100 books like The Homeless Mind

By Peter L. Berger, Brigitte Berger, Hansfried Kellner

Here are 100 books that The Homeless Mind fans have personally recommended if you like The Homeless Mind. 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 The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us from Other Animals

Larry Cahoone Author Of The Emergence of Value: Human Norms in a Natural World

From my list on history and science books that tell us who we are now.

Why am I passionate about this?

A philosophy professor, my central interest has always been something historical: what is going on in this strange modern world we live in? Addressing this required forty years of background work in the natural sciences, history, social sciences, and the variety of contemporary philosophical theories that try to put them all together. In the process, I taught philosophy courses on philosophical topics, social theory, and the sciences, wrote books, and produced video courses, mostly focused on that central interest. The books listed are some of my favorites to read and to teach. They are crucial steps on the journey to understand who we are in this unprecedented modern world.

Larry's book list on history and science books that tell us who we are now

Larry Cahoone Why did Larry love this book?

This is the best single book summarizing contemporary scientific knowledge on what makes humans different from other animals. It strikes a middle path between “romantics” who want to believe dolphins and primates can do everything we can and “killjoys” who try to maintain more traditional notions of human superiority.

But if there is a “gap” between us and other animals, exactly what is it? Suddendorf tracks the question from one field of possible answers to the next, from linguistics to anthropology to archaeology to primatology to cognitive science.

The book reads like a detective story – I couldn’t put it down.

By Thomas Suddendorf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There exists an undeniable chasm between the capacities of humans and those of animals. Our minds have spawned civilizations and technologies that have changed the face of the Earth, whereas even our closest animal relatives sit unobtrusively in their dwindling habitats. Yet despite longstanding debates, the nature of this apparent gap has remained unclear. What exactly is the difference between our minds and theirs?In The Gap , psychologist Thomas Suddendorf provides a definitive account of the mental qualities that separate humans from other animals, as well as how these differences arose. Drawing on two decades of research on apes, children,…


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

Larry Cahoone Author Of The Emergence of Value: Human Norms in a Natural World

From my list on history and science books that tell us who we are now.

Why am I passionate about this?

A philosophy professor, my central interest has always been something historical: what is going on in this strange modern world we live in? Addressing this required forty years of background work in the natural sciences, history, social sciences, and the variety of contemporary philosophical theories that try to put them all together. In the process, I taught philosophy courses on philosophical topics, social theory, and the sciences, wrote books, and produced video courses, mostly focused on that central interest. The books listed are some of my favorites to read and to teach. They are crucial steps on the journey to understand who we are in this unprecedented modern world.

Larry's book list on history and science books that tell us who we are now

Larry Cahoone Why did Larry love this book?

Best recent book examining human morality from a scientific, psychological point of view.

Darwinians used to think humans had to be selfish and immoral. Contemporary evolution argues the opposite, that humans evolved moral limits on our selfishness in order to live together. Haidt’s is the best book presenting this new evolutionary psychology.

But it goes further to connect those scientific issues with contemporary politics, explaining why people from “red” and “blue” states cannot understand each other: they each embody a short list of human moral values, but different ones. This is a great book for thinking carefully about human morality and contemporary politics. Students love it, and so do I. 

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

16 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 Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Eran Pichersky Author Of Plants and Human Conflict

From my list on how plants have had a dramatic influence on human history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After serving in the military for several years, I pursued a scientific career as a plant biologist. It was during my military service in a unit that spent most of our time in the wilderness that I discovered plants, and particularly their smells. One cannot help it–if you step or crawl on a plant, you will smell it. As a military history buff, I also learned that many wars were fought over plants, and so I decided to write a book that combines the two–explaining what these plants do, why they are so important to people, and, therefore, how plants basically drive human behavior, often to violence. 

Eran's book list on how plants have had a dramatic influence on human history

Eran Pichersky Why did Eran love this book?

I’ve always thought that the history of humans should be no different from the history of any other living organisms–what in biology is called “natural history."

