The best engineering books

Who picked these books? Meet our 498 experts.

498 authors created a book list connected to engineering, and here are their favorite engineering books.
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Innovative State

By Aneesh Chopra,

Book cover of Innovative State

Jaideep Prabhu Author Of How Should a Government Be?: The New Levers of State Power

From the list on what modern governments can do for their citizens.

Who am I?

A professor of business at the University of Cambridge, I've spent over two decades studying innovation. I've been particularly interested in “frugal innovation”: how small teams now use ubiquitous tools and technologies to achieve what only large corporations or governments could a decade ago. I've written two books about this phenomenon: Jugaad Innovation and Frugal Innovation about the private sector. Whenever I gave talks about them, there was always the question: What does this mean for governments? I began to study how the state could use new technologies and ways of organizing to deliver services to its citizens better, faster and cheaper, and how governments should regulate and cultivate such tools used by the private sector.

Jaideep's book list on what modern governments can do for their citizens

Discover why each book is one of Jaideep's favorite books.

Why did Jaideep love this book?

The author of this book, Aneesh Chopra, became the first chief technology officer of the United States government in 2009. Prior to that, he was the Secretary of Technology for Virginia and managing director for a health care think tank. As CTO for the US government, Chopra led the administration’s attempts to create a more open, tech-savvy government. In this book, he draws on his experience and interviews with policy experts and tech insiders to show how government can establish a new paradigm for the internet era, one that allows us to tackle the most challenging problems, from economic development to veteran affairs. Once again, it was a source of inspiration for me. My own book extends his discussion of the US federal government to the state and city level, as well as looks at many other countries around the world, both developed and developing.

By Aneesh Chopra,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Over the last twenty years, our economy and our society have been completely revolutionized by technology. As Aneesh Chopra shows in Innovative State, once it became clear how much this would change America, a movement arose around the idea that these same technologies could reshape and improve government. But the idea languished, and while the private sector innovated, our government stalled. The election of Barack Obama offered a new opportunity. In 2009, Aneesh Chopra was named the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States. Previously the Secretary of Technology for Virginia and managing director for a health care think…

The Agricultural Dilemma

By Glenn Davis Stone,

Book cover of The Agricultural Dilemma: How Not to Feed the World

Chris Smaje Author Of Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future: The Case For an Ecological Food System and Against Manufactured Foods

From the list on why we must adopt low-impact local food systems.

Who am I?

I started my career as an academic social scientist and seem set to end it as a gardener, small-scale farmer, and accidental ecological activist. I’ve learned a lot of things along the way from these different parts of my life that I channel in my writing. I don’t claim much expertise. In fact, I think claims to expert knowledge that can ‘solve’ modern problems are a big part of our modern problems. I’ve always been interested in how people and communities try to figure things out for themselves, often by picking up the pieces when big ideas have failed them. My writing arises out of that.

Chris' book list on why we must adopt low-impact local food systems

Discover why each book is one of Chris' favorite books.

Why did Chris love this book?

I’ve been reading, thinking about, and doing food and farming for a long time, but I still found this book an eye-opener in its rigorous understanding of how we’re getting the food system so wrong globally.

We’ve been spun a line that modern petrochemical-intensive agriculture, with its supposedly scientific and efficient methods, holds the line against poverty and hunger in our populous modern world. In scholarly but readable prose, Stone’s book demolishes this idea, showing how modern industrial farming makes too many of us ill, poor, and vulnerable.

Breathing new life into the much-maligned model of the labour-intensive small ‘peasant’ or family farm, he points the way to more local and human-scale agriculture for the future. 

By Glenn Davis Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

provides a new analysis of population and agricultural growth. argues that we can't make sense of population and food production without recognizing the drivers of three fundamentally different types of agriculture: Malthusian (expansion), industrialization (external-input-dependent) and intensification (labour-based). upends entrenched misconceptions such as that we are running out of land for food production and that our only hope is development of new agricultural technologies written in an engaging style, containing vignettes, short histories and global case studies will not only be of interest to students and scholars of agriculture, land management and development, but also those more widely interested in…

The Fate of Food

By Amanda Little,

Book cover of The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World

Lewis H. Ziska Author Of Greenhouse Planet: How Rising CO2 Changes Plants and Life as We Know It

From the list on climate and plants, from forests to farms.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated with plants. Their shapes, their colors, their beauty, even the plants that are known to be harmful to humans (poison ivy, puncture vine) had appeal to me. Plants are, by far, the most prolific, the biggest, the oldest, the most complex of organisms. And yet, as a pre-med student, classes on botany were never recommended. Sad. These books delve into the complexity, the wonder of plants, and how they interact with humans. From the sheer poetic pronouncements of Michael Pollan to the straightforward prose of Richard Manning, here is a chance to see the breadth and depth; our rewards and struggles with the plant kingdom.  

