100 books like The Gene

By Siddhartha Mukherjee,

Here are 100 books that The Gene fans have personally recommended if you like The Gene. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong about the World--And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Gerard Pasterkamp Author Of Painted Science: The history of scientific discoveries, explorers and technological developments captured in painting

From my list on trying to explain basics in human behavior and decision making in a scientific manner.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist in the field of medicine, and I like to read books that provide a surprising insight into our thinking and decision-making with a scientific basis. It is special how we think we are acting rationally while much of our action is influenced by the environment and news that comes our way. Some of the books in my list provide special insights that are refreshing and hold a mirror up to us.

Gerard's book list on trying to explain basics in human behavior and decision making in a scientific manner

Gerard Pasterkamp Why did Gerard love this book?

It's amazing how our thinking is influenced by a biased statement. This book shows that there is still hope when you look at the real facts.

The author asks a number of questions that require basic knowledge of everyday data that we read a lot about in the press. Questions such as: "How many people in the world are illiterate?" or "How many women are not educated?" are answered incorrectly by politicians, bankers, and scientists, those who determine our policy.

It is confronting to realize that more questions could have been answered correctly by simply guessing.

By Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Ola Rosling

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.' BARACK OBAMA

'One of the most important books I've ever read - an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.' BILL GATES

*#1 Sunday Times bestseller * New York Times bestseller * Observer 'best brainy book of the decade' * Irish Times bestseller * Guardian bestseller * audiobook bestseller *

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends - why the world's population is increasing; how…


Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Scott Galloway Author Of The Algebra of Wealth: A Simple Formula for Financial Security

From my list on helping you be your best self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I try to use my platform to  help people consider how to live a more meaningful life. I've made mistakes, learned from them, and want to pass on those lessons. There are many definitions of success and fulfillment and many paths to achieve it. I hope by telling my story others can avoid some of the mistakes I made.

Scott's book list on helping you be your best self

Scott Galloway Why did Scott love this book?

Professor Kahneman’s ideologies on decision-making have helped me in business and my personal life.

His insights have enhanced my decision-making process and helped me navigate the strait between instinct and decision. His insights have encouraged me to delegate routine decisions, allowing me to reserve my mental energy for the most critical choices.

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked Thinking, Fast and Slow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The phenomenal international bestseller - 2 million copies sold - that will change the way you make decisions

'A lifetime's worth of wisdom' Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics
'There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow' Financial Times

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast,…


Book cover of Mythos

Gerard Pasterkamp Author Of Painted Science: The history of scientific discoveries, explorers and technological developments captured in painting

From my list on trying to explain basics in human behavior and decision making in a scientific manner.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist in the field of medicine, and I like to read books that provide a surprising insight into our thinking and decision-making with a scientific basis. It is special how we think we are acting rationally while much of our action is influenced by the environment and news that comes our way. Some of the books in my list provide special insights that are refreshing and hold a mirror up to us.

Gerard's book list on trying to explain basics in human behavior and decision making in a scientific manner

Gerard Pasterkamp Why did Gerard love this book?

Greek mythology that reads like a storybook.

I never thought I would enjoy reading Greek mythology. But how Fry wrote it is really amazing. Now, when I go to a museum and see an ancient painting depicting Greek Mythology, I am often able to explain what is visualised in the artwork.

In the book, Zeus and the other Gods get a true character and the fights they have are depicted in a way that you still want to read it till the end, even if you know what the end will look like. 

By Stephen Fry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

STEP INTO ANOTHER WORLD - OF MAGIC, MAYHEM, MONSTERS AND MANIACAL GODS - IN STEPHEN FRY'S MOMENTOUS SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, MYTHOS

'A romp through the lives of ancient Greek gods. Fry is at his story-telling best . . . the gods will be pleased' Times
___________

No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly or brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses.

In Stephen Fry's vivid retelling, we gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great head of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld.…


Book cover of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Steve Vigdor Author Of Signatures of the Artist: The Vital Imperfections That Make Our Universe Habitable

From my list on science that should inform public policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been passionate about science as a way of learning how nature works and approaching truth since I was a pre-teen. After five decades of basic research, teaching, and management in physics, I can distinguish good science from pseudoscience even beyond my own areas of expertise. I am greatly disturbed by attempts to undermine science in public policy-making when its findings conflict with ideology, religious beliefs, or business bottom lines. My passion project, via my blog debunkingdenial.com, is to explain to teachers and the public the underlying science and the flaws in science denial across a wide range of topics at the interface with public policy. 

Steve's book list on science that should inform public policy

Steve Vigdor Why did Steve love this book?

I love this book because it turns the most impactful science discovery of the 21st century–CRISPR gene editing–into a page-turner. Isaacson combines a biography of Jennifer Doudna, who shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Emmanuelle Charpentier, with lucid accounts of the science and sequence of research breakthroughs that underlie CRISPR editing, as well as the intrigues and jockeying among powerful scientists and personalities vying for prizes and patents on the technology.