Humans are a species of animals, and all physical, chemical, and biological rules apply to them. So I was delighted to finally see a history book that follows the history of humans by applying exactly this scientific approach and thus explaining, in deterministic scientific terms, our own history. 

By Jared Diamond,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Guns, Germs, and Steel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse? In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, a classic of our time, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond dismantles racist theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for its broadest patterns.

The story begins 13,000 years ago, when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population. Around that time, the developmental paths of human societies on different continents began to diverge greatly. Early domestication of wild plants and animals in the Fertile Crescent, China,…


Book cover of Plough, Sword and Book: The Structure of Human History

Larry Cahoone Author Of The Emergence of Value: Human Norms in a Natural World

From my list on history and science books that tell us who we are now.

Why am I passionate about this?

A philosophy professor, my central interest has always been something historical: what is going on in this strange modern world we live in? Addressing this required forty years of background work in the natural sciences, history, social sciences, and the variety of contemporary philosophical theories that try to put them all together. In the process, I taught philosophy courses on philosophical topics, social theory, and the sciences, wrote books, and produced video courses, mostly focused on that central interest. The books listed are some of my favorites to read and to teach. They are crucial steps on the journey to understand who we are in this unprecedented modern world.

Larry's book list on history and science books that tell us who we are now

Larry Cahoone Why did Larry love this book?

I love this unique book. Written by a philosopher who was equally an anthropologist, it presents a bird’s eye view of the structure of human history. This is not a subject most scholars have the knowledge or the courage to tackle!

Gellner has both. He paints a picture of the three eras of human history that is hard to deny, in the process analyzing the core logic of each era for the people who lived in it. This sets the stage for understanding what a new kind of world we live in today. Gellner also had a wicked sense of humor. The book opens students’ eyes – I taught it as often as I could.

By Ernest Gellner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Philosophical anthropology on the grandest scale. . . .Gellner has produced a sharp challenge to his colleagues and a thrilling book for the non-specialist. Deductive history on this scale cannot be proved right or wrong, but this is Gellner writing, incisive, iconoclastic, witty and expert. His scenario compels our attention."—Adam Kuper, New Statesman

"A thoughtful and lively meditation upon probably the greatest transformation in human history, upon the difficult problems it poses and the scant resources it has left us to solve them."—Charles Larmore, New Republic


Book cover of The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge

Joseph P. Forgas Author Of The Psychology of Populism: The Tribal Challenge to Liberal Democracy

From my list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an experimental social psychologist and Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. I grew up in Hungary, and after an adventurous escape I ended up in Sydney. I received my DPhil and DSc degrees from the University of Oxford, and I spent various periods working at Oxford, Stanford, Heidelberg, and Giessen. For my work I received the Order of Australia, as well as the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Prize, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. As somebody who experienced totalitarian communism firsthand, I am very interested in the reasons for the recent spread of totalitarian, tribal ideologies, potentially undermining Western liberalism, undoubtedly the most successful civilization in human history.

Joseph's book list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies

Joseph P. Forgas Why did Joseph love this book?

This book is a real tour de force, applying the rationale of self-governing and naturally emerging evolutionary mechanisms to explain a wide variety of social, biological, cultural, and civilizational processes.

The book offers wonderful insights into such topics as the emergence of creative ideas, the growth of cities, the evolution of language, why state-controlled health care and education systems are often inefficient, the resilience of free-market economies, the rise of morality and trust as a consequence of natural social interactions, and much more besides.

Readable, entertaining, and full of incredibly useful information.

By Matt Ridley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating, brilliant argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world.

The Evolution of Everything is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch—the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence. Drawing on anecdotes from science, economics, history, politics and philosophy, Matt Ridley’s wide-ranging, highly opinionated opus demolishes conventional assumptions that major scientific and social imperatives are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia,…


Book cover of Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

Ben Hunt-Davis Author Of Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?

