100 books like Einstein's Dreams

By Alan Lightman,

Here are 100 books that Einstein's Dreams fans have personally recommended if you like Einstein's Dreams. 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 Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Dan Moller Author Of The Way of Bach: Three Years with the Man, the Music, and the Piano

From my list on Bach, music, and the piano.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland interested in politics, ethics, and art. Philosophers are often unpopular loners who are passionate about their ideas, and so are musicians like Bach. When I teach Socrates and the trial that led to his death I can’t help but think of Bach, who was rejected from job after job in favor of mediocrities, and whose music was considered offensive by parishioners and obsolete by musicians by the end of his life. These figures endear themselves to me not just because of the ideas themselves, but because they had to fight so hard for what they believed in.

Dan's book list on Bach, music, and the piano

Dan Moller Why did Dan love this book?

This book picks up where Evening in the Palace of Reason leaves off, with Bach composing the Musical Offering on a horrible theme from King Frederick.

It explains canons and fugues, and thus helps you understand Bach’s work better, but it then goes on a safari through the intellectual landscape of ideas related to fugues–strange loops, self-similarity, recursion, and of course the guys in the title. It’s not for everyone, but if you like any two of logic, philosophy, or music, give this a try.

By Douglas R. Hofstadter,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Gödel, Escher, Bach as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 cell, if consciousness can emerge out of a formal system of firing neurons, then so too will computers attain human intelligence. Goedel, Escher, Bach is a wonderful exploration of fascinating ideas at the heart of cognitive science: meaning, reduction, recursion, and much more.

Book cover of Cosmos

Ursula Goodenough Author Of The Sacred Depths of Nature: How Life Has Emerged and Evolved

From my list on an ecospiritual orientation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m working with others to develop what we call a religious naturalist orientation or an ecospiritual orientation, and these books have deeply guided my path and inspired the writing of my own book. 

Ursula's book list on an ecospiritual orientation

Ursula Goodenough Why did Ursula love this book?

Astronomer Carl Sagan can be said to have launched the ecospiritual/religious naturalist trajectory with this book, upon which the TV series was based, later writing: A religion that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later such a religion will emerge.”

Two seminal quotes: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

By Carl Sagan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* Spacecraft missions to nearby planets
* The Library of ancient Alexandria
* The human brain
* Egyptian hieroglyphics
* The origin of life
* The death of the sun
* The evolution of galaxies
* The origins of matter, suns and worlds

The story of fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution transforming matter and life into consciousness, of how science and civilisation grew up together, and of the forces and individuals who helped shape modern science. A story told with Carl Sagan's remarkable ability to make scientific ideas both comprehensible and exciting.

Book cover of Men of Mathematics

Basil Mahon Author Of The Forgotten Genius of Oliver Heaviside: A Maverick of Electrical Science

From my list on science to enjoy and to get you thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had a fascination with science. It came not from school or college, where lessons were sometimes dull, but from books about the discoveries and the people who made them. After careers as a soldier and as a government statistician I felt impelled to spread the word by writing, or at least try. After 40 rejections, my first book – about James Clerk Maxwell – was published and, to my joy, found many readers. My aim in writing is simply to share enjoyment with readers in an equal partnership. And I hope always to leave the reader feeling that he or she really knows the people I am writing about.

Basil's book list on science to enjoy and to get you thinking

Basil Mahon Why did Basil love this book?

First published in 1937, this lovely book is a true classic. In two volumes Bell brings to life 30 or so mathematicians, from Archimedes to Cantor. When first reading the book many years ago I had remembered some of the names from school and college, but only as labels to theorems or equations, and I felt taken into a delightful new realm of knowledge – I could now think of Fermat, Lagrange, Gauss, and Riemann as people. And I began to want to know more about the scientists whose names I had heard in school and college. Bell’s book had sparked a lifelong interest.

By E.T. Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......

Book cover of A History of Western Philosophy

Michael E. Long Author Of The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity—and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race

From my list on finding your place in the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m interested in everything – which is a problem, because there’s not time for everything. So how do you find the best of the world and your own place in it? Understanding your motivations is a good place to start, hence The Molecule of More. The rest comes from exploring as much as you can, and that begins with understanding the scope of what’s out there: ideas, attitudes, and cultures. The greatest joy in my life comes from the jaw-dropping realization that the world is so full of potential and wonder. These books are a guide to some of the best of it, and some of the breadth of it.

Michael's book list on finding your place in the world

Michael E. Long Why did Michael love this book?

