. I find immense joy in following the connections among species within the web of life, trying to understand how coevolution has shaped, and relentlessly reshapes, each link. There are always surprises along the way.

John's book list on coevolution and relentless evolution

John N. Thompson Why did John love this book?

It is almost impossible to choose just one of Bernd Heinrich’s many eye-opening books on the natural world. These beautifully written essays on “the inconnectedness of all of life” explore how species solve the problems of surviving and reproducing in a world packed with millions of other species. These stories, gleaned from his detailed observations and experiments in nature, relate how species depend on, defend, and manipulate each other. The battles and manipulations among species he describes are the raw material for relentless coevolution. Heinrich infuses his observations in the Maine woods with wonderfully original insights, grounded in a clear-thinking understanding of current ecological, evolutionary, and behavioral science. 

By Bernd Heinrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Naturalist at Large as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In essays that span several decades, Heinrich finds himself at home in his beloved camp in Maine, where he plays host to annoying visitors from Europe (the cluster flies) and more helpful guests from Asia (ladybugs); and as far away as Botswana, where he unravels the far-reaching ecological consequences of elephants' bruising treatment of mopane trees. Heinrich turns to his great love, the extraordinary behaviors of ravens, some of them close companions for years. Finally, he asks "Where does a biologist find hope?" while delivering an answer that informs and inspires.


Book cover of Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution

John N. Thompson Author Of Relentless Evolution

From my list on coevolution and relentless evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am captivated and never cease to be astonished by the seemingly endless variety of ways in which coevolution shapes the millions of species on earth into intricate and ever-changing webs of life. The reasons for my fascination are simple. Most species require other species to survive or reproduce, which means that the evolution of biodiversity is as much about evolution of the links among species as it is about evolution of the species themselves. I find immense joy in following the connections among species within the web of life, trying to understand how coevolution has shaped, and relentlessly reshapes, each link. There are always surprises along the way.

John's book list on coevolution and relentless evolution

John N. Thompson Why did John love this book?

Plants and insects make up most of the species on earth, and they have spent millions of years interacting and coevolving with each other. In this book, Anurag Agrawal weaves together what scientists have learned about one of the most charismatic of these interactions, those between milkweeds and monarch butterflies. He explores why the evolution of these interactions never ceases, but he also shows us just how difficult it can be to sort out how particular species coevolve. The book is a window into why the interactions between plants and insects may be the most diverse interactions that have ever evolved between complex organisms. Agrawal is a leading researcher on the evolution of interactions between plants and insects, and, fortunately, he is also an absorbing writer. 

By Anurag Agrawal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fascinating and complex evolutionary relationship of the monarch butterfly and the milkweed plant Monarch butterflies are one of nature's most recognizable creatures, known for their bright colors and epic annual migration from the United States and Canada to Mexico. Yet there is much more to the monarch than its distinctive presence and mythic journeying. In Monarchs and Milkweed, Anurag Agrawal presents a vivid investigation into how the monarch butterfly has evolved closely alongside the milkweed--a toxic plant named for the sticky white substance emitted when its leaves are damaged--and how this inextricable and intimate relationship has been like an…


Book cover of The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs of Bees and Men

Thor Hanson Author Of Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

From my list on the world of bees.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author and biologist Thor Hanson’s research activities have taken him around the globe. He has studied Central American trees and songbirds, nest predation in Tanzania, and the grisly feeding habits of African vultures, but bees rank among his favorite subjects of all. He wrote Buzz to explore their fascinating natural and cultural history. No other group of insects has grown so close to us, none is more essential, and none is more revered.

Thor's book list on the world of bees

Thor Hanson Why did Thor love this book?

There are scores of beekeeping memoirs in print, many of them very engaging. But if I had to choose only one, there is something to be said for this little classic. The biological information is good, but the book rises above the average in the way Longwood conveys it - with charm, wit, and an obvious fondness for his chosen subjects. Paired with a modern how-to manual, this volume could convince just about anyone to try their hand with hive, suit, and smoker.

