The best 56 Natural Sciences books

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Natural Sciences Books: The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene

Richard Dawkins
4.4 (335 ratings)

What's The Selfish Gene about?

The Selfish Gene is a landmark 1976 work in the field of biology: It puts the gene at the center of the process of evolution and explains how, when this is taken into account, genes must be seen as “selfish.” Author Richard Dawkins then uses this theory of gene selfishness to explain the massive variety of animal behavior observable on Earth.

Who should read The Selfish Gene?

  • ‘Everyone interested in the universe and their place in it.’
  • Any student of biology or anyone with an interest in biology

Natural Sciences Books: On Being by Peter Atkins

On Being

Peter Atkins
A Scientist’s Exploration of the Great Questions of Existence
3.3 (68 ratings)

What's On Being about?

On Being makes the case for the superiority of the scientific method over religion and mysticism in studying the great questions of existence. Even in those cases where science is not yet able to replace every aspect of religious belief with objective facts, On Being suggests that it’s just a matter of time before they do.

Who should read On Being?

  • Religious people who want to understand their ideological rivals in science
  • Anybody interested in the philosophy of science
  • Anybody who likes to contemplate the meaning of life

Natural Sciences Books: Ignorance by Stuart Firestein


Stuart Firestein
How It Drives Science
4.0 (13 ratings)

What's Ignorance about?

Ignorance investigates the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific method and reveals the importance of asking the right questions over the discovery of simple facts. Using real-life examples from history, Ignorance shows that it is our awareness of what we don’t know that drives scientific discovery.

Who should read Ignorance?

  • Anyone considering working in a laboratory or research facility
  • Anyone who wants to know how a scientist’s mind works
  • Anyone interested in the history of knowledge

Natural Sciences Books: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Bill Bryson
4.5 (1,195 ratings)

What's A Short History of Nearly Everything about?

A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003) offers an enlightening summary of contemporary scientific thinking relating to all aspects of life, from the creation of the universe to our relationship with the tiniest of bacteria.

Who should read A Short History of Nearly Everything?

  • Adults who want to brush up on their foundational science knowledge
  • People interested in the origin of the universe and life on Earth 
  • Anyone fascinated by the world’s greatest scientific mind

Natural Sciences Books: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas S. Kuhn
4.3 (86 ratings)

What's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions about?

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) is a groundbreaking study in the history of science and philosophy. It explains how scientists conduct research and provides an interesting (if controversial) explanation of scientific progress.

Who should read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions?

  • Students of the sciences, philosophy and history
  • Participants in Mark Zuckerberg’s Year of Books
  • Anyone who’s interested in the history of thought

Natural Sciences Books: The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan

The Demon-Haunted World

Carl Sagan
Science as a Candle in the Dark
4.3 (161 ratings)

What's The Demon-Haunted World about?

The Demon-Haunted World (1995) helps the reader distinguish between dangerous pseudoscience and real, hard science by exploring the critical-thinking tools scientists use to make their discoveries. The author argues for science’s place in education and popular culture, and offers his advice on how we can incorporate more critical thought into our society.

Who should read The Demon-Haunted World?

  • People interested in science and the methods of science
  • Anyone who wants to learn the difference between astronomy and astrology
  • Critical thinkers who want to improve their analytical skills

Natural Sciences Books: Genome by Matt Ridley


Matt Ridley
The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters
4.2 (65 ratings)

What's Genome about?

Genome (2006, second edition) takes you on an exciting journey into your own body, exploring the genetic building blocks that make up not only who you are but also all life on earth. You’ll examine the basics of genetics and discover what genes influence, from aging to illness to even your own personality. Importantly, you’ll better understand why the future of healthcare and wellness may be found in the human genome.

Who should read Genome?

  • Students of biology or genetics
  • People curious about biological determinism vs. societal determinism
  • Anyone wondering how exactly genes work

Natural Sciences Books: The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch

The Beginning of Infinity

David Deutsch
Explanations That Transform the World
4.2 (169 ratings)

What's The Beginning of Infinity about?

Everyday, we benefit from huge advances in both scientific theory and practice. What triggered this progress? In The Beginning of Infinity (2011) – a journey through the fundamental fields of science and philosophy – physicist David Deutsch argues that all progress results from one single human activity: the quest for explanations. Human creativity opens up limitless opportunities for progress, making knowledge the “beginning of infinity.”

