44 books directly related to evolutionary biology 📚

All 44 evolutionary biology books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution

Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution

By Jonathan B. Losos,

Why this book?

On the surface, this fascinating story about the evolutionary journeys of diverse animal species ranging from lizards to porcupines to field mice may seem a strange choice to include in a list of books about cancer, but in fact, it holds many important lessons about how evolution works and how likely we are to get the same outcomes if we ran the tape of time again. In turn, this is vital information underpinning our new understanding of cancer as an evolutionary process within the body, which can potentially be steered through the application of clever treatment strategies to bring about…

From the list:

The best books for understanding why we haven’t cured cancer… yet

Book cover of Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story

Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story

By Lisa Westberg Peters,

Why this book?

I love the simple, evocative way this story is told through a visit to the beach and the sketching in the sand of creatures representing various stages in evolution, from the first cells to human beings, reminding us of what we share with these long-lost ancestors and what divides us from earlier life forms. This picture book for children aged 4 to 7 distills a complex subject with verve and imagination and deserves a place on your child’s bookshelf.

From the list:

The best children’s books about evolution

Book cover of The Story of Life: A First Book about Evolution

The Story of Life: A First Book about Evolution

By Catherine Barr, Steve Williams, Amy Husband (illustrator)

Why this book?

The Story of Life is a good introduction to the history of life on Earth for younger readers. Introducing Earth from before life existed, it traces the changes in the planet as life begins to develop, then bloom, then flourish in every possible niche. There’s a thorough treatment of dinosaurs, which will be a favourite section for many readers. The illustrations are energetic, clever, and funny, with enough detail to let kids read and re-read as they catch every little interaction on each page. A handy time-tracker on the bottom left of each double-page spread keeps you oriented in time…

From the list:

The best books about evolution for children

Book cover of Darwin on Trial

Darwin on Trial

By Phillip E. Johnson,

Why this book?

The clearest and most comprehensive creationist critique of evolutionary biology. Johnson, a retired law professor, marshals every possible argument like a prosecuting attorney, employing reasoning and evidence that is either masterful and convincing, or deceitful and outrageous, depending upon your point of view. To Johnson, the biologists who work in the tradition of Darwin are not scientists, but propagandists in a political movement, using fake data and spurious arguments to bamboozle the public. His purpose is to clear the way for readers to be convinced that a huge, invisible, omnipotent, supernatural designer (no, don't call him God) authored the millions…

From the list:

The best books on "the politics of evolution"

Book cover of Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History

Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History

By Stephen Jay Gould,

Why this book?

Until his death in 2002, Gould, a Harvard paleontologist, was probably the best-known natural scientist in the United States. What was not always recognized was that virtually every line Gould penned proceeded along two tracks, the scientific and the political. A leftist who started his career as a Marxist and developed into a more orthodox liberal, Gould had a genius for combining scientific lessons with political disputation and presenting that combination in lucid, interesting prose. No single book summarizes all of his political/evolutionary views. This one, in which he discusses many fascinating aspects of natural history while demolishing the views…

From the list:

The best books on "the politics of evolution"

Book cover of The Immense Journey

The Immense Journey

By Loren Eiseley,

Why this book?

This book is a revelation! The author (1907-1977) was a scientist (a naturalist, anthropologist, and paleontologist), and, boy, could he write. The title refers to the arc of time on this planet. There are chapters that describe and ponder fossils, evolution, so-called missing links, “the great deeps,” and so forth in the most captivating, poetic language. But the chapter to read is “How Flowers Changed the World.” I consider it the most important and insightful essay ever written on the dramatic arrival of angiosperms (flowering plants)—because he takes into account all context, and because he marvels. As we should.

From the list:

The best books about flowers

Book cover of Why Elephants Have Big Ears : Understanding Patterns of Life on Earth

Why Elephants Have Big Ears : Understanding Patterns of Life on Earth

By Chris Lavers,

Why this book?

