The best 32 Nature vs. Nurture books

Exploring the age-old debate of Nature vs. Nurture is crucial in understanding human behavior and development. Our Nature vs. Nurture book list offers a diverse selection of perspectives and research to shed light on this complex topic.

Delve into these insightful reads to unravel the mystery of how genetics and environment shape who we are. Ready to broaden your understanding and contribute to the ongoing nature vs. nurture discussion?

The best 32 Nature vs. Nurture books
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Nature vs. Nurture Books: How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

How Children Succeed

Paul Tough
Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
4.4 (145 ratings)
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What's How Children Succeed about?

These blinks explore the reasons why some people struggle in school and later on in life, and why others thrive and prosper. Using scientific studies and data from real schools, the blinks dive into the hidden factors that affect the success of children.

Who should read How Children Succeed?

  • Anyone who is or is going to become a parent, grandparent or godparent
  • Anyone who works with children, especially teachers and coaches
  • Anyone who wants to develop oft-neglected skills that are just as important as cognitive skills to their future success

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker

The Blank Slate

Steven Pinker
The Modern Denial of Human Nature
4.5 (167 ratings)
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What's The Blank Slate about?

The Blank Slate (2002) is about the huge role that evolution and genetics play in making us who we are. Steven Pinker makes a strong case against the belief that everyone is born a blank slate and influenced only by their upbringing, arguing instead that biology is a far more important factor in shaping our behaviors and personalities.

Who should read The Blank Slate?

  • Students of psychology, biology, and philosophy
  • Teachers and parents
  • Readers eager to understand human nature

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt

Why Love Matters

Sue Gerhardt
How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain
4.5 (134 ratings)
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What's Why Love Matters about?

Why Love Matters (2004) is a study of how our early years shape who we become later in life. But this isn’t about rehashing the old nature-versus-nurture debate. As we’ll see in these blinks, the weight of scientific evidence points to a much more fascinating conclusion: that we’re “co-produced” by genetics and social experience during babyhood. This means that many of the social and psychological problems that affect us as adults can be traced back to these formative years.

Who should read Why Love Matters?

  • Mental health professionals
  • Parents with babies or toddlers
  • Would-be mothers and fathers

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

Why Does He Do That?

Lundy Bancroft
Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
4.5 (236 ratings)
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What's Why Does He Do That? about?

Why Does He Do That? (2003) reveals the psychology behind abusive men. Drawing on his experience as a counselor to male abusers, author Lundy Bancroft explains the nature of abusive thinking, the early warning signs of abuse, and the steps women can take to free themselves from an abusive relationship.

Who should read Why Does He Do That??

  • Anyone who feels trapped in an abusive relationship
  • Mothers considering leaving their abusive partner
  • People who suspect a friend or family member is being abused

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Epigenetics Revolution by Nessa Carey

The Epigenetics Revolution

Nessa Carey
How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance
4.6 (338 ratings)
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What's The Epigenetics Revolution about?

The Epigenetics Revolution (2011) is an overview of the cutting-edge field of epigenetics – looking at the various factors that interact with your genes and modify the way they behave in order to make you, you. From mental health to obesity, it examines the fascinating and often unexpected ways that epigenetics can influence our lives and health.

Who should read The Epigenetics Revolution?

  • Science enthusiasts interested in biology’s new frontiers
  • Dinner-party sages looking to wow friends with fascinating scientific wisdom
  • Amateur psychologists open to an epigenetic interpretation of trauma

Nature vs. Nurture Books: What is Life? by Erwin Schrödinger

What is Life?

Erwin Schrödinger
With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches
4.4 (297 ratings)
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What's What is Life? about?

What is Life? (1944) is a classic scientific text based on a series of lectures given at Trinity College, Dublin, by famous physicist Erwin Schrödinger. Though Schrödinger was a physicist, these lectures addressed issues in biology and genetics –⁠ primarily the fundamental question of how physics and chemistry can account for the processes that occur within living organisms. The concepts he explored went on to spark a revolution in genetics, inspiring, among others, the biologists James D. Watson and Francis Crick, who together proposed the double helix structure of DNA.

Who should read What is Life??

  • Science geeks
  • Big-picture thinkers, ponderers, and questioners
  • Anyone who loves getting to the bottom of how the universe works

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Delia Owens
4.8 (106 ratings)
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What's Where the Crawdads Sing about?

Where the Crawdads Sing (2018) is a coming-of-age story that seamlessly blends into a murder mystery and an ode to nature. A reminder that we are forever shaped by our childhoods, it recounts the early life of a remarkable girl, Kya, and her transformation into an equally remarkable young woman.

Who should read Where the Crawdads Sing?

