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Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
There's a subtle difference between popular science books written by scientists, and popular science books written by science journalists. Compare Rob...more
Jan 17, 2011
Dec 25, 2010
Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story
This is a rare, strange book: a combination of popular philosophy, contemporary physics, and mid-life crisis travelogue. Spoiler: despite some solid e...more
Jun 18, 2013
Jan 13, 2013
On Intelligence
"On Intelligence" is an unusually readable cognitive science book, and one of the few that I've read that tries to present an overarching theory of th...more
Jun 12, 2010
Jun 08, 2010
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
At one point in "The Botany of Desire", while discussing the impact of marijuana on consciousness, Michael Pollan writes a very honest description of...more
Oct 29, 2010
Oct 25, 2010
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character
Growing up, Feynman was one of my heroes: a Jewish genius from Brooklyn who got the Nobel prize and also managed to be a ladies man! But somehow I'd n...more
Jun 19, 2010
Jun 12, 2010
Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind
A solid set of neurology case-studies, in the tradition of Oliver Sacks. Ramachandran seems to have made his name explaining how different kinds of ph...more
Aug 20, 2009
Aug 15, 2009
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
1491 is a sprawling overview of pre-colonial civilization in the New World. Mann spends most of the book correcting the received wisdom we were all ta...more
Jun 05, 2010
May 30, 2010
The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution & Future of the Human Animal
In this sprawling, fascinating book, Jared Diamond explores the place of humans in the animal kingdom. As in his later "Guns, Germs, and Steel" and "C...more
Aug 20, 2010
Aug 14, 2010
The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology
Natural selection sucks. That's my main takeaway from this expansive and sometimes confusing exploration of evolutionary ideas applied to human behavi...more
Aug 29, 2010
Aug 22, 2010
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
Musicophilia is classic Sacks. I was worried it was going to be more of a memoir of his own experiences with music, so I was relieved when it turned o...more
Apr 28, 2010
Apr 20, 2010
The Mind's Eye
"The Mind's Eye" is Oliver Sacks' latest collection of case histories, and as usual, they're well-written, fascinating, and humane. The patients suffe...more
Dec 04, 2010
Nov 25, 2010
I Am a Strange Loop
A good introduction to Hofstadter's ideas about consciousness, in a considerably shorter package than Godel, Escher, Bach.

Hofstadter is at his best i...more
Apr 27, 2009
Apr 18, 2009
Ever Since Darwin: Reflections on Natural History
Solid introduction to Gould's perspective on evolution and other issues in modern science. The essays were written in the late 1970s, but they still f...more
Jun 24, 2009
Jun 21, 2009
A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers
This short collection of essays came out of Ramachandran's BBC Reith Lectures, and they have the breezy, conversational tone of a popular science pres...more
Nov 29, 2009
Nov 28, 2009
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
Brian Greene picked a good title for "The Elegant Universe"- it's an elegant book. It takes string theory, which is probably the most incomprehensible...more
Nov 21, 2010
Nov 13, 2010
The Island of the Colorblind
A very good and unusual combination of travelogue and medical mystery-- this book would be an excellent choice for a vacation anywhere in the Pacific....more
May 2009
Apr 28, 2009
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
An excellent companion to Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond's earlier book about environmental determinism and history. In the previous book, he discuss...more
May 22, 2009
May 07, 2009
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Godel, Escher, Bach is the Mount Everest of popular science books— you'd be crazy to try and read it without some preparation. I'd recommend starting...more
Nov 10, 2009
Oct 18, 2009
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
When you buy a book with a title like "The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood", you expect a sprawling account of a difficult subject. This is...more
Mar 20, 2012
Feb 28, 2012
Consciousness Explained
A better title for this book would be "Consciousness Provisionally Explained, At Great Length", but that probably wouldn't have fit on the book jacket...more
May 14, 2010
Apr 02, 2010
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
The best science books have a strong thesis supported by convincing evidence, told in gripping prose. By that standard, Guns, Germs and Steel is one o...more
Apr 08, 2009
Mar 27, 2009
An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales
Another excellent set of case-histories from Sacks. He's just an amazing writer-- as good describing people and scenes as the science behind his patie...more
Jun 09, 2009
Jun 05, 2009
The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul
Solid collection of primary cognitive science readings. Hofstadter and Dennett give a good overview of the basic issues involved with consciousness st...more
Jul 11, 2009
Jun 26, 2009
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
This book was an enjoyable scientific overview of the phenomenon of traffic. It's filled with tons of anecdotes about bad driving behavior that will d...more
Feb 2009
Jan 20, 2009
A Short History of Nearly Everything
An excellent science primer covering the big questions-- the age of the Earth, our place in the Universe, and how life began. Bryson has a great flair...more
Feb 24, 2009
Feb 13, 2009
Good, but parts may seem overly-familiar to loyal Sacks readers.
Sep 07, 2013
Aug 18, 2013
Introducing Time (Introducing (Icon))
Jun 30, 2002
Dec 21, 2008
The Selfish Gene
Jul 2007
Dec 21, 2008
Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information Is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos, from Our Brains to Black Holes
Jan 2007
Dec 21, 2008
Chaos: The Making of a New Science
Sep 15, 2006
Dec 21, 2008
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