April 30, 2008

Life changing books

Via BoingBoing, New Scientist has posted some recommendations of life-changing books from 17 scientists. They're all very interesting.

  1. Farthest North - Steve Jones, geneticist

  2. The Art of the Soluble - V. S. Ramachandran, neuroscientist

  3. Animal Liberation - Jane Goodall, primatologist

  4. The Foundation trilogy - Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist

  5. Alice in Wonderland - Alison Gopnik, developmental psychologist

  6. One, Two, Three... Infinity - Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist

  7. The Idea of a Social Science - Harry Collins, sociologist of science

  8. Handbook of Mathematical Functions - Peter Atkins, chemist

  9. The Mind of a Mnemonist - Oliver Sacks, neurologist

  10. A Mathematician’s Apology - Marcus du Sautoy, mathematician

  11. The Leopard - Susan Greenfield, neurophysiologist

  12. Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior - Frans de Waal, psychologist and ethologist

  13. Catch-22 / The First Three Minutes - Lawrence Krauss, physicist

  14. William James, Writings 1878-1910 - Daniel Everett, linguist

  15. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - Chris Frith, neuroscientist

  16. The Naked Ape - Elaine Morgan, author of The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis

  17. King Solomon's Ring - Marion Stamp Dawkins, Zoologist

An interesting mix of fiction and non-fiction which shows that scientists are certainly not the narrow specialists that the stereotype makes them out to be.

Myself, for me the life-changing book as a software developer has to have been Programmers at Work by Susan Lammers. For a fiction work, it's a lot harder for me to decide on one particular book. However, some particularly important authors to me when I was in the 18 to 22 time frame would have been Harlan Ellison, Philip K. Dick, Norman Spinrad, H.P. Lovecraft and Samuel R. Delany.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Yeah I agree there are quite a few books on this list. I'm looking forward to reading some of them. Here's my list of life changing books. Although none of the books in my list are chosen by scientists they still had a big impact on my life.