I came through this book to appreciate the enormous potential of CRISPR gene editing for good (curing hereditary diseases) and not-so-good (designer babies or, in the words of Vladimir Putin, “a soldier, an individual who can fight without fear or compassion, mercy or pain”). CRISPR promises to make human selection as important as natural selection in the evolution of many species, including humans.

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Code Breaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns.

In 2012, Nobel Prize winning scientist Jennifer Doudna hit upon an invention that will transform the future of the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA.

Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. It has already been deployed to cure deadly diseases, fight the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and make inheritable changes in the genes of babies.

But what does that mean for humanity? Should we be hacking our own DNA to make us less susceptible to disease? Should…


Book cover of Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control

Christopher Rankin Author Of Ann Marie's Asylum

From my list on mad scientists both real and fictional.

Why am I passionate about this?

Christopher Rankin is an author, the host of the Vanadium podcast on YouTube, and a scientist in the field of renewable materials. He was awarded a PhD in materials science from the University of Pennsylvania and holds several patents. A lifelong lover of science, Rankin hopes to encourage greater public interest and a broader understanding of technical subjects.

Christopher's book list on mad scientists both real and fictional

Christopher Rankin Why did Christopher love this book?

The historical accounts of the rise and reign of chemist Sidney Gottlieb seem like deep YouTube conspiracy theory. How could a trusted government official, a scientist, be drugging unwitting subjects, civilians, even his own coworkers? This is one of the most bizarre and important tales from American cold war history.

By Stephen Kinzer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Poisoner in Chief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIA's master magician and gentle hearted torturer - the agency's "poisoner in chief." As head of the MK-ULTRA mind control project, he directed brutal experiments at secret prisons on three continents. He made pills, powders, and potions that could kill or maim without a trace, and he secretly dosed unsuspecting American citizens with mind-altering drugs. His experiments spread LSD across the United States, making him a hidden godfather of the 1960s counterculture, and he was also the chief supplier of spy tools used by CIA officers around the world.

Stephen Kinzer, the author…


Book cover of Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Jorge L. Contreras Author Of The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA

From my list on genetics for the general reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though my undergraduate degrees are in electrical engineering and English, I have always been fascinated by the natural world. When I was a kid, my mother -- herself a mainframe computer programmer who loved her college biology courses -- bought me a microscope. I used it to peer at everything from the microscopic inhabitants of the canal behind our South Florida home to the onions and celery that we were having with lunch. Now I’m a law professor, but in addition to patents and property, I also teach about genetics and medical ethics. I think it’s really important that we all understand something about how the world works, how the law regulates it, and how we can try to change those aspects of it that aren’t working well.

Jorge's book list on genetics for the general reader

Jorge L. Contreras Why did Jorge love this book?

It is hard to believe that Matt Ridley’s grand tour of the human genome was published back in 1999. Yet even today, more than two decades later, Ridley’s engaging, chromosome by chromosome investigation of our genetic make-up remains a marvel that has never been equaled. From the genes that enable the most basic chemical processes in our cells to those that determine our height and eye color, the mysterious “junk DNA” that lives between our genes, and speculation about the ways that genes affect personality, behavior, and society, Ridley brings science to life in this engaging and timeless book.

By Matt Ridley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The most important investigation of genetic science since The Selfish Gene, from the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling The Red Queen and The Origins of Virtue.

The genome is our 100,000 or so genes. The genome is the collective recipe for the building and running of the human body. These 100,000 genes are sited across 23 pairs of chromosomes. Genome, a book of about 100,000 words, is divided into 23 chapters, a chapter for each chromosome. The first chromosome, for example, contains our oldest genes, genes which we have in common with plants.

By looking at our genes…


Book cover of The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

John Staddon Author Of The New Behaviorism: Foundations of Behavioral Science

From my list on how science works, fails to work and pretends to work.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Staddon is James B. Duke Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Biology emeritus. He got his PhD at Harvard and has an honorary doctorate from the Université Charles de Gaulle, Lille 3, France. His research is on the evolution and mechanisms of learning in humans and animals, the history and philosophy of psychology and biology, and the social-policy implications of science. He's the author of over 200 research papers and five books including Adaptive Behavior and Learning, The New Behaviorism: Foundations of behavioral science, 3rd edition, Unlucky Strike: Private health and the science, law and politics of smoking, 2nd edition and Science in an age of unreason.  

John's book list on how science works, fails to work and pretends to work

John Staddon Why did John love this book?

James Watson was a clever, pushy, and critical young American molecular biologist exposed to the scientific culture of Britain in the early 1950s.

The book is full of acerbic comments about “stuffy” Cambridge dons and the rules of etiquette that young Jim struggled with, all the while scheming to maintain the various fellowships that allowed him to remain in the UK and pursue his ambition: to understand the chemical nature of the genetic material, DNA.

The book provides a lively account of his collaboration with an older Brit, the brilliant Francis Crick, who was also trying to unscramble DNA. Much of the technical stuff will be incomprehensible to most, but the method the two followed is clear. The partnership was hugely fruitful and the book is a lively account of how science actually works.

Watson and Crick tried everything while coping with competitors and their criticisms as well as their…

By James D. Watson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the two discoverers of DNA recalls the lively scientific quest that led to this breakthrough, from the long hours in the lab, to the after-hours socializing, to the financial struggles that almost sank their project. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.