Whatever those deep questions are that you have, somebody’s already thought about them, and this masterwork of a book will show you that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re thinking and feeling the same way women and men did a couple thousand years ago – and some very wise individuals have thought through what you’re thinking through. This book will change your life and your mind. You have to be patient, but it’s worth it. Read three pages (no more) a day, every day. Plan on sticking with this for more than a year, then do so. Use a highlighter for a bookmark. It changed me. It’ll change you, too.

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1946, History of Western Philosophy went on to become the best-selling philosophy book of the twentieth century. A dazzlingly ambitious project, it remains unchallenged to this day as the ultimate introduction to Western philosophy. Providing a sophisticated overview of the ideas that have perplexed people from time immemorial, it is 'long on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly scepticism', as the New York Times noted, and it is this, coupled with the sheer brilliance of its scholarship, that has made Russell's History of Western Philosophy one of the most important philosophical works of all time.

Book cover of The Physicist & the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time

Marc Wittmann Author Of Altered States of Consciousness: Experiences Out of Time and Self

From my list on the frontier areas of time in psychology and physics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a research fellow at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. I studied Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Munich (Germany) and have a Ph.D. in Medical Psychology from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Between 2004 and 2009 I was Research Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego. My research in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience is focused on the perception of time in ordinary and altered states of consciousness. The investigation concerning the riddle of subjective time as based on the embodied self leads me to answers of what matters most, the nature of our existence as self-conscious beings.

Marc's book list on the frontier areas of time in psychology and physics

Marc Wittmann Why did Marc love this book?

The debate on the nature of time between Henri Bergson, one of the most important philosophers at that time, and Albert Einstein, happened on April 6, 1922. Although many people believe that Einstein gained the upper hand in this showdown, comparable perhaps only with the ‘rumble in the jungle’ between Foreman and Ali in 1974, matters are more complicated. Jimena Canales has written a thriller about this clash of cultures fighting about time. She opens up a cosmos of philosophy and physics embedded in culture and shows how one hour of talk in 1922 still has relevance 100 years later for what it means to be human.

By Jimena Canales,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Physicist & the Philosopher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On April 6, 1922, in Paris, Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson publicly debated the nature of time. Einstein considered Bergson's theory of time to be a soft, psychological notion, irreconcilable with the quantitative realities of physics. Bergson, who gained fame as a philosopher by arguing that time should not be understood exclusively through the lens of science, criticized Einstein's theory of time for being a metaphysics grafted on to science, one that ignored the intuitive aspects of time. The Physicist and the Philosopher tells the remarkable story of how this explosive debate transformed our understanding of time and drove a…

Book cover of Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation

Craig Vann Author Of The Hawking Sequence

From my list on to contemplate for a time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the concept of time travel since I was a kid wishing to return to simpler times; the days before computers, huge metropolises, and before people protested everything. Some of these books achieve that, others do not claim to. I have no expertise in the science of time travel; no one does. While “time travel” is real (check out “time dilation”), to travel through time as writers like me profess is impossible. Or maybe it’s possible, given an opportune gravitational wave... Enjoy my recommended books! You’re in for a treat.

Craig's book list on to contemplate for a time

Craig Vann Why did Craig love this book?

I write about time; the ticking of the clock and the passage through it. But when thinking about time zones and what time it is here or there, I still have to rely on imagining the sun at noon, here at home, and where in the sky that sun would be in the place in question. Time, the fourth dimension, is a confusing concept! While this book may shed some light on that concept, it asks more questions; about circadian rhythms, global regulation of time, and time as a social, and thus temporary, function. Not an easy read, Why Time Flies may take you some to complete, but it is worth the effort.

By Alan Burdick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“An insightful meditation on the curious nature of time…A highly illuminating intellectual investigation” (Kirkus Reviews) explaining the sometimes contradictory ways we experience time.

“Time” is the most commonly used noun in the English language; it’s always on our minds and it advances through every living moment. But what is time, exactly? Do children experience it the same way adults do? Why does it seem to slow down when we’re bored and speed by as we get older? How and why does time fly?

“Erudite and informative, a joy with many small treasures” (Science), this witty and meditative exploration by award-winning…

Book cover of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Mel Jolly Author Of Becoming Future You

From my list on becoming a better you in the new year.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2014 I finally came to the realization that I had become the most negative person I knew. I couldn't stand being that whiney, unhappy person anymore. So even though I didn't know how I was going to do it, I made a no-turning-back decision to kill off Negative Past Mel and become Positive Future Mel. The first step in my how was a book that taught me how to create a morning routine. That book saved me and set me on a path of personal growth and development and helped me take my first steps forward to becoming a version of Future Mel I actually enjoy being!

Mel's book list on becoming a better you in the new year

Mel Jolly Why did Mel love this book?

