100 books like The World According to Physics

By Jim Al-Khalili,

Here are 100 books that The World According to Physics fans have personally recommended if you like The World According to Physics. 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 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 A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters

Larry L. Rasmussen Author Of The Planet You Inherit: Letters to My Grandchildren When Uncertainty's a Sure Thing

From my list on wisdom amid planetary uncertainty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been engaged as a teacher of religion and ecology since the first Earth Day 50 years ago. That has entailed writing some prize-winning books, Earth Community, Earth Ethics (1996) and Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (2013). Now I want to pass along distilled learnings to my grandchildren as they face a planet in tumult. The form—love letters—and the audience—future generations as represented by my grandkids—moves me to focus on effective communication of a highly personal sort to young people on matters vital to their lives. It’s a nice bookend near the end of my own life.

Larry's book list on wisdom amid planetary uncertainty

Larry L. Rasmussen Why did Larry love this book?

My own work, even in retirement, entails teaching and writing on changes in planetary systems that impact us dramatically (e.g., climate change). To engage students it is most helpful to have a highly engaging account of Earth’s own dramatic history over its 4.6. billion years. This book provides that in non-technical, jargon-free language that anyone of high school and college age, as well as older, easily understands.

By Henry Gee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Royal Society's Science Book of the Year

"[A]n exuberant romp through evolution, like a modern-day Willy Wonka of genetic space. Gee’s grand tour enthusiastically details the narrative underlying life’s erratic and often whimsical exploration of biological form and function.” —Adrian Woolfson,The Washington Post

In the tradition of Richard Dawkins, Bill Bryson, and Simon Winchester—An entertaining and uniquely informed narration of Life's life story.

In the beginning, Earth was an inhospitably alien place—in constant chemical flux, covered with churning seas, crafting its landscape through incessant volcanic eruptions. Amid all this tumult and disaster, life began. The earliest living things were…


Book cover of Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions

Brian Clegg Author Of What Do You Think You Are? The Science of What Makes You You

From my list on making the deep mysteries of science approachable.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science writer with over 40 books published. Science is central to all our modern lives—but for many people it feels remote, and difficult to understand. I love the opportunity to communicate science—to turn it from a collection of facts into stories that people can relate to. I always read popular science before I got into writing, but, if anything, I read it even more now. My own background is physics and math—and I enjoy reading and writing about that—but sometimes, it’s particularly interesting to pull together different aspects of science that affect all of us, crossing disciplines and uncovering the wonders that science bring us.

Brian's book list on making the deep mysteries of science approachable

Brian Clegg Why did Brian love this book?

I love the way that theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder makes use of her knowledge of the subject to tell us more about our relationship with life, the universe, and everything. This is no dry science text—we discover why past, present, and future seem different, what we know (and can’t know) about how everything began and how it will end, whether or not the concept of free will makes scientific sense and more. What is particularly fascinating is the revelation that some apparently scientific theories have no basis in science—and that science can’t disprove some beliefs that scientists often criticize.

By Sabine Hossenfelder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"An informed and entertaining guide to what science can and cannot tell us." -The Wall Street Journal

"Stimulating . . . encourage[s] readers to push past well-trod assumptions [...] and have fun doing so." -Science Magazine

From renowned physicist and creator of the YouTube series "Science without the Gobbledygook," a book that takes a no-nonsense approach to life's biggest questions, and wrestles with what physics really says about the human condition

Not only can we not currently explain the origin of the universe, it is questionable we will ever be able to explain it. The…


Book cover of Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand: Fifty Wonders That Reveal an Extraordinary Universe

Brian Clegg Author Of What Do You Think You Are? The Science of What Makes You You

From my list on making the deep mysteries of science approachable.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science writer with over 40 books published. Science is central to all our modern lives—but for many people it feels remote, and difficult to understand. I love the opportunity to communicate science—to turn it from a collection of facts into stories that people can relate to. I always read popular science before I got into writing, but, if anything, I read it even more now. My own background is physics and math—and I enjoy reading and writing about that—but sometimes, it’s particularly interesting to pull together different aspects of science that affect all of us, crossing disciplines and uncovering the wonders that science bring us.

Brian's book list on making the deep mysteries of science approachable

Brian Clegg Why did Brian love this book?

Sometimes you don’t want an intensely detailed exploration of a topic, but rather a series of interesting articles—and these 50 ‘wonders that reveal an extraordinary universe’ are an ideal way of dipping into some of the strangest and most wonderful aspects of modern science. Although each topic only lasts a few pages, it’s enough to get you interested and is bound to make you tell someone nearby about it. When you’ve read one, it’s hard not to go on and read a few more.

By Marcus Chown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A mind-bending journey through some of the most weird and wonderful facts about our universe, vividly illuminating the hidden truths that govern our everyday lives.

Fact: You could fit the whole human race in the volume of a sugar cube.

Fact: The electrical energy in a single mosquito is enough to cause a global mass extinction.

Fact: You age more quickly on the top floor than on the ground floor.