From my list on helping you achieve your goals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Olympic Gold Medallist rower, performance coach, facilitator, and keynote speaker passionate about high performance, teamwork, and the parallels between sport and business. In 1998 I was part of a consistently underachieving Team GB rowing eight, often placing 7th or 8th. We weren’t the strongest or most talented crew. By changing the way we worked as a team, we managed to turn it around to win Olympic Gold on the waters of Sydney in 2000. Since then, I've specialized in translating Olympic-winning strategies into business success. Specifically focusing on leadership and team development, I work with individuals, teams, and organizations to help them define their gold medal goals and supporting them in achieving them.

Ben's book list on helping you achieve your goals

Ben Hunt-Davis Why did Ben love this book?

By exploring today’s rapidly changing world, Friedman helps you take a step back and consider how we might be able to live life at a reasonable pace. Thank You For Being Late serves as a guide for how to respond to the speed of change around us. By understanding how the world is changing through the possibilities and dangers of Moore’s Law (technology and the internet), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change), Friedman encourages us to consider our own adaptability. Rather than complaining and being static as individuals, Friedman suggests we need to embrace change and look at what is in our control to adapt, learn, look forward and still achieve what we want to.

By Thomas L. Friedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thank You for Being Late as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WORLD IS FLAT

We all sense it: something big is going on. Life is speeding up, and it is dizzying. Here Thomas L. Friedman reveals the tectonic movements that are reshaping our world, how to adapt to this new age and why, sometimes, we all need to be late.

'A master class ... As a guide for perplexed Westerners, this book is very hard to beat ... an honest, cohesive explanation for why the world is the way it is, without miracle cures or scapegoats' John Micklethwait, The New York Times…


Book cover of We Have Never Been Modern

Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm Author Of The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences

From my list on to shatter the myth of modernity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning historian and philosopher of the human sciences. But I got here by means of an unusually varied path: working for a private investigator, practicing in a Buddhist monastery, being shot at, hiking a volcano off the coast of Africa, being jumped by a gang in Amsterdam, snowboarding in the Pyrenees, piloting a boat down the canals of Bourgogne, playing bass guitar in a punk band, and once I almost died from scarlet fever. Throughout my journey, I have lived and studied in five countries, acquired ten languages, and attended renowned universities (Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford), all while seeking ways to make the world a better place.

Jason's book list on to shatter the myth of modernity

Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm Why did Jason love this book?

The late French philosopher Bruno Latour was infamous for his iconoclastic work in the history and sociology of science and technology.

If you read only one of his books, I’d say go for We Have Never Been Modern because it cuts to the heart of things by disrupting the conventional understanding of modernity as a clear separation between nature and culture. Latour argues that even as “moderns” have been rhetorically invested in this particular bifurcation of the world, nature-culture hybrids are continually proliferating.

So if you’ve ever asked yourself, why are cities not considered natural landscapes? Or why are animals always presumed to be without culture? Or what does it even mean to be modern? Then this is the book for you.

By Bruno Latour, Catherine Porter (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Have Never Been Modern as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the rise of science, we moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably, separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this fond conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? His book, an anthropology of science, shows us how much of modernity is actually a matter of faith.

What does it mean to be modern? What difference does the scientific method make? The difference, Latour explains, is in our careful distinctions between nature and society, between human and thing, distinctions that our benighted ancestors, in their world of alchemy, astrology,…


Book cover of On the Future: Prospects for Humanity

Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan Author Of The Role of the Arab-Islamic World in the Rise of the West: Implications for Contemporary Trans-Cultural Relations

From my list on the frontier risks facing humanity in the 21st Century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher, neuroscientist, geostrategist, and futurologist. My work at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, St. Antony’s College, and the World Economic Forum (as a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Complex Risks) focuses on transdisciplinarity, with an emphasis on the interplay between philosophy, neuroscience, strategic culture, applied history, technology, and global security. I am particularly interested in the exponential growth of disruptive technologies, and how they have the potential to both foster and hinder the progress of human civilization. My mission is rooted in finding transdisciplinary solutions to identify, predict and manage frontier risks, both here on earth and in Outer Space.

Nayef's book list on the frontier risks facing humanity in the 21st Century

Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan Why did Nayef love this book?

