As I’m sure many of you have heard, Borders is going out of business entirely and not just closing down stores. The news is pretty sad, I’ve spent so much time in the Liberty Store, but Border’s current predicament means sales. Here’s a few non-fiction science books I recommend getting.
1) Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected age by Duncan J. Watts
Watt’s books focuses on network theory and how technology today, like the Internet, has led to everyone on the planet being connected. The prose is very easy to slip into and understand, allowing the book to give you a great understanding of the subject. Watt is so causal, and at times humorous too, that you can’t help but read it with as much fervor as a novel. Plus, it’ll stay with you longer.
2) Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
While the idea of an afterlife isn’t exactly a thing of science, as it’s based too much on faith and the idea of a soul. Roach’s book however, takes a grounded view of such things via a tour around the world to interview a variety of people on the subject, be they scientists or the local psychic. She’s funny in her delivery, but the book isn’t all giggles and rainbows, she asks and tackles some pretty tough questions. Plus, admit it, you’re slightly curious about what she’s found.
3) The Best American Scientific Writing 2010 edited by Jerome Groopman and Jesse Cohen
A yearly release, this series always offers the best there is of previous year. Every selection has something new, important, and thought-provoking to say. They also span a wide range of subjects, perfect for skimming and simply getting a flavor for different fields of science and their futures.
4) Wonders of the Universe by Brain Cox with Andrew Cohen
This book is also a Tv series by the same name that was aired on BBC. The book itself is absolutely beautiful, full of stunning pictures that can take your breath away, but as explained so easily that you can’t help but understand what exactly is dark matter and why it’s important. It’s a riveting read, if for those who aren’t space nerds.
5) Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond
Diamond takes on the rise of what is known as Western civilizations, but through the lens of an evolutionary biologist. There was more to conquest and development than the invention of stirrups; there’s demography, ecology, and geology. It’s not European focused, instead the book covers all regions to give a diverse analysis of how Western civilization came to be in different locations.
6) A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Byrson
A book for those who didn’t like reading school assignments in middle school and high school, Bryson tells you want you need to know with a to-the-point voice and a pinch of humor. He turns science from a dry subject to something appreciable. And short. There’s a lot in this book Byrson summarizes, but you still get all the needed basics.
7) The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil
The singularity is a point in history were life become incomprehensible to those of an earlier time. For example, cowboys wouldn’t know what to do with the Internet. Kurzweil suggests though that as a race we are on the cusp of a biological singularity, that the developing nanotechnology and genetics fields will blend and result in a physical change of the human race.