25 books like Gut

By Giulia Enders, Jill Enders (illustrator),

Here are 25 books that Gut fans have personally recommended if you like Gut. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales Of Love, War, And Genius, As Written By Our Genetic Code

Alex Bezzerides Author Of Evolution Gone Wrong: The Curious Reasons Why Our Bodies Work (or Don't)

From my list on the evolution of the human body.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a biologist, a writer, and a teacher. I like knowing how the human body works but what I really like is knowing why it works the way it does. Those explanations lie deep in our past and I use my broad biological background to dig up the answers in scientific journals. Then I take those articles and figure out how to describe them to people who last took a biology class in 10th grade. I start with those drab scientific threads and knit them into big, bold scientific sweaters that anyone can curl up in and feel warm and comfortable. 

Alex's book list on the evolution of the human body

Alex Bezzerides Why did Alex love this book?

At the end of the day, we are humans because of our DNA and Sam Kean breaks down that DNA in a way that is surprisingly page-turning.

You will learn more about your genetic code than you ever thought possible. Who would have thought that there is more viral DNA in the human genome than actual human genes!

The Violinist’s Thumb is a ride that weaves the biology of DNA and the cultural and societal impacts of the molecular revolution into a compelling story you won’t want to put down.

By Sam Kean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Violinist's Thumb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA.

In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In The Violinist's Thumb, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.

There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more…


Book cover of An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases

Tamara Duker Freuman Author Of The Bloated Belly Whisperer: A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide to Beating Bloat and Improving Digestive Wellness

From my list on science books to make yourself health-fad proof.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an evidence-based dietitian who’s worked in gastroenterology practices for over a decade and have seen countless patients defrauded by modern-day snake oil salespeople and unqualified influencers trying to hawk fad diets, unregulated supplements, pseudoscientific lab tests, and more. Knowledge is power, and scientific literacy—understanding how our bodies actually work—is the best defense against being led down a harmful rabbit hole of health misinformation. I love popular science books, and I especially love it when people can write about science with humor and intelligence without ‘dumbing it down’ or oversimplifying; these books all meet that criteria!

Tamara's book list on science books to make yourself health-fad proof

Tamara Duker Freuman Why did Tamara love this book?

Long before everyone and their mother knew about the gut microbiome and its impact on overall health and immunity, Velasquez-Manoff blew my mind with this impeccably researched book about the connections between specific “old friends”—microorganisms that had long been part of the human species’ inner ecosystems—and risk of developing autoimmune disease. Forget the fearmongering explanations you’ve seen on social media blaming GMOs, gluten, lectins, or the dietary demon du jour; this book has actual evidence-based answers to the question of why allergies and autoimmune diseases are on the rise.

The author is a journalist with a knack for storytelling and making complex science accessible—and he is also affected by multiple autoimmune diseases himself. His storytelling takes readers all over the world to different societies at different periods and introduces us to specific bacteria, worms, and viruses—“old friends”—whose erasure from our collective inner ecosystems seems to foretell a rise in the…

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A brilliant, groundbreaking report on the dramatic rise of allergic and autoimmune disease, and the controversial therapies scientists are developing to correct these disorders.

From asthma to Crohn’s disease, everyone knows someone who suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disorder. And if it appears that the prevalence of these maladies has increased recently, that’s because it has—to levels never before seen in human history. These days no fewer than one in five—and likely more—Americans suffers from one of these ailments. We seem newly, and bafflingly, vulnerable to immune system malfunction. Why? One possibility is that we have systematically cleaned ourselves…


Book cover of The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest

Mary T. Newport Author Of Clearly Keto: For Healthy Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention

From my list on healthier aging of body and brain through diet and lifestyle changes (by a doctor).

Why am I passionate about this?

At just fifty-four, my husband Steve was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. After practicing as a physician specializing in newborn intensive care for thirty years, I found myself at the opposite end of the spectrum, learning everything I could about Alzheimer’s. In 2008, Steve had a dramatic improvement in his symptoms lasting nearly four years from consuming ketogenic coconut oil and MCT oil, a low-carb whole food diet, and later a ketone ester developed at the NIH. I knew that if Steve improved many others would as well, and have been compelled to share this information by speaking and writing about ketones as an alternative fuel for the brain.