If you’re gonna draw any creatures, humans included, it’s important to understand all the factors that influence their size and their shape. The temperature of their environment, the altitude, the precipitation— even the gravity of the planet itself. The book gives gives an in-depth understanding as to why animals look they way they do, and why some weird structures are not only practical, but crucial for a species to survive.

From the list:

The best books for world-building

Book cover of Ten Million Aliens: A Journey Through the Entire Animal Kingdom

Ten Million Aliens: A Journey Through the Entire Animal Kingdom

By Simon Barnes,

Why this book?

This book is probably my favorite among natural history reading I’ve come across. A chance encounter at the library, I ended up buying a copy for myself as well as gifting it to several friends. Barnes weaves together short vignettes about science, observation, and personal encounters with nature organized from the tiniest life forms to some of the largest. Biologist JBS Haldane once said, “The universe is not only stranger than we imagine; it is stranger than we can imagine.” This book proves it with memorable anecdotes and a wonderful sense of kinship and compassion for life both like us…

From the list:

The best books about natural history

Book cover of Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution

Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution

By Steve Jenkins,

Why this book?

A step more sophisticated than the picture books above, Life on Earth is targeted to children ages 9 to 12. The eye-catching format and succinct text cover the diversity of life on Earth, major evolutionary transitions, and nicely illustrates the process of natural selection through a succession of illustrations of frogs as the fittest individuals are selected by their environment. Engaging and packed with information.

From the list:

The best children’s books about evolution

Book cover of Grandmother Fish: A Child's First Book of Evolution

Grandmother Fish: A Child's First Book of Evolution

By Jonathan Tweet, Karen Lewis (illustrator),

Why this book?

I loved reading this beautiful book for young children to my daughter when she was younger, as it puts the story of evolution into context for early learners, following a “family tree” style of explanation. Children are invited to wiggle like a fish, crawl like a lizard, squeak like a mammal, grab like an ape and walk like a human as they travel forward in time from the deep past to the present. Traits accumulate through generations and the relationships between different animals are shown on the page. The bright and cheerful illustrations bring the story to life. This is…

From the list:

The best books about evolution for children

Book cover of The Robot's Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin

The Robot's Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin

By Keith E. Stanovich,

Why this book?

Stanovich takes his title from the very last sentence in Richard Dawkin’s book The Selfish Gene, “We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.” In his book, Stanovich shows how human beings are able to rebel against those selfish replicators – our genes. It involves exercising, in Kahneman’s terminology, our ‘system two’ and exercising tenacity and self-discipline in bringing to bear logic and rationality in our decisions. This book is not an easy read, but it is a fascinating account of why human thinking is different and of what such differences might in principle enable…

From the list:

The best books to learn how to argue well

Book cover of Darwin Machines and the Nature of Knowledge

Darwin Machines and the Nature of Knowledge

By Henry Plotkin,

Why this book?

Plotkin’s brilliant book is about the nature and evolution of human knowledge. How do people gain and develop useful knowledge in a complex, uncertain, and changing world? Behaviorist theories of stimulus and response are inadequate. The mind must be primed to deal with complexity and uncertainty. Models from behaviorist psychology are unable to account for the acquisition of knowledge in such circumstances. Darwinian evolutionary theory helps to explain how the mind uses inherited instincts and culturally acquired habits to guide and enhance intelligence. As with the earlier work of the Darwinian psychologist and pragmatist, William James, instinct and habit are…

From the list:

The best books on the seismic implications of Darwinism for social science

Book cover of Mate Choice: The Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans

Mate Choice: The Evolution of Sexual Decision Making from Microbes to Humans

By Gil Rosenthal,

Why this book?

I loved reading this book and I have used it in teaching. This is the most comprehensive book on mate choice. It will be defining the field for a long time. Rosenthal looks at everything that has to do with mate choice and provides an authoritative view of mate choice. He looks at the complexity of mate choice in its full range. If you look for the most complete book on mate choice, this is it.

From the list:

The best books about mate choice – in animals

Book cover of The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene

The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene

By Richard Dawkins,

Why this book?