Lewis' book list on climate and plants, from forests to farms

Discover why each book is one of Lewis' favorite books.

Why did Lewis love this book?

Well-researched with on-the-ground examples of climate change, this provides a food systems outlook that anyone who has ever stepped foot on a farm can relate to.  Easily read and understandable, it provides a global perspective of climate risks from fisheries to the role of GMOs in addressing shortages, it is an excellent primer for anyone interested in the future of food.

By Amanda Little,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


In the fascinating story of the sustainable food revolution, an environmental journalist and professor asks the question: Is the future of food looking bleak—or better than ever?
“In The Fate of Food, Amanda Little takes us on a tour of the future. The journey is scary, exciting, and, ultimately, encouraging.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction

Climate models show that global crop production will decline every decade for the rest of this century due to drought, heat, and flooding. Water supplies are in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the world’s population is expected to…

The Manager's Path

By Camille Fournier,

Book cover of The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

Shawn Swyx Wang Author Of The Coding Career Handbook

From the list on developers who want no-bullshit career advice.

Who am I?

I have advised thousands of developers on their career journey and have always been shocked at how many people don’t have a good sherpa on their path if they didn’t luck out with a good boss or industry friends to help them find their way. I think everyone deserves a third path other than work and immediate friends to figure out their career journey and I think the right books and online mentors can accelerate your career if you feel stuck in a local minima.

Shawn's book list on developers who want no-bullshit career advice

Discover why each book is one of Shawn's favorite books.

Why did Shawn love this book?

If Staff Engineer is the book for individual contributors, The Manager’s Path is the definitive guide to the engineering management career track, which discusses the unique challenges and responsibilities that come with each phase of a manager’s career, from mentoring to leading to managing one to many teams, managing managers, and executive leadership as a CTO or VP.

By Camille Fournier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Manager's Path as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Managing people is difficult wherever you work. But in the tech industry, where management is also a technical discipline, the learning curve can be brutal-especially when there are few tools, texts, and frameworks to help you. In this practical guide, author Camille Fournier (tech lead turned CTO) takes you through each stage in the journey from engineer to technical manager. From mentoring interns to working with senior staff, you'll get actionable advice for approaching various obstacles in your path. This book is ideal whether you're a new manager, a mentor, or a more experienced leader looking for fresh advice. Pick…

Call of the Reed Warbler

By Charles Massy,

Book cover of Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, a New Earth

Courtney White Author Of Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country

From the list on and for learning about regenerative agriculture.

Who am I?

I am an author and former environmental activist who dropped out of the ‘conflict industry’ in 1997 to start the Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a radical center among ranchers, environmentalists, scientists, and others around practices that improve resilience in working landscapes. For two decades, I worked on the front lines of collaborative conservation and regenerative agriculture, sharing innovative, land-based solutions to food, water, and climate challenges. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Courtney's book list on and for learning about regenerative agriculture

Discover why each book is one of Courtney's favorite books.

Why did Courtney love this book?

In this book, Australian farmer Charles Massey takes a ‘big picture’ view of regenerative agriculture. It’s full of personal stories but it also goes deep into the history of industrial agriculture, the damage it continues to do, and how we can heal the planet. Massey lays out an inspiring vision for a new agriculture and the vital connections between our soil and our health. It’s a story of how a grassroots revolution can help turn climate change around and build healthy communities, pivoting on our relationship with growing and consuming food. 

By Charles Massy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part lyrical nature writing, part storytelling, part solid scientific evidence, part scholarly research, part memoir, the book is an elegant manifesto, an urgent call to stop trashing the Earth and start healing it. the Guardian

Perfect for readers of Wilding, Dirt to Soil and English Pastoral!

Call of the Reed Warbler is a clarion call for the global transformation of agriculture, and an in-depth look at the visionary farmers who are revolutionising the way we grow, eat, and think about food.