Book cover of The Genome War: How Craig Venter Tried to Capture the Code of Life and Save the World

Roger Highfield Author Of The Dance of Life: Symmetry, Cells and How We Become Human

From my list on what big data is and how it impacts us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the Science Director of the Science Museum Group, based at the Science Museum in London, and visiting professor at the Dunn School, University of Oxford, and Department of Chemistry, University College London. Every time I write a book I swear that it will be my last and yet I'm now working on my ninth, after earlier forays into the physics of Christmas and the love life of Albert Einstein. Working with Peter Coveney of UCL, we're exploring ideas about computation and complexity we tackled in our two earlier books, along with the revolutionary implications of creating digital twins of people from the colossal amount of patient data now flowing from labs worldwide.

Roger's book list on what big data is and how it impacts us

Roger Highfield Why did Roger love this book?

This might not look like a big data book but, for me, the race to read the human genome marks the birth of big data in biology, in the form of a tsunami of DNA sequencing data. I edited Craig Venter’s A Life Decoded, the first genetic autobiography, which explored the implications of becoming the first person to gaze upon all six billion ‘letters’ of their own genetic code. While working on Craig’s extraordinary story I came across The Genome War and thought James Shreeve did a brilliant job in describing the drama, rivalry, and personalities in the race to sequence the very first human genomes between government-backed scientists and Celera, Craig’s company.

By James Shreeve,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The long-awaited story of the science, the business, the politics, the intrigue behind the scenes of the most ferocious competition in the history of modern science—the race to map the human genome.
On May 10, 1998, biologist Craig Venter, director of the Institute for Genomic Research, announced that he was forming a private company that within three years would unravel the complete genetic code of human life—seven years before the projected finish of the U.S. government’s Human Genome Project. Venter hoped that by decoding the genome ahead of schedule, he would speed up the pace of biomedical research and save…


Book cover of Microbe Hunters

Nina Burleigh Author Of VIRUS: Vaccinations, the CDC and the Hjacking of America’s Response to he Pandemic

From my list on understanding the COVID vaccine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist and author who has been lucky enough to follow my curiosity wherever it led – from politics and presidents to climate change and crime. Most of my books explore a theme that fascinates me – the tension between science and religion, faith and reason, that is a defining challenge of our era. I have a deep respect for science, but, like most, an amateur’s understanding of it. The global pandemic has confirmed the need for accessible science writing to help us bring our understanding in line with what’s going on in the labs.

Nina's book list on understanding the COVID vaccine

Nina Burleigh Why did Nina love this book?

We live in the most medically protected time in human history. Before about two hundred years ago, we were utterly helpless against infectious diseases – we could neither see nor conceive of what caused them. This book, written in the 1920s, tells in vivid prose, the story of the discovery of microbes, beginning with the Dutch businessman who ground the first lenses enabling the human eye to see the “animalcules” that Louis Pasteur and others eventually matched with their deadly effects, enabling humanity to begin to fight back.

By Paul de Kruif,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“It manages to delight, and frequently to entrance, old and new readers [and] continues to engage our hearts and minds today with an indescribably brand of affectionate sympathy.”—F. Gonzalez-Crussi, from the Introduction

An international bestseller, translated into eighteen languages, Paul de Kruif’s classic account of the first scientists to see and learn about the microscopic world continues to fascinate new readers. This is a timeless dramatization of the scientists, bacteriologists, doctors, and medical technicians who discovered the microbes and invented the vaccines to counter them. De Kruif writes about how seemingly simple but really fundamental discovers of science—for instance, how…


Book cover of Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver

Nina Burleigh Author Of VIRUS: Vaccinations, the CDC and the Hjacking of America’s Response to he Pandemic

From my list on understanding the COVID vaccine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist and author who has been lucky enough to follow my curiosity wherever it led – from politics and presidents to climate change and crime. Most of my books explore a theme that fascinates me – the tension between science and religion, faith and reason, that is a defining challenge of our era. I have a deep respect for science, but, like most, an amateur’s understanding of it. The global pandemic has confirmed the need for accessible science writing to help us bring our understanding in line with what’s going on in the labs.

Nina's book list on understanding the COVID vaccine

Nina Burleigh Why did Nina love this book?

Most of us can’t even pronounce the names of the childhood diseases vaccines have almost eradicated, nor can we imagine the parental grief, and childhood suffering, that those diseases routinely inflicted on families until well into the 20th Century. This comprehensive history reminds us that the development of vaccines was always a see-saw between life-saving advances, and terrible mistakes and failures.

By Arthur Allen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vaccine juxtaposes the stories of brilliant scientists with the industry's struggle to produce safe, effective, and profitable vaccines. It focuses on the role of military and medical authority in the introduction of vaccines and looks at why some parents have resisted this authority. Political and social intrigue have often accompanied vaccination-from the divisive introduction of smallpox inoculation in colonial Boston to the 9,000 lawsuits recently filed by parents convinced that vaccines caused their children's autism. With narrative grace and investigative journalism, Arthur Allen reveals a history illuminated by hope and shrouded by controversy, and he sheds new light on changing…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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