NF

This page is both a bibliography of the principal, current (and some classic) nonfiction books in my library, and a set of links to my posts about significant nonfiction (NF) books on this blog. (My posts aren’t so much ‘reviews’ in the sense of evaluations as they are summaries and comments.) Some of these books I read years ago and don’t have notes on; some I have yet to read. The first edition publisher is indicated, along with the reprint publisher if that’s the edition I have. Principal authors are listed first alphabetically; other titles follow arranged by theme, with cross-references. Within each group, titles are listed chronologically.

Dawkins, Richard

  • 1976. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press. [1978 OUP pb] (notes)
  • 1982. The Extended Phenotype. Oxford University Press. [1983 OUP pb]
  • 1986. The Blind Watchmaker. Norton.
  • 1995. River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life. Basic Books.
  • 1996. Climbing Mount Improbable. Norton.
  • 1998. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. Houghton Mifflin.
  • 2003. A Devil’s Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love (essays). Houghton Mifflin.
  • 2006. The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin.
  • 2009. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. Free Press.
  • 2011. The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True. Free Press. (comments)
  • 2017. Science In the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist (essays). Random House.
  • 2019. Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide. Random House. (notes)

Dennett, Daniel C.

  • 1991. Consciousness Explained. Little, Brown.
  • 1995. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life. Simon & Schuster.
  • 1996. Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness. Basic Books.
  • 2003. Freedom Evolves. Viking.
  • 2006. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. Viking.
  • 2013. Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking. Norton. (partial notes)
  • 2017. From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. Norton.

Harari, Yuval Noah

  • 2015. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Harper. [1st US edition]
  • 2017. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. Harper. [1st US]
  • 2018. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Spiegel & Grau.

Harris, Sam

  • 2004. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. Norton.
  • 2006. Letter to a Christian Nation. Knopf.
  • 2010. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. Free Press.
  • 2012. Free Will. Free Press.
  • 2013. Lying. Four Elephants Press.
  • 2014. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. Simon & Schuster.

Pinker, Steven

  • 1994. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. Morrow.
  • 1997. How the Mind Works. Norton.
  • 2002. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Viking.
  • 2007. The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. Viking.
  • 2011. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Viking. (passages; passages and outline; notes on Ch1; notes on Chs 2,3)
  • 2014. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Viking.
  • 2018. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Viking.

Sagan, Carl

  • 1973. The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective. Doubleday/Anchor Press. [notes]
  • 1975. Other Worlds (produced by Jerome Agel). Bantam.
  • 1977. The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence. Random House.
  • 1978. Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record (with five others). Random House.
  • 1979. Broca’s Brain: Reflections of the Romance of Science. Random House.
  • 1980. Cosmos. Random House.
  • 1992. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are (with Ann Druyan). Random House.
  • 1994. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. Random House.
  • 1995. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Random House.
  • 1997. Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium. Random House.
  • 2006. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God (edited by Ann Druyan). The Penguin Press. notes)

Shermer, Michael

  • 1997. Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. Freeman.
  • 2000. How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science. Freeman.
  • 2001. The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense. Oxford.
  • 2004. The Science of Good & Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule. Times Books.
  • 2005. Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown. Times Books.
  • 2006. Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design. Times Books.
  • 2008. The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics. Times Books.
  • 2011. The Believing Brain: From Ghosts to Gods to Politics and Conspiracies — How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. Times Books.
  • 2015. The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. Henry Holt. (comments)
  • 2016. Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye (essays). Henry Holt.
  • 2018. Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia. Henry Holt.

Wilson, Edward O.