Using his personal experience as a touchstone, starting as a chemical-dependent farmer with dead soils, he recounts his journey…

How to Do Nothing

By Jenny Odell,

Book cover of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Blythe Roberson Author Of America the Beautiful?: One Woman in a Borrowed Prius on the Road Most Traveled

From the list on nature and freedom.

Who am I?

Since I was a kid I’ve loved being outdoors, scrambling up rocks and smelling trees, exploring. But during the years I worked an office job in New York City, I was able to hike and feel truly free only rarely. So I quit my job to go on a Great American Road Trip to national parks and other natural areas in our country. Here are some of the books that, to me, best encapsulate that feeling of loving nature so much it opens up whole worlds inside of you.

Blythe's book list on nature and freedom

Discover why each book is one of Blythe's favorite books.

Why did Blythe love this book?

If you have ever felt alienated by our capitalist society which tells us we do not deserve any sort of freedom or any sort of safety net, and which encourages us to use all of our time laboring and being “productive” – Jenny Odell’s book is for you.

I had already quit my job and started planning my road trip the week before How To Do Nothing came out, but if I hadn’t, I would have! The way Odell writes about paying attention to nature – she calls herself not a bird watcher but a “bird noticer” – has shaped the way I pay attention, too.

And Odell’s writing on “meeting the bioregion” of wherever you are, or learning about its plants, animals, and human history, was a direct influence on my book.

By Jenny Odell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How to Do Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** A New York Times Bestseller **

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: Time • The New Yorker • NPR • GQ • Elle • Vulture • Fortune • Boing Boing • The Irish Times • The New York Public Library • The Brooklyn Public Library

"A complex, smart and ambitious book that at first reads like a self-help manual, then blossoms into a wide-ranging political manifesto."—Jonah Engel Bromwich, The New York Times Book Review

One of President Barack Obama's "Favorite Books of 2019"
Porchlight's Personal Development & Human Behavior Book of the Year

In a…

Moving Times

By Julian Weber,

Book cover of Moving Times: Mobility of the Future

Dr. Andreas Schneider Author Of Enlightened Mobility: How we can surpass symbolic climate action & make transport carbon-free

From the list on how to make transport and mobility sustainable.

Who am I?

I found my passion for sustainable mobility while working on my PhD thesis about electric cars at a time when no one was interested in electric cars. I am fascinated by the disruptive forces in the transportation space. With my long-term work experience in management consulting, corporate, academics, and startups, I’m trying to make a contribution to making transport carbon-free.  

Dr.'s book list on how to make transport and mobility sustainable

Discover why each book is one of Dr.'s favorite books.

Why did Dr. love this book?

This book paints a detailed picture of how the future of mobility will look like.

It explains what the hype around electric mobility, autonomous driving, car sharing, and ride-hailing is about. It is a great introduction for everyone who wants to get started in understanding the future of sustainable mobility and carbon-free transport.

By Julian Weber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Will we really soon no longer be sitting behind the wheel of our own car, but will only be taken to our destination by driverless electric taxis? Should cities introduce car sharing? What role will electric scooters, cable cars or man-carrying drones play in the mobility systems of major cities? This book finally explains in a generally understandable way what is really behind buzzwords such as electric mobility, autonomous driving, digitalization and mobility services such as car sharing or ride-hailing, how far advanced these technologies are today, and above all in what relationships and dependencies they are to each other.…

How to Write for the World of Work

By Donald H. Cunningham, Thomas E. Pearsall, Elizabeth O. Smith

Book cover of How to Write for the World of Work

Rod Stephens Author Of Beginning Software Engineering

From the list on making you a better software developer.

Who am I?

During my career, I’ve worked on projects large and small (1 - 60+ people) in a wide variety of fields (like repair dispatch, ticket sales, and professional football coaching--the NFL kind not the FIFA kind). All of them, and particularly the big ones, were like antique clocks: they had lots of moving pieces and if any piece broke, the whole thing wouldn’t work. (Unfortunately, failed software projects don’t look nice on your mantelpiece.) In this list, I’ve tried to pick some books that you might not discover if you look only for programming books. Read those, too, but don’t ignore the more human-oriented dimensions of software development. Hopefully you’ll find these choices interesting and useful.

Rod's book list on making you a better software developer

Discover why each book is one of Rod's favorite books.

