The most recommended biotechnology book

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to biotechnology, and here are their favorite biotechnology books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of biotechnology book?

Loading...
Loading...

Book cover of Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Life

Jessica Snyder Sachs Author Of Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World

From my list on surviving and thriving in a microbial world.

Who am I?

I'm enchanted by ecology – how life on Earth is both a web and a seamless continuum. In my first book, Corpse, I explored the organisms that colonize the human body after death. In Good Germs, Bad Germs, I immersed myself in our symbiotic relationship with the ever-present bacteria that live in us and on us. I’m passionate about understanding how we evolved to survive in a bacterial world and how we must take the long-term view of surviving – and thriving – in their ever-present embrace. My joy has been in exploring the world of science and translating this joy into lay-accessible stories that entertain as well as educate. 

Jessica's book list on surviving and thriving in a microbial world

Jessica Snyder Sachs Why did Jessica love this book?

I know I’m double dipping here with another of Carl’s books. I love how he takes one, ubiquitous micro-inhabitant of the human body and uses it to explore what it means to be alive and interconnected with the life in and around us. I love how Carl flips away our human perspective to “view” the word through the chemical-sensing molecules of a single-celled organism – E. coli. Superb, fun science writing.  

By Carl Zimmer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Best Book of the YearSeed Magazine • Granta Magazine • The Plain-DealerIn this fascinating and utterly engaging book, Carl Zimmer traces E. coli's pivotal role in the history of biology, from the discovery of DNA to the latest advances in biotechnology. He reveals the many surprising and alarming parallels between E. coli's life and our own. And he describes how E. coli changes in real time, revealing billions of years of history encoded within its genome. E. coli is also the most engineered species on Earth, and as scientists retool this microbe to produce life-saving drugs and clean fuel,…


Book cover of Terminal

Su Vida Author Of Komoreby

From my list on lesser-known YA/NA with amazing science and futurism.

Who am I?

As a massive nerd from a very young age, I have always gravitated towards science and sci-fi stories. When it comes to YA and NA novels, most tend to be dystopian fiction or borrow heavily from fantasy. Hard sci-fi scenarios and real scientific speculation are hard to come by. When well-researched science meets an awesome storyline, that is my definition of perfection—what I love reading and also what I strive for as a writer

Su's book list on lesser-known YA/NA with amazing science and futurism

Su Vida Why did Su love this book?

This medical sci-fi thriller is an exploration of the darker side of biotechnology. It follows a med student as he unravels the strange mystery of multiple cases of medulloblastoma and how a prestigious medical center is claiming a 100% remission rate for this type of cancer. Readers sink into the medical world and are kept at the edge of their seats as this mesmerizing tale takes them on a wild ride from start to finish.

By Robin Cook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sean, a highly motivated medical student in his third year at Harvard Medical School, is thrilled to take a two-month research post at the renowned Forbes Cancer Centre. But Sean is denied the opportunity to work on the cancer project and so he starts his own investigations into the centre.


Book cover of Whole Earth Discipline

K. Ullas Karanth Author Of Among Tigers: Fighting to Bring Back Asia's Big Cats

From my list on the world’s most popular wild animal.

Who am I?

This is a unique tale of exciting personal encounters with wild tigers as well my hard science that revealed their mysterious world. Readers will experience the conflicts, violence, and corruption, inherent to struggle to recover the charismatic, dangerous predator. Among Tigers is not the usual doomsday prophecy, but a clear roadmap for how we can grow tiger populations to new levels of abundance. While it does not gloss over the very real challenges, overall, it delivers a message of reasonable hope to nature lovers worldwide. I have scientifically researched tigers and, fought passionately to save them, making me uniquely qualified to tell this story like no one else can. 

K.'s book list on the world’s most popular wild animal

K. Ullas Karanth Why did K. love this book?

I love tigers and nature. But through a half-century of experience and science in my own struggle to save tigers in an ancient, crowded nation aspiring for modernity and prosperity for its citizens, I have realized that we cannot hope to rewind the clock of material progress back to save wild nature by rejecting technology. Brand, the original counter-culture Guru, boldly shook off such baggage at an advanced age, and became a passionate, early advocate of ecomodernism, which tries to decouple human needs from nature in an effort to save nature through tools of modern science. I arrived independently at similar conclusions after years of hard scientific study of tigers, as well as my lived experiences of Indian society in transition. I believe Brand’s clearheaded manual provides a succinct introduction to ideas I have outlined in my own book as a framework to get to a world harboring ten times…

By Stewart Brand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An icon of the environmental movement outlines a provocative approach for reclaiming our planet

According to Stewart Brand, a lifelong environmentalist who sees everything in terms of solvable design problems, three profound transformations are under way on Earth right now. Climate change is real and is pushing us toward managing the planet as a whole. Urbanization?half the world?s population now lives in cities, and eighty percent will by midcentury?is altering humanity?s land impact and wealth. And biotechnology is becoming the world?s dominant engineering tool. In light of these changes, Brand suggests that environmentalists are going to have to reverse some…


Book cover of How to Make a Vaccine: An Essential Guide for Covid-19 and Beyond

K. Lee Lerner Author Of Biotechnology: In Context

From my list on biotechnology.