  • 1978. On Human Nature. Harvard. [notes]
  • 1983. Promethean Fire: Reflections on the Origin of Mind (with Charles J. Lumsden). Harvard.
  • 1984. Biophilia: The human bond with other species. Harvard.
  • 1992. The Diversity of Life. Harvard/Belknap Press.
  • 1994. Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration (with Bert Hölldobbler). Harvard/Belknap Press.
  • 1994. Naturalist. Island Press.
  • 1996. In Search of Nature. Island Press.
  • 1998. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Knopf. (notes part 1, part 2, part 3)
  • 2002. The Future of Life. Knopf.
  • 2006. The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. Norton.
  • 2012. The Social Conquest of Earth. Liveright.
  • 2013. Letters to a Young Scientist. Liveright.
  • 2014. The Meaning of Human Existence. Liveright. (notes part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5)
  • 2016. Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. Liveright.
  • 2017. The Origins of Creativity. Liveright.
  • 2019. Genesis: The Deep Origin of Societies. Liveright.

Wright, Robert

  • 1988. Three Scientists and Their Gods: Looking for Meaning in an Age of Information. Times Books.
  • 1994. The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology. Pantheon.
  • 2000. Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny. Pantheon. (notes on Intro and Ch1)
  • 2009. The Evolution of God. Little, Brown.
  • 2017. Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment. Simon & Schuster.

Big History

  • Bryson, Bill. 2003. A Short History of Nearly Everything. Broadway.
  • Macquarie University. 2016. Big History. DK Publishing. (comments)
  • Alvarez, Walter. 2017. A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves. Norton.
  • Crofton, Ian, and Jeremy Black. 2017. The Little Book of Big History. Pegasus.
  • Christian, David. 2018. Origin Story: A Big History of Everything. LIttle, Brown.
  • Dartnell, Lewis. 2019. Origins: How Earth’s History Shaped Human History. Basic Books.

Big Ideas

  • Hofstadter, Douglas R. 1979. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Basic Books. [tpb Vintage]
  • Deutsch, David. 1997. The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes — and Its Implications. Penguin Press/Allen Lane.
  • Diamond, Jared. 1997. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Norton.
  • Diamond, Jared. 2005. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Viking.
  • Deutsch, David. 2011. The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World. Viking.
  • Daimond, Jared. 2013. The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?. Viking.
  • Tegmark, Max. 2014. Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality. Knopf.
  • Wilczek, Frank. 2015. A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design. Penguin Press.
  • Carroll, Sean. 2016. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. Dutton. (notes; related video)
  • West, Geoffrey. 2017. Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainabiity, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies. Penguin Press.
  • Diamond, Jared. 2019. Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis. Little, Brown.
  • Moffett, Mark W. 2019. The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall. Basic Books.

Philosophy and the Nature of Science

  • (Also Dawkins 1998, 2011; Wilson 1998)
  • Bronowski, J. 1956, revised 1965. Science and Human Values. Perennial.
  • Snow, C. P. 1959. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge; Martino edition 2013. (notes)
  • Kuhn, Thomas S. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2/e University of Chicago tpb.
  • Feynman, Richard P. 1963. The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist. Addison Wesley 1998. (notes)
  • Bronowski, J. 1973. The Ascent of Man. Little, Brown.
  • Gardner, Martin. 1983. The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener. Morrow.
  • Gleick, James. 1987. Chaos: Making a New Science. Viking.
  • Brockman, John, ed. 1995. The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution. Simon & Schuster.
  • Kauffman, Stuart. 1995. At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity. Oxford.
  • Horgan, John. 1996. The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age. Addison Wesley.
  • Maddox, John. 1998. What Remains to Be Discovered: Mapping the Secrets of the Universe, the Origins of Life, and the Future of the Human Race. Free Press.
  • Raymo, Chet. 1998. Skeptics and True Believers: The Exhilarating Connection Between Science and Religion. Walker.
  • Gottlieb, Anthony. 2000. The Dream of Reason: A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance. Norton; updated 2016.
  • Haidt, Jonathan. 2006. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. Basic Books.
  • Grayling, A. C. 2010. Ideas That Matter: The Concepts That Shape the 21st Century. Basic Books.
  • Greenblatt, Stephen. 2011. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Norton.
  • Randall, Lisa. 2011. Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World. HarperCollins Ecco.
  • Holt, Jim. 2012. Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story. Liveright.
  • Coyne, Jerry. 2015. Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. Viking.
  • Weinberg, Steven. 2015. To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science. Harper. (notes)
  • Gottieb, Anthony. 2016. The Dream of Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Philosophy. Liveright.
  • Rice, Stanley A. 2018. Scientifically Thinking: How to Liberate Your Mind, Solve the World’s Problems, and Embrace the Beauty of Science. Prometheus.
  • McIntyre, Lee. 2019. The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience. MIT Press.