Why did Rod love this book?

When people think about software engineering they mostly think about programming, but that’s not where a project starts. It starts with requirements.

(Really it sometimes starts with company politics, bickering, excuses, and backstabbing, but requirements gathering is often the official start.)

A good set of requirements keeps developers pulling in the same direction; a bad one can make the team inefficient, cause endless arguments, set developers against each other, and make the project feel like Lord of the Flies. I’ve seen projects scrapped and restarted from scratch or even canceled due to poor documentation.

Every software developer should know at least a little about writing so they can produce clear requirements and documentation.

This book isn’t specifically about writing documentation (which is something of an art in itself), but it can help you learn how to make your business writing more effective. This book won’t turn you into Shakespeare,…

By Donald H. Cunningham, Thomas E. Pearsall, Elizabeth O. Smith

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Write for the World of Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Designed for advanced professional, technical or business writing courses, this concise text covers basic principles, correspondence and reports, and provides a guide to common problems.

The Naked Sun

By Isaac Asimov,

Book cover of The Naked Sun

Carlos Valrand Author Of The Site

From the list on science fiction about investigations and discovery.

Who am I?

I am a writer, author of the science fiction novel The Site, and a contributor to the website Internet Looks. During my work as an aerospace engineer and manager I participated in NASA and Department of Defense projects such as the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the USAF C-5A aircraft. I authored various aerospace system functional requirements documents and technical papers, and developed and taught courses in dynamic simulations, aerodynamics, and space vehicle guidance, navigation, and control. When writing fiction, I use my technical background, understanding of physical principles, and documentation to provide clear and concise descriptions and dialog for the reader.

Carlos' book list on science fiction about investigations and discovery

Discover why each book is one of Carlos' favorite books.

Why did Carlos love this book?

I once witnessed, at a science-fiction convention, Isaac Asimov and Harlan Ellison debate esoteric matters to the delight of fans. The Naked Sun deals with such matters. Earth detective Elijah Baley, assisted by robot Daneel Olivaw, investigates the death of Rikaine Delmarre, a prominent scientist. Delmarre died in unusual circumstances at his estate on the planet Solaria. In the 48th century, mankind has adapted to life in a variety of suns. Solaria’s population is sparse, and robots vastly outnumber humans. People avoid personal contact and live on distant estates, alone or with their spouses. Solarians customarily communicate remotely by holographic viewing. Baley and Olivaw have a puzzling assignment because except for Delmarre’s wife and house robots, considered incapable of murder, no one was at the estate at the time.

By Isaac Asimov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Isaac Asimov's Robot series - from the iconic collection I, Robot to four classic novels - contains some of the most influential works in the history of science fiction. Establishing and testing the Three Laws of Robotics, they continue to shape the understanding and design of artificial intelligence to this day.

On the planet of Solaria, Spacers live in almost complete isolation, tended by robot servants and disgusted by the thought of human contact. And yet, one of their number has been beaten to death.

Incapable of solving the crime, the authorities of the Outer Worlds seek help from Earth…

The Victorian Internet

By Tom Standage,

Book cover of The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-Line Pioneers

Alex Wright Author Of Informatica: Mastering Information through the Ages

From the list on forgotten pioneers of the Internet.

Who am I?

I’m a researcher, writer, and designer who has spent most of the past twenty-five years working in the technology industry, following an earlier career as a journalist and academic librarian. I've developed an abiding interest in the history of knowledge networks. I've written two books on the history of the information age, as well as a number of newspaper and magazine articles on new and emerging technologies. While the technology industry often seems to have little use for its own history, I have found the history of networked systems to be a rich source of inspiration, full of sources of inspiration that can help us start to envision a wide range of possible futures.

Alex's book list on forgotten pioneers of the Internet

Discover why each book is one of Alex's favorite books.

Why did Alex love this book?

Engelbart’s seminal 1962 book on the possibilities of networked computers builds directly on Bush’s ideas, laying out a groundbreaking new vision for how computers might work.

In collaboration with a team of brilliant collaborators at the Stanford Research Institute, Englelbart began to outline a revolutionary vision for a new kind of collaboration between people and computers. He argued for a new class of technology that would enable computers to augment—rather than supplant—human intelligence. Engelbart’s work led directly to the invention of the graphical user interface, hyperlinking, and pointing devices like the mouse (another Engelbart invention).

