The most recommended biology books

Who picked these books? Meet our 180 experts.

180 authors created a book list connected to biology, and here are their favorite biology books.
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Book cover of Written in Bone: Hidden Stories in What We Leave Behind

Chris Sherrit Author Of Growth

From Chris' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Horror lover Dog lover Reader Weight lifter

Chris' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Chris Sherrit Why did Chris love this book?

I really enjoyed how this book takes a more factual approach. Always keen to learn more about the human body and the dark acts humans carry out on each other, I was enthralled by the stories Sue tells of real-world murders and deaths.

Although factual, I found it fascinating just how much emotion I felt reading Sue’s book. I can’t deny that I was choked up at quite a few points.

By Sue Black,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'Gripping from the start, Written in Bone is superb' - Dr Richard Shepherd, author of Unnatural Causes

From the Sunday Times Bestselling author of All That Remains, Sue Black reveals the secrets hidden deep within our bones.
Drawing upon her years of research and a wealth of remarkable experience, the world-renowned forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black takes us on a journey of revelation. From skull to feet, via the face, spine, chest, arms, hands, pelvis and legs, she shows that each part of us has a tale to tell.…

Book cover of Your Travel Guide to Ancient Egypt

Chris Eboch Author Of The Eyes of Pharaoh

From my list on Ancient Egypt for middle school readers.

Who am I?

My family lived in an American camp in Saudi Arabia when I was young, and we traveled extensively. I’ve always loved ancient cultures, from our first international trip to Greece when I was six. The two months I spent in Mexico and Central America as a young adult inspired my first novel for young people, The Well of Sacrifice. But Egypt has long held a special place in my heart. The mummies and pyramids grab a child’s attention. The fact that these people were so different from us – and yet so similar in other ways – keeps that fascination going. Stories about ancient Egypt never get old!

Chris' book list on Ancient Egypt for middle school readers

Chris Eboch Why did Chris love this book?

This fun overview of life in ancient Egypt is written as a guidebook for the history traveler. This helps bring the past to life for kids on a more personal level.

The book combines all of ancient Egypt, which is hardly accurate, but it’s for children, not scholars. Teachers or homeschooling parents could have a lot of fun taking kids on an imaginary trip to the past.

By Nancy Day,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Travel Guide to Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Takes readers on a journey back in time in order to experience life in ancient Egypt, describing clothing, accommodations, foods, local customs, transportation, a few notable personalities, and more.

Book cover of A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease

Anne Biklé Author Of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

From my list on microbiomes, gut health, food, and farming.

Who am I?

I have always been enamored with the natural world and how it works. This trait, among others, led me into the fields of biology, natural history, and environmental planning. Even as I witness our species chiseling away at the planet, I find hope and solace. Working alongside the tenacity and resiliency of plants, animals, and soil microbes, I've helped landscapes as large as a river basin and as small as a garden come to life and flourish. Give nature half a chance and she can do wonders.  

Anne's book list on microbiomes, gut health, food, and farming

Anne Biklé Why did Anne love this book?

Ravella, a gastroenterologist, takes readers deep into the human immune system and its go-to process—inflammation. 

She provides illuminating details about macrophages (a type of immune cell) and how dietary patterns can shift their normally helpful activities to harmful ones. And only recently was it learned that immune cells need certain fats (omega-3s) to make the compounds that end an inflammatory event. Where do we get Omega-3s?

In the foods we eat, among them fatty fish like salmon, grass-fed meat and dairy, and certain nuts and seeds. I also love the history of science and Ravella provides generous sprinkles of various characters and their ideas throughout the book to share how intertwined inflammation is with human biology. 

By Shilpa Ravella,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inflammation is the body's ancestral response to its greatest threats: injury and foreign microbes. But as the threats we face have evolved, new science reveals simmering inflammation underneath the surface of everything from heart disease and cancer to mysterious autoimmune conditions.

