59 books like Ultralearning

By Scott Young,

Here are 59 books that Ultralearning fans have personally recommended if you like Ultralearning. 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 Thinking, Fast and Slow

Anna E. Hampton Author Of Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk

From my list on navigate danger in humanitarian work.

Why am I passionate about this?

I went to Afghanistan under the first Taliban government as a humanitarian aid worker. During the following decade, I experienced inadequate emotional, mental, and theological support from those who had sent me out. I began to research the field of risk and found a wealth of literature on how humans make decisions, how we see (or don’t see) danger, how to manage risk and fear, and more. We ignore the best practices and common sense of these fields to our peril. I am passionate about helping people not feel isolated and alone when they choose to serve in dangerous situations.

Anna's book list on navigate danger in humanitarian work

Anna E. Hampton Why did Anna love this book?

I laughed at Kahneman’s straightforward explanation of how my brain works without making me feel stupid. Apparently, humanness is normal, thank goodness.

He explains the complexities of System 1 and 2 thinking through storytelling, demonstrating what he is teaching about how our brains work. Even though I’d learned about these concepts through academic reading, I now feel like I “get it,” although even that statement is a product of both System 1 and 2 thinking and availability bias. Key takeaways: Intelligence and rationality are not the same, and the research is so substantial in how Systems 1 and 2 work that disbelief is not an option!

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

41 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 Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott Author Of Every Shot Must Have a Purpose: How GOLF54 Can Make You a Better Player

From my list on improving performance and growth.

Why we are passionate about this?

We have been coaching and learning about peak performance for four decades. To learn from playing golf ourselves, coaching others to play better, and continuously staying curious and learning from others is a mix that we want to keep alive. It’s not only to perform well that matters to us, but that we also grow as a human being. It’s about excellence and wellbeing. What skills, what culture, and what foundation can make that a possibility? Our deepest wish is for all of us to access our own unique possibilities to be good and happy. 

Pia and Lynn's book list on improving performance and growth

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott Why did Pia and Lynn love this book?

This is the best book we have read about how to practice in the best way possible. So many people practice hard but don’t improve. We always say, “What you practice, you get good at,” … so make sure you practice and train in the smartest way possible.

Spaced-out practice means you need a break and time to recharge, and that is important for retention. Interleaving means that you don’t stay with one segment of a skill until you master it. You interleave several segments, and it makes it a lot harder to do, but retention and mastery improve.

By Peter Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Make It Stick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights…


Book cover of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Stephen M. Kosslyn Author Of Active Learning Online: Five Principles that Make Online Courses Come Alive

From my list on the science of learning.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stephen M. Kosslyn has been immersed in the world of learning for decades. He is the founder of Active Learning Sciences, Inc., and is Chief Academic Officer of Foundry College. Kosslyn's research has focused on the nature of visual cognition, visual communication, and the science of learning; he has published 14 books and over 350 papers on these topics. He has received numerous honors, including the National Academy of Sciences Initiatives in Research Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three honorary Doctorates, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Stephen's book list on the science of learning

Stephen M. Kosslyn Why did Stephen love this book?

The author immersed himself in the world of memory experts and describes how he went from (metaphorical) memory rags to memory riches – eventually winning a prestigious memory contest. This book takes the mystery out of how to learn vast bodies of information; Foer describes learning devices that anyone can use to put their memory on steroids.

By Joshua Foer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer's part-memoir, part-guide on mastering your memory. Read by Mike Chamberlain.

On average, people squander forty days annually trying to remember things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. He also discovered a truth we too often forget: In every way, we are the sum of our memories.

In Moonwalking with Einstein Foer draws on cutting-edge research, the cultural history of memory…


Book cover of Stikky Night Skies: Learn 6 Constellations, 4 Stars, A Planet, A Galaxy, And How To Navigate At Night

Stephen M. Kosslyn Author Of Active Learning Online: Five Principles that Make Online Courses Come Alive

From my list on the science of learning.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stephen M. Kosslyn has been immersed in the world of learning for decades. He is the founder of Active Learning Sciences, Inc., and is Chief Academic Officer of Foundry College. Kosslyn's research has focused on the nature of visual cognition, visual communication, and the science of learning; he has published 14 books and over 350 papers on these topics. He has received numerous honors, including the National Academy of Sciences Initiatives in Research Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three honorary Doctorates, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Stephen's book list on the science of learning

Stephen M. Kosslyn Why did Stephen love this book?