Who should read The Beginning of Infinity?

  • Fans of science and philosophy
  • Anyone fascinated by the power of knowledge and creativity
  • Readers interested in the future of our species

Natural Sciences Books: Forensics by Val McDermid


Val McDermid
What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime
4.7 (17 ratings)

What's Forensics about?

Forensics (2014) provides an inside look at the morbid world of forensic investigation. Filled with fascinating history and anecdotes from real criminal cases, Forensics gives you a complete, compelling overview of everything that happens during the investigation of a crime scene.

Who should read Forensics?

  • Those interested in the history of forensic science
  • Aspiring criminal investigators
  • People who watch shows like CSI

Natural Sciences Books: The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins

The Magic of Reality

Richard Dawkins
How We Know What’s Really True
4.4 (139 ratings)

What's The Magic of Reality about?

The Magic of Reality (2011) offers an introduction to scientific thinking by going through the ways scientists have explained natural phenomena once thought to be supernatural. Whether shedding light on the building blocks of the universe or explaining the origins of life, scientific reasoning has an answer.

Who should read The Magic of Reality?

  • Those curious about what the world is made of
  • People who like to look at stars
  • Skeptics wondering how we can be sure of what we know

Natural Sciences Books: Rain by Cynthia Barnett


Cynthia Barnett
A Natural and Cultural History
4.0 (17 ratings)

What's Rain about?

Rain (2015) tells the story of one of the most valued, destructive and inspiring natural forces on our planet. These blinks trace a journey from rain worship in ancient cultures to the use of weather forecasting throughout the ages – and even the scientific explanation behind raining frogs.

Who should read Rain?

  • Anyone interested in the relationship between the natural world and human civilization
  • Hobby meteorologists seeking some background to the science

Natural Sciences Books: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

The Invention of Nature

Andrea Wulf
Alexander von Humboldt’s New World
4.5 (51 ratings)

What's The Invention of Nature about?

The Invention of Nature (2015) shines a light on the extraordinary life of explorer and scientist Alexander von Humboldt. Discover Humboldt’s amazing perspective on our relationship to the world and find out how his ecological discoveries and observations are just as relevant and profound today as they were in the nineteenth century.

Who should read The Invention of Nature?

  • Environmentalists
  • Students of environmental history, art and science
  • Scientists, especially biologists and botanists

Natural Sciences Books: The Upright Thinkers by Leonard Mlodinow

The Upright Thinkers

Leonard Mlodinow
The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos
4.4 (78 ratings)

What's The Upright Thinkers about?

The Upright Thinkers (2015) takes you through the fascinating evolution of science, tracing the footsteps and influence of major figures along the way – from Galileo to Einstein to Heisenberg. These blinks will start with a trip back in time to the first moments humans learned to control fire, and will leave you with a brief summary of quantum mechanics.

Who should read The Upright Thinkers?

  • Science geeks
  • Anyone who enjoyed science class but wants to refresh their memory
  • Students interested in the history of the natural sciences

Natural Sciences Books: The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson

The Triumph of Seeds

Thor Hanson
How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses & Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History
4.3 (30 ratings)

What's The Triumph of Seeds about?

The Triumph of Seeds (2015) tells the amazing story of the influence of seeds. Find out how plants have managed to endure and evolve over the course of Earth’s long history and how they manipulated both man and animal into doing their bidding.

Who should read The Triumph of Seeds?

  • Students of biology, ecology or agriculture
  • Botanists
  • Readers who love natural science or gardening

Natural Sciences Books: Cosmosapiens by John Hands


John Hands
Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe
3.9 (78 ratings)

What's Cosmosapiens about?

Cosmosapiens (2015) is about the evolution of scientific theory – from the origin of matter and the universe to the emergence of life on Earth and the evolution of human consciousness. For centuries, we’ve been struggling to find out who we are and why we’re here. Learn about the progress we’ve made toward answering these important questions – and about the barriers that still stand in our way.

Who should read Cosmosapiens?