Who am I?

K. Lee Lerner is an author, editor, and producer of science and factual media, including four editions of the Gale Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. His expansive writing on science, climate change, disasters, disease, and global issues has earned multiple book and media awards, including books named Outstanding Academic Titles. An aviator, sailor, and member of the National Press Club in Washington, his two global circumnavigations and portfolio of work in challenging and dangerous environments reveal a visceral drive to explore and investigate. With a public intellectual's broad palate and a scientist's regard for evidence-based analysis, Lerner dissects and accessibly explains complex issues. 

K.'s book list on biotechnology

K. Lee Lerner Why did K. love this book?

John Rhodes, author of The End of Plagues: The Global Battle Against Infectious Disease now offers us a timely, concise, and easy-to-digest book that spans the history of vaccines, including the recent development of mRNA vaccines now on the frontlines of efforts to quell the COVID-19 global pandemic. Rhodes' experience and expertise in immunology and vaccine development show in his clear and easy-to-understand explanations of how vaccines work and why they are an essential public health tool.

By John Rhodes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every corner of the world, changing our relationship to our communities, to our jobs, and to each other, the most pressing question has been-when will it end? Researchers around the globe are urgently trying to answer this question by racing to test and distribute a vaccine that could end the greatest public health threat of our time. In How to Make a Vaccine, an expert who has firsthand experience developing vaccines tells an optimistic story of how three hundred years of vaccine discovery and a century and a half of immunology research have come…


Book cover of Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

Ginjer L. Clarke Author Of Animal Allies: Creatures Working Together

From my list on nonfiction about fascinating animal behavior.

Who am I?

I’m secretly eight years old inside. I love fascinating animal and science stuff, especially cool, weird, and gross facts. Readers of my children’s books see this passion in action. My best-selling and award-winning nonfiction animal books have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide since 2000. I focus particularly on reaching reluctant, struggling, and English-language-learning readers by packing my books with lots of action and high-interest topics to keep them turning pages. I’m recommending these top-five narrative nonfiction animal books for adults because these authors have influenced my research and thinking—and because they’re terrific stories!

Ginjer's book list on nonfiction about fascinating animal behavior

Ginjer L. Clarke Why did Ginjer love this book?

Jellyfish may be lacking bones, blood, and brains, but they are full of mystery.

To me, the most compelling narrative nonfiction tells something about the author as well as their subject, becoming part memoir while explaining the research process.

I read this book as research for my nonfiction children’s book on jellyfish, but I learned so much more—about the worldwide jellyfish research community, the past and future health of our oceans, both the perils and possibilities of ever-increasing jellyfish populations, and Juli Berwald’s journey to reclaim her love of the ocean.

Discover some cutting-edge science and marvel at these simple but beautiful blobs from below.

By Juli Berwald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A book full of wonders" —Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk

"Witty, insightful. . . .The story of jellyfish. . . is a significant part of the environmental story. Berwald's engaging account of these delicate, often ignored creatures shows how much they matter to our oceans' future." —New York Times Book Review 

Jellyfish have been swimming in our oceans for well over half a billion years, longer than any other animal that lives on the planet. They make a venom so toxic it can kill a human in three minutes. Their sting—microscopic spears that pierce with five million…


Book cover of She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

K. Lee Lerner Author Of Biotechnology: In Context

From my list on biotechnology.

Who am I?

K. Lee Lerner is an author, editor, and producer of science and factual media, including four editions of the Gale Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. His expansive writing on science, climate change, disasters, disease, and global issues has earned multiple book and media awards, including books named Outstanding Academic Titles. An aviator, sailor, and member of the National Press Club in Washington, his two global circumnavigations and portfolio of work in challenging and dangerous environments reveal a visceral drive to explore and investigate. With a public intellectual's broad palate and a scientist's regard for evidence-based analysis, Lerner dissects and accessibly explains complex issues. 

K.'s book list on biotechnology

K. Lee Lerner Why did K. love this book?

Carl Zimmer's authoritative writing, grounded in both science and journalism, reads and captivates like a page-turner novel. Written for a general audience, Zimmer's rich exploration of the history and controversies surrounding how we pass genes and associate traits from one generation to another also offer insights into a field of science central to social and cultural issues related to ancestry, race, sexual differences, evolution, as well as inherited traits and diseases.

By Carl Zimmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She Has Her Mother's Laugh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION

'Elegantly written, wittily constructed . . . My science book of the year.' Robin McKie, Observer, 'Best Books of 2018'

She Has Her Mother's Laugh presents a profoundly original perspective on what we pass along from generation to generation. Charles Darwin played a crucial part in turning heredity into a scientific question, and yet he failed spectacularly to answer it. The birth of genetics in the early 1900s seemed to do precisely that. Gradually, people translated their old notions about heredity into a language of genes. As the technology for studying…


Book cover of The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Betty Culley Author Of The Name She Gave Me

From my list on adoption feels.