  • Nature lovers
  • Poets and scientists
  • Anyone who loves gripping stories

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine

The Female Brain

Louann Brizendine
4.5 (352 ratings)
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What's The Female Brain about?

The Female Brain (2006) is a classic of popular neuroscience which argues that hormone-driven neural development shapes many of women’s drives and behaviors. Just a few hormones chart a course through the cycle of changes that mark life with a female brain.

Who should read The Female Brain?

  • Anyone with a female brain wondering how it all works
  • Biology buffs curious about the intersections of nature and behavior
  • Those who interact with female brains looking for insight

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Maté

Hold on to Your Kids

Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Maté
Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
4.5 (92 ratings)
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What's Hold on to Your Kids about?

Hold on to Your Kids (2008) is an important warning to parents on the danger of allowing peer influence to dominate children’s upbringings. Backed by research, it offers parents a path to rebuilding attachment with their seemingly lost children.

Who should read Hold on to Your Kids?

  • Parents (and people considering becoming parents)
  • Children’s family members
  • Teachers and social workers

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine

The Male Brain

Louann Brizendine
A Breakthrough Understanding of How Men and Boys Think
4.5 (396 ratings)
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What's The Male Brain about?

The Male Brain (2010) is a neuroscientist’s account of the interplay between hormones and brain development that shapes the formation and growth of male brains and behavior. Based on decades of research, it argues that the roots of many masculine stereotypes can be seen in neurobiology, and that hormones shape the male brain and outlook for a lifetime.

Who should read The Male Brain?

  • Anyone with a male brain wondering about how it works
  • Minds curious about biology’s effect on culture
  • Those who interact with male brains looking for insights

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

Stephen R. Covey
4.5 (490 ratings)
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What's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families about?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families (1997) was written by Stephen R. Covey with, as he says, “such a passion . . . because family is what I care about most.” It’s a very personal book that talks about how the author, his wife, and nine children apply each of the habits in their family life. It can also be your guide to solving the problems you face in your family as you strive, individually and together, to become more effective.

Who should read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families?

  • Self-improvement seekers who want to understand how effective families work
  • Couples who want to raise their family in a nurturing environment
  • Fans of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Scattered Minds by Gabor Maté

Scattered Minds

Gabor Maté
The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder
4.4 (541 ratings)
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What's Scattered Minds about?

Scattered Minds (1999) takes aim at a well-established myth: that attention deficit disorder, or ADD for short, is an inherited illness. It doesn’t deny the biological foundations of the disorder – genes also play a role. But it urges us to widen our perspective and pay closer attention to psychological and social factors that may be contributing to the symptoms. ADD often develops within specific familial and societal contexts. Recognizing this isn’t just about correcting the scientific record – it offers a key to effective treatment.

Who should read Scattered Minds?

  • Science aficionados
  • People who have attention deficit disorder
  • Anyone interested in the connection between society and psychology

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger
4.3 (221 ratings)
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What's The Catcher in the Rye about?

The Catcher in the Rye (1951) is J. D. Salinger’s classic coming-of-age novel, telling the story of the troubled young Holden Caulfield. Holden has just been expelled from school, and spends several days traversing New York City, sharing his opinions of the world around him.

Who should read The Catcher in the Rye?

  • Lovers of coming-of-age stories
  • Classic literature fans
  • People who dislike phonies

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies

William Golding
4.6 (207 ratings)
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What's Lord of the Flies about?

Lord of the Flies (1954) is the allegorical story of a group of young boys stranded on a deserted island and left to fend for themselves and create a society. As the boys struggle with the complexities of leadership, cooperation, and survival, they are forced to face some fundamental questions about human nature and the fragility of civilization.

Who should read Lord of the Flies?

  • Readers looking for fresh eyes on an old classic
  • Literature lovers who somehow never got around to this important book
  • Anyone looking for insight into the nature of society and the humans who build it

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Mary Shelley
The Modern Prometheus
4.7 (227 ratings)
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What's Frankenstein about?

Frankenstein (1818) is a Gothic horror classic that tells the tale of ambitious young scientist Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with the idea of creating life, Frankenstein assembles a freakish human-like monster. But when he animates it, he’s shocked at the horror he’s created. Although the monster seeks affection at first, it’s continually rejected and eventually seeks revenge on humankind.

Who should read Frankenstein?

  • Anyone who knows the name Frankenstein but has never read the book
  • Fans of a good horror story that makes you squirm
  • Lovers of classic literature

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Psych by Paul Bloom


Paul Bloom
The Story of the Human Mind
4.0 (44 ratings)
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What's Psych about?