The most important thing I learned from this book is that “winners take breaks!” I was the kind of person who kept pushing and pushing and pushing myself because I thought that was how I would get ahead. I never understood the scientifically proven benefits of taking breaks. There’s a lot of other great stuff in here, but even that small tidbit permanently changed how I work.

By Daniel H. Pink,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Timing is everything. But we don't know much about timing itself. Timing, it's often assumed, is an art; in When, Pink shows that timing is in fact a science.

Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? When should you have your first coffee of the day? Why is singing in time…

Book cover of The Last Last-Day-of-Summer: A Legendary Alston Boys Adventure

Sharon Skinner Author Of Lostuns Found

From my list on middle-grade adventures with magical elements.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books. All kinds of books. Growing up, I didn’t have many friends outside of books. It’s no wonder that as an adult reader/writer/editor/book coach, I still read widely and voraciously. I believe all stories are magical, but I’m especially drawn to books that contain emotionally engaging characters and fun magical elements. I’m also a huge fan of good KidLit and getting a chance to see and explore other cultures and worlds, both real and imagined. (I even co-host a podcast: Coaching KidLit.) So, I read a ton of magical stories and a lot of KidLit. That’s how I discovered the books on this recommended reading list. 

Sharon's book list on middle-grade adventures with magical elements

Sharon Skinner Why did Sharon love this book?

This is such a fun book, filled with fascinating characters, unusual creatures, and a camera that can freeze time. I loved hanging out with the main characters, Otto and Sheed. They are smart, fun, and relatable. Their adventure is both exciting and humorous, and their relationship is realistic and heartwarming. I love a good adventure, especially one where the characters are forced to set aside their differences to work together toward a single goal. 

By Lamar Giles, Dapo Adeola (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Last-Day-of-Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The Hardy Boys meets The Phantom Tollbooth, in the new century! When two adventurous cousins accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they find the secrets hidden between the unmoving seconds, minutes, and hours are not the endless fun they expected. Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unravelling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun…

Book cover of The Time Keeper

Sharon Ledwith Author Of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

From my list on immersing you into another time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

Escape to the past and have a blast is definitely my motto as a Canadian young adult author. With a penchant for escapism fiction, I’ve always loved books that pull me into different places and adverse time periods. Enter time traveling and original storytelling. Legends, myths, and mysteries of the unexplained thrill me. A lover of anything arcane and ancient mysteries, I delve into our written past to give my fiction the facts I need to immerse readers into my imaginary universe—one book at a time.

Sharon's book list on immersing you into another time and place

Sharon Ledwith Why did Sharon love this book?

After reading The Time Keeper, I found Albom truly has a gift for words. He has a unique brand of storytelling, which made this book flow easily. The tale is original and inspirational. At first, I wasn’t quite sure how to read Albom’s prose, but soon I found that I couldn’t put it down. I’d get to the end of one chapter, then was hooked into the next one. Although Albom’s spiritual convictions shine through, he’s not preachy, and leaves room for his readers’ imagination to percolate throughout the story. I loved the way certain myths were introduced into the mix—the Tower of Babel and Father Time—to give the story an air of familiarity. All and all, this book is worth the investment of your time, whether on vacation or cozying up on the couch at home.

By Mitch Albom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author who's inspired millions worldwide with books like Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes his most imaginative novel yet, The Time Keeper--a compelling fable about the first man on Earth to count the hours.

The man who became Father Time.

In Mitch Albom's exceptional work of fiction, the inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years.

Eventually, with his…

Book cover of The Order of Time

Isabel Hoving Author Of The Dream Merchant

From my list on showing that our world is a wildly different place.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books all show me that reality is much, much richer and stranger than it seems. And that is exactly what makes me write myself. Already as a child, I wanted the world to be different. I longed for the other, richer realities that were, I felt, just around the corner. So I started to travel, to Senegal and beyond, and learn about other people’s life experiences. When I became a researcher of world literature, it truly came home to me how one-sided my view of the world was. Ouch. Fortunately, there is a wealth of stories out there to tell us about everything we have been blind to. 

Isabel's book list on showing that our world is a wildly different place

Isabel Hoving Why did Isabel love this book?

Carlos Rovelli’s The Order of Time is not at all a fantasy book—it is science—but nevertheless the most inspiring, life changing fantasy I’ve ever read. If I look around me with scientist Rovelli’s eyes, I too see that “the world is made up of networks of kisses, not of stones.” Beautiful, weird, and scientifically accurate. True fantasy! 

By Carlo Rovelli,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Order of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


One of TIME's Ten Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade

'Captivating, fascinating, profoundly beautiful. . . Rovelli is a wonderfully humane, gentle and witty guide for he is as much philosopher and poet as he is a scientist' John Banville

'We are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come'

Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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