100 books like Principles of Geology

By Sir Charles Lyell,

Here are 100 books that Principles of Geology fans have personally recommended if you like Principles of Geology. 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 Understanding Earth

Robert M. Hazen Author Of The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

From my list on planet Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert M. Hazen, Senior Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Earth and Planets Laboratory and the Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University, received the B.S. and S.M. in geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ph.D. at Harvard University in Earth science. His most recent book is The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years from Stardust to Living Planet, which explores the intricate coevolution of the geosphere and biosphere.

Robert's book list on planet Earth

Robert M. Hazen Why did Robert love this book?

At their very best, textbooks synthesize knowledge in new, informative ways. Understanding Earth is a classic, covering the basics of geology, geophysics, and environmental science with stylish prose, classy illustrations, and the insights of two great scientist educators (earlier editions were championed by Frank Press and Ray Siever, who began the franchise). It’s a whirlwind tour of modern science, from the microscopic view of rocks and minerals to the global sweep of plate tectonics.

By John Grotzinger, Tom Jordan, Frank Press , Raymond Siever

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The field of physical geology continues to evolve with new tools, new ideas new approaches. Working closely with Frank Press and Ray Siever, the new co-authors of the fourth edition, John Grotzinger and Tom Jordan, have introduced a wealth of more recent data and applications to keep the science in the text on the cutting edge. This introductory physical geology textbook aims to help students understand what physical geology teaches us about the world and what it brings to our lives. It is designed to bring the worldview of the working geologist to an audience not only new to this…


Book cover of Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth

Robert M. Hazen Author Of The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

From my list on planet Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert M. Hazen, Senior Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Earth and Planets Laboratory and the Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University, received the B.S. and S.M. in geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ph.D. at Harvard University in Earth science. His most recent book is The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years from Stardust to Living Planet, which explores the intricate coevolution of the geosphere and biosphere.

Robert's book list on planet Earth

Robert M. Hazen Why did Robert love this book?

Harvard geobiologist Andy Knoll vividly captures the dynamic field of Precambrian paleontology in this unique, zippy read. Personalities—both fossils and the people who study them—come alive as Knoll races across the eons. With episodes from life’s enigmatic origins, to scrappy contentious black smudges that might or might not be the remains of cells, to some of the most exquisite and revealing microfossils on Earth, Life on a Young Planet takes its readers on a unique journey.

By Andrew H. Knoll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life on a Young Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Australopithecines, dinosaurs, trilobites--such fossils conjure up images of lost worlds filled with vanished organisms. But in the full history of life, ancient animals, even the trilobites, form only the half-billion-year tip of a nearly four-billion-year iceberg. Andrew Knoll explores the deep history of life from its origins on a young planet to the incredible Cambrian explosion, presenting a compelling new explanation for the emergence of biological novelty. The very latest discoveries in paleontology--many of them made by the author and his students--are integrated with emerging insights from molecular biology and earth system science to forge a broad understanding of how…


Book cover of The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History

Robert M. Hazen Author Of The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

From my list on planet Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert M. Hazen, Senior Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Earth and Planets Laboratory and the Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University, received the B.S. and S.M. in geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ph.D. at Harvard University in Earth science. His most recent book is The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years from Stardust to Living Planet, which explores the intricate coevolution of the geosphere and biosphere.

Robert's book list on planet Earth

Robert M. Hazen Why did Robert love this book?

All of us have a vision of what it means to be a vibrant, blue, and green “Earth-like planet,” but our home has fit that familiar description for only the past 400 million years or so—a mere 8 percent of its changeable history. Beerling’s revealing Emerald Planet tells the surprising tale of the rise of the terrestrial biosphere, as plants ever so gradually established their foothold on dry land and became a major geological force. Who would have thought that roots and leaves hold such drama, but our existence and survival are intimately tied to those transformative innovations.

By David Beerling,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Plants have profoundly moulded the Earth's climate and the evolutionary trajectory of life. Far from being 'silent witnesses to the passage of time', plants are dynamic components of our world, shaping the environment throughout history as much as that environment has shaped them.

In The Emerald Planet, David Beerling puts plants centre stage, revealing the crucial role they have played in driving global changes in the environment, in recording hidden facets of Earth's history, and in helping us to predict its future. His account draws together evidence from fossil plants, from experiments with their living counterparts, and from computer models…


Book cover of Annals of the Former World

Keith Heyer Meldahl Author Of Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

From my list on geology that tell great stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first crossed the American West nearly 4 decades ago in my ’67 Chevy, it changed my life. I had never imagined mountains built of contorted rock shoved miles into the sky, faults slashing like fresh scars across the landscape, and starkly beautiful deserts where people seemed an afterthought. After many happy years of researching and exploring the West with my geology students, I knew I wanted to tell the story to a larger audience. The result has been three books: Hard Road West, Rough-Hewn Land, and Surf, Sand, and Stone. 