By William Longgood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"An engaging collection of observations about honeybees and their activities."-Publishers Weekly


Book cover of Honeybee Democracy

Susanne Foitzik Author Of Empire of Ants: The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth's Tiny Conquerors

From my list on the evolution of insect and human societies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist studying the evolution of insect communities for years. I am fascinated by their high degree of cooperation and how these animals make collective decisions. But I also observe social parasitic ants that raid other colonies and make their workers work for them. This tension between altruistic cooperation on the one hand and violence and war, on the other hand, is common to human and insect societies, even if they evolved in completely different ways. I hope that when you read the books I recommend here, you will be as fascinated as I am by these parallel universes and perhaps next time you will see an ant with different eyes. 

Susanne's book list on the evolution of insect and human societies

Susanne Foitzik Why did Susanne love this book?

Social insects live in close communities, often of several thousand individuals. We often imagine the animals as small robots that perform their tasks as if automated. But this is far from the case. Honeybees are models for the study of learning and can also make complex decisions based on previous experience. However, it becomes particularly difficult when all the animals of a hive have to agree. And bees of a swarm have this difficult task ahead of them when they are looking for real estate. They inspect the nesting opportunities in the surroundings and advertise them in the swarm.

But how do these social insects make their collective decisions? About this question goes the book, written by an expert in the field, in an exciting and easy-to-understand manner. It turns out that the animals actually listen to many opinions and vote. Who wants to know more about honeybee democracy, read…

By Thomas D. Seeley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Honeybees make decisions collectively - and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building. In fact, as world-renowned animal behaviorist Thomas Seeley reveals, these incredible insects have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making. A remarkable and richly illustrated account of scientific discovery, "Honeybee Democracy" brings together, for the first time, decades of Seeley's pioneering research to tell the amazing story of house hunting and democratic debate among the honeybees.…


Book cover of Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

Brenda Z. Guiberson Author Of Into the Sea

From my list on that spark a lifetime of investigation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning, best-selling children’s author who writes about unexpected “wow” moments that stick with me. I look for books and articIes that take me on a deep journey into unknown environments. I aim for nonfiction that reads like a story with an emotional connection to new creatures with fascinating lifestyles. As a writer of dozens of books for children, I always learn much more that can go into each effort. Each book comes into a hazy focus after tons of research. The best “wow” details get woven into an incredible story full of surprise, joy, and admiration for those struggling to survive on our changing plant.  

Brenda's book list on that spark a lifetime of investigation

Brenda Z. Guiberson Why did Brenda love this book?

This book became a “wow” moment for me as it celebrates the life of a honey bee. “Can I fly now?” the bee wants to know. With poetic language and exquisite close-up illustrations, the reader has to wait, just like the bee, who has only 35 days to get through many chores before she can fly off for the final flower and honey mission. Who could ever swat a busy bee after reading this amazing life story? Extra information is provided about the special skills and plight of our important pollinators.  

By Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Honeybee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Robert F. Sibert Medal Winner
 
Take to the sky with Apis, one honeybee, as she embarks on her journey through life!

An Orbis Pictus Honor Book
Selected for the Texas Bluebonnnet Master List
Finalist for the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

A tiny honeybee emerges through the wax cap of her cell. Driven to protect and take care of her hive, she cleans the nursery and feeds the larvae and the queen. But is she strong enough to fly? Not yet!

Apis builds wax comb to store honey, and transfers pollen from other bees into the storage.…


Book cover of The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild

Luke Dixon Author Of BEES and HONEY myth, folklore and traditions

From my list on bees and beekeeping.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the natural world since childhood, but it was not until I had enjoyed a career as a theatre director, that my life changed course and I became a professional beekeeper. My new job took be across the rooftops of London, managing bees and hives for The Bank of England, Kensington Palace, The London College of Fashion, Heathrow Airport, Bloomberg, and many others. Now I run a small environmental charity, The Bee Friendly Trust, helping to make the world a little more hospitable to honeybees and some of the many other pollinators that make human life possible.

Luke's book list on bees and beekeeping

Luke Dixon Why did Luke love this book?