Though little read today, Augmenting Human Intellect has exerted a lasting impact on contemporary computing, and many computer scientists now acknowledge it as one of the intellectual foundations of the modern Internet.

By Tom Standage,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new paperback edition of the book the Wall Street Journal dubbed “a Dot-Com cult classic,” by the bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses-the fascinating story of the telegraph, the world's first “Internet.”

The Victorian Internet tells the colorful story of the telegraph's creation and remarkable impact, and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it, from the eighteenth-century French scientist Jean-Antoine Nollet to Samuel F. B. Morse and Thomas Edison. The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since, and its story mirrors and predicts…


By Joe Quirk, Patri Friedman,

Book cover of Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity from Politicians

Lotta Moberg Author Of The Political Economy of Special Economic Zones: Concentrating Economic Development

From the list on special economic zones and private jurisdictions.

Who am I?

As a development economist I've been on a long quest for policies that actually help promote lives and create long-term wealth. After much searching, I've found special economic zones and other special jurisdictions as holding the key to radical prosperity for the world’s poor today and for humanity at large. Privately governed institutions leverage the power of incentives that we find in a capitalism market system to provide for social services and public goods. Any economists out there looking for hopeful projects to benefit the world economy should start with this short list of core books on this topic. Fortunately, as time goes by, the reading list in this field keeps expanding.

Lotta's book list on special economic zones and private jurisdictions

Discover why each book is one of Lotta's favorite books.

Why did Lotta love this book?

This book allows you to think radically about how to create new community and novel forms of governance.

To unshackle ourselves from a history of destructive governance, the idea of Seasteading is to start afresh, in territories not yet governed by anyone, those at sea.

The authors make a compelling case for a seemingly wild idea. 

By Joe Quirk, Patri Friedman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In these “thought-provoking visions of the future” (The Wall Street Journal), Joe Quirk and Patri Friedman of the Seasteading Institute explain how ocean cities can solve many of our environmental, technological, and civic problems, and introduce the visionaries and pioneers who are now making seasteading a reality.

Our planet has been suffering from serious environmental problems and their social and political consequences. But imagine a vast new source of sustainable and renewable energy that would also bring more equitable economies. A previously untapped source of farming that could produce significant new sources of nutrition. Future societies where people could choose…

Book cover of The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Shirley Streshinsky and Patricia Klaus Author Of An Atomic Love Story: The Extraordinary Women in Robert Oppenheimer's Life

From the list on the race to build the first atomic bomb.

Who are we?

Shirley Streshinsky was 11 years old when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Many scientists were responsible, but only Robert Oppenheimer was labeled “Father of the Atomic Bomb”. At twenty-nine while living in San Francisco she crowded into an auditorium at U.C. Berkeley to hear him speak. She left knowing she would write about him. Patricia Klaus has been a Modern British historian for years, the story of Robert Oppenheimer and the women he loved opened new worlds for her: the history of science and the discovery of fission in 1938. Her father was a pilot in the 509th Bomb Wing that had dropped the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.

Shirley's book list on the race to build the first atomic bomb

Discover why each book is one of Shirley's favorite books.

Why did Shirley love this book?

Published nineteen years before American Prometheus, this book also won a Pulitzer Prize.

A self-taught scientific writer, Rhodes is able to weave vivid character portrayals into the narrative of the science behind the bomb, turning a complex story into fascinating reading. Over several lunches with Patricia, Rhodes described Oppenheimer as someone who could antagonize and amuse at the same time.

She found the writer’s psychological  insights especially revealing. This is a book to be read and re-read.

By Richard Rhodes,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Making of the Atomic Bomb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a brand new introduction from the author, this is the complete story of how the bomb was developed. It is told in rich, human, political, and scientific detail, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan. Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly -- or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity there was a span of hardly more than twenty-five years. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan…

Andrew Learns about Engineers

By Tiffany Obeng, Ira Baykovska (illustrator),

Book cover of Andrew Learns about Engineers: Career Book for Kids

Tiffani Teachey Author Of What Can I Be? STEM Careers from A to Z

From the list on engaging kids in STEM.

Who am I?