Keith's book list on geology that tell great stories

Keith Heyer Meldahl Why did Keith love this book?

Every geology book collection should include this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic. McPhee travels with four different U.S. geologists, visiting their outcrops and laboratories while tracing the evolution of geologic thought and discoveries. McPhee has the eye of a scientist, the soul of a poet, and the pen (keyboard?) of a master author. The result is fluid and beautiful writing about science and those who practice it. 

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Annals of the Former World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years

Twenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.

Like the terrain…


Book cover of Children's Encyclopedia of Earth

Robert R. Coenraads Author Of Rocks and Fossils: A Visual Guide

From my list on our planet’s geological wonders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I‘m a Sydney-based exploration geologist and science writer, travelling the world in search of gold, exotic metals, gemstones, and the stories they have to tell — writing is my tool to bring alive ideas and concepts important to me, and my popular books include Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs; Natural Disasters; and Geologica. Working in the world's poorest regions has also sparked a strong humanitarian interest. I'm the founding president of FreeSchools World Literacy – Australia, a charity dedicated to education of underprivileged children, and towards which earnings from my writing go. It is my belief that education for all, not just a privileged few, is key to solving the world's problems. 

Robert's book list on our planet’s geological wonders

Robert R. Coenraads Why did Robert love this book?

This book stands as one of the last great paper encyclopedias created for children in this day and age of digital searches, and that is what I love about it. As you leaf through its pages, it is reminiscent of turning the stone pages of our own planet’s 4.6 billion-year-old story, featuring the evolution of life, culminating in us! This beautifully illustrated and written encyclopedia presents the most up-to-date information about planet Earth in a style and format designed for children, but which will appeal to a wide range of readers. With hundreds of photographs, illustrations, diagrams, and maps, it presents an impressive overview of our globe—beginning with the history of the universe and ending with today's conservation issues. A truly spectacular reference. 

By Michael Allaby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Children's Encyclopedia of Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How do twisters form? What makes lightening strike? Why are tropical rain forests the lungs of our planet? Curious kids want to know everything about their planet. They’ll find the answers to their questions here, as they investigate our world from its core to its cosmic connections.


Book cover of The Street Beneath My Feet

Suzanne Preston Blier Author Of The Streets of Newtowne: A Story of Cambridge, MA

From my list on the idea of streets, history, and places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an art and architectural historian whose field also includes the histories of cities. My area of specialty is Africa. I am also a professor at Harvard who has lived in Cambridge, Ma. for over 30 years where I have become a civic leader, co-founding the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association to help bring improvements to the city and preserve historic buildings here. I teach a class on Harvard Square (and the city of Cambridge) and following January 6, I felt it was important to rethink the way we teach young people – encouraging them to understand the diversity of all our communities. 

Suzanne's book list on the idea of streets, history, and places

Suzanne Preston Blier Why did Suzanne love this book?

This book, which takes one on a journey below ground in a city as well as a rural area, providing a glimpse of both the man-made infrastructure (tunnels and pipes) as well as the burrowing trails of animals and many layered rock formations.

The book encourages its readers to think more about the paths and streets on which we and others have long traveled.

By Charlotte Guillain, Yuval Zommer (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Street Beneath My Feet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This award-winning, double-sided foldout book takes you on a fascinating journey down through the layers of the Earth, all the way to the planet’s core and out the other side.

When you’re out walking around, whether on the city streets or a country trail, there’s always so much to see and hear. But do you ever stop and look down? Have you ever wondered what’s going on deep in the ground under your feet?

There are so many amazing sights to see! One side of the foldout shows the ground beneath the city, while the reverse side shows the ground…


Book cover of The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

Keith Heyer Meldahl Author Of Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

From my list on geology that tell great stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first crossed the American West nearly 4 decades ago in my ’67 Chevy, it changed my life. I had never imagined mountains built of contorted rock shoved miles into the sky, faults slashing like fresh scars across the landscape, and starkly beautiful deserts where people seemed an afterthought. After many happy years of researching and exploring the West with my geology students, I knew I wanted to tell the story to a larger audience. The result has been three books: Hard Road West, Rough-Hewn Land, and Surf, Sand, and Stone. 

Keith's book list on geology that tell great stories

Keith Heyer Meldahl Why did Keith love this book?

Written with the clarity and zest of Bryson and McPhee, but with the added benefit that Hazen is a professional geologist. I like this book because of how Hazen takes the reader into the process of how a geologist works and thinks. Hazen’s specialty is mineralogy, and his main thesis—that living organisms and minerals evolved together with each shaping the other’s future—makes for a unique and thought-provoking take on the history of our planet. 