Mathematics

  • (also Tegmark 2014)
  • Kasner, Edward, and James R. Newman. 1940. Mathematics and the Imagination. Simon & Schuster; tpb Fireside.
  • Davis, Philip J., and Reuben Hersh. 1981. The Mathematical Experience. Houghton Mifflin; tpb 1982.
  • Rucker, Rudy. 1982. Infinity and the Mind: The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite. Birkhäuser.
  • Rucker, Rudy. 1984. The 4th Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Kline, Morris. 1985. Mathematics and the Search for Knowledge. Oxford; tpb 1986.
  • Davis, Philip J., and Reuben Hersh. 1986. Descartes’ Dream: The World According to Mathematics. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  • Paulos, John Allen. 1988. Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences. Hill and Wang; Vintage tpb 1990.
  • Poundstone, William. 1988. Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles and the Frailty of Knowledge. Doubleday.
  • Paulos, John Allen. 1991. Beyond Numeracy: Ruminations of a Numbers Man. Knopf.
  • Osserman, Robert. 1995. Poetry of the Universe: A Mathematical Exploration of the Cosmos. Anchor Books.
  • Paulos, John Allen. 1995. A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper. Basic Books.
  • Stewart, Ian. 1995. Nature’s Numbers: The Unreal Reality of Mathematics. Basic Books.
  • Casti, John L. 1996. Five Golden Rules: Great Theories of 20th-Century Mathematics–and Why They Matter. Wiley-Interscience.
  • Dehaene, Stanslas. 1997. The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics. Oxford.
  • Hersh, Reuben. 1997. What Is Mathematics, Really?. Oxford.
  • Morris, Richard. 1997. Achilles in the Quantum Universe: The Definitive History of Infinity. Henry Holt.
  • Cole, K. C. 1998. The Universe and the Teacup: The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty. Harcourt Brace.
  • Paulos, John Allen. 1998. Once Upon a Number: The Hidden Mathematical Logic of Stories. Basic Books.
  • Kaplan, Robert. 1999. The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero. Oxford.
  • Devlin, Keith. 2000. The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers are Like Gossip. Basic Books.
  • Frenkel, Edward. 2013. Love & Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality. Basic Books.
  • Ellenberg, Jordan. 2014. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. Penguin. (notes part 1, part 2, part 3)
  • Paulos, John Allen. 2015. A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours. Prometheus.
  • Strogatz, Steven. 2019. Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Music and Art

  • James, Jamie. 1993. The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe. Springer-Verlag tpb 1995.
  • Levenson, Thomas. 1994. Measure for Measure: A Musical History of Science. Simon & Schuster.
  • Rothstein, Edward. 1995. Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics. Times Books.
  • Jourdain, Robert. 1997. Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination. Morrow.
  • Levitin, Daniel J. 2006. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Dutton.
  • Parker, Alice. 2006. The Anatomy of Melody: Exploring the Single Line of a Song. GIA Publications.
  • Sacks, Oliver. 2007. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. Knopf.
  • Levitin, Daniel J. 2008. The World In Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature. Dutton.
  • Powell, John. 2010. How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond. Little, Brown.
  • Winner, Ellen. 2019. How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration. Oxford.

