It is time. The season of lists begins again!
Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that I can find around the web in various media outlets.
From the beginning it’s been a pretty popular service so I’m happy to continue it.
For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn’t a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.
Last year’s winner was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. For 2011, it was Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs and 2010 it was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The last few years the winner have been by quite a margin over the competition, so we’ll see if there are any big winners this year as the lists appear.
As it often the case, first up is the Amazon.com Editors’ lists. I’m including items from main list and a few from subsidiary lists such as Business, Food, History, Sports & Outdoors and Science.
- Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier
- Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure that Took the Victorian World by Storm by Monte Reel
- Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach (Author)
- The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America by Langdon Cook
- The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan
- The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease by Daniel Lieberman
- Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
- Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier
- The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks by Amy Stewart
- Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser
- The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance by David Epstein
- Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel
- An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist by Richard Dawkins
- Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio
- The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek
- Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson
- Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson
- Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson
- Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America by Jon Mooallem
- The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates by Frans de Waal
- Falling Into the Fire: A Psychiatrist’s Encounters with the Mind in Crisis by Christine Montross
- The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible by Lance Fortnow
- Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell
- Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz
- My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs by Brian Switek
- The West without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us about Tomorrow by B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam
- Storm Kings: The Untold History of America’s First Tornado Chasers by Lee Sandlin
- Adrenaline by Brian B. Hoffman
- >Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley and Steve Wozniak
- League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru
- The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
- The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari by Paul Theroux
- Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts
- The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard
- The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga by Sylvain Tesson and Linda Coverdale
- Telling Our Way to the Sea: A Voyage of Discovery in the Sea of Cortez by Aaron Hirsh
I’m always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven’t covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.
I am picking up most of my lists from Largehearted Boy.
And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Quiet or Steve Jobs or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or maybe even something else from today’s list.