As a Sr. Mechanical Engineer, STEM advocate, TEDx international speaker and international best-selling author of children's books, I have a deep expertise and passion for inspiring young minds in the world of science, technology, engineering, and math. Through my books, including What Can I Be? STEM Careers from A to Z and the STEM Crew Kids Adventures series, I aim to introduce kids to diverse STEM careers and empower them to pursue their dreams fearlessly. My background in engineering and dedication to youth mentorship drives me to promote STEM education and underrepresented voices. I believe in the power of books to spark curiosity and open doors to endless possibilities for future innovators and problem-solvers.

Tiffani's book list on engaging kids in STEM

Discover why each book is one of Tiffani's favorite books.

Why did Tiffani love this book?

Andrew Learns about Engineers is a captivating STEM children's book that sparks curiosity in young minds. Through Andrew's imaginative journey, kids discover the importance of engineers in shaping our world.

This easy-to-read book features diverse images of engineering pioneers like Garrett Morgan and Katherine Johnson, fostering inclusivity. It's an ideal resource for introducing kids to the profession and celebrating engineers' contributions. With phonetic assistance and a reader glossary, it's accessible to early readers.

The book's free learning activities and supplemental lesson plan make it a valuable addition to classrooms. Andrew Learns about Engineers is a must-have to inspire children's interest in STEM and help them envision a career in engineering.

By Tiffany Obeng, Ira Baykovska (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Andrew Learns about Engineers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of The Chicken Health Handbook: A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease

Erica Hannickel Author Of The Routledge History of American Foodways

From the list on chickens in history and in your backyard.

Who am I?

I’m an American environmental historian with specialties in food and horticulture. I mostly write on alcohol, wine, garden history, and orchids, but I’ve also kept a small flock of backyard chickens since early 2020. In my preparation for my brood, I read every single chicken history and chicken-keeping book available. Here’s the best of the best.

Erica's book list on chickens in history and in your backyard

Discover why each book is one of Erica's favorite books.

Why did Erica love this book?

My god, a book about keeping chickens and chicken heath that's actually based on science and experience! (Sorry, there are sooooo many terrible blogs and books and posts out there by people who care just cutting and pasting from other crappy blogs and books.) This is the very best source for everything health-wise on chickens. Check here for the real scoop on adding vinegar to chicken water (why and at what dose), what's up with garlic (neutralize the order of chicken poop, and I promise it won’t flavor your eggs), diatomaceous earth, and thousands of other chicken topics and ailments. As a new chicken keeper, I felt a lot safer keeping my backyard chickens healthy, and diagnosing their issues, with this book on my shelf.

By Gail Damerow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gail Damerow is the foremost authority on chickens in the United States, and her classic reference The Chicken Health Handbook (originally published in 1994) is now completely revised with up-to-the minute information and full-colour photography and illustrations. This essential guide thoroughly addresses every aspect of chicken health, including good nutrition; bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases; parasites and worms; reproductive issues; immune health; metabolic dysfunctions; and much more, with detailed solutions for any health problem your chickens encounter. This new second edition emphasizes natural and preventive approaches and covers issues specific to raising chickens in the city.

How to Speak Chicken

By Melissa Caughey,

Book cover of How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

Erica Hannickel Author Of The Routledge History of American Foodways

From the list on chickens in history and in your backyard.

Who am I?

I’m an American environmental historian with specialties in food and horticulture. I mostly write on alcohol, wine, garden history, and orchids, but I’ve also kept a small flock of backyard chickens since early 2020. In my preparation for my brood, I read every single chicken history and chicken-keeping book available. Here’s the best of the best.

Erica's book list on chickens in history and in your backyard

Discover why each book is one of Erica's favorite books.

Why did Erica love this book?

There are an estimated 50 billion chickens to the world’s 7 billion humans, and chickens are the closest living relative to Tyrannosaurus rex, so why wouldn’t you want to learn their language? This is a fun, fast book to read in anticipation of getting your first little flock. The central lesson in the book is that you should spend time with your chickens--watching them, but also listening to them. The book teaches what their core vocalizations mean, therefore also helping you in caring for their needs. I couldn’t wait to have a "chicken name" assigned to me by my laying ladies!

By Melissa Caughey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Best-selling author Melissa Caughey knows that backyard chickens are like any favorite pet — fun to spend time with and fascinating to observe. Her hours among the flock have resulted in this quirky, irresistible guide packed with firsthand insights into how chickens communicate and interact, use their senses to understand the world around them, and establish pecking order and roles within the flock. Combining her up-close observations with scientific findings and interviews with other chicken enthusiasts, Caughey answers unexpected questions such as Do chickens have names for each other? How do their eyes work? and How do chickens learn?


