The best earth books 📚

Browse the best books on earth as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Understanding Earth

Understanding Earth

By Tom Jordan, Frank Press, Raymond Siever, John Grotzinger

Why this book?

At their very best, textbooks synthesize knowledge in new, informative ways. Understanding Earth is a classic, covering the basics of geology, geophysics, and environmental science with stylish prose, classy illustrations, and the insights of two great scientist educators (earlier editions were championed by Frank Press and Ray Siever, who began the franchise). It’s a whirlwind tour of modern science, from the microscopic view of rocks and minerals to the global sweep of plate tectonics.

From the list:

The best books on planet Earth

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Book cover of The Planet in a Pebble: A Journey Into Earth's Deep History

The Planet in a Pebble: A Journey Into Earth's Deep History

By Jan Zalasiewicz

Why this book?

I only ever picked up one year of geology in my first degree, but it was enough to send me off around the world in search of unusual rocks. Zalasiewicz, working on the pretty conceit of taking a single Welsh pebble, weighing about 50 grams, which will contain around a million million million million atoms, and then to see what we can learn of it, and its story.

This is totally accessible for the general reader, and full of quirky detail. Why not take an extremely long view of history, a 4.5-billion-year view?

From the list:

The best books about history and science

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Book cover of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

By Rick Warren

Why this book?

With the powerful use of language, this book explains how everyone in this world is born for a purpose. There are 40 chapters in the book required to be read over 40 days’ time. I like the concept of reading one chapter a day and reflecting on the knowledge before applying it. The message of the book is to keep God at the center of your life in order to fulfill your true purpose.

From the list:

The best books for living a life of purpose

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Book cover of 12th Planet: Book I of the Earth Chronicles

12th Planet: Book I of the Earth Chronicles

By Zecharia Sitchin

Why this book?

Having had a passion for ancient history and always looking for those pesky missing pieces, you know what I mean those things that just do not quite fit or were insufficiently explained, I came across this book, and there for the first time the puzzle was completed. All those missing pieces were finally found and clicked into place. He rightfully throws much-needed questions at the consensus of not only our history but our very origins. Making us look at places, scriptures, and mythology with fresh eyes. I would thoroughly recommend not only this book but the whole series.

From the list:

The best books with a bite to titillate your senses

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Book cover of The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir

The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir

By Sara Seager

Why this book?

There can be no question greater than “Is there life outside the Earth?”. Sara Seager places her own search for planets outside the Earth - almost 5000 planets in other solar systems have been discovered in the past three decades, including Earth-like bodies - against her own life story and struggles as a scientist weathering the unexpected loss of a spouse and the raising of her two young sons. Astronomers estimate there are billions of undiscovered planets just in our Galaxy. Seager paints our very own Earth as a bright point of community and connection in the vastness of space…

From the list:

The best books to learn about the planets and life outside the Earth

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Book cover of Asteroids: A History

Asteroids: A History

By Curtis Peebles

Why this book?

This book is an entertaining look at the history of mankind’s knowledge about asteroids, which began in 1801 with the discovery of the 600-mile wide asteroid Ceres. Today more than half a million asteroids in our Solar System have been identified, while billions more (mostly small ones) are still waiting to be discovered. The vast majority pose no threat to Earth, but they are fascinating anyway. There are asteroids shaped like giant dog bones, asteroids that resemble human skulls, asteroids that have smaller asteroids orbiting around them as they orbit around the sun. Peebles’ book tells you everything you need…

From the list:

The best books on giant space rocks that threaten Earth

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