More than 700 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘science’

New perspectives on world history

Less than three decades ago an American historian¬† named David Christian who was teaching at an Australian university at the time launched a new approach to world history. His unique take on the subject took the discipline far beyond the limits of the written word. Calling it Big History, Christian started his new course at… Read More ›

Microbes, good and bad

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, by Ed Yong @@@@ (4 out of 5) If you’re a physician, a nutritionist, or have studied biology, you’re probably aware that our bodies contain an immense number of microbes. Most of the rest of us find that surprising. Though I knew… Read More ›

The science of decision-making

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, by Michael Lewis @@@@ (4 out of 5) Funny thing. Michael Lewis’ newest book, The Undoing Project, tells the story of two surpassingly brilliant Israeli psychologists whose work earned a Nobel prize in economics and, according to the subtitle, “Changed Our Minds.” As always, Lewis writes… Read More ›

The 5 best books of 2016

I’d already written up my list of the 10 best books of the year when the editors of Berkeleyside asked me to supply them with a list of my five top picks. (I’ll post the longer list next week.) Picking just five is a tough assignment, to put it mildly. But here goes, gritting my… Read More ›

The unlikely story of life on Earth

A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves, by Walter Alvarez @@@@ (4 out of 5) UC Berkeley professor Walter Alvarez tackles the emerging field of Big History from his perspective as a geologist, viewing himself as “a historian of the Earth.” In A Most Improbable Journey, he writes about the… Read More ›

27 biographies worth reading

One of the very best ways to gain insight into history and the ways of the world around us is to read biographies. Which explains why I read them so frequently. Over the more than six years since I began writing this blog, I’ve read dozens. Here I’m listing 27 that stand out in my… Read More ›

A journalist looks at military science

A review of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, by Mary Roach @@@@@ (5 out of 5) There’s something seriously wrong with Mary Roach. Conjure up any vile, disgusting, or taboo subject that anyone in her right mind would shun — and you’ll find Mary Roach has written a book about it (or… Read More ›

In this murder mystery, the plot hinges on the symptoms of schizophrenia

A review of Blood Test (Alex Delaware #2), by Jonathan Kellerman @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Most genre authors are generalists who bring little special knowledge to their writing. There are exceptions, of course. For instance, science fiction authors who are actually scientists and the authors of police procedurals who serve, or have served, as… Read More ›

30 good books on science and medicine

Living as we do surrounded by the prodigious spawn of the scientific method, we’ve grown accustomed to thinking of nearly everything as a manifestation of science. At least I have. So it came naturally to me to take a broad view of the field when I surveyed the nearly 700 book reviews on my blog… Read More ›

35 biographies worth reading

It’s just become clear to me that I’ve read a lot of biographies since I began posting book reviews in January 2010. More than three dozen, actually. I’m listing here the 35 that I can recommend, omitting several that underwhelmed me (in addition to others I couldn’t finish reading). As you can see, most of… Read More ›