Best Science Books 2012: Brain Pickings

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

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.

All the previous 2012 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Brain Pickings The Best Music Books of 2012, Psychology & Philosophy, Design, History.

  • Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learningby Gary Marcus
  • This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinkingby John Brockman
  • Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Storyby Jim Holt
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Businessby Charles Duhigg
  • The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselvesby Dan Ariely
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talkingby Susan Cain
  • Information Graphicsby Sandra Rendgen
  • The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolutionby Faramerz Dabhoiwala
  • Trees of Life: A Visual History of Evolutionby Theodore W. Pietsch
  • The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons, 250 Milestones in the History of Medicineby Clifford A. Pickover
  • Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomistby Martin Clayton
  • The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Presentby Eric Kandel
  • A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Making of American Science by Robert McCracken Peck, Patricia Tyson Stroud, Rosamond Purcell

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.

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.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or maybe even something else from today's list.


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Who is Brian Pickings?

Thanks, Joe. It's fixed.