The most recommended science books

Who picked these books? Meet our 1,556 experts.

1,556 authors created a book list connected to science, and here are their favorite science books.
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Book cover of Citizens: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us

Cath Bishop Author Of The Long Win: The Search for a Better Way to Succeed

From my list on reframing success to sustain high performance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the question of ‘what does success look like’ throughout my life: from growing up, to becoming an Olympic rower, to working as a diplomat in high-pressure situations and conflict-affected environments, to becoming a parent, and now my current work as a leadership and culture coach in organisations across business, sport, and education. History and social conventions have led us to define success in ever narrower ways; I wanted to help us understand that and redefine success more meaningfully, for the long-term. I think it’s a question in all our minds - I hope you enjoy the books on this list as you reflect on what success looks like for you!

Cath's book list on reframing success to sustain high performance

Cath Bishop Why did Cath love this book?

Fascinated as I am with definitions of success across society, from sport to business, education to politics, Jon Alexander’s book really fired my brain up with how we could reinvent our political systems in order to better address the challenges of our time. 

Politics is the area where I have found that definitions of success – dominated by winning elections in the short-term – get in the way of effective performance, in this case, governing countries.

Jon Alexander uses practical examples from around the world to show how we could rethink our role as citizens and proactively create collaborative, caring, creative communities, organisations, and nations.

By Jon Alexander, Ariane Conrad,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'An underground hit' - Best Politics Books, Financial Times

'Jon has one of the few big ideas that's easily applied' - Sam Conniff, Be More Pirate

'A wonderful guide to how to be human in the 21st Century' - Ece Temelkuran, How to Lose a Country: the Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship


Citizens opens up a new way of understanding ourselves and shows us what we must do to survive and thrive as individuals, organisations, and nations.

Over the past decade, Jon Alexander's consultancy, the New Citizenship Project, has helped revitalise some of…

Book cover of Fabulous Science : Fact and Fiction in the History of Scientific Discovery

Kersten T. Hall Author Of The Man in the Monkeynut Coat: William Astbury and How Wool Wove a Forgotten Road to the Double-Helix

From my list on to think differently about the history of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

The discovery of the structure of DNA, the genetic material was one of the biggest milestones in science–but few people realise that a crucial unsung hero in this story was the humble wool fibre. But the Covid pandemic has changed all that and as a result we’ve all become acutely away of both the impact of science on our lives and our need to be more informed about it. Having long ago hung up my white coat and swapped the lab for the library to be a historian of science, I think we need a more honest, authentic understanding of scientific progress rather than the over-simplified accounts so often found in textbooks. 

Kersten's book list on to think differently about the history of science

Kersten T. Hall Why did Kersten love this book?

Gregor Mendel was a lone genius who, pottering with pea plants, unlocked the secrets of modern genetics; Charles Darwin boldly took on the power of the Church with his theory of evolution; chance favoured the prepared mind of Louis Pasteur…right? Well, no, not according to historian John Waller who takes a sledgehammer to the heavily mythologised historical accounts of scientific discovery that are so often found in textbooks before kindly picking up the pieces to rearrange them into a much more honest and authentic account of how science works. Physicist-turned-philosopher Thomas Kuhn once warned that trying to learn the history of science from the pages of a science textbook was no better than assuming an intimate knowledge of a foreign country and its customs after having briefly thumbed through a glossy travel brochure. If the past is indeed a foreign country, then Waller is a reliable local guide who speaks…

By John Waller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The great biologist Louis Pasteur suppressed 'awkward' data because it didn't support the case he was making. John Snow, the 'first epidemiologist' was doing nothing others had not done before. Gregor Mendel, the supposed 'founder of genetics' never grasped the fundamental principles of 'Mendelian' genetics. Joseph Lister's famously clean hospital wards were actually notorious dirty. And Einstein's general relativity was only 'confirmed' in 1919 because an eminent
British scientist cooked his figures. These are just some of the revelations explored in this book.