By Robert M. Hazen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hailed by The New York Times for writing "with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along," nationally bestselling author Robert M. Hazen offers a radical new approach to Earth history in this intertwined tale of the planet's living and nonliving spheres. With an astrobiologist's imagination, a historian's perspective, and a naturalist's eye, Hazen calls upon twenty-first-century discoveries that have revolutionized geology and enabled scientists to envision Earth's many iterations in vivid detail-from the mile-high lava tides of its infancy to the early organisms responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties beneath…


Book cover of Earthshake: Poems from the Ground Up

Brenda Z. Guiberson Author Of Yours 'Til Niagara Falls

From my list on the fascinating and connected layers of world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer of dozens of books for children, I always learn much more that can go into each effort. A “wow” moment gets me started. It could be a giant cactus that grows so slowly, frogs that don’t ribbet, maybe a moment with a sea turtle, or thoughts on geology and natural wonders. Each book comes into a hazy focus after tons of research but much gets left out. What goes in? The best “wow” details get woven into an incredible story full of surprise, joy, and admiration for this world of constant change and those struggling to survive.

Brenda's book list on the fascinating and connected layers of world

Brenda Z. Guiberson Why did Brenda love this book?

Humor and poetry brought to the natural wonders of earth? Wow! This book has twenty-two poems such as “Recipe for Granite,” “Obituary for a Clam” and “Instructions for the Earth’s Dishwasher.” A favorite is a plea for a glacier, so sluggish and slow. “Just once, when no one is looking, peel out!” The illustrations are bright and fun and the endnotes provide extra information.

By Lisa Westberg Peters, Cathie Felstead (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of A Geologist Speculates

Frederick Lin Sutherland Author Of The Volcanic Earth: Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics : Past, Present & Future

From my list on the glories of global geology.

Why am I passionate about this?

My final high school year in Tasmania added a new topic, geology. I and my school friends knew little about it but signed up. In the first lesson, the teacher pointed at the adjacent sunlit river gorge saying “There is your laboratory.” We were hooked and most of us became professional geologists. I started off in museums where mineral, rock, and fossil collections were a font of knowledge and generated field collecting, research, and educational activities. This led to MSc and PhD degrees from universities at both ends of Australia. A base at the Australian Museum led to travel around Australia and visits to many overseas institutions and meetings.

Frederick's book list on the glories of global geology

Frederick Lin Sutherland Why did Frederick love this book?

Here, a seasoned geologist gathers several themes of his research interests, poses critical questions on apparent anomalies within them, and considers their resolution. He does this by giving free rein to informed lateral thinking on these topics. This produces an unusual book in the annals of geological writing, presenting thought-provoking and rewarding reading.

The thematic chapters are written in a fluent expression of the concepts involved, reinforced through a range of illustrative means. There are superb photographs of gems, minerals, and rocks as specimens and rocky exposures from many sources. Geological diagrams underpin explanations, superimposed maps highlight large-scale geological structures, and even images of paintings, historical scenes, postcards, and stamps reinforce particular points. The closing sections enter the realms of life on Earth, seen as coordinated biological and geological evolution. 

By John M. Saul,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How did the Earth get its gemstones? · How did the Earth get its oil and gas? · What happened to the Earth's moonlike impact craters? · Why did it take 80% of the Earth's history for complex animals to emerge? · Do Darwinian principles apply to absolutely all creatures?


Book cover of A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves

Lewis Dartnell Author Of Origins: How Earth's History Shaped Human History

From my list on big history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science researcher and writer living in London. My research field is astrobiology and the possibility of life on other planets – it brings together lots of different areas of science with engineering and space exploration and so is deeply ‘interdisciplinary’. And as a science writer, I try to bring this same broad perspective and unifying approach to other profound questions. My fascination with understanding our own origins was sparked by my childhood growing up in East Africa, the cradle of humanity. In Origins I explored different ways that planet Earth has influenced our human story across the millennia - it’s an example of ‘Big History’.

Lewis' book list on big history

Lewis Dartnell Why did Lewis love this book?

This is a much lesser-known book than the others I’ve picked, and I feel it deserves a load more attention. Walter Alvarez was instrumental to the development of the theory that the dinosaurs were wiped-out by an asteroid impact. Here, he casts his professor-of-geology eye across the whole of Earth’s history to show us the astonishing ways that our world – and the cosmos around us – have nurtured life on the planet and influenced the human story.

By Walter Alvarez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Most Improbable Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Big History, the field that integrates traditional historical scholarship with scientific insights to study the full sweep of our universe, has so far been the domain of historians. Famed geologist Walter Alvarez-best known for the "Impact Theory" explaining dinosaur extinction-has instead championed a science-first approach to Big History. Here he wields his unique expertise to give us a new appreciation for the incredible occurrences-from the Big Bang to the formation of supercontinents, the dawn of the Bronze Age, and beyond-that have led to our improbable place in the universe.


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