Book cover of Nine Lives Of John Ogilby

Nancy Blanton Author Of When Starlings Fly as One

From the list on Ireland in the 17th century.

Who am I?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. She’s written three award-winning Irish historical novels and has a fourth underway. A former journalist, her focus on the 17th century derives from a history lesson about Oliver Cromwell, weariness of Tudor stories, decades of enlightening research, and a little help from supportive friends in County Cork.

Nancy's book list on Ireland in the 17th century

Discover why each book is one of Nancy's favorite books.

Why did Nancy love this book?

While not specifically about Ireland, this is a most fascinating tale and true story about a man who started as a dancer, ran theater in Ireland, became a soldier, sea captain and so much more before he went on to publish the first road atlas in Britain. It’s the quirky details in this book that make it fun to read and quite informative about life in the 17th century.

By Alan Ereira,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nine Lives Of John Ogilby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four hundred years ago, every barrister had to dance because dancing put them in harmony with the universe. John Ogilby's first job, in 1612, was to teach them. By the 1670s, he was Charles II's Royal Cosmographer, creating beautiful measured drawings that placed roads on maps for the first time. During the intervening years, Ogilby had travelled through fire and plague, war and shipwreck; had been an impresario in Dublin, a poet in London, a soldier and sea captain, as well as a secret agent, publisher and scientific geographer. The world of his youth had been blown up and turned…

Digital Minimalism

By Cal Newport,

Book cover of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Author Of Edit Your Life: A Handbook for Living with Intention in a Messy World

From the list on inspiring you to change your life.

Who am I?

I’m an American author and writing teacher for both Harvard and Oxford’s online writing programs. I am also a mother of two who lived three years in a tiny backyard guest house with my family in an effort to focus more on what we love. Editing books is a practice I have honed over decades, and when my family was stuck in a living situation that felt unsustainable, the clearest way forward was for me to ask myself how I might edit our way out of it. It worked! In this book, I share the most valuable eight principles that we learned through the process.

Elisabeth's book list on inspiring you to change your life

Discover why each book is one of Elisabeth's favorite books.

Why did Elisabeth love this book?

A single read of this book saved me hours in the years that followed. Newport looks critically at how we bring technology into our lives and suggests that we hold a higher bar to which digital tools we allow into our days.

This book got me rethinking my balance of deep work (what only I can do, when at my best) and shallow work (needing less focus/expertise) and how my digital tools support or disrupt that balance.

By Cal Newport,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Learn how to switch off and find calm - from the New York Times bestselling author of A World Without Email

'Digital Minimalism is the Marie Kondo of technology' Evening Standard

'An eloquent, powerful and enjoyably practical guide to cutting back on screen time' The Times

'An urgent call to action for anyone serious about being in command of their own life' Ryan Holiday

'What a timely and useful book' Naomi Alderman, author of The Power

Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social media or the news while your anxiety rises? Are you feeling frazzled after a long day…

A Place of My Own

By Michael Pollan,

Book cover of A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams

Kenneth R. Rosen Author Of Troubled: The Failed Promise of America's Behavioral Treatment Programs

From the list on to get you through troubling times.

Who am I?

As a journalist and author and a young father, I’ve come to seek more vigorously things that make me smile, things I can cherish and appreciate. My most recent book is dedicated to “the troubled, in trouble, and once troubled.” In promoting the book, I’ve often said I still feel fairly troubled—which is true. Demons never die, we just live to learn with them. So while reading the below books I’ve discovered hallowed moments which fill a person to the brim. After each of these reads I felt that I could surmount most anything.

Kenneth's book list on to get you through troubling times

Discover why each book is one of Kenneth's favorite books.

Why did Kenneth love this book?

I’ve owned a number of homes. Most were small, one or two were fairly large. When I set about building my own writing shed I had a clue where to begin, but most frequently—when bashing a nail, jigsawing a piece of wood—I knew very little about why I was making one decision over another much beyond practical considerations. A window could only fit here, and the door must swing this way, lest it hit that support beam. Having a companion to that process, letting not my hammer but the Earth fine-tune my space gave that writing shed life far beyond its function.