  • Science nerds of all kinds
  • Students and teachers of physics, biology and scientific theory
  • People curious about our universe and how we got here

Natural Sciences Books: Napoleon’s Buttons by Penny LeCouter & Jay Burreson

Napoleon’s Buttons

Penny LeCouter & Jay Burreson
How 17 Molecules Changed History
4.5 (60 ratings)

What's Napoleon’s Buttons about?

Napoleon’s Buttons (2004) is all about the molecules that have guided the course of human history in the unlikeliest of ways. These blinks explore how major geopolitical and social changes can be traced back to the simple bonding of atoms in a molecule.

Who should read Napoleon’s Buttons?

  • People interested in the history of chemistry
  • Students of history who want a different perspective on world events
  • Anyone who’s intrigued by the ways everyday objects have changed world history

Natural Sciences Books: Inheritance by Sharon Moalem


Sharon Moalem
How Our Genes Change Our Lives, and Our Lives Change Our Genes
4.2 (48 ratings)

What's Inheritance about?

Inheritance (2014) is proof that you don’t need to be a scientist to understand the importance of your genetics. These blinks explain how your DNA affects your everyday life, from how you look and what you eat to how susceptible you are to things like anxiety and disease. So arm yourself with knowledge, and discover more about the genes that make you who you are.

Who should read Inheritance?

  • People interested in medicine and biology
  • Readers worried about what genes they inherited
  • Anyone in search of the perfect diet

Natural Sciences Books: A Crack in Creation by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg

A Crack in Creation

Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg
Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
4.7 (63 ratings)

What's A Crack in Creation about?

A Crack in Creation (2017) describes everything you need to know about CRISPR, a new technique to alter the genes of living organisms. These blinks explain the scientific details of gene editing, while also discussing its medical and ethical implications.

Who should read A Crack in Creation?

  • Biologists, chemists and natural scientists
  • Philosophers and ethicists who wonder about the implications of gene editing
  • Anyone interested in the future of medical science

Natural Sciences Books: The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

The Grand Design

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
4.4 (267 ratings)

What's The Grand Design about?

The Grand Design (2010) tells the fascinating story of how humans came into being and how we began to use the scientific method to explain both our remarkable growth as a species and the world around us. From the foundational laws of Newton and Einstein to the mind-bending science of quantum physics, find out how far we’ve come and how close we are to answering life’s big questions.

Who should read The Grand Design?

  • Armchair philosophers
  • Science geeks who are into astronomy and physics
  • Anyone who’s ever wondered about the mysteries of life

Natural Sciences Books: The Big Picture by Sean M. Carroll

The Big Picture

Sean M. Carroll
On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself
4.1 (360 ratings)

What's The Big Picture about?

The Big Picture (2016) is an ambitious look at the world as we know it and how scientific thinking can be used to make sense of most of it. An insightful examination of the origins of life, consciousness and the universe itself, this book gives readers a deductive way of considering the most challenging questions that philosophy, physics and biology have to offer.

Who should read The Big Picture?

  • Philosophical buffs
  • Students and fans of physics
  • Anyone interested in biology and evolutionary theory

Natural Sciences Books: On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin
By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life
4.7 (137 ratings)

What's On the Origin of Species about?

The Origin Of Species (1859) is Charles Darwin’s magnum opus. These blinks outline a theory of how traits are selected by nature, where the tremendous diversity of life on earth came from and how animals and plants came to be distributed across the planet.

Who should read On the Origin of Species?

  • Anyone interested in science or natural history
  • Nature lovers

Natural Sciences Books: The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins

The Extended Phenotype

Richard Dawkins
The Long Reach of the Gene
4.6 (64 ratings)

What's The Extended Phenotype about?

The Extended Phenotype (1982) offers an alternative view on biology and the process of evolution. Breaking with the Darwinian paradigm that puts the individual organism center stage, author Richard Dawkins shifts the focus toward genes as the active agents in natural selection. From this perspective, a world of fascinating insights emerges.

Who should read The Extended Phenotype?

  • Students of biology and genetics
  • Anyone interested in how life on earth evolved
  • Science geeks

Natural Sciences Books: Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Carlo Rovelli
4.4 (315 ratings)

What's Seven Brief Lessons on Physics about?

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (2014) is an informative guide to how we arrived at the two pillars of modern physics: Einstein’s theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics. Author Carlo Rovelli describes the wondrous world opened up by these two theories, including the secrets they’ve revealed and the mysteries and paradoxes they’ve exposed.