Mary's book list on healthier aging of body and brain through diet and lifestyle changes (by a doctor)

Mary T. Newport Why did Mary love this book?

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner is a fascinating look at populations around the world with high concentrations of centenarians, including detailed interviews with these very elderly people, to learn what factors might explain their longevity and good health—what they eat and how they go about their daily lives.

I found it interesting and inspirational to get such an intimate peek into the lives of individuals from different cultures who have lived much longer than most of us can hope for.

By Dan Buettner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A long, healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are you may live up to a decade longer. Buettner has led teams of researchers across the globe--from Costa Rica to Sardinia, Italy, to Okinawa, Japan and beyond--to uncover the secrets of Blue Zones. He found that the recipe for longevity is deeply intertwined with community, lifestyle, and spirituality. People live longer and healthier by embracing a few simple but powerful habits, and by creating the right community around themselves. In The…


Book cover of Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Stay Healthy, and Lose Weight

John B. Arden Author Of Rewire Your Brain 2.0: Five Healthy Factors to a Better Life

From my list on life-style health.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lectured in 30 countries and all US States. Previously, I was the Director of Training in Mental Health for Kaiser Permanente in the Northern California region. In this capacity, I oversaw training programs in 24 medical centers where over 150 postdoctoral residents and interns are trained each year, the largest mental health training program in the US.  I am the author of 15 books (translated into over 20 languages). The second edition of my book, Rewire Your Brain 2.0, came out last year. My book, Mind-Brain-Gene: Toward the Integration of Psychotherapy, encompasses the fields of psychoneuroimmunology, Epigenetics, Neuroscience, Nutritional Neuroscience, and psychotherapy research.    

John's book list on life-style health

John B. Arden Why did John love this book?

This timely book reveals how many of the food fads are not based on coherent and sensible science.

One of the hot fads that the book reveals does not make historical sense is the so-called paleo diet, which is based on the no-carb diet. Actually, our ancestors, who were all hunter-gatherers, did not eat primarily meat and avoid carbohydrates. In fact, these ancestors ate complex carbohydrates. The point that the author raises is that complex carbs are critical for metabolism.  

By Herman Pontzer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Pontzer's findings have huge implications for our attitudes to exercise, diet and public health' Mark Webster, Sunday Times

A myth-busting tour of the body's hidden foundations from a pioneering evolutionary biologist

'Public health strategies stubbornly cling to the simplistic armchair engineer's view of metabolism, hurting efforts to combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and the other diseases that are most likely to kill us'

Herman Pontzer's ground-breaking research has revealed how, contrary to received wisdom, exercise does not increase our metabolism. Instead, we burn calories within a very narrow range: nearly 3,000 calories per day, no matter our activity level.…


Book cover of If Our Bodies Could Talk: Operating and Maintaining a Human Body

Tamara Duker Freuman Author Of The Bloated Belly Whisperer: A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide to Beating Bloat and Improving Digestive Wellness

From my list on science books to make yourself health-fad proof.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an evidence-based dietitian who’s worked in gastroenterology practices for over a decade and have seen countless patients defrauded by modern-day snake oil salespeople and unqualified influencers trying to hawk fad diets, unregulated supplements, pseudoscientific lab tests, and more. Knowledge is power, and scientific literacy—understanding how our bodies actually work—is the best defense against being led down a harmful rabbit hole of health misinformation. I love popular science books, and I especially love it when people can write about science with humor and intelligence without ‘dumbing it down’ or oversimplifying; these books all meet that criteria!

Tamara's book list on science books to make yourself health-fad proof

Tamara Duker Freuman Why did Tamara love this book?

I first picked up this book years ago for the appeal of its short, science-based chapters took on novelty, quirky questions about why our bodies are so weird: why do we have dimples? Why do stomachs rumble? Why do men have nipples? What happens to weight when it’s lost? (Spoiler alert: you breathe it out!)

But Hamblin also takes on some more serious topics, the (mis)understanding of which is even more important in the era of COVID and social-media-fueled wellness culture: how do vaccines work? Can you really boost your immune system? Do probiotics work? What about multivitamins? Are we made to eat meat? What is gluten, anyway? What causes cancer? Hamblin’s humor, straight-talk and lack of any agenda to sell you anything but the state of the science is a refreshing balm in a world fueled with health disinformation that thrives on our lack of scientific knowledge.

