Humans are intensely curious creatures – as a piece of purely anecdotal evidence, I certainly am – and there’s a whole wide world, both literally and in terms of ideas, out there to explore. Fortunately, for all of us without the science-related know-how to really dig deep into topics like physics, anthropology, and the theory of evolution, there is a seemingly endless number of talented and immensely knowledgeable science communicators out there to help us parse the more esoteric information in wholly digestible fashion. Here are a few of our favorite popular science books to entertain, stimulate, and most importantly, enlighten.
The Complete Edition
Ernest Holmes was the founder of the Religious Science Movement. Science of Mind, originally published in 1926, was his magnum opus and best-known work. Generally considered one of the 20th Century’s most influential works of spiritual thought, Science of Mind posits that one can actively engage their mind to create change throughout one’s life.
Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
This New York Times bestseller is an examination of the way we make choices – from the everyday and mundane to the life-altering. Written by Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law professor Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge shows that no choice is neutral, and provides readers with tools to make the best possible decisions for our lives.
As part of the Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The Sociology Book is a perfect introduction and overview of a field that seeks to answer some of the biggest questions about society as a whole and the way people interact. The Sociology Book concisely covers a range of issues from equality and diversity to the surge in urban living. Most importantly, it does so in an easily digestible way.
A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors
In this compulsively readable tome, science writer John Gribbin surveys the last five hundred years of scientific development through the lens of the scientists who made the breakthroughs. By focusing on the lives of the scientists themselves, Gribbin presents a witty and anecdote-fueled view of just how many advances mankind has made in the name of science.
Much like its cousin The Sociology Book, The Science Book is a readable, in-a-nutshell examination of all the big ideas science has to offer. Filled with illustrations, charts, and diagrams, The Science Book takes an inventive crack at fields such as astronomy, chemistry, and physics, all told with the award winning clarity of DK’s Big Ideas series.
The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory
Edward J. Larson
In this fascinating read, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson takes a deep dive into Darwin’s groundbreaking “dangerous idea.” Larson charts the development of the Theory of Evolution from it’s earliest antecedents to Darwin’s initial breakthrough: the discovery of the DNA double helix and today’s rising field of sociobiology.
50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
This New York Times bestseller highlights the contributions of fifty notable women across the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Although written with YA readers in mind, the book is a fascinating cross-section of the impact women in the STEM fields and a great read for adults as well.
Invisible in America
David K Shipler
The Working Poor is unfortunately just as relevant today, if not more so, than it was on its initial publication nearly fifteen years ago. Here, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Shipler dives into the lives of America’s working poor – a shockingly large segment of the population, increasingly left behind through a combination of a changing economic landscape and systemic failures.
Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution
Jonathan B. Losos
Jonathan B. Losos, biology professor and director of the Losos Laboratory at Harvard University, examines the ways the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology could upend our most basic assumptions of how evolution works. Despite the book’s lighthearted tone, Losos takes a deep look at advancements being made around the globe and how they impact our understanding of the natural world.
Jerry A. Coyne
With this New York Times bestseller, Jerry A. Coyne, a professor specializing in evolutionary genetics, makes the case for evolution and natural selection in succinct and accessible fashion. With Why Evolution is True, Coyne takes on a number of common myths and misconceptions and presents the evidence to back it up.
The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find--and Keep-- Love
Amir Levine, M.D., and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A.
There are few things that we consider more mysterious than human relationships and how we navigate them. With Attached, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Amir Levine teams with Rachel Heller to explain the ins-and-outs of human entanglements – why some seem to navigate relationships of all stripes so easily and others, well, not so much.
The Art and Science of Prediction
Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
We’d all love a way to see into the future, and while that may not be possible, this book from Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner might be the next best thing. In Superforecasting, Tetlock and Gardner present the science behind ordinary people with extraordinary track records for prediction and forecasting, and how the ability to look at a variety of factors and make a prediction can impact decision making.
The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
In this intriguing intellectual exercise, New York Times columnist David Brooks examines the underlying building blocks of everyday life. To do so, Brooks looks at the lives a composite American couple, Harold and Erica, and carries them from infancy to old age, exploring what makes our everyday existence tick along the way.