Drawing on current history of science scholarship, Fabulous Science shows that many of our greatest heroes of…

Book cover of On the Track Of Unknown Animals

Arefa Tehsin Author Of Iora and the Quest of Five

From my list on nature and forests that leave you bewitched.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a family of some of the earliest big-game hunters turned conservationists of India and grew up treading jungles with my naturalist father. As a child, I was often found trying to catch a snake or spin a yarn or reading from the collection of wildlife and natural history books at home. Jungles were as much a part of growing up as was going to school, and I learnt precious life lessons from them. To pursue the cause of conservation, I’ve written several fiction and non-fiction books, as well as articles in national dailies/magazines on wildlife and nature, and I was appointed the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Udaipur, India.

Arefa's book list on nature and forests that leave you bewitched

Arefa Tehsin Why did Arefa love this book?

Another book (1958 edition) from my father’s fascinating library. 

When I began penning my first book, I wanted to be as true as I could to a rainforest and bring forth the actual characteristics and legends of the jungles. On the Track of… gave me ideas for unusual creatures, instead of the normal elves and dwarves and fairies of fantasies. I came to know about the less-known local legends, ‘hidden’ animals, and strange creatures from the remote wild corners of our planet, be it tatzulwurms or Kongamato, the last flying dragon.  

The author has combined zoology and cultural anthropology in a captivating account.

By Bernard Heuvelmans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Track Of Unknown Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1995. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Book cover of There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness: And Other Thoughts on Physics, Philosophy and the World

Mark W. Tiedemann Author Of Granger's Crossing

From my list on love and mystery across time and space.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write science fiction mostly. I’ve recently turned my attention to history. The shared interest is in the changing ground of human interaction. In a way, we are all aliens to each other (which is one of the chief fascinations with fiction to begin with, the psychologies involved). After 30-plus years as a writer, I am more and more drawn to work that reveals the differences and the similarities. Unique contexts throws all this into stark relief.

Mark's book list on love and mystery across time and space

Mark W. Tiedemann Why did Mark love this book?

A quantum physicist encounters the world outside science.

A touching collection of essays by one of the best science writers today, Rovelli examines the interface of critical thinking, science, and life as lived daily by ordinary humans.

Rovelli has become one of my favorite science writers, but it is his humanity on display in these pieces. 

By Carlo Rovelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of our most beloved scientists, a fearless free spirit, Carlo Rovelli is also a masterful storyteller. In this collection of writings, the logbook of an intelligence always on the move, he follows his curiosity and invites us on a voyage through science, literature, philosophy and politics.

Written with his usual clarity and wit, these pieces, most of which were first published in Italian newspapers, range widely across time and space: from Newton's alchemy to Einstein's mistakes, from Nabokov's butterflies to Dante's cosmology, from travels in Africa to the consciousness of an octopus, from mind-altering psychedelic substances to the meaning…

Book cover of The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World

Why am I passionate about this?

I got energized about the environment, climate, and energy as a physics undergrad during the first energy crisis. Since then, I’ve worked in activist groups (Anti-nuclear, the wrong side: Now I fight climate change as penance for the sins of my youth), held policy positions in the governments of the United States and Canada, worked in two international organizations, and taught energy, climate, and environmental policy at Harvard, Michigan, and now UCLA. There’s so much written on climate change that it’s a rare pleasure to find something that cuts through the noise and says something original or important. So I’m delighted to recommend these, which include a couple of overlooked gems.

Edward's book list on deepening your understanding of climate change, what it means, and what to do about it, and give you hope

Edward A. Parson Why did Edward love this book?

You’re probably wondering, if we can’t do what Buck and MacKay point us to in time to avoid the world that Lynas paints, what then?

I have good news: we’re still not (quite) out of options. It looks possible to cool the Earth a degree or two within a few years by spraying a mist of reflective aerosols – sort of like your plant sprayer – in the upper atmosphere to scatter a percent or so of incoming sunlight. This approach, solar geoengineering, is a band-aid, not a cure for climate change. It doesn’t avoid the need to slash emissions, and it brings a bunch of new uncertainties and potential problems. But it can buy time and might be the only way to avoid Lynas’s world quickly.