By James Hamblin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Our Bodies Could Talk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"If you want to understand the strange workings of the human body, and the future of medicine, you must read this illuminating, engaging book." —Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Gene

In 2014, James Hamblin launched a series of videos for The Atlantic called "If Our Bodies Could Talk."  With it, the doctor-turned-journalist established himself as a seriously entertaining authority in the field of health. Now, in illuminating and genuinely funny prose, Hamblin explores the human stories behind health questions that never seem to go away—and which tend to be mischaracterized and oversimplified by marketing and news media.  He covers topics…


Book cover of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Jawahara Saidullah Author Of We are...Warrior Queens

From my list on transporting you across time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

Travel and writing are my two great passions. Since I was a child, I escaped reality by escaping into my own mind. I had relied on my stories of the warrior queens ever since I learned about them as a child. It was only a few years ago, when I lived in Geneva, that I had a memory flash at me of the statue of Queen Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi on a rearing horse with a curved sword held in one hand. I knew then that it was time to tell a story—my own story and that of my favorite warrior queens.

Jawahara's book list on transporting you across time and place

Jawahara Saidullah Why did Jawahara love this book?

This is a surprising book because while it is certainly macabre, it’s not morbid (at least not for me) and is strangely entertaining. It demystifies the human body and the process of death and dying. 

Even as the author delves into every aspect of dead bodies, she does so with compassion and humor. Rooted and backed up with science, this book held my interest from beginning to end, and I read it non-stop for over a day and a half. Despite its grave subject matter, this book is not dark or scary. It’s matter-of-fact and very educational.

By Mary Roach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For two thousand years, cadavers - some willingly, some unwittingly - have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender confirmation surgery, cadavers have helped make history in their quiet way. "Delightful-though never disrespectful" (Les Simpson, Time Out New York), Stiff investigates the strange lives of our bodies postmortem and answers the question: What should…


Book cover of The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste Into Wealth and Health

Bryn Nelson Author Of Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure

From my list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a trained microbiologist who received my doctorate from the University of Washington and who has long been fascinated by the natural world—whether microscopic or gigantic, within us or all around us. For more than 20 years, I’ve also been an award-winning science writer who has written for publications like The New York Times, Nature, Wired, and Scientific American. Ever since I wrote about the incredible ability of fecal transplants to cure a deadly bacterial infection, I’ve been obsessed with books that explore how the seemingly gross or ordinary things we often dismiss as lacking value have the power to transform both us and the planet.   

Bryn's book list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation

Bryn Nelson Why did Bryn love this book?

One of the many things that astonished me about Lina’s lovely book is that although I put off reading it until I had finished my own book, for fear of too much overlap, I need not have worried.

She deftly uses different yet compelling examples for an exciting read that convincingly makes the case for giving a crap about crap. She also uses her own family’s history and experience as immigrants to provide some surprisingly moving scenes in support of her larger points.

Even after all the poop-related research I had done, I learned plenty more, which was a nice revelation: something that I thought I knew still had the ability to surprise me in profound ways.  

By Lina Zeldovich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The average person produces about four hundred pounds of excrement a year. More than seven billion people live on this planet. Holy crap!

Because of the diseases it spreads, we have learned to distance ourselves from our waste, but the long line of engineering marvels we've created to do so-from Roman sewage systems and medieval latrines to the immense, computerized treatment plants we use today-has also done considerable damage to the earth's ecology. Now scientists tell us: we've been wasting our waste. When recycled correctly, this resource, cheap and widely available, can be converted into a sustainable energy source, act…


Book cover of Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet

Ted Anton Author Of Programmable Planet: The Synthetic Biology Revolution

From my list on sizzling science books that simplify.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written four books of popular science, and edited a fifth collection of my favorite science writers. I have been a judge for the 2022 Science in Society Book Awards for the National Association of Science Writers. I taught popular science writing for 34 years to undergraduates and graduates alike. Most of all, I love the wonder and awe of understanding the world around us.

Ted's book list on sizzling science books that simplify

Ted Anton Why did Ted love this book?

This is a fascinating and compelling journey through the most neglected and significant public health innovation since vaccines and nutritional guidelines, the modern toilet.