When I read Richard Dawkins’s The Extended Phenotype I knew I wanted to become an evolutionary biologist. The book is the most ambitious articulation of the gene’s-eye view (a work of ‘unabashed advocacy’, as Dawkins put it). Less famous that The Selfish Gene, it also includes responses to the criticisms that The Selfish Gene received, which also made debates in theoretical biology seem so exciting. In many ways, that excitement has never left me. 

From the list:

The best books about selfish genes

Book cover of Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection

Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection

By Peter Godfrey-Smith,

Why this book?

This short, clearly written book offers a penetrating analysis of the foundations of evolutionary biology. Godfrey-Smith develops a novel conceptual framework for understanding evolution based on the concept of a “Darwinian population,” which refers to any collection of entities capable of evolving by natural selection, and a “Darwinian individual,” which is a member of such a population. He uses this framework to shed light on topics including reproduction, symbiosis, culture, and transitions between levels of organization. The book is a perfect illustration of why science sometimes needs philosophy.

From the list:

The best books about the philosophy of evolution

Book cover of A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters

A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters

By Henry Gee,

Why this book?

It does what it says on the cover, takes you back to where it all started, and puts where we are now in perspective. It put me in touch with my own ancestry, and the ancestry of time immemorial, giving sense to all journeys we have undertaken as inhabitants of planet earth. This book centered me, reminded me of the smallness and hugeness of human life on Earth, and inspired the best sleep routine I have ever attempted: when insomniac, or worried, at night, I imagine myself safe in a cave – and drift back to sleep almost immediately.

From the list:

The best books for fashion revolutionaries

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

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

By Eva Jablonka, Marion J. Lamb, Anna Zeligowski

Why 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.

From the list:

The best books about the philosophy of evolution

Book cover of Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think about Our Lives

Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think about Our Lives

By David Sloan Wilson,

Why this book?

We can’t understand ourselves, unless we understand our evolutionary history. In his book Evolution for Everyone, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson outlines the principles behind our biology, history, culture, and morality. In order to understand how these processes came to be, we must view evolution through a multi-level and multi-dimensional lense, which is not only central to our modern understanding of evolution, but provides an extended evolutionary synthesis that allows evidence-based psychotherapists to view themselves as applied evolution scientists. David Sloan Wilson describes these processes and more in an accessible and engaging manner – all inside this volume.

From the list:

The best books on understanding and shaping reality

Book cover of Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond

Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond

By Meg Daley Olmert,

Why this book?

In this fascinating book, Meg Daley Olmert explores the biological element of human relationships with other animals, and in particular the role of the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin helps humans and other animals feel calmer, allowing us to be more curious and friendly. Oxytocin lowers one’s heart rate and reduces stress hormones. Humans who live with or regularly spend time with nonhuman animals live longer and stay healthier. Further, contact with animals can elicit oxytocin in both of those involved, human and nonhuman.

From the list:

The best books about human relationships with other animals

Book cover of Ever Since Darwin: Reflections on Natural History

Ever Since Darwin: Reflections on Natural History

By Stephen Jay Gould,

Why this book?

Ever Since Darwin is described as a collection of essays on natural history. But it is much more than that. Ever Since Darwin is an album of captivating, perspicacious, funny, and delightfully crafted stories that explain evolution and the curiosities of the natural world by a writer with a genius for description. From the “spandrels of San Marco” to the “bushes” that natural selection prunes, Stephen Jay Gould deftly uses metaphor to deconstruct the fossil record and illuminate the exquisite complexities of evolution. All of Stephen Jay Gould’s books are brilliant, but Ever Since Darwin is my first love.

From the list:

The best books for intellectual and creative inspiration

Book cover of Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution

Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution

By Menno Schilthuizen,

Why this book?

An evolutionary biologist and an excellent storyteller, Menno Schilthuizen gives a lively, upbeat survey of the myriad ways in which nonhuman life adapts to urban environments. Schilthuizen frames the city as one of nature’s many engineered environments: just as beetles evolved to live in anthills and whole-food webs rely on beaver-constructed wetlands, human cities provide homes for plant and animal life all over the world. This story goes far beyond peppered moths adapting to smog-stained trees. Schilthuizen delves into concepts like preadaptation and fragmentation to provide a nuanced and varied picture, allowing a more precise understanding of what is new…

From the list:

The best books on nature in the city

Book cover of Freedom Evolves

Freedom Evolves

By Daniel C. Dennett,

Why this book?