In A Silent Fire, gastroenterologist Shilpa Ravella takes us on a lyrical quest across time, around the world and into the body to reveal hidden inflammation at the root of modern disease-and how we can control it. We meet an eccentric Russian zoologist, the passionate yet flawed inventor of Kellogg's Cornflakes, and dedicated researchers working on the frontiers of…

From Cells to Ourselves: The Story of Evolution

By Gill Arbuthnott, Chris Nielsen (illustrator),

Book cover of From Cells to Ourselves: The Story of Evolution

Gill Arbuthnott Author Of The Keepers' Daughter

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author History nut Science nerd Mystery lover Feminist

Gill's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

4.5 billion years ago, Earth was forming - but nothing could have survived there…

From Cells to Ourselves is the incredible story of how life on earth started and how it gradually evolved from the first simple cells to the abundance of life around us today. Walk with dinosaurs, analyse fossils, and join Charles Darwin on the voyages that inspired his Theory of Evolution.

Written by Gill Arbuthnott and beautifully illustrated by Christopher Nielsen, From Cells to Ourselves is the story of life itself and the extraordinary creatures that have inhabited our planet.

From Cells to Ourselves: The Story of Evolution

By Gill Arbuthnott, Chris Nielsen (illustrator),

What is this book about?

From the Big Bang to the abundance of life that surrounds us today, this beautiful book - the third by the award-winning duo Gill Arbuthnott and Chris Nielsen - is the story of evolution, from the very first cells to ourselves.

How old exactly is the Earth? How do we know what was here before us? Are we still evolving? From Cells to Ourselves is the story of the beginnings of life around 3.8 billion years ago, to the millions of species alive today, including humans.

Learn about mythology giants who formed the Earth, analyse fossils, walk with the dinosaurs,…

Book cover of Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family

Stephen Trimble Author Of The Mike File: A Story of Grief and Hope

From my list on families struggling with mental health.

Who am I?

I’d been writing for forty years before I could write about the biggest story in my life. My 25 non-fiction books about the American West—landscape, Native peoples, conservation—are a joy to research, photograph, and create. But I had unfinished emotional business: my mentally ill brother who left home when I was six, never to return. After everyone in my family was gone, it was finally safe. I began to recreate my brother’s life, reveling in research. I know how to do that. Opening myself emotionally to the heart of my family story took far longer. Empathy is a choice, and I’ve made my choice.

Stephen's book list on families struggling with mental health

Stephen Trimble Why did Stephen love this book?

In many ways, my book is a prologue to Robert Kolker’s extraordinary book. When Mike left our home, he moved to the Colorado State Hospital, in 1957, just a few years before the Galvin brothers began to rotate through the same wards. My mother dealt with the guilt and shame, stigma and chaos of one child with schizophrenia. The Galvins had ten boys and two girls, and six of the boys were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Unimaginable. I feel especially close to their story because I went to college in Colorado Springs. I rode my bike near the Galvin home on Hidden Valley Road. Even the brain research ending Kolker’s book on a note of hope happens in Denver at the University of Colorado. Like mine, this is a Colorado story. 

By Robert Kolker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • ONE OF GQ's TOP 50 BOOKS OF LITERARY JOURNALISM IN THE 21st CENTURY • The heartrending story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science's great hope in the quest to understand the disease.

"Reads like a medical detective journey and sheds light on a topic so many of us face: mental illness." —Oprah Winfrey

Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don's work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado,…

Book cover of Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century

Jack Kelley Author Of Crystal and the Underlings: The future of humanity

From my list on that capture the not-so-distant future.

Who am I?

Ever since middle school, when our teacher promised that we would have flying cars in our lifetimes, I’ve had a keen interest in scientific and technological breakthroughs. And now, with the advancements in Artificial Intelligence and genetic engineering, my interest has only grown. I love technology, but my concern is that with the acceleration of AI, science is outpacing common sense. Are we creating our replacements? I hope you read my new novel: Crystal and the Underlings: the future of humanity, and discover what could happen when AI takes over!

Jack's book list on that capture the not-so-distant future

Jack Kelley Why did Jack love this book?

Michio Kaku’s Visions inspired me to write my first novel focusing on artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and Androids.

Kaku interviewed one hundred and fifty peers in the scientific community to predict what the future might be like. Genetic Elites will roam the earth as well as Humanoid Robots, where Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing lead the way to seemingly impossible breakthroughs.

