November 29, 2008

Best Science Books 2008: The New York Times

This year's list of notable books is a very slightly better than last year's total of just 3. Stretching my definition of science book gives us five this year.

  • Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene by Masha Gessen

  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

  • The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson.

  • Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

Thomas L. Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution — and How It Can Renew America is a related book that I think a lot of people will be selecting this year.


Anonymous said...

How can you skip anything by Sean B. Carroll??

John Dupuis said...

Yeah, there's a lot of great stuff missing from their list.

L said...

I am Applied Science Librarian at a small college in Australia. I am looking for a few pop sci books in physics, chemistry, & astronomy that are really worthwhile. I find most popular titles lean too far into psychology and biology/environmental sciences which aren't strictly part of our courses at my campus.

I'd like to stretch the collection a bit, so at least we can try to inspire students to push toward a degree at a university.

So these titles are a good start, i was thinking about The Drunkard's Walk. but can you recommend further titles? Perhaps 2009 has brought a new favourite?

John Dupuis said...

Hi L,

From this year, I can recommend Howard Burton's First Principles about the founding of Waterloo's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. I'm reading Jacques Cousteau's The Human, The Orchid and The Octopus right now and it's pretty good too.