Morton digs into these technologies, what we know and don’t know about them, and the controversies, with erudition and wit. I love his…

By Oliver Morton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The risks of global warming are pressing and potentially vast. The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting, possibly even insurmountable. So there is an urgent need to rethink our responses to the crisis. To meet that need, a small but increasingly influential group of scientists is exploring proposals for planned human intervention in the climate system: a stratospheric veil against the sun, the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton, fleets of unmanned ships seeding the clouds. These are the technologies of geoengineering--and as Oliver Morton argues in this visionary book, it would be as irresponsible to ignore them as it…

Book cover of God's Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science

Nicholas Spencer Author Of Magisteria: The Entangled Histories of Science & Religion

From my list on science and religion through the ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been working on science and religion for 15 years now. While there are a number of books on Darwinism and religion (too many to count), the number on Darwin himself and his own (loss of) religion is far smaller. So, I wrote a short "spiritual biography" of the great man. Reading through the Darwin archives, it emerged that there was so much more to the story than “man finds evolution but loses God,” and the more I read around this topic and spoke to the leading academic scholars on the subject, the more I realized that that was the case for science and religion overall.

Nicholas' book list on science and religion through the ages

Nicholas Spencer Why did Nicholas love this book?

The popular view is that “mediaeval science” is a contradiction in terms, but this is… well, nonsense, really. The mediaeval world did not have “scientists” (the term was only invented in the 1830s), but it did have “natural philosophers” who studied the world about them with great care and interest.

True, they worked within a totally different framework from later scientists, and that made the kind of leaps forward that were made in the 17th century impossible. But nevertheless, they thought logically, examined carefully, reasoned well, and even sometimes experimented successfully.

James Hannam’s book is a great introduction to a world that seems very alien to us but is closer than we might think.

By James Hannam,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked God's Philosophers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a powerful and a thrilling narrative history revealing the roots of modern science in the medieval world. The adjective 'medieval' has become a synonym for brutality and uncivilized behavior. Yet without the work of medieval scholars there could have been no Galileo, no Newton and no Scientific Revolution. In "God's Philosophers", James Hannam debunks many of the myths about the Middle Ages, showing that medieval people did not think the earth is flat, nor did Columbus 'prove' that it is a sphere; the Inquisition burnt nobody for their science nor was Copernicus afraid of persecution; no Pope tried…

Book cover of Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization

C.A. Gray Author Of Caves of Glass

From C.A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Naturopathic doctor Science nerd World traveler Multi-tasker Coffee lover

C.A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

C.A. Gray Why did C.A. love this book?

I picked this up for inspiration for my next book; Graham Hancock has very compelling and entertaining “revisionist” takes on deep history, and this was no exception.

I was especially intrigued by the implications that there was once a very advanced civilization in Antarctica around 5000 years ago. Hancock made a compelling case that it was, essentially, the site of the lost island of Atlantis (though he never used that term that I can recall). He made the case that the demigods who originated in Antarctica eventually made their way to South America and Egypt, where they left behind their “fingerprints” in the form of unparalleled architecture with astrological purposes.

What more could a fantasy author ask for!

By Graham Hancock,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Fingerprints of the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Could the story of mankind be far older than we have previously believed? Using tools as varied as archaeo-astronomy, geology, and computer analysis of ancient myths, Graham Hancock presents a compelling case to suggest that it is.
“A fancy piece of historical sleuthing . . . intriguing and entertaining and sturdy enough to give a long pause for thought.”—Kirkus Reviews
In Fingerprints of the Gods, Hancock embarks on a worldwide quest to put together all the pieces of the vast and fascinating jigsaw of mankind’s hidden past. In ancient monuments as far apart as Egypt’s Great Sphinx, the strange Andean…

Book cover of Learning to Die: Wisdom in the Age of Climate Crisis

Mallory McDuff Author Of Our Last Best Act: Planning for the End of Our Lives to Protect the People and Places We Love

From my list on change your relationship with death and heal Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach environmental education at Warren Wilson College outside Asheville, North Carolina, where I’ve raised my two daughters in a 900-square-foot campus rental with an expansive view of the Appalachian mountains. My students work in jobs ranging from managing the herd of cattle to growing vegetables for the cafeteria. After the sudden deaths of my parents, I decided to take this one-year journey to revise my final wishes with climate change and community in mind as a legacy to my children and my students. I’ve written five books, including the forthcoming Love Your Mother: 50 states, 50 stories, & 50 women united for climate justice (April 2023). 