Who am I?

I went into foster care at nine months old, was adopted three years later, and as an adult I was reunited with five siblings I never knew I had. I’ve spent my whole life wondering or searching for the truths about my past. 

Betty's book list on adoption feels

Betty Culley Why did Betty love this book?

Jenna Fox wakes from a year-long coma after a terrible accident and tries to figure out who she is now. This is a book with futuristic medicine and technology, but the feelings and emotions are universal. Jenna’s struggle to find out the truth about her past, and her place in the present make this one of my very favorite books, which I’ve read and reread many times.

By Mary E. Pearson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Adoration of Jenna Fox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters…


Book cover of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

K. Lee Lerner Author Of Biotechnology: In Context

From my list on biotechnology.

Who am I?

K. Lee Lerner is an author, editor, and producer of science and factual media, including four editions of the Gale Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. His expansive writing on science, climate change, disasters, disease, and global issues has earned multiple book and media awards, including books named Outstanding Academic Titles. An aviator, sailor, and member of the National Press Club in Washington, his two global circumnavigations and portfolio of work in challenging and dangerous environments reveal a visceral drive to explore and investigate. With a public intellectual's broad palate and a scientist's regard for evidence-based analysis, Lerner dissects and accessibly explains complex issues. 

K.'s book list on biotechnology

K. Lee Lerner Why did K. love this book?

With both humor and scientific precision, Ed Yong takes us through the microscope lens into the world of microbes and microbiology that share our world and, in some cases, our bodies. Yong's book connects those worlds to show our interdependence. His book provides ample evidence that while disease-causing microbes grab most of the headlines, many others in the microbiome are essential allies for a healthy life and are critical to advancements in biotechnology.

By Ed Yong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE WINNER OF THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE

Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It's an entire world, a colony full of life.

In other words, you contain multitudes.

They sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour, and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth.

In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems.

You'll never think…


Book cover of Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech

K. Lee Lerner Author Of Biotechnology: In Context

From my list on biotechnology.

Who am I?

K. Lee Lerner is an author, editor, and producer of science and factual media, including four editions of the Gale Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. His expansive writing on science, climate change, disasters, disease, and global issues has earned multiple book and media awards, including books named Outstanding Academic Titles. An aviator, sailor, and member of the National Press Club in Washington, his two global circumnavigations and portfolio of work in challenging and dangerous environments reveal a visceral drive to explore and investigate. With a public intellectual's broad palate and a scientist's regard for evidence-based analysis, Lerner dissects and accessibly explains complex issues. 

K.'s book list on biotechnology

K. Lee Lerner Why did K. love this book?

Sally Smith Hughes' highly readable tale of the genesis of Genentech provides a no-holds-barred look into the gritty details of how biotech firms are born. Hughes reveals how scientists, lawyers, and venture capitalists work together and collide in a crucible of competing disciplines and desires to produce transformative advances. For those interesting in biotech entrepreneurship or simply investing in biotech, this book offers key foundational insights into the industry.

By Sally Smith Hughes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1980, Genentech, Inc., a little-known California genetic engineering company, became the overnight darling of Wall Street, raising over $38 million in its initial public stock offering. Lacking marketed products or substantial profit, the firm nonetheless saw its share price escalate from $35 to $89 in the first few minutes of trading, at that point the largest gain in stock market history. Coming at a time of economic recession and declining technological competitiveness in the United States, the event provoked banner headlines and ignited a period of speculative frenzy over biotechnology as a revolutionary means for creating…


Book cover of Upgrade

David W. Burns Author Of Heart of Stone

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Storyteller Fantasist Optimist Romantic fool

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

David W. Burns Why did David love this book?

What great science fiction is all about: taking a trend in modern science and running rampant with it.

In this near-future world, genetic manipulation of crops and humans has decimated society, forcing authorities to strictly police the scientific community. When he is exposed to an unlicensed gene bomb, biologist Logan Ramsay finds himself changing into something both more and less than human.

I loved the frantic pace of this book, as our hero is propelled into a desperate race for survival. The difficulty of effectively conveying a growing suprahuman intellect was deftly handled, and the action scenes were tense and electrifying, with several edge-of-your-seat surprises thrown in. A thoroughly satisfying story from start to finish. 

By Blake Crouch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Upgrade is the mind-bending thriller from Blake Crouch, author of the bestselling Dark Matter and Recursion.

'You are the next step in human evolution . . .'

What if you were capable of more?

Your concentration was better, you could multitask quicker, read faster, memorize more, sleep deeper.

For Logan Ramsay, it's happening. He's beginning to see the world around him, even those he loves the most, in whole new ways.

He knows that it's not natural, that his genes have been hacked. He has been targeted for an upgrade.

Logan's family legacy is one he has been trying to…