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Science fiction is a vast and diverse field with countless classics that have revolutionized the way we perceive the world today. With so much difficulty, I’ve picked out 16 of the best science books for nonfiction fans, and they’re some of the best reads ever written. Hope you like it!
best science books ever
Gene: An Intimate History, Siddhartha Mukherjee
In The Gene, Indian-American oncologist and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee distills the infinitely complex structure of our identities into a narrative that is both accessible and gripping. While the story unfolds in a panoramic fashion, transporting readers into time as it explores the hypotheses of characters from Pythagoras to Rosalind Franklin, it also offers a deep glimpse into the author’s family history. All in all, this is both a testament to human achievement and a warning to us about the ethical implications of genetics as we look to the future of human genetics.
Becoming a Mortal: The Importance of Medicine and Ultimate Atul Gawande
In Becoming Mortal, Gawande offers a sobering glimpse into the inevitable processes that shape our own lives and those of those we love. Through research and experience gained during his career as a surgeon, he investigates the impact of medicine on longevity and explores our society’s concepts of mortality, end-of-life care and death.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta by Rebecca Skloot
This book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cell line contributed to many of the most important discoveries of the 21st century. In this incredible journey of life, Skloot explores the impact of HeLa cells on modern medicine, while illustrating the disturbing reality that underlies medical experiments across the country without the individual’s knowledge or consent.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
This important book on cosmology explains the complex concepts of space, time, and black holes from a scientific perspective to the layman. Published in 1988, this book is one of the best science books ever written. It has since sold 10 million copies and has been modified to represent the advancement of technology over the past two decades. Through it, readers will be able to understand and appreciate the complexity of the universe.
Homo sapiens: A Brief History of Humanity Yuvol Noah Harari
In this lengthy treatise on the entirety of human history, Harari investigates how our species – Homo sapiens – was able to come together, form religious beliefs, establish human rights, and create the systems that continue to bind us today. Harari draws on numerous academic fields including economics, biology and anthropology to explore how human life has evolved since the time of our ancestors and challenge us to think about how it will change in the centuries to come.
“Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson
This landmark advocacy effort sparked the modern environmental movement by studying the dangers of releasing toxins into the environment. Originally published as a series of articles in The New Yorker between 1958 and 1962, it revealed the harmful effects of chemicals like DDT on the world around us, and inspired legislation to keep this effect under control.
Authenticity: 10 Reasons We Misunderstand the World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think Hans Roslin
What percentage of the world’s population lives in poverty? How many girls in low-income countries will finish primary school this year? How has the death toll from natural disasters changed over the past century? Surprisingly, the answer was better than we expected. In fact, our view of the world is flawed—to the extent that a chimpanzee who randomly chooses answers to questions about global trends may score higher than the most accomplished people in many academic fields. Roslin explains this phenomenon by delving into the biases, tendencies, and instincts that hinder our ability to see the world from an objective perspective.
A Brief History of Almost Everything by Bill Bryson
This book uses interesting anecdotes and expositions to illustrate the full story of the scientific discoveries that impact our lives today. It’s witty, funny, and a must-read for anyone wondering why things are the way they are but unhappy with memorizing dates and tedious summaries.
Charles Darwin on the Origin of Species
Darwin laid the foundations of evolutionary biology with the publication of this controversial classic work in science, religion and society at large. A groundbreaking illustration of how humans evolved through natural selection, and it will change the way you understand your place in the world.
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt
What effect do parents have on their children? How does Roe vs Wade affect violent crime? In this wildly popular book, the author analyzes relevant social issues from an economic perspective, tackling topics such as the U.S. crack epidemic, campaign finance, and the KKK from a new perspective. Its witty insights and explanations will shape the way you see the world.
The King of All Diseases: The Cancer Biography of Siddhartha Mukherjee
Traveling through time and space, Mukherjee chronicles the scoping history of a mysterious disease that plays such an important role in human health today. From the earliest origins of cancer to the fight against disease in the 21st century, this book comprehensively charts the human relationship with disease and explores the possibility of eradicating it from our society for good.
Bad Blood: The Secrets and Lies of Silicon Valley Startups John Carreyrou
Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes has been hailed as the female Steve Jobs; her breakthrough approach to speeding up blood testing has raised more than $700 million in investment and is expected to revolutionize the healthcare industry. However, this technology is fake. This book chronicles the aftermath of that discovery and the entire thrilling story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron.
Stephen Hawking’s brief answers to big questions
Does God exist? Should humans colonize space? Will technology advance or destroy society? Hawking tackles these future-critical questions in this short but important book. He discusses the challenges we face today—nuclear war, the potential latent spread of artificial intelligence and similar technologies, and climate change—and what humanity should do to address them.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
In this book, Yuval Noah Harari analyzes 70,000 years of human history to make predictions about our future…and the results are bleak. Convincing, insightful, and controversial, it considers a topic crucial to the future: If it is acceptable for humans to conquer animals that are inferior to us intellectually, can we not be conquered by an intellectually superior artificial intelligence? This thought-provoking book will give you the mindset you need to make rational decisions in a potentially dystopian future.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This is one of the best science books that gives us a glimpse into the way we think and how our intuition affects our thoughts and actions. By examining the two contrasting systems that govern the way we think, Kahneman offers insights into how we can make better choices and prevent instinctual judgments that hinder us from living happier lives.
“The Universe” by Carl Sagan
This iconic bestseller ignited an entire generation’s love of science, explaining arcane concepts in an easy-to-understand way. It puts human life into perspective, underscoring the fact that our civilization has flourished during a fraction of the cosmic existence. It consists of 13 illustrated chapters that answer relevant questions such as where did humans come from, whether we are the only life in the universe, and whether our legacy will endure for centuries to come.
What do you think are the best science books – which ones didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments! Want more recommendations for the best science books? Check out our list of the top 50 nonfiction books!