Psych (2023) offers an informed, insightful, and approachable overview of psychology, starting with its origins and earliest thought leaders to the most recent findings in modern practice. Based on the author’s popular Introduction to Psychology course developed for Yale University, it uses lively storytelling and studies to easily relate the complex science of the human mind.

Who should read Psych?

  • Anyone interested in the principles of psychology
  • People seeking scientific explanations for what drives thought and behavior
  • Those eager to learn how people’s minds differ

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

The River of Doubt

Candice Millard
Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
4.1 (57 ratings)
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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

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel

The Stranger in the Woods

Michael Finkel
The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
4.3 (48 ratings)
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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

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary

The Conscious Parent

Shefali Tsabary
Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
4.6 (74 ratings)
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What's The Conscious Parent about?

The Conscious Parent (2014) offers a new approach to parenting based on adults increasing their awareness of the impact that their behaviors and emotional wounds have on the children in their lives. By honoring a child’s authenticity and innate wholeness, parents can deepen their connection with their children, and support them in becoming happy, well-adjusted individuals.

Who should read The Conscious Parent?

  • Parents hoping to raise happy, well-adjusted children
  • Adults wanting to break the cycle of harmful parent-child dynamics
  • Extended family members who want to support the healthy development of the children in their lives

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road

Cormac McCarthy
4.4 (34 ratings)
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What's The Road about?

The Road (2006) is a dystopian thriller following a father-and-son duo fighting to survive in a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape. Forced to scavenge for food and supplies, threatened by gangs of outlaw survivors, and faced with death and illness, the duo struggle to maintain morality and hope in a world that seems to have lost all humanity.

Who should read The Road?

  • Fans of post-apocalyptic fiction
  • Admirers of Cormac McCarthy’s unique literary style.
  • Anyone who enjoys thought-provoking allegorical tales.

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Spoon-Fed by Tim Spector


Tim Spector
Why almost everything we've been told about food is wrong
3.9 (168 ratings)
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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

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk

The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need

Joanna Martine Woolfolk
3.1 (71 ratings)
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What's The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need about?

The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need (2001) is a comprehensive guide to astrology, covering everything from sun signs and planets to houses and aspects. It provides an explanation of zodiac profiles, compatibility, and birth chart interpretation, allowing you to unlock the secrets of the cosmos to better understand yourself and your relationships with others.

Who should read The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need?

  • Holistic wellness seekers 
  • People looking for New Age spiritual guidance
  • Fans of astrology TikTok

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Free Agents by Kevin J. Mitchell

Free Agents

Kevin J. Mitchell
How Evolution Gave Us Free Will
4.1 (234 ratings)
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What's Free Agents about?

Free Agents (2023) makes the case that we do have free will and are not just machines responding to physics. Tracing the evolutionary history of purposeful decision-making back billions of years, the book explores abilities like imagination, introspection, and causal reasoning that developed over time to allow us to predict outcomes, shape our futures based on our sense of identity, and exercise individual and collective agency over our lives. 

Who should read Free Agents?

  • Philosophers and thinkers
  • Science enthusiasts
  • Anyone interested in the question free will 

Nature vs. Nurture Books: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

All Creatures Great and Small

James Herriot
4.3 (113 ratings)
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What's All Creatures Great and Small about?

All Creatures Great and Small (1972) is a semi-autobiographical chronicle of the life and adventures of young veterinarian James Herriot during the 1930s and ’40s. Blending humor, warmth, and vivid storytelling, it beautifully captures the challenges and joys of veterinary practice in rural England. Ultimately, it offers a delightful and heartfelt portrayal of the bond between humans and animals as well as the enduring spirit of community.

Who should read All Creatures Great and Small?

  • Veterinarians and veterinary students
  • Animal lovers and nature enthusiasts
  • Anyone interested in a cozy, nostalgic story

Nature vs. Nurture Books: LIT by Jeff Karp


Jeff Karp
Using Nature's Playbook to Spark Energy, Ideas, and Action
4.3 (103 ratings)
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What's LIT about?

LIT (2024) is a guidebook for anyone looking to ignite their inner potential and make a positive impact on their lives and the world around them. It’s designed to help people snap out of their rut, find inspiration, cultivate humility, and harness the transformative power of curiosity and compassion. 

Who should read LIT?

  • Anyone interested in personal growth
  • People curious about productivity and inspiration
  • Distracted minds looking for some calm and focus

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Eve by Cat Bohannon


Cat Bohannon
How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution
4.4 (112 ratings)
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What's Eve about?

Eve (2023) is a witty corrective to human evolution, spanning 200 million years of biology. Asking why science overlooked key questions about female bodies, it upends male-centric assumptions about how our species evolved. Ranging from wet nurses to C-sections, these musings will change what you think you know about evolution.