The issues of free will and consciousness are, to my limited mind, inextricably linked. And so, while Dennett somewhat overpromised and underdelivered with his well-known Consciousness Explained (tremendously hard not to underdeliver with a title like that) here I think he’s much more on the money. I think of all the books that I’ve read which address, either directly or tangentially, the issue of how the mind works, this is the one that gave me the clearest new insight into how we might think about, well, thinking. Dennett is a fine thinker and an excellent communicator but he tends to…

From the list:

The best books to get your head around consciousness

Book cover of Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution

Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution

By Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan,

Why this book?

In this book, Margulis offers a thrilling radical history of the earth and our role in it. She is famous as the protagonist of the theory of the origin of complex life that involved one bacterium engulfing another: one which, heretical in its day, has now been proven to the satisfaction of all biologists. It is a human bias to care only about what we can see with the naked eye, but Margulis’s passionate vision reveals how throughout earth history bacteria have been the vital organisms that hold the web of life together. Microcosm is a rich guide to the…

From the list:

The best biology books on the deep history of life on earth

Book cover of The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer

The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer

By Athena Aktipis,

Why this book?

When I interviewed Athena as part of the research for my own book Rebel Cell, I was immediately struck by the way in which she saw deeper, broader connections across the worlds of cancer research, behavioral science, and philosophy. From the strange, knobbly cactuses that she cultivates outside her office to the misbehaving cells in a deadly tumor, Cheating Cell is a fascinating journey through the origins and evolution of cancer from the perspective of a researcher at the cutting edge of the field.

From the list:

The best books for understanding why we haven’t cured cancer… yet

Book cover of Charles Darwin's on the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin's on the Origin of Species

By Sabina Radeva,

Why this book?

If you want to understand evolution, it certainly helps to know how and where the theory of evolution originated. This picture book rendition of Darwin’s classic work – the foundational text of all modern biology – explains Darwin’s explorations, the process of natural selection, and the common descent of all living things. The direct quotes from Darwin’s own writings are a nice touch, as are the charming illustrations. It doesn’t hurt that the writer/illustrator is a molecular biologist. 

From the list:

The best children’s books about evolution

Book cover of When the Whales Walked: And Other Incredible Evolutionary Journeysvolume 1

When the Whales Walked: And Other Incredible Evolutionary Journeysvolume 1

By Dougal Dixon, Hannah Bailey (illustrator),

Why this book?

A great follow-up book for older readers who want to delve into the detail of interesting stories from our evolutionary past. Beautifully illustrated with plenty of contextual information, this book tells some amazing stories of evolutionary changes from the fossil record, including reptiles growing wings, birds with teeth, tiny elephants, and the titular walking whales. It has some lovely detail about the changes to Earth itself over the millennia and speculates about future possibilities for evolution and extinction. 

From the list:

The best books about evolution for children

Book cover of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

By Jonathan Gottschall,

Why this book?

This is the first book I always recommend to people wanting to see what literary Darwinism is about. Gottschall has a gift for charming readers, reaching out and speaking to them personally. The book is loaded with condensed research, but all that information is presented in a readily accessible, conversational style. The book is also loaded with fascinating anecdotes—stories. Gottschall makes a compelling case that the human mind naturally craves stories.

From the list:

The best books in literary Darwinism

Book cover of Evolution and the Levels of Selection

Evolution and the Levels of Selection

By Samir Okasha,

Why this book?