Who should read Seven Brief Lessons on Physics?

  • Curious people who want to know more about how the universe works
  • Students who want an introduction to quantum physics
  • Scientists, physicists and mathematicians

Natural Sciences Books: Hacking Darwin by Jamie Metzl

Hacking Darwin

Jamie Metzl
Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity
4.4 (99 ratings)

What's Hacking Darwin about?

Hacking Darwin (2019) argues that humanity is on the cusp of a future beyond natural selection with the help of assisted reproductive technologies that will enable us to hack our genetic makeup. By mapping the history of genetics, technology and the implications of genetic engineering, it advocates for an informed adoption of the genetic revolution and suggests how to approach its political and ethical challenges.

Who should read Hacking Darwin?

  • Prospective parents interested in advanced reproductive technologies
  • Futurists, technocrats and sci-fi enthusiasts
  • Students of ethics and biology

Natural Sciences Books: Cosmos by Carl Sagan


Carl Sagan
4.4 (231 ratings)

What's Cosmos about?

Cosmos (1980) is a milestone in popular science. It shows us the basic concepts behind our understanding of the universe, what the planets and the stars look like and how our comprehension of them has changed and evolved.

Who should read Cosmos?

  • Humanities students unsure of what gets scientists going
  • Lovers of science fiction
  • Anyone who’s ever looked up at the sky

Natural Sciences Books: Reality Is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli

Reality Is Not What It Seems

Carlo Rovelli
The Journey to Quantum Gravity
4.5 (223 ratings)

What's Reality Is Not What It Seems about?

Reality Is Not What It Seems (2014) offers a quick overview of the long journey modern science has taken from the cosmic observations of ancient Greece to the heady theories of quantum mechanics. These blinks offer an easily digestible take on the many twists and turns that have occurred in the history of modern physics, as well as an overview of the tricky questions physicists continue to grapple with today.

Who should read Reality Is Not What It Seems?

  • Science geeks and curious minds
  • Students and practitioners in the field of physics
  • Anyone who wants to know the secrets of the universe

Natural Sciences Books: Good Reasons for Bad Feelings by Randolph M. Nesse

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings

Randolph M. Nesse
Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry
4.2 (122 ratings)

What's Good Reasons for Bad Feelings about?

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings (2018) bridges the gap between evolutionary biology and psychiatry by answering some pressing questions about why we feel the way we do. By focusing on our evolutionary development, we can better understand where many of our most instinctual feelings, moods and emotions come from, and how we can better treat our disorders when they arise.

Who should read Good Reasons for Bad Feelings?

  • Anyone affected by mental disorders
  • People who want to better understand how the mind works
  • Students of psychiatry and medicine

Natural Sciences Books: How To by Randall Munroe

How To

Randall Munroe
Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems
3.8 (71 ratings)

What's How To about?

How To (2019) is an intentionally impractical, lighthearted guide to accomplishing a wide variety of tasks in extremely outlandish but plausible ways. Drawing from science, math and history, and combining them with a unique sense of humor, How To takes you on an amusing journey through some of reality’s most bizarre possibilities. 

Who should read How To?

  • Science geeks looking for scientifically-rigorous amusement 
  • Tech mavens ready to push technology to the limits 
  • Anyone who enjoys offbeat comedy

Natural Sciences Books: America Before by Graham Hancock

America Before

Graham Hancock
The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization
4.1 (114 ratings)

What's America Before about?

America Before (2019) is a mind-expanding quest for an ancient and lost way of life. Drawing on lesser-known DNA and archeological evidence, it proposes the existence of a great, early civilization based in North America. Lost to history in the aftermath of a cataclysmic comet strike, this civilization is visible today only in the traces it left in Egyptian, Native American and other great ancient cultures.

Who should read America Before?

  • Anyone looking for an imaginative adventure into the past
  • Historians and archeologists willing to challenge the established view

Natural Sciences Books: Nine Pints by Rose George

Nine Pints

Rose George
A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood
4.5 (46 ratings)

What's Nine Pints about?

Nine Pints (2018) explores the rich but neglected story of blood. Taking a panoramic view and approaching the subject from multiple angles, Rose George looks into the science of blood and details some of the institutions, businesses and taboos that have arisen around this vital fluid.