Kaku’s Visions is fast becoming our reality.

By Michio Kaku,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New in paperback, from the bestselling author of Hyperspace, this spellbinding book brings together the cutting-edge research of today's foremost scientists to explore the science of tomorrow. Michio Kaku describes the development of computers and artificial intelligence, reveals how the decoding of the genetic structure of DNA will allow us to alter and reshape our genetic inheritance, and observes how quantum physicists are perfecting new ways of
harnessing the matter and energy of the Universe. Visions is an exhilarating adventure into the future of our planet and ourselves.

Book cover of Cuckoo: Cheating by Nature

John N. Thompson Author Of Relentless Evolution

From my list on coevolution and relentless evolution.

Who am I?

I am captivated and never cease to be astonished by the seemingly endless variety of ways in which coevolution shapes the millions of species on earth into intricate and ever-changing webs of life. The reasons for my fascination are simple. Most species require other species to survive or reproduce, which means that the evolution of biodiversity is as much about evolution of the links among species as it is about evolution of the species themselves. I find immense joy in following the connections among species within the web of life, trying to understand how coevolution has shaped, and relentlessly reshapes, each link. There are always surprises along the way.

John's book list on coevolution and relentless evolution

John N. Thompson Why did John love this book?

There are few clearer examples of how species have coevolved relentlessly than the interactions between cuckoos and other birds. Cuckoos have evolved an arsenal of ways to deceive other avian species into raising their young, and their avian hosts have evolved a counter-arsenal of defenses to protect themselves from cuckoos. Nick Davies, who is one of the world’s leading ornithologists and evolutionary ecologists, has been studying this evolutionary arms race for decades at Wicken Fen near Cambridge, England. In this engaging book, he takes us on a scientific journey, relating what others had already discovered before he began his work and then what he and others have discovered since the 1980s at Wicken Fen and elsewhere through many years of patient observations and experiments. 

By Nick Davies,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beloved as the herald of spring, cuckoos have held a place in our affections for centuries. The oldest song in English celebrates the cuckoo's arrival, telling us that 'Sumer is icumen in'. But for many other birds the cuckoo is a signal of doom, for it is Nature's most notorious cheat. Cuckoos across the world have evolved extraordinary tricks to manipulate other species into raising their young. How do they get away with it?

In this enormously engaging book, naturalist and scientist Nick Davies reveals how cuckoos trick their hosts. Using shrewd detective skills and field experiments, he uncovers an…

Book cover of Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Sam Kean Author Of The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science

From my list on the wonders of biology.

Who am I?

Sam Kean is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including The Bastard Brigade, The Dueling Neurosurgeons, and The Disappearing Spoon. He edited The Best American Nature and Science Writing in 2018, and his stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, and Slate. His work has been featured on NPR’s “Radiolab,” “Science Friday,” “All Things Considered,” and “Fresh Air,” and his podcast, The Disappearing Spoon, debuted at #1 on the iTunes charts for science podcasts.

Sam's book list on the wonders of biology

Sam Kean Why did Sam love this book?

The ultimate big-picture book. Wilson outlines how fields like history and the humanities can incorporate insights from biology and the study of human nature—to the benefit of both science and the arts. A bracing look at the future of human knowledge.

By Edward O. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking new book, one of the world's greatest living scientists argues for the fundamental unity of all knowledge and the need to search for what he calls consilience, the composition of the principles governing every branch of learning. Edward O Wilson, the pioneer of sociobiology and biodiversity, once again breaks out of the conventions of current thinking. He shows how our explosive rise in intellectual mastery of the truths of our universe has its roots in the ancient Greek concept of an intrinsic orderliness that governs our cosmos. It is a vision that found its apogee in the…

Book cover of The Brain: The Story of You

Marc Dingman Author Of Bizarre: The Most Peculiar Cases of Human Behavior and What They Tell Us about How the Brain Works

From my list on learning about your brain.

Who am I?

