100 books like Silent Spring

By Rachel Carson,

Here are 100 books that Silent Spring fans have personally recommended if you like Silent Spring. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World

Maxim Samson Author Of Invisible Lines: Boundaries and Belts That Define the World

From my list on redefining your understanding of geography.

Who am I?

I am a Geography professor at DePaul University with a long-standing obsession with the world, comparing puddle shapes to countries as a small child and subsequently initiating map and flag collections that I cultivate to this day. Having lived in different parts of the UK and the USA, as well as being fortunate enough to travel further afield, I’ve relished the opportunity to explore widely and chat with the people who know their places best. I love books that alter how I look at the planet, and I am particularly intrigued by the subtle ways in which people have shaped our world—and our perceptions of it—both intentionally and inadvertently.

Maxim's book list on redefining your understanding of geography

Maxim Samson Why did Maxim love this book?

Even prior to reading this book, I casually considered Alexander von Humboldt to be one of my geographical heroes, a workaholic as addicted to adventure as he was obsessed with advancing our understanding of the planet.

However, Wulf’s book opened my eyes not only to the sheer extent of his contributions to how we view the world, from human-induced climate change to the development of increasingly accurate and informative maps and diagrams but also to his cultural and political significance, influencing politicians and inspiring poets to continue fashioning and representing the planet as they see fit.

In placing the founder of ecology and modern environmentalism centre-stage, this engaging biography extols Humboldt’s revolutionary understanding of how the natural and human worlds are interconnected and helps us appreciate how our relationship with the planet can be scientific and emotional simultaneously. 

By Andrea Wulf,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Invention of Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD

WINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2016

'A thrilling adventure story' Bill Bryson

'Dazzling' Literary Review

'Brilliant' Sunday Express

'Extraordinary and gripping' New Scientist

'A superb biography' The Economist

'An exhilarating armchair voyage' GILES MILTON, Mail on Sunday

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist - more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.

His colourful adventures read…


Book cover of The Overstory

Tina Muir Author Of Becoming a Sustainable Runner: A Guide to Running for Life, Community, and Planet

From my list on helping you process emotions around climate.

Who am I?

FernGully was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and it made me really think about the natural world and how humans interact with it. Now, aged 35 with kids of my own (who also love FernGully), I consider myself a climate activist for the work I do in helping everyday people to believe they can be a part of the solution to climate change. As an author, podcast host, and community builder, I've connected with other humans with fascinating passions, perspectives, and values. I want to show my audience that we can all view the world differently, but there is one important thing we need to all believe, that we matter.

Tina's book list on helping you process emotions around climate

Tina Muir Why did Tina love this book?

I genuinely believe one of the most important ways we can improve our health and outlook on life is through connecting with nature, immersing our bodies in it as often as we can, to ground ourselves and reconnect. We are hard-wired to feel at ease in nature and studies back that up. 

I loved The Overstory, as Richard Powers shares about the interconnectedness of our world in the most beautiful way. It is impossible to come out the other side of that book without viewing the natural world differently, without being grateful for even being alive. 

My purpose is to show my community that their voices, their actions, their choices matter. The Overstory reminds us of the resilience of the natural world and gives us a reason to keep planting seeds, both physically and metaphorically, to care for our planet.

By Richard Powers,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Overstory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of-and paean to-the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers's twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours-vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see…


Book cover of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Graham Shields Author Of Born of Ice and Fire: How Glaciers and Volcanoes (with a Pinch of Salt) Drove Animal Evolution

From my list on science in action written by scientists.

Who am I?

I am a scientist who has worked at the coal face of the debate around the origin of animals and ‘Snowball Earth’ his entire career, using a combination of experimental and descriptive science. Over three decades, I have witnessed first-hand how careful attention to detail in study after study has removed doubt from once provocative, even crazy, ideas that are now widely accepted. I love reading popular science from the perspective of the hands-on scientist who has witnessed the debate first-hand and contributed to received knowledge by conceiving new experiments, amassing data, and, more than often, in entirely unexpected ways through sheer curiosity.

Graham's book list on science in action written by scientists

Graham Shields Why did Graham love this book?

I could not put this book down from the moment I began reading, even though its topic is far from my own research field.