Astronomy/Physics/Cosmology

  • Gamow, George. 1947. One Two Three… Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science. Viking; Bantam pb 1967.
  • Asimov, Isaac. 1966. The Universe: From Flat Earth to Quasar. Walker; Discus pb 1968.
  • Weinberg, Steven. 1977. The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe. Basic Books; Bantam pb 1979.
  • Morrison, Philip and Phylis, and the Office of Charles and Ray Eames. 1982. Powers of Ten: About the Relative Sizes of Things in the Universe. Scientific American Books.
  • Ferris, Timothy. 1988. Coming of Age in the Milky Way. Morrow.
  • Hawking, Stephen W. 1988. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Bantam.
  • Weinberg, Steven. 1992. Dreams of a Final Theory: The Search for the Fundamental Laws of Nature. Pantheon.
  • Greene, Brian. 1999. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. Norton.
  • Rees, Martin. 2000 US. Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe. Basic Books; c UK 1999.
  • Rees, Martin. 2001. Our Cosmic Habitat. Princeton.
  • Greene, Brian. 2004. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. Knopf.
  • Hawking, Stephen, & Leonard Mlodinow. 2010. The Grand Design. Bantam. (notes)
  • Greene, Brian. 2011. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Knopf.
  • Krauss, Lawrence M. 2012. A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. Free Press.
  • Lightman, Alan. 2013. The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew. Pantheon. (notes)
  • Tyson, Neil deGrasse, & J. Richard Gott, Michael A. Strauss. 2016. Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour. Princeton.
  • Rovelli, Carlo. 2016 US. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. Riverhead Books; c2014. (notes)
  • Tyson, Neil deGrasse. 2017. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Norton. (notes)
  • Krauss, Lawence M. 2017. The Greatest Story Ever Told–So Far: Why Are We Here?. Atria Books. (notes)
  • Rovelli, Carlo. 2017 US. Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity. Riverhead Books; c2014.
  • Tyson, Neil deGrasse. 2019. Letters from an Astrophysicist. Norton. (notes)

Evolution

  • (Also Dawkins 1976, 1982, 1986, 1995, 1996, 2009; Dennett 1995; Sagan 1977, 1992; Shermer 2006; Wilson 1978, 1983, 2012, 2019)
  • Gould, Stephen Jay. 1989. Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. Norton.
  • Ridley, Matt. 1993. The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. Macmillan [US].
  • Gould, Stephen Jay. 1996. Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin. Harmony Books.
  • Ridley, Matt. 1997. The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation. Viking.
  • Blackmore, Susan. 1999. The Meme Machine. Oxford.
  • Wilson, David Sloan. 2002. Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society. University of Chicago.
  • Coyne, Jerry. 2009. Why Evolution Is True. Viking.
  • Ridley, Matt. 2010. The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. Harper.
  • Stewart-Williams, Steve. 2010. Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew. Cambridge University Press.
  • Vermeij, Geerat J. 2010. The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne.
  • Lane, Nick. 2015. The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life. Norton.
  • Ridley, Matt. 2015. The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge. Harper.
  • Rutherford, Adam. 2016. A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes. US 2017 The Experiment.
  • Reich, David. 2018. Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past. Pantheon.
  • Rutherford, Adam. 2018. Humanimal: How Homo sapiens Became Nature’s Most Paradoxical Creature: A New Evolutionary History. US 2019 The Experiment.
  • Christakis, Nicholas A. 2019. Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society. Little, Brown.
  • Kauffman, Stuart A. 2019. A World Beyond Physics: The Emergence & Evolution of Life. Oxford.
  • Wilson, David Sloan. 2019. This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution. Pantheon.

Mind and Memory

  • (Also Dennett 1991, 1996; Pinker 1994, 1997, 2002, 2007)
  • Minskey, Marvin. 1987. The Society of Mind. Simon & Schuster.
  • Schacter, Daniel L. 1996. Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past. Basic Books.
  • Humphrey, Nicholas. 1992. A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness. Chatto & Windus; US tpb 1993 HarperPerennial.
  • Stewart, Ian, and Jack Cohen. 1997. Figments of Reality: The Evolution of the Curious Mind. Cambridge.
  • Schacter, Daniel L. 2001. The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers. Houghton Mifflin.