Who should read Nine Pints?

  • Armchair doctors fascinated by medical science
  • Anyone not clued up on the brilliance of blood
  • Squeamish souls who need to face their fears

Natural Sciences Books: Underbug by Lisa Margonelli


Lisa Margonelli
An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology
4.6 (24 ratings)

What's Underbug about?

Underbug (2018) explores the fascinating world of a bug so unloved it might just beat cockroaches in an unpopularity contest – the termite. The result of years of research and interviews with biologists, entomologists, and geneticists, Lisa Margonelli’s study sets out to rescue the reputation of this underappreciated creature. Along the way she explores termites’ remarkable architectural powers, unpacks their strange relationship with a 250 million-year-old fungus, and shows how the microbes in their guts might just help us create a more sustainable future. 

Who should read Underbug?

  • Scientists  
  • Nature-lovers 
  • Amateur entomologists

Natural Sciences Books: Until the End of Time by Brian Greene

Until the End of Time

Brian Greene
Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe
4.5 (111 ratings)

What's Until the End of Time about?

Until the End of Time (2020) is an accessible, informal look at the loftiest topics of all time: time, the universe, and humanity’s never ending quest for meaning. Physicist Brian Greene begins at the very beginning – the big bang that set off this whole crazy spectacle – then zooms in to examine the evolution of human culture, from religion, language, and the arts. Finally, he zooms back out to examine what might become of the universe, and whether there might ever be a reemergence of life.

Who should read Until the End of Time?

  • Exploratory minds
  • Science buffs with a poetic streak
  • Far-futurists

Natural Sciences Books: The Molecule of More by Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long

The Molecule of More

Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long
How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity – and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race
4.7 (413 ratings)

What's The Molecule of More about?

The Molecule of More (2020) reveals how one brain chemical kindles our desires, fuels our creativity, and makes us fall in love. Using the latest insights from psychology, neuroscience, and social studies to investigate the role of this powerful brain chemical in our thoughts and behavior, it explains what science can teach us about drug addiction, mental illness, and political disagreements.

Who should read The Molecule of More?

  • Science enthusiasts interested in the mysteries of the human brain
  • Mind-wanderers, achievement addicts, and other restless souls 
  • Anyone looking for neurochemical balance in their lives

Natural Sciences Books: The Book of Humans by Adam Rutherford

The Book of Humans

Adam Rutherford
A Brief History of Culture, Sex, War and the Evolution of Us
4.2 (209 ratings)

What's The Book of Humans about?

The Book of Humans (2018) is an accessible tour of evolutionary history. It illuminates both the many qualities we share with animals and the many others that set us apart. Incorporating the latest scientific discoveries from genetics and archaeology, it provides a thrilling compendium of the rich variety of life on Earth.

Who should read The Book of Humans?

  • People seeking a primer on evolutionary biology
  • Darwin enthusiasts
  • Animal lovers

Natural Sciences Books: The Book of Eels by Patrik Svensson

The Book of Eels

Patrik Svensson
Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World
4.6 (29 ratings)

What's The Book of Eels about?

The Book of Eels (2020) takes the reader on a zoological odyssey spanning thousands of years. It’s the story of the eel – a creature that has enthralled humanity with its strange and complex life cycle. Countless scientists have dedicated their careers to the enigma of this fish, which has evolved to undergo several metamorphoses over the course of its life and to endure a grueling migration across the Atlantic to breed. But the eel has proven to be an elusive creature, and there are still many secrets about its life that it seems intent on keeping to itself.

Who should read The Book of Eels?

  • Nature lovers who are fascinated by strange stories from the great outdoors
  • Fans of mysteries that stubbornly resist explanation 
  • Environmentalists concerned about humans’ effect on the future of the eel

Natural Sciences Books: Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

Entangled Life

Merlin Sheldrake
How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change our Minds and Shape Our Futures
4.7 (145 ratings)

What's Entangled Life about?

Entangled Life (2020) ushers us into the vast, hidden world of fungi. In it, we follow molds, yeasts, lichens, and many other fungi as they creep through the soil, intoxicate us with their scent, and induce mesmerizing visions. With a change in perspective, we can begin to see the world from a more fungal point of view –⁠ and understand how these organisms might be the key to our future survival.