I love the first-hand nature of the research that is described, including how the author was able to accumulate his students’ findings over many years into a well-reasoned synthesis of why good people are divided by their often intransigent beliefs.

It made me question myself and why I think the way I do, and in that regard, it made me reflect more than perhaps any other book I’ve ever read. Just when you think it’s over, Haidt delves into unsuspected realms of biological underpinning, which opened door after door in my mind. I really did not want this book to end.

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Righteous Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A landmark contribution to humanity's understanding of itself' The New York Times

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe? Why do ideas such as 'fairness' and 'freedom' mean such different things to different people? Why is it so hard to see things from another viewpoint? Why do we come to blows over politics and religion?

Jonathan Haidt reveals that we often find it hard to get along because our minds are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous. He explores how morality evolved to enable us to form communities, and…


Book cover of Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do about It

Anthony Biglan Author Of Rebooting Capitalism: How We Can Forge a Society That Works for Everyone

From my list on to find out what we can do to fix the USA.

Who am I?

I have spent my career studying how we can make our world more nurturing for every person. We can build a society that ensures that every child has the skills, interests, values, and health habits they need to lead a productive life in caring relationships with others. I created Values to Action to make this a reality in communities around the world. We have more than 200 members across the country who are working together to reform our society so that it has less poverty, economic inequality, discrimination, and many more happy and thriving families. 

Anthony's book list on to find out what we can do to fix the USA

Anthony Biglan Why did Anthony love this book?

Its central thesis is that the deficiencies and environmental harm of major efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are being ignored, so that the privileged and elite can continue to live in comfort and affluence. The authors present evidence that advocates for alternative energy such as wind and solar greatly overestimate the potential of these sources to replace fossil fuel energy. At the same time, the development of wind and solar power has harmful environmental impacts, including the mining necessary to obtain rare earth minerals, the decimation of wilderness both in the process of obtaining minerals, and widely implementing wind and solar installations. The undue optimism associated with these activities makes it unnecessary for those who are already privileged to consider adopting a much less consumptive lifestyle.

By Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, Max Wilbert

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“This disturbing but very important book makes clear we must dig deeper than the normal solutions we are offered.”―Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia Works

"Bright Green Lies exposes the hypocrisy and bankruptcy of leading environmental groups and their most prominent cheerleaders. The best-known environmentalists are not in the business of speaking truth, or even holding up rational solutions to blunt the impending ecocide, but instead indulge in a mendacious and self-serving delusion that provides comfort at the expense of reality. They fail to state the obvious: We cannot continue to wallow in hedonistic consumption and industrial expansion and survive as…


Book cover of Barbaric Heart: Faith, Money, and the Crisis of Nature

Ozzie Zehner Author Of Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism

From my list on the environment and the crisis we face.

Who am I?

I enjoy illusion-busting to sharpen critical thinking, which I’ve done at Google, The American Institute of Architects, and numerous college campuses. I’ve appeared on NPR, BBC, MSNBC, and in the film Planet of the Humans. I’m teaching a college course titled, How to Destroy the Planet: Critical Thinking on Proven Methods.

Ozzie's book list on the environment and the crisis we face

Ozzie Zehner Why did Ozzie love this book?

White argues it isn’t enough for environmentalists to simply point a finger at oil drillers and multinational corporations. He instead interrogates how greater humanity has maintained an elusive system of stints and bypasses for what he calls a Barbaric Heart. As citizens of Nature, White maintains we fail ourselves in numerous ways. We call upon the rhetoric and logic of technical, scientific, and bureaucratic systems even though we suspect they might have caused the problem in the first place. 

He points to the value of redefining work into vocations, of reconsidering what we principally consider to be holy and beautiful, and of directing our large brains toward expanding the project of Being rather than the GDP. Like Nietzsche, White believes the purpose of thought is not to locate Truth but rather to make it ever less convenient to lie to ourselves and live in perpetual dishonesty. White doesn’t spoon-feed us…

By Curtis White,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Smart, funny, and fresh, The Barbaric Heart argues that the present environmental crisis will not be resolved by the same forms of crony capitalism and managerial technocracy that created the crisis in the first place. With his trademark wit, White argues that the solution might very well come from an unexpected quarter: the arts, religion, and the realm of the moral imagination.