So much of our world seems to make perfect sense, and scientific breakthroughs have helped us understand ourselves, our planet, and our place in the universe in fascinating detail. But…


Book cover of Quantum Physics for Babies

Ethlie Ann Vare Author Of WOOF!

From my list on reads I wish were around when I was a kid.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Boomer. I was expected to read books about well-behaved children (Fun with Dick and Jane, 1940) or happy animals (The Poky Little Puppy, 1942), or going to bed quietly (Goodnight Moon, 1947). Why do you think my cohort has so much love for Dr. Seuss? The Cat in the Hat (1957) was a brat, and kids love a brat. The rhymes were smart, and kids need smart. Today, I get to read books to my grandkids that have edge, and books that don’t talk down to them. They deserve it, they won’t settle for less, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun for me.

Ethlie's book list on reads I wish were around when I was a kid

Ethlie Ann Vare Why did Ethlie love this book?

It’s hard to pick a favorite from Chris Ferrie’s science books for kids: Pythagorean Theorem for Babies? ABC’s of Oceanography? My First 100 Bug Words? I love them all.

Big print, simple illustrations, indestructible pages (because the first thing a baby learns about biology is that chewing is cool…) Plus, it’s a better science education than most American public schoolchildren are getting in 10th grade.

Collect the set; they also look impressive on a bookshelf.

By Chris Ferrie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quantum Physics for Babies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fans of Chris Ferrie's Organic Chemistry for Babies, Rocket Science for Babies, and 8 Little Planets will love this introduction to quantum physics for babies and toddlers!
It only takes a small spark to ignite a child's mind.
Written by an expert, Quantum Physics for Babies is a colorfully simple introduction to the principle that gives quantum physics its name. Babies (and grownups!) will discover that the wild world of atoms never comes to a standstill. With a tongue-in-cheek approach that adults will love, this installment of the Baby University board book series is the perfect way to introduce basic…


Book cover of How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog

Chris Ferrie Author Of Where Did the Universe Come From? and Other Cosmic Questions: Our Universe, from the Quantum to the Cosmos

From my list on quantum physics that are also the most accessible.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of quantum physics—the most notoriously complicated science humans have ever invented. While the likes of Albert Einstein commented on how difficult quantum physics is to understand, I disagree! Ever since my mum asked me—back while I was a university student—to explain to her what I was studying, I’ve been on a mission to make quantum physics as widely accessible as possible. Science belongs to us all and we should all have an opportunity to appreciate it!

Chris' book list on quantum physics that are also the most accessible

Chris Ferrie Why did Chris love this book?

In How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog Chad Orzel has an imaginary conversation about quantum physics with his dog, Emmy. Orzel explains each of the features of quantum physics, like superposition and entanglement, by starting first with an analogy in Emmy’s understandably dog-like behavior.

By Chad Orzel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Quantum physics has never been more popular. Once thought of as an obscure science, it reached the masses via the notion of teleportation in Star Trek and, more recently, as an integral part of the popular TV series Lost and Fringe. Now, inspired by his hugely popular website and science blog, Chad Orzel uses his cherished mutt Emmy to explain the basic principles of quantum physics. And who better to explain the magical universe of quantum physics than a talking dog?


Book cover of The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does)

Art Hobson Author Of Tales of the Quantum: Understanding Physics' Most Fundamental Theory

From my list on quantum physics and how the universe works.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my first college course in quantum physics, I have been fascinated with this enigmatic, infinitely interesting theory. It's our most fundamental description of the universe, it's been found to be unerringly accurate, yet it's quite subtle to interpret. Even more intriguingly, "nobody really understands quantum physics" (as Richard Feynman put it). For example, the theory's central concept, the wave function, is interpreted radically differently by different physicists. I have always yearned to grasp, at least to my own satisfaction, a comprehensive understanding of this theory. Since retirement 23 years ago, I have pursued this passion nearly full-time and found some answers, leading to several technical papers and a popular book.

Art's book list on quantum physics and how the universe works

Art Hobson Why did Art love this book?

This is a competent, charming account of the various mind-boggling quantum phenomena. It includes the uncertainty principle, the quantum atom, how quanta interact, the quantum vacuum, and the Standard Model. The book also ventures into the discussion of the transistor (the device behind the digital revolution) and the death of stars. Uniquely, we learn why all these results follow the basic principles of quantum physics. The authors explain these phenomena in terms of a qualitative version of Feynman's path-analysis approach to quantum physics. I hasten to emphasize that this analysis is understandable by non-scientists, and shines a nice light on why the quantum world has the unexpected properties that it does have. Cox's popular writings are widely read in the UK. Both authors are physics professors at Manchester University.