Who should read Entangled Life?

  • Plant lovers and amateur naturalists
  • Fans of nature shows and documentaries
  • People who enjoy looking at the world from different perspectives

Natural Sciences Books: Genesis by Guido Tonelli


Guido Tonelli
The Ultimate Origin Story
4.4 (96 ratings)

What's Genesis about?

Genesis (2019) lays out a gripping, blow-by-blow account of the first 13.8 billion years of our universe. From the mysterious initial void to the birth of the very first stars, it conjures up vistas no less dizzying than the grand creation myths of old.

Who should read Genesis?

  • Star-gazers and armchair cosmologists
  • Sci-fi fans interested in the reality of the great expanse
  • Those who wonder how everything began

Natural Sciences Books: Some Assembly Required by Neil Shubin

Some Assembly Required

Neil Shubin
Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA
4.1 (43 ratings)

What's Some Assembly Required about?

Some Assembly Required (2020) is an approachable account of the great transformations in the history of life. Paleontologist Neil Shubin started his career looking to fossils for the answers to life’s greatest questions – but with recent scientific advancements, he argues that studying DNA reveals more about the journey we took to become human.

Who should read Some Assembly Required?

  • People interested in the history of evolution
  • Science enthusiasts
  • Anyone who loves an amazing factoid

Natural Sciences Books: On the Fringe by Michael D. Gordin

On the Fringe

Michael D. Gordin
Where Science Meets Pseudoscience
4.0 (113 ratings)

What's On the Fringe about?

On the Fringe (2021) delves into what defines a pseudoscience along historical and philosophical lines. With the rise of climate-change deniers and anti-vaxxers, understanding the demarcation between science and pseudoscience has a newfound urgency. By exploring pseudosciences such as astrology, the flat-Earth model, and ESP, we can learn about the nature of science in both the past and the present.

Who should read On the Fringe?

  • Historians, scientists, and philosophers
  • Astrology enthusiasts
  • Climate-change activists

Natural Sciences Books: Chaos by James Gleick


James Gleick
Making a New Science
4.6 (265 ratings)

What's Chaos about?

Chaos (1987) delves into the most recent theoretical revolution in physics: chaos theory. In the 1970s, scientists began discovering that the world doesn’t behave as neatly as classical physics suggests. From the weather to animal populations to our heartbeats – irregularities, disorder, and chaos pervade our universe. And yet, there seems to be a strange order to the chaos of life. Chaos explores the history of this new science, revealing its startling findings, and pondering its implications.

Who should read Chaos?

  • Curious minds interested in unraveling the mysteries of the universe
  • People interested in the history of modern science
  • Anyone looking to understand and appreciate the chaos of life

Natural Sciences Books: The Human Instinct by Kenneth R. Miller

The Human Instinct

Kenneth R. Miller
How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will
4.0 (233 ratings)

What's The Human Instinct about?

The Human Instinct (2018) is a celebration of humanity’s development of reason, consciousness, and free will through the process of evolution. It shows that our remarkable capacities are all the more unique for having arising from natural origins.

Who should read The Human Instinct?

  • Theologians, philosophers, scientists, and anyone else interested in the condition of our peculiar species
  • Anyone curious about evolution and what it means for humanity
  • Humans who enjoy contemplating our place in creation

Natural Sciences Books: The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper

The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Karl Popper
4.7 (438 ratings)

What's The Logic of Scientific Discovery about?

The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1935) is Karl Popper’s classic work on the purpose of science and knowledge. Scientists should test their theories not to verify them, but to falsify them, and hence become even more accurate.

Who should read The Logic of Scientific Discovery?

  • Scientists interested in the big picture
  • Philosophers curious about scientific method
  • Logic lovers

Natural Sciences Books: Starry Messenger by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Starry Messenger

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization
4.3 (449 ratings)

What's Starry Messenger about?

Starry Messenger (2022) is about a way of looking at the world called the cosmic perspective. It’s the view that opens up when we think about human life in its largest possible context – that of the universe itself. This isn’t an exercise in making our worldly affairs seem small and trivial, though. It’s about unlocking insights that can help us live more happily and meaningfully on the cosmic anomaly we call Earth.

Who should read Starry Messenger?