Who should read Eve?

  • Readers interested in evolutionary biology and the history of the female body
  • Feminists seeking greater scientific understanding of human evolution
  • Students and academics studying gender, reproduction, and human development

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds

H.G. Wells
4.6 (97 ratings)
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What's The War of the Worlds about?

The War of the Worlds (1898) tells the classic story of what happened when a series of mysterious cylinders landed in rural English villages at the end of the nineteenth century. What starts as a curious anomaly becomes a horrific tale of intergalactic invasion that has thrilled readers for over a hundred years.

Who should read The War of the Worlds?

  • Fans of classic sci-fi
  • Anyone interested in literary history
  • Visitors from Mars

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Quantum Body by Deepak Chopra, MD., Jack Tuszynski, PhD & Brian Fertig, MD

Quantum Body

Deepak Chopra, MD., Jack Tuszynski, PhD & Brian Fertig, MD
The New Science of Living a Longer, Healthier, More Vital Life
3.0 (60 ratings)
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What's Quantum Body about?

Quantum Body (2023) presents a groundbreaking exploration of health and well-being, delving into the intricate relationship between quantum science and our physical existence. It introduces the concept of the quantum body, an infinite, subatomic entity that profoundly influences your physical and mental state and health, yet frequently goes unrecognized.

Who should read Quantum Body?

  • Health enthusiasts interested in quantum science
  • Anyone exploring nontraditional health approaches
  • Fans of Deepak Chopra's work

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Maniac by Benjamín Labatut

The Maniac

Benjamín Labatut
4.2 (20 ratings)
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What's The Maniac about?

The Maniac (2023) traces Hungarian polymath John von Neumann’s singular legacy on the dreams and nightmares of the twentieth century and our current age of artificial intelligence. A foray that spans the nuclear age and showcases the brilliant minds who helped define it.

Who should read The Maniac?

  • Technology enthusiasts interested in the impact it has on humanity
  • Those fascinated by mathematicians and scientists who transformed scientific thinking
  • Seekers of answers to moral questions surrounding innovation and discovery

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Not the End of the World by Hannah Ritchie

Not the End of the World

Hannah Ritchie
How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet
4.2 (115 ratings)
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What's Not the End of the World about?

Not the End of the World (2024) argues for radical hope amid environmental crisis. Recent data show that, contrary to the usual gloom and doom, tremendous progress towards sustainability is being made. By focusing on well-defined and tractable issues, we can shift our collective behavior and avert climate disaster.

Who should read Not the End of the World?

  • People looking for signs of hope about climate change
  • Concerned citizens seeking pragmatic solutions to the climate crisis
  • Fans of science and careful research

Nature vs. Nurture Books: Atlas of AI by Kate Crawford

Atlas of AI

Kate Crawford
Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence
3.5 (67 ratings)
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What's Atlas of AI about?

Atlas of AI (2021) reveals how AI is a technology of extraction, from minerals to labor to data. It presents AI as a global network which is driving a shift toward undemocratic governance and political centralization.

Who should read Atlas of AI?

  • Entrepreneurs and policymakers seeking to inform themselves about the AI industry
  • People interested in the intersection of technology, politics, and society
  • Anyone concerned about the social and moral consequences of emerging technologies

Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Light Eaters by Zoë Schlanger

The Light Eaters

Zoë Schlanger
How the Unseen World of Plant Intelligence Offers a New Understanding of Life on Earth
4.4 (8 ratings)
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What's The Light Eaters about?

The Light Eaters (2024) explores the astonishing capabilities of plants, examining how plants communicate, recognize kin, adapt their form, and respond to stimulus. By highlighting current research and debates in botany, it challenges our understanding of plants and their roles in the ecosystem, urging us to reconsider humanity’s relationship with the natural world. 

Who should read The Light Eaters?

  • Curious people interested in biology, ecology, or questions on the nature of intelligence
  • The eco-conscious who need a break from bad news
  • Anyone obsessed with their house plants or garden

Related Topics

Nature vs. Nurture Books

What's the best Nature vs. Nurture book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard How Children Succeed as the ultimate read on Nature vs. Nurture.

What are the Top 10 Nature vs. Nurture books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
  • The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker
  • Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft
  • The Epigenetics Revolution by Nessa Carey
  • What is Life? by Erwin Schrödinger
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
  • Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Maté
  • The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine

Who are the top Nature vs. Nurture book authors?

When it comes to Nature vs. Nurture, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Paul Tough
  • Steven Pinker
  • Sue Gerhardt
  • Lundy Bancroft
  • Nessa Carey