I've bought this book at least a half-dozen times, giving it as a gift to friends who have kids in middle school or who are interested in how principles of learning can be applied in clever ways. This book is elegant in concept and design, and is one of a series of books Holt wrote that use similar applications of the science of learning to teach readers a set of interesting facts in a way that is almost effortless and a lot of fun.

By Laurence Holt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Read this book if you want to.... surprise your friends . charm a date . delight your children . become an astronomy enthusiast . navigate in a survival situation . take your first steps to discovering our place in the universe. Stikky Night Skies uses a unique learning method to bring a fascinating topic to anyone with an hour to spare. We spent hundreds of hours with dozens of readers testing and refining it to be sure it will work for you.Includes a comprehensive Next Steps section with guides to the top 12 night sky objects, stargazing equipment, observatories, clubs,…


Book cover of Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality

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?

Through Two Doors at Once is the most complete and lucid description of the archetypal quantum experiment, the so-called “double-slit experiment.” Anil Ananthaswamy interviews quantum scientists and weaves modern understanding into the history of one of the most famous science experiments ever.

By Anil Ananthaswamy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Through Two Doors at Once as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can matter behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle exist before we look at it or does the very act of looking bring it into reality? Is there a place where the quantum world ends and our perceivable world begins?

Many of science's greatest minds including Thomas Young, Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman have grappled with the questions embodied in the simple yet elusive 'double-slit' experiment in order to understand the fabric of our universe. With his extraordinary gift for making the complicated comprehensible, Anil Ananthaswamy travels around the world and through history, down to…


Book cover of “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

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?

Richard Feynman was unique. A brilliant theoretical physicist, humorous, eccentric, and independent.

Feynman’s genius gave him a certain freedom, which he exploited to the full. The book is autobiographical and shows his often irresponsible behavior but also a relentless curiosity, and willingness to try anything, the essence of a successful scientist.

One cannot hope to imitate Feynman (and perhaps we should not: he was often mischievous, even mildly malicious); but any scientist should envy the way he approached problems in engineering as well as science—and the book is fun!

By Richard P. Feynman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard P. Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. In this lively work that "can shatter the stereotype of the stuffy scientist" (Detroit Free Press), Feynman recounts his experiences trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets-and much more of an eyebrow-raising nature. In his stories, Feynman's life shines through in all its eccentric glory-a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

Included for this edition is a new introduction by Bill Gates.


Book cover of Disturbing the Universe

Brian Hall Author Of The Stone Loves the World

From my list on exploring the galaxy.

Why am I passionate about this?

A child of scientists, I grew up planning to be a physicist, but became a novelist instead. Since I straddle the worlds of science and literature, I’ve always valued good science writing. It’s a rare talent to be able to inform and excite the general reader while not oversimplifying the science. I particularly thrill to books about exploring other planets and star systems, because when I was a teenager I read a lot of science fiction, and wished more than anything that someday, when I was much older, I would find myself on a rocket headed for, say, a colony on Mars.

Brian's book list on exploring the galaxy

Brian Hall Why did Brian love this book?

Freeman Dyson, who died last year at the age of 96, was one of the world's leading physicists. He was also one of the worlds leading mathematicians. Later in life, he became one of the world’s leading astronomers. He was passionately concerned with the ethics of science and the perils of human politics. He also read a lot of literature and had interesting things to say about it, and could write better than many novelists. In 1979, at the age of 56, he published Disturbing the Universe: part autobiography, part window into the mind of a scientist, part essayistic rumination. There’s no other book like it. Listing the titles of the chapters covering his life until age 23 hints at the book’s richness and unpredictability: “The Magic City,” “The Redemption of Faust,” “The Children’s Crudade,” “The Blood of a Poet.” In the book’s final third, Dyson addresses issues related…

By Freeman Dyson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Spanning the years from World War II, when he was a civilian statistician in the operations research section of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command, through his studies with Hans Bethe at Cornell University, his early friendship with Richard Feynman, and his postgraduate work with J. Robert Oppenheimer, Freeman Dyson has composed an autobiography unlike any other. Dyson evocatively conveys the thrill of a deep engagement with the world-be it as scientist, citizen, student, or parent. Detailing a unique career not limited to his ground-breaking work in physics, Dyson discusses his interest in minimizing loss of life in war, in…


Book cover of Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

David N. Schwartz Author Of The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age

From my list on the lives of 20th century physicists.

