Category Archives: Book Notes

John Allen Paulos, INNUMERACY: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences (1988)

This slender book was first published in 1988 (I have the 1990 paperback edition) and became a bestseller. It was one of the earliest books on the very general theme of how many people don’t understand the world around them, … Continue reading

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E.O. Wilson: THE SOCIAL CONQUEST OF EARTH (2012)

E.O. Wilson’s THE SOCIAL CONQUEST OF EARTH, from 2012, is in my estimation one of the four most significant books by this scientist and writer. (The others are ON HUMAN NATURE, 1978; CONSILIENCE, 1998; and THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE, … Continue reading

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E.O. Wilson, GENESIS: THE DEEP ORIGIN OF SOCIETIES (2019)

This was Wilson’s second to the last original book, and it’s quite short, perhaps simply a long essay; 125 pages divided into 7 chapters with illustrations and blank pages in between; many references, and an index. Key Points The gist … Continue reading

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E.O. Wilson: THE ORIGINS OF CREATIVITY (2017)

What is creativity? It is the innate quest for originality. The driving force is humanity’s instinctive love of novelty—the discovery of new entities and processes, the solving of old challenges and disclosure of new ones, the aesthetic surprise of unanticipated … Continue reading

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Michael Shermer: WHY DARWIN MATTERS: The Case Against Intelligent Design (2006)

This is a middle-period Shermer book, from the range that begins with WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS in 1997 (and omitting some earlier and middle-period books on extraneous topics), and the 6th of 12 Shermer books I have on my … Continue reading

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Simon Baron-Cohen: THE PATTERN SEEKERS: How Autism Drives Human Invention (2020)

This is one of those books I heard about when it was published (via a PW review), but passed on at the time. (As I pass on 80% of books I hear about that I think I might like reading, … Continue reading

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E.O. Wilson, HALF-EARTH (2016)

E.O. Wilson, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, Liveright, 2016, 259p This is one of Wilson’s last four or five books, the first one following The Meaning of Human Existence in 2014. These books seem slighter that most earlier Wilson … Continue reading

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Carl Sagan, OTHER WORLDS (1975)

Continuing my stroll through my nonfiction library, of books I’ve read that I think are worth remembering. Carl Sagan, Other Worlds (produced by Jerome Agel). Bantam, 1975. This is a thin little book (160pp) with text by Carl Sagan but … Continue reading

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Richard Dawkins: The Greatest Show on Earth (2009)

Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. Free Press, Sept. 2009.

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Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True (2009)

Jerry A. Coyne, Why Evolution is True. Viking, Feb. 2009. This is another of a dozen or so most significant books that I’ve read over the past decade or more that I’ve put off writing up on this blog simply … Continue reading

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