Author Chelsea Flanagan takes us on a wild ride through the history of this neglected and highly significant home appliance, including contemporary efforts to make toilets more environmentally friendly and even less expensive. Relatively inexpensive, safe sewage saves millions of lives a year, more than all our modern medicines combined.

By Chelsea Wald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finalist for the 2022 NASW Science in Society Journalism Award
Longlisted for the 2022 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

From an award-winning science journalist, a “deeply researched, entertaining, and impassioned exploration of sanitation” (Nature) and the future of the toilet—for fans of popular science bestsellers by Mary Roach.

Most of us do not give much thought to the centerpiece of our bathrooms, but the toilet is an unexpected paradox. On the one hand, it is a modern miracle: a ubiquitous fixture in a vast sanitation system that has helped add decades to the human life span by…


Book cover of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters

Bryn Nelson Author Of Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure

From my list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a trained microbiologist who received my doctorate from the University of Washington and who has long been fascinated by the natural world—whether microscopic or gigantic, within us or all around us. For more than 20 years, I’ve also been an award-winning science writer who has written for publications like The New York Times, Nature, Wired, and Scientific American. Ever since I wrote about the incredible ability of fecal transplants to cure a deadly bacterial infection, I’ve been obsessed with books that explore how the seemingly gross or ordinary things we often dismiss as lacking value have the power to transform both us and the planet.   

Bryn's book list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation

Bryn Nelson Why did Bryn love this book?

This superb book was one of the first to raise the issue of how poorly we’ve considered our waste and what to do with it, and it was a big inspiration for me.

It’s thoughtful and incredibly well-researched, packed full of amazing historical details, and provides a compelling case for how and why we should get our shit together—literally. I learned so much from this book, and it really encouraged me to keep digging and exploring how we might reimagine our human output. Just an excellent read and a compelling case for change.  

By Rose George,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Produced behind closed doors, disposed of discreetly, hidden by euphemism, shit is rarely out in the open in 'civilized' society, but the world of waste - and the people who deal with it, work with it and in it - is a rich one.This book takes us underground to the sewers of New York and London and overground to meet the heroes of India's sanitation movement, American sewage schoolteachers, the Japanese genius at the cutting edge of toilet technology and the biosolids lobbying team. With a journalist's nose for story and a campaigner's desire for change, Rose George also addresses…


Book cover of Know Your Shit: What Your Crap Is Telling You

Bryn Nelson Author Of Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure

From my list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a trained microbiologist who received my doctorate from the University of Washington and who has long been fascinated by the natural world—whether microscopic or gigantic, within us or all around us. For more than 20 years, I’ve also been an award-winning science writer who has written for publications like The New York Times, Nature, Wired, and Scientific American. Ever since I wrote about the incredible ability of fecal transplants to cure a deadly bacterial infection, I’ve been obsessed with books that explore how the seemingly gross or ordinary things we often dismiss as lacking value have the power to transform both us and the planet.   

Bryn's book list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation

Bryn Nelson Why did Bryn love this book?

Shawn is fearless, good-hearted, and laugh-out-loud funny.

As an educator, performance artist, and founder of the POOP Project, he has dedicated much of his work to reducing the taboo and stigma of talking about our own bodies, especially the natural act of pooping. Mixing in his trademark humor with historical anecdotes and a genuine love of both people and the planet, this book will make you smile, laugh, and feel a deeper connection with a part of your body that deserves far more attention.

It’s a very fun and inspiring read about rejecting shame and celebrating your own inner power. 

By Shawn Shafner, Rebecca Pry (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pushing For Change from the Bottom Up!

Poop is a big deal. All people and all beings do it on any good day. It's basically at the center of everything. Know Your Shit lifts the lid off the potty taboo and breaks the stall doors down in search of the Perfect Poo. Along the way, learn what happens inside your body to make poo, how the process can go wrong, and simple fixes to make sure you stay in the Goldiplops Zone. Now, let us hold these poos to be self-evident; not all are created equal. But it is important…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the gastrointestinal tract, diet, and bacteria?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the gastrointestinal tract, diet, and bacteria.

The Gastrointestinal Tract Explore 8 books about the gastrointestinal tract
Diet Explore 18 books about diet
Bacteria Explore 16 books about bacteria