  • Thinkers and stargazers
  • Politicos interested in new ways of looking at old questions
  • Scientists and rationalists

Natural Sciences Books: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry

Bonnie Garmus
A Novel
4.3 (234 ratings)

What's Lessons in Chemistry about?

Lessons in Chemistry (2022) is the story of Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant scientist who has the misfortune of being a woman in 1950s America. After a frustrating failed academic career, Zott finds success in an unlikely place: as the host of a television cooking show.

Who should read Lessons in Chemistry?

  • Foodies interested in the science behind cooking
  • Feminists looking for a window into the history of women in STEM
  • Anyone who appreciates stories that are sharp and warm-hearted

Natural Sciences Books: The Biggest Ideas in the Universe by Sean Carroll

The Biggest Ideas in the Universe

Sean Carroll
Space, Time, and Motion
4.0 (82 ratings)

What's The Biggest Ideas in the Universe about?

Space, Time, and Motion (2022) is the first of a three-part series titled The Biggest Ideas in the Universe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sean Carroll began producing videos that explained some of the biggest ideas and concepts of modern physics – and the equations which support them. He produced 24 videos in all and then developed the book series from that material.

Who should read The Biggest Ideas in the Universe?

  • Physics buffs
  • Paradoxical twins looking for an answer
  • Anyone looking for an overview of the concepts of space, time, and spacetime

Natural Sciences Books: How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil

How the World Really Works

Vaclav Smil
The Science of Our Past, Present and Future
4.4 (553 ratings)

What's How the World Really Works about?

How the World Really Works (2022) tackles a paradox at the heart of the modern world: we’ve never had so much information at our fingertips and never known so little about how things actually work. Of course, we can’t be experts in everything. But, Vaclav Smil argues, it’s our duty as citizens to be informed about the basics – the big questions that shape our societies and their futures.

Who should read How the World Really Works?

  • History and science enthusiasts
  • Anyone interested in how their food gets made
  • Those wondering what energy actually is

Natural Sciences Books: Strange Glow by Timothy J. Jorgensen

Strange Glow

Timothy J. Jorgensen
"The Story of Radiation – How the New Science of the Human Body Is Changing the Way We Live"
4.7 (214 ratings)

What's Strange Glow about?

Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation Is a sweeping account of the rise of nuclear science, tackling some of the biggest myths and realities surrounding radiation. Debunking some safety myths while carefully documenting real risks, it is also an urgent call for society to confront their fears and in doing so, make better choices in everything from medical procedures to nuclear power.

Who should read Strange Glow?

  • Those looking for a deeper understanding of the universe
  • Anyone nervous about the radiation surrounding them
  • Anyone wanting to make more informed decisions about medical treatment or health

Natural Sciences Books: Tsunami by James Goff and Walter Dudley


James Goff and Walter Dudley
The World's Greatest Waves
4.5 (28 ratings)

What's Tsunami about?

Tsunami (2021) uses a combination of ancient legends, scientific research, and survivor stories to take readers on an in-depth learning journey about some of the most significant tsunamis that have occurred throughout history. Through detailed descriptions of these incredible natural disasters, it teaches us that the lessons we learn from the past can help us live a safer future.

Who should read Tsunami?

  • Anyone interested in learning about tsunamis
  • History buffs
  • Fans of natural disaster stories

Natural Sciences Books: What If? 2 by Randall Munroe

What If? 2

Randall Munroe
Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
4.1 (202 ratings)

What's What If? 2 about?

What If? 2 (2022) is Randall Munroe’s follow-up to the New York Times best-selling What If? Like its predecessor, it comprises Munroe’s serious scientific answers to the absurd, funny, and whimsical questions submitted to him by readers, ranging from “How big would a snowball be if rolled from the top of Mt. Everest to the bottom?” to “Could a person eat a cloud?”

Who should read What If? 2?

  • Fans of xkcd’s nerd-culture humor
  • People who love science but don’t take it too seriously
  • Anyone who’s ever wondered what would happen if Jupiter were shrunk to the size of a suburban house

Natural Sciences Books: Future Stories by David Christian

Future Stories

David Christian
What's Next?
4.2 (349 ratings)

What's Future Stories about?

