The world of science is filled with mystery and adventure, secrets and wonder, and discoveries that can blow apart your understanding of our world. Unfortunately, a bad science nonfiction book will send you straight to sleep, presenting exciting concepts in the driest way possible.
But good science nonfiction can permanently alter your perception of life. Whether you’re interested in the furthest corners of the universe, or the animals and plants we share our lives with, good science nonfiction can expand your knowledge and leave you hungry for more!
Walking the careful line between too simple and overly complex, science nonfiction makes science accessible. This guide has books that cover everything from the abstract mysteries at the heart of black holes to the biological facts that determine who we are.
14 Must-Read Science Non Fiction Books
For many people, Stephen Hawking and his seminal work A Brief History of Time was their first introduction to the world of popular science. A bestseller, we should warn you that this isn’t exactly an easy read.
The chunky subject matter makes it one that you really need to get your teeth into as you journey through the mysteries of science. But the book is completely absorbing, and the fascinating discoveries you make with every page will keep you hooked.
An international bestseller, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind explores the evolution of humanity, and asks us to rethink what it means to be human.
Charting life from 70,000 years ago, when we see the first signs of modern cognition, through to the rise of global human empires, Sapiens combines history and science to explore the effect of humans on the world.
We also take a few glimpses forward. How might the human disregard of standard natural selection change the future?
If you like your science with a heavy helping of scandal, then Bad Blood is the book for you. Elizabeth Holmes started her company Theranos on an amazing promise: with just a single speck of blood, her machines could detail the history of your health. Investors poured in, Holmes became an international superstar, and Theranos was seen as the next big leap in medicine.
Except for one gaping problem: the technology didn’t work. Bad Blood covers every twist and turn in this science scandal that rocked Silicon Valley.
Stop and take a look at the world around you, and you’ll be amazed at the diversity of existence. From the tiny bees buzzing through the air, to the giant whales lurking beneath the waters. But how did they all come to be?
The Origin of the Species revolutionized science with Darwin’s theory of gradual evolution and the survival of the fittest. Still an interesting read, this book can help you conceptualize one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of all time.
We mostly recognize evolution as a long and slow process, where hundreds and even thousands of years gradually breed new traits into animals. But in 1959, biologists Dimitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut decided to speed things up a bit.
How To Tame A Fox (And Build A Dog) is the story of two Soviet scientists attempting a speed run at evolution and domestication. As well as featuring adorable foxes, this book uncovers some unexpected mechanisms of domestication.
Neil deGrasse Tyson has become one of the most popular figures in science, with his adventurers through the cosmos capturing imaginations.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a science book for those who want to contemplate the mysteries of the universe with their morning coffee.
It dives into some deep topics, but the light and engaging tone helps you to get to grips with the wonders of time and space. If you’d like to broaden your knowledge of our universe, then this is the perfect book.
If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it? For the other trees, it might come up in conversation! Suzanne Simard’s groundbreaking book explores the interconnected world of the trees, and how they have evolved to communicate and cooperate with each other.
Finding the Mother Tree will have you rethinking your next walk through nature, as you realize you’re an interloper in the quiet communication of nature.
The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, And Dreams Deferred By Chanda Presco-Weinstein
The Disordered Cosmos is a journey through two concepts. First, the wonderful discoveries that scientists have gifted with our plant. Second, how the societal biases of these scientists may have impacted their discoveries, and the very concept of science itself.
If you’ve ever gazed up at the night sky and wondered about life existing in the cosmos, then The Sirens of Mars is the book for you. Author Sarah Stewart Johnson has done more than just looked at the stars and dreamed. She’s helped search the planet (from a distance) for any signs of life.
The Sirens of Mars is a personal tale about Johnson’s work, and an evocative history of life on our mirror planet.
Scientists seek a solution to two outstanding theories: the theory of relativity, and quantum theory. Synthesizing these theories could answer some of the biggest questions we have about life and science, including the very conception of our universe.
In The God Equation, scientist Kaku details his own quest to find a theory of everything, and the implications scientific discoveries have on the wider community. Despite tackling some pretty heavy concepts, this is a surprisingly easy read.
Genes connect us all, and in The Gene: An Intimate History, oncologist and physician Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee explores how our genes make us who we are.
Reflecting on the questions of the very first gene hunters, to the scientists who finally unraveled the gene, this book provides a fascinating picture of humanity. And intertwined with stories of Mukherjee’s own family, The Gene adds personal history to inspiring science.
If you enjoy The Gene, we also recommend Mukherjee’s earlier work, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.
Henrietta Lacks has made a massive contribution to science, and she never even knew about it. Although the woman herself has been dead for more than 60 years, Lacks’ HeLa cells live on, and have been vital for developing vaccines, understanding cancer, and advancing in vitro fertilization.
While The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks covers the remarkable achievements the HeLa cells were responsible for, author Rebecca Skloot also discusses the ethical implications of taking a black woman’s cells without her permission, or even knowledge.
It’s an unflinching portrayal of bioethics and race relations in the scientific community.
Humanity has made some pretty seismic changes over recent decades. Some of them have been wondrously positive, while others have had a devastating effect on the planet and its many various inhabitants. And sometimes in enacting positive change, humanity has managed to create even bigger problems.
That’s the concept explored in Homo Deus. How have the threats to our health and safety evolved and mutated in recent decades? And how might solving these problems lead to the challenges of the future? At times a devastating read, Homo Deus will cause you to rethink your perspective on humanity.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Universe is a charming and educational book, and a great gift for science lovers who don’t know how to get started in the genre.
Covering questions from a broad range of subjects, including the outer edges of space and the mysteries of gravity, this book can help you grasp even complex scientific conundrums. And it’s all accompanied by fun illustrations that guide you through the topics.
The world of science can be infinitely complex, but these books help make even big concepts, such as the shape of the universe itself, easier to digest.
And as science continues to grow and change, there are even more wonderful scientific nonfiction books being released. So, there’s no need to ever stop learning!