By Michael Pollan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A captivating personal inquiry into the art of architecture, the craft of building, and the meaning of modern work

“A room of one’s own: Is there anybody who hasn’t at one time or another wished for such a place, hasn’t turned those soft words over until they’d assumed a habitable shape?”

When Michael Pollan decided to plant a garden, the result was the acclaimed bestseller Second Nature. In A Place of My Own, he turns his sharp insight to the craft of building, as he recounts the process of designing and constructing a small one-room structure on his rural Connecticut…

More from Less

By Andrew McAfee,

Book cover of More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources--And What Happens Next

Alessio Terzi Author Of Growth for Good: Reshaping Capitalism to Save Humanity from Climate Catastrophe

From the list on the relationship between the economy and nature.

Who am I?

As an economist at the European Commission, Adjunct Professor in Paris, former fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and now a first-time author, I thrive at the intersection of academia, think-tanks, and policy-making. My academic soul leads me to seek answers to the big questions: what is economic growth and how does it relate to the success of civilization, to science and technology, to people’s wellbeing, and to nature. My practical focus leads me to draw the policy implications of all this for how we ought to fight climate change. My critics accuse me of being an optimist. I take it as a compliment: the future of humanity is in our hands.

Alessio's book list on the relationship between the economy and nature

Discover why each book is one of Alessio's favorite books.

Why did Alessio love this book?

All of McAfee’s work is a testament to the power of human ingenuity and technology in changing the world.

This important book marks no exception, addressing the key problem of managing scarce natural resources in spite of a growing human population and economy. In the process, McAfee challenges some widely-held views, such as the idea that ‘you cannot have an ever-growing economy on a finite planet.’

As a matter of fact, you can and the book shows that since the mid-1990s the US economy has continued to expand while extraction of the 72 raw materials tracked by the US Geological Survey, from aluminum to timber, has diminished (even when considering imports).

To me, More from Less is a testament to the power of technical progress.

By Andrew McAfee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Everyone knows we're doomed by runaway overpopulation, pollution, or resource depletion, whichever comes first. Not only is this view paralysing and fatalistic, but, as Andrew McAfee shows in this exhilarating book, it's wrong... More from Less is fascinating, enjoyable to read, and tremendously empowering' Steven Pinker
Bestselling author and co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy Andrew McAfee says there's a new reason for optimism: we're past the point of 'peak stuff' - from here on out, it'll take fewer resources to make things, and cost less to lead a comfortable life.

This turn of events invalidates the…

Ancient Carpenters' Tools

By Henry C. Mercer,

Book cover of Ancient Carpenters' Tools: Illustrated and Explained, Together with the Implements of the Lumberman, Joiner and Cabinet-Maker in Use in the Eighteenth Century

Graham Blackburn Author Of Traditional Woodworking Handtools: A Manual for the Woodworker

From the list on traditional woodworking.

Who am I?

Born in London, I apprenticed under cabinetmaker Hugh Harris before moving to New York to study at Juilliard. Subsequently pursuing a career as a professional musician, recording and playing with groups including Van Morrison, Razmataz, and Full Tilt Boogie, I built a house in Woodstock, NY. In addition to operating my own custom-design furniture-making shop, and lecturing and teaching extensively from coast to coast, I’ve written and illustrated many more books on woodworking. I’ve served as Contributing Editor to Fine Woodworking (1985–1999), and Popular Woodworking (1987–1996), and as Editor-in-Chief of Woodwork Magazine (1991–1994) before becoming a featured speaker and presenter at the National Woodworking Shows.

Graham's book list on traditional woodworking

Discover why each book is one of Graham's favorite books.

Why did Graham love this book?

From witchets to moulding planes, from Roman tools to eighteenth-century American tools, this was my first "bible" on the subject. A more thorough grounding — with amazing photographs — would be hard to find. Reading this book puts two millennia of woodworking into a useful perspective. Once read it will illustrate in greater detail every other book on the subject. Totally essential.

By Henry C. Mercer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ancient Carpenters' Tools as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Classic reference describes in detail hundreds of implements in use in the American colonies in the 18th century. Over 250 illustrations depict tools identical in construction to ancient devices once used by the Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese, among them axes, saws, clamps, chisels, mallets, and much more. An invaluable sourcebook.