I did my PhD in biology, but one of the books that affected my thinking the most was written by a philosopher: Samir Okasha’s Evolution and the Levels of Selection. I came to biology not through a love of natural history, but through a fascination with the logic of evolution by natural selection. The debate over the gene’s-eye fitted perfectly into this and it led me into the huge literature in the philosophy of biology that deals with the so-called levels of selection debate – does natural selection act on genes, individuals, or groups? Okasha’s book is a great…

From the list:

The best books about selfish genes

Book cover of Darwin's Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution

Darwin's Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution

By Iain McCalman,

Why this book?

Almost everyone knows the name of Charles Darwin, but how many of us know about Thomas Huxley? The reality is that Darwin’s brilliant leap of insight was only one step in bringing the theory of evolution into common knowledge. People don’t readily embrace a new idea that turns their entire worldview on its head, and Darwin alone could not have overcome the inertia and outright hostility that greeted his new theory. Darwin’s Armada is a delightful account of a larger cast of characters whose scientific efforts, exploratory voyages, and intriguing personalities were part of the story of this revolution in…

From the list:

The best books about curious people on the hunt for new knowledge

Book cover of Chance in Evolution

Chance in Evolution

By Grant Ramsey (editor), Charles H. Pence (editor),

Why this book?

This collection of essays takes a different position to mine on the question of chance in evolution. This book boldly approaches the study of evolution with the assumption that there is a large element of chance, contingency, and randomness in the process. Bringing together biologists, and philosophers of science, it explores many aspects of the theory as well as its implications for the existence of life on earth, and especially for the emergence of Homo sapiens. Along the way, the authors tackle such topics as genetic drift, mutation, and parallel evolution. By engaging in collaboration across biology, history, philosophy,…

From the list:

The best books on religion, evolution, and chance

Book cover of Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History

Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History

By David E. Fastovsky, David B. Weishampel, John Sibbick (illustrator)

Why this book?

This is the best textbook about dinosaurs. If you want to have all the latest information about the diversity of dinosaurs, how their bones are found and excavated, their history through time, all the key groups, how they are related to each other, and what we know about their life and times, this is the book. This is a tried and tested textbook, now in its fourth edition, but full of anecdotes, great text and great illustrations, many of them by the maestro, John Sibbick.

From the list:

The best books about dinosaurs from a palaeontologist

Book cover of It Started with a Big Bang: The Origin of Earth, You and Everything Else

It Started with a Big Bang: The Origin of Earth, You and Everything Else

By Floor Bal, Sebastiaan Van Doninck (illustrator),

Why this book?

It Started with a Big Bang: The Origin of Earth, You and Everything Else is another picture book that covers the same territory for the very young as The Stuff of Stars. The writing is conversational and accessible. The illustrations are compelling. The two books read side by side would support and inform one another.  

From the list:

The best children’s books about the origins of our universe

Book cover of Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas

Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas

By Elizabeth Shreeve, Frann Preston-Gannon (illustrator),

Why this book?

This superb picture book for children aged 6 to 9 begins by asking children to wonder why dolphins and sharks look superficially similar, yet are less closely related than dolphins and hippos. It covers the emergence of life, evolution in the seas, the appearance of land animals, and the “return to the blue” by dolphins and whales. The illustrations are terrific: bright, simple, and kid-friendly while retaining scientific details.  

From the list:

The best children’s books about evolution

Book cover of Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism

By Alvin Plantinga,

Why this book?

Professor Plantinga, retired from the University of Notre Dame, is one of the greatest American philosophers of this generation. In this book, he nicely summarizes a career’s-worth of study and insight into the supposed “warfare between science and religion,” showing that there is no such warfare, not really, between science and Christianity—but there might be some real problems between, say, science and the breezy scientism of the New Atheists…

From the list:

The best books to understand why smart people believe in Christianity

Book cover of Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life

By Daniel C. Dennett,

Why this book?

Easier to read than On the Origin of Species, this book connects Darwin’s overwhelmingly significant explanatory insight to the last fifty years of advance in our understanding of biology, psychology, social science, and the nature of the mind. Dennett is a brilliantly ingenious builder of images and metaphors that really enable you to grasp Darwin’s breakthrough, one at least as important as Newton’s and Einstein’s, but more relevant to understanding the meaning of life. 

