Editor's Blog

The 8 Books Neil deGrasse Tyson Thinks Every Person Should Read

March 5, 2015 | by Kristy Hamilton

Photo credit: cosma / Shutterstock

In honor of World Book Day, we've gathered reading recommendations from scientists whose specialties range from astrophysics to neuroscience to primatology.

First up is a list of eight books that Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks everyone should read and his reasons why. The recommendations are from a 2011 Reddit Ask-Me-Anything.

"The Bible": “To learn that it's easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself."

"The System of the World" by Isaac Newton: “To learn that the universe is a knowable place.”

"On the Origins of Species" by Charles Darwin: “To learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”

"Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift: “To learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”

"The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine: “To learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”

"The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith: “To learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”

"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu: “To learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”

"The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli: “To learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”

 

Check out an assortment of books that other notable scientists recommend:

Jane Goodall: “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer

Michio Kaku: "The Foundation Trilogy" by Isaac Asimov

Oliver Sacks: “The Mind of a Mnemonist” by Aleksandr R. Luria

Steven Pinker: "1984" by George Orwell , "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins

Sean Carroll: "One, Two, Three...Infinity" by George Gamow

Steve Jones: "Farthest North" by Fridjtof Nansen

Jared Diamond: "Child of the Jungle" by Sabine Kuegler

Max Tegmark: "Permutation City" by Greg Egan

Adam Riess: "Contact" by Carl Sagan ,  "The Fountains of Paradise" by Arthur C. Clarke

Steven Strogatz: "The Andromeda Strain" by Michael Crichton

Ainissa Ramirez: "Parable of the Sower" by Octavia E. Butler

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy: "The Beak of the Finch" by Jonathan Weiner , "Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters" by Matt Ridley

Melvin Konner: "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Robert M. Sapolsky  ,  "Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain" by Anthony Damasio

Keith Thomson: "The Fly in the Cathedral" by Brian Cathcart

 

Hat Tip: [New Scientist, GoodreadsHuffington Post, American Scientist]