Mallory's book list on change your relationship with death and heal Earth

Mallory McDuff Why did Mallory love this book?

A friend recommended this slim book of 100 pages that poses a profound and direct question: How should we live in the end times when the climate crisis threatens our very existence? How can we garner the moral courage to live with the responsibility our times demand of us—as individuals and in collective? These are heavy queries but the philosophical and poetic lens of the authors opens that space to approach the challenge with more grace than fear. Plus, it’s a book that can fit in your back pocket, perfect for walks outside when you’re thinking about life and death in uncertain times. 

By Robert Bringhurst, Jan Zwicky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Truth-filled meditations about grace in the face of mortality." -MargaretAtwood In this powerful little book, two leading intellectuals illuminate the truth about where our environmental crisis is taking us. Writing from an island on Canada's Northwest coast, Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky weigh in on the death of the planet versus the death of the individual. For Zwicky, awareness and humility are the foundation of the equanimity with which Socrates faced his death: he makes a good model when facing the death of the planet, as well as facing our own mortality. Bringhurst urges readers to tune their minds to…

Book cover of The Ninth Revolution: Transforming Food Systems For Good

Roger RB Leakey Author Of Living with the Trees of Life: Towards the Transformation of Tropical Agriculture

From my list on making a healthier, fairer, and better planet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a research scientist who has worked on the interface of many biological, environmental, social, and economic disciplines seeking more sustainable and yet productive forms of agriculture in the tropics and subtropics. With numerous colleagues, I've tried to find ways to right many of the wrongs that have affected the critical food and non-food needs of the world’s poorest and marginalized farmers. This also has the potential to heal much of the environmental degradation and social deprivation in our troubled and dysfunctional world. Along the way, I've had an unusual and privileged research career travelling in remote corners of the world and meeting the people most in need of help from international decision makers.

Roger's book list on making a healthier, fairer, and better planet

Roger RB Leakey Why did Roger love this book?

The crux of this book – ‘the need of the moment’ – focuses on the critical role of agrobiodiversity.

It recognizes that the current tendency to focus on only 30 out of 30,000 edible plant species has ignored many wonderful and locally popular foods that are also crucial for healthy and productive farming systems.

The book illustrates a ‘light bulb’ moment for the future of agriculture with the recognition of the numerous untapped benefits of edible plant species that have been overlooked by modern science.

By Sayed Nader Azam-ali,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We are at a critical point in human history and that of the planet. In this book, a world leader in agricultural research, Professor Sayed Azam-Ali, proposes a radical transformation of our agrifood system. He argues that agriculture must be understood as part of global biodiversity and that food systems have cultural, nutritional, and social values beyond market price alone. He describes the perilous risks of relying on just four staple crops for most of our food and the consequences of our current agrifood model on human and planetary health.In plain language for the wider public, students, researchers, and policy…

Book cover of Baby Loves Quantum Physics!

Chris Ferrie Author Of Quantum Physics for Babies

From my list on quantum physics to grow up on.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of quantum physics—the most notoriously complicated science humans have ever invented. While the likes of Albert Einstein commented on how difficult quantum physics is to understand, I disagree! Ever since my mum asked me—back while I was a university student—to explain to her what I was studying, I’ve been on a mission to make quantum physics as widely accessible as possible. Science belongs to us all and we should all have an opportunity to appreciate it!

Chris' book list on quantum physics to grow up on

Chris Ferrie Why did Chris love this book?

Baby Loves Quantum Physics is a cute book about Schrodinger’s Cat, which was featured in a “thought-experiment” nearly 100 years ago about what quantum physics ought to look to big things like humans or cats. The illustrations are engaging for young readers and the language is pitched at a suitable level. This a great step on baby’s quantum quest!

By Ruth Spiro, Irene Chan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baby Loves Quantum Physics! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners.

Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book engages readers in a game of hide-and-seek with Schrodinger's famous feline. Can cat be awake and asleep at the same time? Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby's sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

With tongue firmly in cheek, the Baby Loves Science series introduces highly intellectual science concepts to the littlest learners.