The highly respected Cambridge scientist and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees provides a fascinating and highly accessible read on how we can harness science and technology for the betterment – and ultimately preservation – of humanity.

The book is a refreshingly optimistic take on how advances in, for example, robotics and biotechnology, can protect us against the greatest threats facing humanity. This is a must-read book which pushes the boundaries of scientific knowledge while building bridges to many other academic disciplines.

By Martin Rees,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A provocative and inspiring look at the future of humanity and science from world-renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees

Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Various outcomes-good and bad-are possible. Yet our approach to the future is characterized by short-term thinking, polarizing debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism. In this short, exhilarating book, renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees argues that humanity's prospects depend on our taking a very different approach to planning for tomorrow.

The future of humanity is bound to the…


Book cover of Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe

David P. Barash Author Of OOPS! The Worst Blunders of All Time

From my list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an emeritus professor of psychology (University of Washington) who has long been intrigued by the mistakes that people have made throughout history. I’ve long been struck by Oppenheimer’s observation, immediately after the Trinity explosion, that “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This led me to look into the wide array of mistakes, from the mythic, literary, athletic, business, political, medical, and military. In writing OOPS!, I let myself go in a way that I’ve never before, writing with a critical and wise-ass style that isn’t strictly academic, but is factually accurate and, frankly, was a lot of fun!

David's book list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic

David P. Barash Why did David love this book?

It is both entertaining and informative to learn how some of the greatest scientists have been wrong… at least some of the time.

Because of its triumphs, many people look upon science as unerring. Those of us involved in science, however, know that its power comes from its self-correction. Livio shows how scientific mistakes happen and also how they result in ever-closer approximations to the truth.

By Mario Livio,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. And that includes five of the greatest scientists in history -- Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, Albert Einstein. But the mistakes that these great scientists made helped science to advance. Indeed, as Mario Livio explains in this fascinating book, science thrives on error; it advances when erroneous ideas are disproven.

All five scientists were great geniuses and fascinating human beings. Their blunders were part of their genius and part of the scientific process. Livio brilliantly analyses their errors to show where they were wrong and right, but what…


Book cover of What STEM Can Do for Your Classroom: Improving Student Problem Solving, Collaboration, and Engagement

Ryan Rydzewski and Gregg Behr Author Of When You Wonder, You're Learning: Mister Rogers' Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids

From my list on teaching creative, curious, caring kids.

Why are we passionate about this?

For more than five years, we’ve been asking ourselves a question: How? How did Mister Rogers help millions of kids feel accepted, special, and safe? Was there a method to what he did? Was there a blueprint he left behind—one that we might continue to learn from today? The answer, of course, is yes. In fact, we’re only scratching the surface of what we can learn from Fred Rogers and the incredible educators, researchers, and authors who are following in his footsteps. We hope you’ll find echoes of the Neighborhood—and the feelings that Fred inspired—in each of the books we’ve listed here.

Ryan's book list on teaching creative, curious, caring kids

Ryan Rydzewski and Gregg Behr Why did Ryan love this book?

Anyone in the education world likely hears about STEM all the time.

We know, intuitively, that science and technology matter. But rarely does anyone so beautifully make the case for what great STEM learning can look like.

In What STEM Can Do for Your Classroom, author Jason McKenna provides practical advice; turnkey activities; and helpful, plainspoken research that can help teachers change students’ lives through STEM—just as McKenna’s teachers did for him.

By Jason McKenna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What STEM Can Do for Your Classroom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Author and educator Jason McKenna describes how teaching STEM education in his elementary school changed his classroom and his life, improving his students’ and his own approaches to problem solving, collaboration, and general motivation to learn. Offering examples, tried and tested classroom projects, and collaborative strategies, this innovative resource opens up STEM education in K–6 classrooms in exciting and expansive new ways.


K–6 educators will: Understand the benefits and importance of STEM in elementary schools Build resiliency and curiosity in students Discover a variety of classroom instruction strategies to approach STEM assessment Read vignettes discussing STEM implementation across grade levels…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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