Book cover of The Dying of the Trees

Tim Palmer Author Of America's Great Forest Trails: 100 Woodland Hikes of a Lifetime

From my list on important reads about forests.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated with forests ever since running wild as a kid in the Appalachian woods of Pennsylvania. Now living at the edge of the Pacific in the Coast Range in Oregon, I’ve engaged with a host of forest issues involving watershed health, wilderness protection, fire management, and fish. Among the 30 books I’ve written, three are germane here: Trees and Forests of America, Twilight or the Hemlocks and Beeches, and America’s Great Forest Trails. I’m always learning more by reading everything I find about forests. For my afternoon break and exercise I typically work on my own 8-acre wooded parcel where I maintain trails, eradicate exotic invaders, and restore native trees.  

Tim's book list on important reads about forests

Tim Palmer Why did Tim love this book?

Don’t be dissuaded by the severe title of this compelling and thoroughly readable book. Nor by its publishing date of 1995. Charles Little tells the story of exotic insects and pathogens that have become a pandemic crippling forests all across our country. His message—as timely now as it was then—is so moving and powerful that it inspired me to write a whole book about the plight of our cherished hemlocks and beeches. This volume was a path-breaker in its day and remains so with a message that every forest lover and forest manager needs to hear.  

By Charles E. Little,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Examines the loss of trees from New England to California; details causes including acid rain, ozone, ultraviolet rays, and clear-cutting; and discusses responses from scientists, government officials, and citizens


Book cover of The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions

Benjamin von Brackel Author Of Nowhere Left to Go: How Climate Change Is Driving Species to the Ends of the Earth

From my list on that help you understand the biodiversity crisis.

Who am I?

As a science journalist I have concentrated on the consequences of climate change. It´s the most frightening as fascinating experiment, we conduct with our planet. In 2018 I wrote a book on extreme weather together with climate scientist Freddy Otto from the University of Oxford (Angry Weather). After this I got immersed in a different climate consequence: How it is affecting biodiversity and with it the foundation of our societies. But what I also love is good storytelling. I quickly get bored with texts that have no dramaturgy or that don't give the reader any pleasure—unlike the fantastic and highly relevant books on this list.

Benjamin's book list on that help you understand the biodiversity crisis

Benjamin von Brackel Why did Benjamin love this book?

Not many can manage the task of mastering a complicated subject and turn it into life—which means storytelling—as good as David Quammen. In his books he writes long passages on scientific discourses that sometimes come close to textbooks. But I enjoy reading them, because I learn so much and because he alternates these sections with (often very funny) stories. Stories of people that shape their scientific field, which reads like a good novel. Like in “The song of the Dodo”—a portrait of the scientific field of “Island Biogeography,” which explains why animal and plant species are where they are and why they become extinct when their habitat becomes too small.

By David Quammen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Compulsively readable—a masterpiece, maybe the masterpiece of science journalism.” —Bill McKibben, Audubon

A brilliant, stirring work, breathtaking in its scope and far-reaching in its message, The Song of the Dodo is a crucial book in precarious times. Through personal observation, scientific theory, and history, David Quammen examines the mysteries of evolution and extinction and radically alters our understanding of the natural world and our place within it.

In this landmark of science writing, we learn how the isolation of islands makes them natural laboratories of evolutionary extravagance, as seen in the dragons of Komodo, the elephant birds of Madagascar, the…


Book cover of Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution

Graham Shields Author Of Born of Ice and Fire: How Glaciers and Volcanoes (with a Pinch of Salt) Drove Animal Evolution

From my list on science in action written by scientists.

Who am I?

I am a scientist who has worked at the coal face of the debate around the origin of animals and ‘Snowball Earth’ his entire career, using a combination of experimental and descriptive science. Over three decades, I have witnessed first-hand how careful attention to detail in study after study has removed doubt from once provocative, even crazy, ideas that are now widely accepted. I love reading popular science from the perspective of the hands-on scientist who has witnessed the debate first-hand and contributed to received knowledge by conceiving new experiments, amassing data, and, more than often, in entirely unexpected ways through sheer curiosity.

Graham's book list on science in action written by scientists

Graham Shields Why did Graham love this book?