Tom Seeley is a genius. He is a professor at Cornell University in America, but this engaging book is no dull academic thesis.

He tells ‘the untold story of the honey bee in the wild’ with an enthusiasm that carries the reader along as if on an adventure of discovery. I was fascinated as, through the book, I joined him on his field research and learnt wonders with him. A joy for the novice and the experienced bee person.

By Thomas D. Seeley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How the lives of wild honey bees offer vital lessons for saving the world's managed bee colonies

Humans have kept honey bees in hives for millennia, yet only in recent decades have biologists begun to investigate how these industrious insects live in the wild. The Lives of Bees is Thomas Seeley's captivating story of what scientists are learning about the behavior, social life, and survival strategies of honey bees living outside the beekeeper's hive-and how wild honey bees may hold the key to reversing the alarming die-off of the planet's managed honey bee populations.

Seeley, a world authority on honey…


Book cover of The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden

Michelle Balz Author Of No-Waste Composting: Small-Space Waste Recycling, Indoors and Out. Plus, 10 Projects to Repurpose Household Items Into Compost-Making Machines

From my list on for aspiring urban homesteaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, backyard composting is more than just a way to lessen how much waste I send to the landfill. When you compost you transform items that many people consider garbage into a valuable soil amendment for your garden. You are creating something with real value that can help plants thrive and act as a carbon sink to help reduce negative impacts of climate change. Composting is so easy and rewarding that I really want to see everyone give it a try.

Michelle's book list on for aspiring urban homesteaders

Michelle Balz Why did Michelle love this book?

This book was exactly what I needed to better understand what is involved in starting a beehive in an urban setting. Flottum starts his readers with the bare-bones basics and builds from there. He also goes into what he calls “Extreme Urban Beekeeping” with tips on considerations for those of us with close neighbors. I have not started beekeeping yet, but Flottum has inspired me to add it to my list of future endeavors. 

By Kim Flottum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Backyard Beekeeper, now in its 4th edition, makes the time-honored and complex tradition of beekeeping an enjoyable and accessible backyard pastime for urban and rural beekeepers of all skill levels.

More than a guide to beekeeping, this handbook features expert advice for:

Setting up and caring for your own colonies Selecting the best location to place your new bee colonies for their safety and yours The most practical and nontoxic ways to care for your bees Swarm control Using top bar hives Harvesting the products of a beehive and collecting and using honey Bee problems and treatments


What's New?…


Book cover of Bees: Their Vision, Chemical Senses, and Language

Bernd Heinrich Author Of Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival

From my list on nature and the study of life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Biology is the study of life, and I cannot think of anything more important. It’s like being interested in what’s happening to the ball when you are playing the ball game. I was very fortunate to have grown up in close contact with nature and it led me down this path. I love discovering intricate mechanisms not by thoughts but with data. Those discoveries almost always turn out to be surprising and more than what had, or could be, imagined and assumed. 

Bernd's book list on nature and the study of life

Bernd Heinrich Why did Bernd love this book?

I received this book from my father as a Christmas present at age 16, in 1956. The author is a Professor of Zoology who made one of the most stunning discoveries of biology of the last century: honeybees communicate direction and distance of a food source they had found to their hive-mates, within the darkness of their hive.

The code involves the movements of their bodies in a "dance," that gives directions with respect to the position of the sun, but at the same time that position shifts with time, the bees without seeing it take into account its movement in the sky, to within about 15 minutes. His experimental proofs deciphering the bees' "dances" are simple and direct, as was his writing of them. The book was and still is an inspiration,  a revelation of nature's beauty that no one had seen before.

By Karl Von Frisch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Over half a century of brilliant scientific detective work, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Karl von Frisch learned how the world, looks, smells, and tastes to a bee. More significantly, he discovered their dance language and their ability to use the sun as a compass. Intended to serve as an accessible introduction to one of the most fascinating areas of biology, Bees (first published in 1950 and revised in 1971), reported the startling results of his ingenious and revolutionary experiments with honeybees.

In his revisions, von Frisch updated his discussion about the phylogenetic origin of the language of bees and also…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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