10 books like Einstein's Dreams

By Alan Lightman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Einstein's Dreams. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Gödel, Escher, Bach

By Douglas R. Hofstadter,

Book cover of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

The focus of this book is self-reference and recursion. By explaining what formal systems are and how they can be identified in music and art, Hofstadter illustrates how fundamental concepts of computing appear in unexpected areas of our lives. A focus of this book is on the principal limitations of formal systems and thus of computing. Some parts of the book may be hard to digest due to the significant use of formal symbol manipulation, and with 777 pages it is not a quick read. The effort is, however, rewarded with deep insights into Gödel's incompleteness theorem and its implication for computing. This is a brilliant book, a true classic, which contains much food for thought.

Gödel, Escher, Bach

By Douglas R. Hofstadter,

Why should I read it?

8 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.


Cosmos

By Carl Sagan,

Book cover of Cosmos

I read Cosmos when I was young and it inspired the love of science I still carry today. I found Sagan’s musings about the pale blue dot mesmerizing, and the science was thrilling. I ended up going to Space Camp when I was 14 and Governor’s School for Physics when I was 16 to further my scientific knowledge. When I wrote A Paradox of Fates, I used some of the science I learned in Governor’s School to explain time travel, which has always been a fascinating subject to me.

Cosmos

By Carl Sagan,

Why should I read it?

3 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.


Men of Mathematics

By E.T. Bell,

Book cover of Men of Mathematics

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.

Men of Mathematics

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.......


A History of Western Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell,

Book cover of A History of Western Philosophy

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.

A History of Western Philosophy

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.


The Physicist & the Philosopher

By Jimena Canales,

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

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.

The Physicist & the Philosopher

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…


Why Time Flies

By Alan Burdick,

Book cover of Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation

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.

Why Time Flies

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…


Consumption Takes Time

By Ian Steedman,

Book cover of Consumption Takes Time: Implications for Economic Theory

This looks like it’s the sternest and most boring book ever, but I love Steedman’s cool-and-collected ability to address the implications of the obvious: You can only do one thing at a time. You only have two hands. And when you’re with one set of belongings, you’re neglecting all the other stuff you own.

Consumption Takes Time

By Ian Steedman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Standard economic theory of consumer behaviour considers consumers' preferences, their incomes and commodity prices to be the determinants of consumption. However, consumption takes time and no consumer has more - or less - than 168 hours per week. This simple fact is almost invisible in standard theory, and takes the centre stage in this book.


11 Birthdays

By Wendy Mass,

Book cover of 11 Birthdays

If Groundhog Day-like stories are your preferred type of magic, then this book is for you. This story about two former friends who are forced to relive their birthdays because of a family curse was a huge inspiration to me early on in my writing career. It motivated me to try writing stories that mix reality with magic, and it continues to be one of my absolute favorite middle-grade reads to this day. Not only is it a story about magic gone wrong, but at its core, it’s a story about friendship, family, and second chances.

11 Birthdays

By Wendy Mass,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 11 Birthdays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's Amanda's 11th birthday and she is super excited-after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she's shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven't shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating itself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it?…


Deep Time Reckoning

By Vincent Ialenti,

Book cover of Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now

Pro-nuclear advocates often dodge the nuclear waste problem, claiming that the fuel waste is small in volume and easy to store underground. Unfortunately, nuclear waste remains radioactive for millions of years, causing a long-term toxic liability for generations to come. For perspective, homo sapiens have been around for 300,000 years and agriculture for 12,000 years. How will we communicate with future earthlings to protect them from accessing this harmful radioactive waste?

I like this book because it broadened my sense of time. In this book, the author interviews Finland’s nuclear waste team who are tasked with predicting geological events over tens of thousands of years. These are data-driven experts constructing models of possible futures and the challenges of storing nuclear waste just get more interesting the deeper you go.

Deep Time Reckoning

By Vincent Ialenti,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A guide to long-term thinking: how to envision the far future of Earth.

We live on a planet careening toward environmental collapse that will be largely brought about by our own actions. And yet we struggle to grasp the scale of the crisis, barely able to imagine the effects of climate change just ten years from now, let alone the multi-millennial timescales of Earth's past and future life span. In this book, Vincent Ialenti offers a guide for envisioning the planet's far future—to become, as he terms it, more skilled deep time reckoners. The challenge, he says, is to learn…


When

By Daniel H. Pink,

Book cover of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

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.

When

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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in physicists, dreams, and Albert Einstein?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about physicists, dreams, and Albert Einstein.

Physicists Explore 30 books about physicists
Dreams Explore 44 books about dreams
Albert Einstein Explore 30 books about Albert Einstein