I just saw this list of the best selling science books on NYtimes.com and thought I would share it here! I’ll admit- I haven’t read most of them- so if you have, I’d love to hear what you thought! I have read several by some of the authors, and I’ve heard of some of them as well. I’ll add in a few of my own thoughts and my favorite science books too 🙂 Even though these aren’t all medical school books, a lot of them would be great books for pre-med students to read!
Best Selling Science Books
1 BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande. Metropolitan/ Holt. The surgeon and New Yorker writer considers how doctors fail patients at the end of life, and how they can do better.
I LOVE Atul Gawande. I’ve never read this book, but I’ve read his other books, Complications, and Better. I’m definitely adding this one to my list.
2 THE INNOVATORS by Walter Isaacson. Simon & Schuster. Studies of the people who created computers and the Internet, beginning in the 1840s.
Never heard of this one- sounds good though!
3 THE HOT ZONE by Richard Preston. Anchor. The discovery of the Ebola virus, and the efforts to keep it from spreading; first published in 1994.
Pretty applicable to today right? Never read this one, but I’ve heard of it.
I love the sound of this one! Never read it.
5 HOW WE GOT TO NOW by Steven Johnson. Riverhead. A history of innovation focused on the development of six key technologies of modern life; the companion volume to a PBS series.
Never read it, but I feel like Kyle would love that PBS series.
6 QUIET by Susan Cain. Crown. Introverts — one-third of the population — are undervalued in American society. (3)
7 THE SENSE OF STYLE by Steven Pinker. Viking. The Harvard psychologist and linguist updates the rules of writing with a more relaxed approach to grammar.
Hmmmm…. I do love grammar. I will have to check out his new rules. My biggest pet peeve EVER is when people use the wrong form of he/she vs. him/her. When someone says “her and Steve are going out” I die inside and scream “SHE and Steve!!” or “him and his friend are wearing bow ties” – HE!!!! Grrr. Do you have grammar pet peeves?
8 THINKING, FAST AND SLOW by Daniel Kahneman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The winner of a Nobel Prize in economic science discusses how we make choices in business and personal life and when we can and cannot trust our intuitions. (5)
Cool! Another one I haven’t read.
9 THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING by Naomi Klein. Simon & Schuster. The journalist, author of “The Shock Doctrine,” makes the case for the existence of climate change and argues that the market cannot solve the crisis. (4)
Again- haven’t read it.
10 THE POWER OF HABIT by Charles Duhigg. Random House. A Times reporter’s account of the science behind forming habits, and breaking them. (6)
Okay, I actually read this one. I found it to have some good insights, but to also be super repetitive. Kind of like habits 😉
11 THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE by Edward O. Wilson. Liveright. The Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist grapples with the ultimate philosophical questions: How and why humanity came to exist on this planet.
How can someone even attempt to answer this question? I guess I have to read this to find out.
12 THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE by Bessel van der Kolk. Viking. A doctor explains the neurological compensations that follow a wide range of emotional and physical traumas.
Wow- sounds super cool.
13 YOU ARE HERE by Chris Hadfield. Little, Brown. Photographs from the International Space Station by a former astronaut.
I love space pictures. Never read this book though.
14 THE MARSHMALLOW TEST by Walter Mischel. Little, Brown. A psychologist explores the complicated neurological processes that create willpower and contribute to an ability to delay gratification.
I think the concept of this experiment (tell kids that if they wait and don’t eat one marshmallow right now, they will get two marshmallows later) is pretty interesting. So many people talk about this study and its significance. Turns out the kids who don’t eat the marshmallow do better in life… but I think I’ve done well in life so far and I totally would have eaten the marshmallow… Alas- the mystery of life 😉
15 THE SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD by Amanda Ripley. Simon & Schuster. High-performing schools in Finland, South Korea and Poland, seen through the eyes of American high school students abroad.
Oh I would like this! Adding it to the list.
16 DAVID AND GOLIATH by Malcolm Gladwell. Little, Brown. How disadvantages can work in our favor, from the author of “The Tipping Point” and “Outliers.” (9)
I’ve read Blink and Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell and I’ve listened to him speak several times. He is pretty awesome and I love his concepts, but I think his books get pretty repetitive, so I didn’t read this one in its entirety, but I have read excerpts. Turns out David had an advantage all along.
17 IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE by Hampton Sides. Doubleday. An 1879 polar voyage gone terribly wrong. (2)
Eek! This one doesn’t sound too interesting to me.
18 FINAL EXAM by Pauline W. Chen. Vintage. A surgeon and frequent Times contributor reflects on mortality.
I would definitely read this one.
19 DATACLYSM by Christian Rudder. Crown. What data from social media reveal about human nature. (8)
I would definitely read this one too.
20 MOLECULES by Theodore Gray; photography by Nick Mann. Black Dog & Leventhal. How the elements of the periodic table combine to form the chemical architecture of every material in the world.
This one doesn’t sound too interesting to me.
My Favorite Science/Medicine Books
These are great books for pre-med students 🙂
1. Cutting For Stone- this is fiction, but it’s the best book ever.
2. Better- Atul Gawande
3. Complications- Atul Gawande
4. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat- Oliver Sachs
5. My Stroke of Insight- Jill Taylor
6. House of God- Okay- I read this one and actually didn’t like it, but everyone else loves it, so I’m adding it to the list.
7. The Emperor of All Maladies- Same as above- read it, didn’t love it, but everyone else loves it so there you go.
8. Intern: A Doctor’s Initiaton- Sandeep Jauhar
9. On Call: A Doctor’s Days and Nights in Residency
10. I can’t think of a 10th… but 9 just doesn’t seem like enough! I’ll work on it 🙂
And good science book suggestions?