My fascination with the brain began when I was an undergraduate, and since has grown into an insatiable curiosity about all things neuroscience. Today my main job is teaching courses in the health sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, but I spend much of my free time trying to find ways to make neuroscience understandable to those who share my enthusiasm for learning about it. I mostly do this through my books and a series of short neuroscience videos on my YouTube channel: Neuroscientifically Challenged.

Marc's book list on learning about your brain

Marc Dingman Why did Marc love this book?

If you’re looking for an easy-to-understand and entertaining introduction to the basics of how your brain works, The Brain is a great choice.

The author, David Eagleman, is an accomplished neuroscientist who has both a deep understanding of brain function and a talent for explaining those functions in a clear and engaging style.

The book also explores how neuroscience might influence some profound philosophical questions about free will, consciousness, and more—so you’ll get a dose of deep thinking along with some fundamental neuroscience knowledge.

By David Eagleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This is the story of how your life shapes your brain, and how your brain shapes your life.'

Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman on a whistle-stop tour of the inner cosmos. It's a journey that will take you into the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, genocide, brain surgery, robotics and the search for immortality. On the way, amidst the infinitely dense tangle of brain cells and their trillions of connections, something emerges that you might not have expected to see: you.

Book cover of Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life

Samir Okasha Author Of Philosophy of Biology: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on the philosophy of evolution.

Who am I?

I am Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Bristol. I am interested in most areas of contemporary philosophy, in particular the interplay between philosophy and the natural and social sciences. Much of my recent work has focused on evolutionary biology, a science that is replete with implications for traditional philosophical debates about human nature, knowledge, and our place in the world.

Samir's book list on the philosophy of evolution

Samir Okasha Why did Samir love this book?

The traditional neo-Darwinian view of evolution understands inheritance in genetic terms, as the transmission of DNA from parents to offspring. Jablonka and Lamb argue convincingly that in addition to genetic inheritance, there exist three other inheritance systems in nature – epigenetic, symbolic, and behavioural – all of which play an important role in evolution. The book is not a work of philosophy in the strict sense, but rather a fascinating and conceptually-rich synthesis of a diverse body of empirical findings which, the authors argue, can only be accommodated by going beyond a purely geno-centric view of evolution.

By Eva Jablonka, Marion J. Lamb, Anna Zeligowski

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Evolution in Four Dimensions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ideas about heredity and evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. New findings in molecular biology challenge the gene-centered version of Darwinian theory according to which adaptation occurs only through natural selection of chance DNA variations. In Evolution in Four Dimensions, Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb argue that there is more to heredity than genes. They trace four "dimensions" in evolution -- four inheritance systems that play a role in evolution: genetic, epigenetic (or non-DNA cellular transmission of traits), behavioral, and symbolic (transmission through language and other forms of symbolic communication). These systems, they argue, can all provide variations on which…

Book cover of Studies in the Psychology of Sex: Volume 2 Sexual Inversion

Julia Shaw Author Of Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality

From my list on bisexuality research, history, and culture deep dive.

Who am I?

I am a psychological scientist, BBC science communicator, and best-selling author. I am also bisexual. As an academic, my tendency is to immediately look for research and scholarly writing about topics that interest me. But for bisexuality, I found that this was incredibly hard to do. So, I dug into archives and journals, connected with hundreds of bisexuality researchers and activists, and after much searching, I finally found the answers to questions I had had my entire life. I wrote them all down in my new book Bi.

Julia's book list on bisexuality research, history, and culture deep dive

Julia Shaw Why did Julia love this book?

If you’re a bi history nerd like me, you’re going to love this insight into some of the early thoughts on bisexuality by sex researcher Havelock Ellis. Already in the late 1800s, Ellis - who was in an open relationship, and whose wife was bisexual - did research with bisexual people. 

His writing shows us that bisexuality isn’t trendy or new, that the stereotypes we battle today were already being criticised over a century ago, and that some people had positive ideas about bisexuality. For example, Ellis attributed the success of great leaders and artists to their bisexuality. He credits this to the “innately democratic attitude” of bisexual people to see beyond social class. Ellis a key figure in bi history who often gets missed, but his work can give a real sense of connectedness with our past. 

His books can be hard to find in print, but Project Gutenberg…

By Havelock Ellis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Studies in the Psychology of Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2