Best Science Books 2011: Editors

It is time. The season of lists begins!

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 appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

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 runaway winner, the book that got by far the most mentions of any book, was Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I wonder if the Walter Isaacson bio of Steve Jobs will take the prize for this year? Only time will tell!

In any case, the summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here.

First up is the Editors' lists. I'm cobbling together the following lists for my master list: Biography & Memoir, Business & Investing, History, Nonfiction, Outdoors & Nature and Science.

  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy
  • A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
  • Radioactivity: A History of a Mysterious Science by Marjorie Caroline Malley
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
  • Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
  • Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings
  • The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
  • Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid by Wendy Williams
  • Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith
  • The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water by Charles Fishman
  • The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them by Wayne Pacelle
  • Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone
  • Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
  • Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
  • The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment by Chris Martenson

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 a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.


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