By Brian Cox, Jeff Forshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Quantum Universe , Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw approach the world of quantum mechanics in the same way they did in Why Does E=mc2? and make fundamental scientific principles accessible,and fascinating,to everyone. The subatomic realm has a reputation for weirdness, spawning any number of profound misunderstandings, journeys into Eastern mysticism, and woolly pronouncements on the interconnectedness of all things. Cox and Forshaw's contention? There is no need for quantum mechanics to be viewed this way. There is a lot of mileage in the weirdness" of the quantum world, and it often leads to confusion and, frankly, bad science.…


Book cover of Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for Non-scientists

Tracy J Holroyd Author Of The Enchanted Mirror

From my list on spirituality, consciousness and nature of reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and lecturer who is irresistibly drawn to the spiritual and paranormal, but whose academic qualifications are in maths and science. So, I have struggled to find my niche in life: a belief in God and Spirit, a passion for the ‘paranormal,’ and an attraction to the scientific – subjects whose advocates attack one another without compunction. Then, I watched the film What the Bleep Do We Know? and found the communion of spirit and science that had eluded me for so long. Thus, I have a new passion: quantum physics, consciousness, and the creation of reality  which means, for me, the Universe is truly full of magic.

Tracy's book list on spirituality, consciousness and nature of reality

Tracy J Holroyd Why did Tracy love this book?

I was so impressed by What the Bleep… that I wanted to learn more, so turned to one of its contributors: theoretical physicist, Fred Alan Wolf. In Taking the Quantum Leap, the quirky Dr. Wolf waltzed me through the history of physics, until I arrived (breathless with anticipation!) at the biggie: the ‘new science’ of the 20th century; the science that practically threw the scientific community into turmoil. Dr. Wolf not only linked this plethora of knowledge to consciousness, but also equipped me, as a layperson, with the mental tools required to indulge in some deep scientific, philosophical, and spiritual discourse. Without a doubt, casually throwing his subject into conversation leaves me looking very impressive intellectually. Only problem: no one invites me to parties anymore….

By Fred A. Wolf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Taking the Quantum Leap as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book entertainingly traces the history of physics from the observations of the earlyGreeks through the discoveries of Galileo and Newton to the dazzling theories of such scientists as Planck, Einstein, Bohr, and Bohm. This humanized view of science opens up the mind-stretching visions of how quantum mechanics, God, human thought, and will are related, and provides profound implications for our understanding of the nature of reality and our relationship to the cosmos.


Book cover of My First Book of Quantum Physics

Andi Diehn Author Of Forces: Physical Science for Kids

From my list on children’s books about physics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by how the world works. What gives gravity so much power? Why is it easier to lift things with levers and pulleys? Why do we have electricity inside of our own bodies?! The world is amazing. My job editing nonfiction books for kids puts me on the front lines of some of the smartest science writing out there. While I had no hand in the making of the following five picture books about physics, they are still some of my favorites because of the way they peel back the mysterious layers of the world to show us the science hidden in our daily lives.

Andi's book list on children’s books about physics

Andi Diehn Why did Andi love this book?

Fun and super clear graphics combined with straightforward discussions of complex topics make this book a hit. The writing is more expository than narrative, which will appeal to kids who love fact books and encyclopedias. Another one that both adults and kids can learn a ton from!

By Kaid-Sala Ferrón Sheddad, Eduard Altarriba (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My First Book of Quantum Physics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Everything around us – trees, buildings, food, light, water, air and even ourselves – is composed of minute particles, smaller than a nanometer (a billionth of a meter). Quantum physics is the science of these particles and without it none of our electronic devices, from smartphones to computers and microwave ovens, would exist.

But quantum physics also pushes us to the very boundaries of what we know about science, reality and the structure of the universe. The world of quantum physics is an amazing place, where quantum particles can do weird and wonderful things, acting totally unlike the objects we…


Book cover of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Dan Falk Author Of In Search of Time: The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time

From my list on the universe for people who want the big picture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the universe since childhood – ever since my parents took me to the countryside in rural Nova Scotia, where the stars shone with wondrous intensity. At first, I borrowed books about space and the universe from our local library for fun; now, as a full-time science writer, I read these books to stay informed about the latest ideas shaping our understanding of the cosmos. (I also read them in order to review them on BookLab, a podcast I host together with science writer Amanda Gefter.) I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Dan's book list on the universe for people who want the big picture

Dan Falk Why did Dan love this book?

If you struggled with physics in high school – or even if you didn’t – this is the book for you. Rovelli, an Italian physicist, manages to take the most difficult concepts in physics, from relativity and quantum mechanics to the nature of space and time, and explain them in straightforward, everyday language. He spells out not only what these idea are, but why they matter. Thanks to Rovelli’s easy-going style, after a few pages you’ll forget that you’re even reading a physics book. It is, in a word, delightful.

By Carlo Rovelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Brief Lessons on Physics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INDEPENDENT, ECONOMIST, TELEGRAPH, GUARDIAN, NEW SCIENTIST, EVENING STANDARD BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Everything you need to know about modern physics, the universe and our place in the world in seven enlightening lessons

'Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world. And it's breathtaking'

These seven short lessons guide us, with simplicity and clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. In this beautiful and mind-bending introduction to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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