The best 27 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 27 Nature vs. Nurture books
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1
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 (135 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

2
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt

Why Love Matters

Sue Gerhardt
How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain
4.5 (131 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

3
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 (231 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

4
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

5
Nature vs. Nurture Books: What is Life? by Erwin Schrödinger

What is Life?

Erwin Schrödinger
With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches
4.4 (296 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

6
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Delia Owens
4.8 (103 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

7
Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine

The Female Brain

Louann Brizendine
4.5 (350 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

8
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 (87 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

9
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 (394 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

10
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 (479 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

11
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Scattered Minds by Gabor Maté

Scattered Minds

Gabor Maté
The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder
4.4 (520 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

12
Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger
4.3 (205 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

13
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies

William Golding
4.6 (192 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

14
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley
The Modern Prometheus
4.7 (216 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

15
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Psych by Paul Bloom

Psych

Paul Bloom
The Story of the Human Mind
3.9 (42 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

16
Nature vs. Nurture Books: The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

The River of Doubt

Candice Millard
Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
4.2 (54 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

17
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 (46 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

18
Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary

The Conscious Parent

Shefali Tsabary
Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
4.7 (62 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

19
Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road

Cormac McCarthy
4.4 (29 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.

20
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Spoon-Fed by Tim Spector

Spoon-Fed

Tim Spector
Why almost everything we've been told about food is wrong
3.9 (158 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

21
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 (66 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

22
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 

23
Nature vs. Nurture Books: What Doesn't Kill Us by Scott Carney

What Doesn't Kill Us

Scott Carney
How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength
4.0 (213 ratings)
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What's What Doesn't Kill Us about?

What Doesn't Kill Us (2017) investigates the human body’s potential to overcome extreme environmental conditions through engaging with frigid temperatures and high altitudes. It presents a compelling argument for the health benefits of environmental conditioning and the ways it can help individuals reconnect with their evolutionary resilience. By outlining techniques that challenge the body’s comfort, it offers a glimpse into the potential for improved physical and mental fortitude.

Who should read What Doesn't Kill Us?

  • Fitness enthusiasts interested in alternative training methods
  • Adventure sports athletes and trainers
  • Advocates of the paleo lifestyle and diet

24
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Determined by Robert M. Sapolsky

Determined

Robert M. Sapolsky
Life without Free Will
4.2 (474 ratings)
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What's Determined about?

Determined (2023) argues that free will is an illusion – all human behavior stems from biological and cultural factors we don't control. Through scientific research and case studies, it lays out the argument in favor of determinism, and aims to persuade why rejecting the notion of free will might be a positive step.

Who should read Determined?

  • Philosophers interested in free will, determinism, and human agency
  • Neuroscientists and psychologists studying decision-making
  • Anyone curious about what guides human behavior and choices

25
Nature vs. Nurture Books: Eve by Cat Bohannon

Eve

Cat Bohannon
How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution
4.4 (100 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

26
Nature vs. Nurture Books: The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds

H.G. Wells
4.5 (90 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

27
Nature vs. Nurture Books: The Maniac by Benjamín Labatut

The Maniac

Benjamín Labatut
4.4 (13 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

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Nature vs. Nurture Books
 FAQs 

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
  • 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
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey

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
  • Sue Gerhardt
  • Lundy Bancroft
  • Nessa Carey
  • Erwin Schrödinger