From the list:

The best books for getting a grip on our reality

Book cover of Looking for a Few Good Males: Female Choice in Evolutionary Biology

Looking for a Few Good Males: Female Choice in Evolutionary Biology

By Erika L. Milam,

Why this book?

When Darwin proposed the two mechanisms of sexual selection, one was almost immediately embraced by his Victorian contemporaries: male competition. Female choice, on the other hand, had to wait almost 100 years to be fully recognized. This book is an account of the history of female choice and provides fascinating insights into the development of a scientific discipline and how it is intertwined with society. Well written and very accessible, this is a great read.

From the list:

The best books about mate choice – in animals

Book cover of Evidence and Evolution

Evidence and Evolution

By Elliott Sober,

Why this book?

This ambitious book, written by a distinguished philosopher, is a contribution to what might be called the “epistemology of evolutionary biology.” Sober starts by offering a general analysis of the concept of evidence based on probability theory, then applies this analysis to issues in the theory of evolution. He explains why the evidence favours evolution over the hypothesis of “intelligent design,” then tackles the thorny methodological problem of how to infer evolutionary history from observations on contemporary species. Though difficult, the book is clearly written and repays close study.

From the list:

The best books about the philosophy of evolution

Book cover of Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything

Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything

By Victor J. Strecher,

Why this book?

Stecher is a scientist who can also communicate ideas effectively. He does a tour of the literature on purpose and translates it into concepts of practical significance. The data suggests that you and I are designed by nature to be people of higher purpose. Until this happens, we are literally throwing our life away.

From the list:

The best books on finding your purpose and success within that purpose

Book cover of A Field Guide to a Happy Life: 53 Brief Lessons for Living

A Field Guide to a Happy Life: 53 Brief Lessons for Living

By Massimo Pigliucci,

Why this book?

A Field Guide to a Happy Life is an outstanding example of what a modern Stoic book can and should be. Pigliucci has taken the famous Handbook (Enchiridion) of the Roman Stoic teacher, Epictetus, and reworked it to reflect a more modern approach to the philosophy. As such, this field guide is a portable, practical guide to applying Stoic wisdom in your day to day life.

What I most appreciate about A Field Guide to a Happy Life is that the author’s update of the philosophy is clearly described in a later section of the book. This allows the reader…

From the list:

The best books on practicing Stoicism

Book cover of The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do

The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do

By Judith Rich Harris,

Why this book?

In recent years, my work is increasingly concerned with the interface between child development and evolutionary biology. The Nurture Assumption is a challenging book that’s attracted praise and vilification in equal measure. Judith Rich Harris argues that ‘parenting’ is less influential in children’s emotional and social development than is currently assumed and I think that’s well worth thinking about. The love and care of adults are obviously of immense importance, but children bring their own strengths into the world, not least their inborn drive to learn through play.

From the list:

The best books about child development and education

Book cover of Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction

Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction

By Chris D. Thomas,

Why this book?

This book made me rethink many of my assumptions about biodiversity, extinction risk, and conservation. Telling stories from his travels and from research around the world, biologist Chris Thomas points out a paradox: While species are going extinct at an exceptionally high rate, the number of species in most Belgium or Vermont-sized areas of the world is rising.

Thomas is not denying the threats to species or the need to conserve biodiversity. Far from it. But he argues that conservation is often misguided and inherently unsustainable, trying to achieve a nonexistent ‘wild’ state and ignoring nature’s dynamism. He proposes a…

From the list:

The best books about biodiversity, ecology, and extinction

Book cover of Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality

Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality

By Kingsley R. Browne,

Why this book?

The author challenges the prevailing orthodoxy that the differences between men and women, and their respective roles in the work world, are the result of differential socialization. His view is that there are important biological differences between the sexes that lead them to choose different kinds of work. Women, for example, prefer jobs that involve working with people whereas men prefer working with things. Women also frequently choose part-time work because this allows them to spend more time with their children. Men are more likely than women to compete for high-status jobs because they are naturally more competitive than women.…

From the list:

The best books for understanding the biological basis of social life