Future Stories: What’s Next? (2022) explains the roots of how we make decisions about the future and illuminates the urgent responsibility on humanity’s shoulders today, with a multidisciplinary approach to time informed by biology, philosophy, and cosmology.

Who should read Future Stories?

  • Historians – both amateur and professional
  • Anyone concerned about climate change
  • Those interested in being a better human

Natural Sciences Books: The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

The River of Doubt

Candice Millard
Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
4.0 (11 ratings)

What's The River of Doubt about?

The River of Doubt (2005) is about former US President Theodore Roosevelt's perilous 1913–1914 expedition into the Amazon rainforest alongside Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon. It chronicles the challenges they faced, from disease and dangerous wildlife to potential mutiny, as they navigated an uncharted river. The journey pushed every member to their limits and nearly cost Roosevelt his life.

Who should read The River of Doubt?

  • History buffs interested in Roosevelt's post-presidential adventures
  • Explorers fascinated by the Amazon
  • Anyone looking for tales of human endurance

Natural Sciences Books: The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel

The Stranger in the Woods

Michael Finkel
The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
4.4 (20 ratings)

What's The Stranger in the Woods about?

The Stranger in the Woods (2017) recounts the extraordinary story of a man who chose to leave behind the comforts and social aspects of modern life – and instead opt for a solitary existence in the woods of Maine. 

Who should read The Stranger in the Woods?

  • Psychology lovers looking for stories of extraordinary people 
  • True crime buffs curious about what’s behind the headlines
  • Anyone fascinated by unusual tales of survival against the odds

Natural Sciences Books: The Heat Will Kill You First by Jeff Goodell

The Heat Will Kill You First

Jeff Goodell
Life and Death on a Scorched Planet
3.9 (125 ratings)

What's The Heat Will Kill You First about?

The Heat Will Kill You First (2023) warns that extreme heatwaves are becoming more common and will dramatically alter life as we know it – they’re an existential danger. Rising temperatures are already changing the planet, shortening seasons and intensifying disasters. Drawing on scientific research and reportage, it argues that intensifying heat will expose societal fault lines and threaten our communities in dire new ways. Extreme heat may be the most serious threat humanity has ever faced.

Who should read The Heat Will Kill You First?

  • Concerned citizens who want to know more about the effects of climate change
  • Policymakers who need to understand the social implications of intensifying heatwaves
  • Environmental activists seeking evidence to convey the urgency of climate action

Natural Sciences Books: Relativity by Albert Einstein


Albert Einstein
The Special and the General Theory
4.7 (61 ratings)

What's Relativity about?

Relativity (1916) plunges you into the revolutionary world of physics, challenging your perceptions of space, time, and the cosmos. Dive deep into the groundbreaking ideas that reshaped our understanding of the universe. It's not just a scientific journey – it's a transformative experience that will redefine the reality you live in.

Who should read Relativity?

  • Science enthusiasts curious about the universe's fundamentals
  • Physics students seeking foundational knowledge
  • Thinkers intrigued by groundbreaking ideas

Natural Sciences Books: Gravity by Nicholas Mee


Nicholas Mee
From Falling Apples to Supermassive Black Holes
4.6 (7 ratings)

What's Gravity about?

Gravity (2014) brings to life the history of human thought on one of the universe’s most fundamental forces. By guiding us through experiments, conundrums, and breakthroughs that changed science forever, it demonstrates how everything from galaxies to tides are formed and connected through this fascinating force.

Who should read Gravity?

  • Those with an innate curiosity about the natural world
  • Science fans craving stories about scientific advancement 
  • Anyone wanting to know more about the forces that govern our universe

Natural Sciences Books: Spoon-Fed by Tim Spector


Tim Spector
Why almost everything we've been told about food is wrong
3.9 (54 ratings)

What's Spoon-Fed about?

Spoon-Fed (2020) explores the widespread confusion and misinformation about nutrition, shedding light on the dearth of substantial scientific support for many prevailing food myths. The book delves into the influence exerted by the food industry on government dietary recommendations and urges readers to critically assess diet plans, official advice, and food labels, prompting a reevaluation of their relationship with food.

Who should read Spoon-Fed?

  • Those looking to develop a healthier diet and lifestyle
  • People with dietary restrictions or conditions
  • Skeptics of fad diets and food marketing

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