Why am I passionate about this?

My dad was a Nobel Prize-winning particle physicist who co-discovered the muon neutrino, a particle whose existence was first explained by Fermi. I am not a physicist myself but grew up around physicists and have always been fascinated by them and was lucky to have met many of the great 20th century physicists myself – through my father. My family background enabled me to know these great scientists not only as scientists but as people.  

David's book list on the lives of 20th century physicists

David N. Schwartz Why did David love this book?

James Gleick is one of the best popular science writers we have, and this classic biography of everyone’s favorite physicist was the first to peel back the curtain and give readers a deeper look into the man, his work, and his life. Behind the clowning and the joking was a deep sadness that Feynman carried with him throughout his life. But his contributions to physics, particularly quantum electrodynamics, put him in the legendary category. 

By James Gleick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To his colleagues, Richard Feynman was not so much a genius as he was a full-blown magician: someone who “does things that nobody else could do and that seem completely unexpected.” The path he cleared for twentieth-century physics led from the making of the atomic bomb to a Nobel Prize-winning theory of quantam electrodynamics to his devastating exposé of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. At the same time, the ebullient Feynman established a reputation as an eccentric showman, a master safe cracker and bongo player, and a wizard of seduction.

Now James Gleick, author of the bestselling Chaos, unravels teh…


Book cover of Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction

Craig Callender Author Of What Makes Time Special?

From my list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher of science who has an obsession with time. People think this interest is a case of patronymic destiny, that it’s due to my last name being Callender. But the origins of “Callender” have nothing to do with time. Instead, I’m fascinated by time because it is one of the last fundamental mysteries, right up there with consciousness. Like consciousness, time is connected to our place in the universe (our sense of freedom, identity, meaning). Yet we don’t really understand it because there remains a gulf between our experience of time and the science of time. Saint Augustine really put his finger on the problem in the fifth century when he pointed out that it is both the most familiar and unfamiliar thing.

Craig's book list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking

Craig Callender Why did Craig love this book?

I’ve never met Nahin but I recognize in him a kindred spirit of someone similarly obsessed with time. If you want to know about time travel, here it is in all its glory. The “tech notes” at the end show that this is a labor of love. Not only will you encounter some of the most fascinating physics (in the works of Godel, Novikov, Thorne, Tipler, and dozens more), but you’ll also learn about early science fiction, the threat of fatalism, the history of the idea that time is the fourth dimension, and more.

By Paul J. Nahin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book explores the idea of time travel from the first account in English literature to the latest theories of physicists such as Kip Thorne and Igor Novikov. This very readable work covers a variety of topics including: the history of time travel in fiction; the fundamental scientific concepts of time, spacetime, and the fourth dimension; the speculations of Einstein, Richard Feynman, Kurt Goedel, and others; time travel paradoxes, and much more.


Book cover of The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics

Don Lincoln Author Of Understanding The Universe: From Quarks To The Cosmos

From my list on to learn about the universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Don Lincoln is both a research scientist and a masterful science communicator. On the science side, he participated in the discovery of both the top quark and the Higgs boson. On the communicator side, he has written books, made hundreds of YouTube videos, and written for such visible venues as Scientific American and CNN. He has both the scientific chops and writer expertise to tell an exciting story about why the universe is the way it is.

Don's book list on to learn about the universe

Don Lincoln Why did Don love this book?

This book is an extraordinary romp through the discoveries in particle physics during its formative years, from the electron and x-rays, through the muon, antimatter, and the dizzying particle zoo of the 1950s and 1960s. The book tells a lot of history that books focused on science simply gloss over. It’s a fun and interesting read and you will have a much better appreciation of how scientists learned what they have about the subatomic world.

By Charles C. Mann, Robert P. Crease,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Second Creation is a dramatic--and human--chronicle of scientific investigators at the last frontier of knowledge. Robert Crease and Charles Mann take the reader on a fascinating journey in search of ""unification"" (a description of how matter behaves that can apply equally to everything) with brilliant scientists such as Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schroedinger, Richard Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, Sheldon Glashow, Steven Weinberg, and many others. They provide the definitive and highly entertaining story of the development of modern physics, and the human story of the physicists who set out to find the ""theory of everything."" The Second…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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