I love this book because of the author’s infectious passion for fossils and geology. 

The book reads like a detective story, with the innermost secrets of long-extinct animal groups unveiled bit by bit by a master of forensic paleontology.

When I was an undergraduate student over 40 years ago, Richard showed us behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum in London. What I remember most was him describing how long it took his team to reveal just one trilobite eye. Only after many months of painstaking attention to detail were they finally able to work out how a trilobite saw the world 500 million years ago.

By Richard Fortey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With Trilobite, Richard Fortey, paleontologist and author of the acclaimed Life, offers a marvelously written, smart and compelling, accessible and witty scientific narrative of the most ubiquitous of fossil creatures.

Trilobites were shelled animals that lived in the oceans over five hundred million years ago. As bewilderingly diverse then as the beetle is today, they survived in the arctic or the tropics, were spiky or smooth, were large as lobsters or small as fleas. And because they flourished for three hundred million years, they can be used to glimpse a less evolved world of ancient continents and vanished oceans. Erudite…


Book cover of Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

Benjamin von Brackel Author Of Nowhere Left to Go: How Climate Change Is Driving Species to the Ends of the Earth

From my list on that help you understand the biodiversity crisis.

Who am I?

As a science journalist I have concentrated on the consequences of climate change. It´s the most frightening as fascinating experiment, we conduct with our planet. In 2018 I wrote a book on extreme weather together with climate scientist Freddy Otto from the University of Oxford (Angry Weather). After this I got immersed in a different climate consequence: How it is affecting biodiversity and with it the foundation of our societies. But what I also love is good storytelling. I quickly get bored with texts that have no dramaturgy or that don't give the reader any pleasure—unlike the fantastic and highly relevant books on this list.

Benjamin's book list on that help you understand the biodiversity crisis

Benjamin von Brackel Why did Benjamin love this book?

I have to start with a confession: I buy many books on the climate and biodiversity crisis—as this is my main focus as a science journalist—but in many cases, I have to quit reading after several chapters. Even if they are of relevance—they often are simply too depressing and a mere accumulation of horrible facts.

This does not apply to the books of Elizabeth Kolbert—which is all the more amazing as her topic is hard stuff: How men alter and destroy nature, which we depend on. But nonetheless: I can´t stop reading it. Kolbert travels far and takes her readers to magical places that appear to be from a different planet. And by this she pulls one deeper and deeper into complicated issues, she manages to explain in a fascinating and readable way.

By Elizabeth Kolbert,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Under a White Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction returns to humanity’s transformative impact on the environment, now asking: After doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it?

RECOMMENDED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND BILL GATES • SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR WRITING • ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, Esquire, Smithsonian Magazine, Vulture, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal • “Beautifully and insistently, Kolbert shows us that it is time to think radically about the ways…


Book cover of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change

Jeffrey Bennett Author Of A Global Warming Primer: Pathway to a Post-Global Warming Future

From my list on the science, consequences, and solutions to global warming.

Who am I?

I am an astronomer and educator (Ph.D. Astrophysics, University of Colorado), and I’ve now been teaching about global warming for more than 40 years (in courses on astronomy, astrobiology, and mathematics). While it’s frustrating to see how little progress we’ve made in combatting the ongoing warming during this time, my background as an astronomer gives me a “cosmic perspective” that reminds me that decades are not really so long, and that we still have time to act and to build a “post-global warming future.” I hope my work can help inspire all of us to act while we still can for the benefit of all.

Jeffrey's book list on the science, consequences, and solutions to global warming

Jeffrey Bennett Why did Jeffrey love this book?

When I was 8 years old, I plastered our house with anti-smoking stickers. It greatly annoyed my parents—but they quit smoking. Alas, a couple other close relatives did not, and both ended up dying from smoking-related diseases.

Part of the reason they did not quit was surely the decades-long campaign by tobacco companies to sow doubts about the dangers of smoking.

This book illuminates the strategies that the tobacco companies used to get a few scientists to spread these doubts, and I was amazed to see how the exact same strategies—and in some cases the very same scientists—have been used to sow doubt about climate change. Reading this book makes clear that the disinformation campaign is organized and dangerous.

By Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Merchants of Doubt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers. Merchants of Doubt tells the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific…


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