Psychology/Cognitive Biases/Human Nature

  • Gilovich, Thomas. 1991. How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life. Free Press. [1993 Free Press tpb] (notes)
  • Comins, Neil F. 2001. Heavenly Errors: Misconceptions About the Real Nature of the Universe. Columbia.
  • Leavitt, Steven D., and Stephen J. Dubner. 2005. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. William Morrow.
  • Gilbert, Daniel. 2006. Stumbling on Happiness. Knopf; Vintage tpb 2007.
  • Ariely, Dan. 2008. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Destinies. Harper.
  • Bering, Jesse. 2011. The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life. Norton [1st US].
  • DiSalvo, David. 2011. What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite. Prometheus Press [tpb].
  • Gilovich, Thomas (with Lee Ross). 2015. The Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology’s Most Powerful Insights. Free Press. (notes part 1, part two)
  • Kahneman, Daniel. 2011. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (notes on Ch1)
  • McRaney, David. 2011. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself. Gotham Books. (notes)
  • Haidt, Jonathan. 2012. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Pantheon. (notes part 1, part 2, part 3)
  • Hutson, Matthew. 2012. The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane. Penguin/Hudson Street Press. [2013 Plume tpb] (comments)
  • Greene, Joshua. 2013. Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. The Penguin Press.
  • McRaney, David. 2013. You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself. Gotham Books. (notes part 1, part 2)
  • Shtulman, Andrew. 2017. Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong. Basic Books.
  • Alcock, James E. 2018. Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling. Prometheus.

Myth and Narrative

  • (also McRaney 2013)
  • Campbell, Joseph. 1949. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 3/e 2008 New World Library.
  • Voytilla, Stuart. 1999. Myth and the Movies: Discovering the Mythic Structure of 50 Unforgettable Films. Michael Weise Productions.
  • Gottschall, Jonathan. 2012. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. 2013 tpb Mariner.
  • Olson, Randy. 2015. Houston, we Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story. University of Chicago Press.

Religion and non-Religion

  • (Also Dawkins 2006, 2019; Bering 2011; Coyne 2015; Dennett 2006; Harris 2004, 2006; Paulos 2008; Sagan 2006; Wright 2009, 2017)
  • Paine, Thomas. 1796. The Age of Reason. reprinted by Merchant Books, 2010; online here and elsewhere. (notes)
  • Ingersoll, Robert. 1880s book 2005. What’s God Got to Do With It? on Free Thought, Honest Talk, and the Separation of Church and State. 2005 Steerforth Press.
  • Lewis, C. S. 1952. Mere Christianity. UK Geoffrey Bles; HarperOne tpb 2015.
  • Russell, Bertrand. 1957. Why I Am Not a Christian and other essays on religion and related subjects. UK George Allen & Unwin; US tpb Touchstone. (comments)
  • Smith, Huston. 1958, revised 1991. The World’s Religions. HarperOne.
  • Asimov, Isaac. 1968. Asimov’s Guide to the Bible (two volumes). tpb Avon.
  • Rosten, Leo. 1975. Religions of America: Ferment and Faith in an Age of Crisis. Simon & Schuster/Touchstone.
  • Pagels, Elaine. 1979. The Gnostic Gospels. Random House.
  • Friedman, Richard Elliott. 1987. Who Wrote the Bible?. Harper & Row/Perennial 1989.
  • Armstrong, Karen. 1993. A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Knopf.
  • Wilson, A. N. 1999. God’s Funeral. Norton.
  • Boyer, Pascal. 2001. Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. Basic Books.
  • Ehrman, Bart D. 2003. Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. Oxford.
  • Grayling, A. C. 2007. Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness. Oberon Books. (notes)
  • Hitchens, Christopher. 2007. god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Twelve.
  • Miller, Stephen M. 2007. The Complete Guide to the Bible. Barbour.
  • Prothero, Stephen. 2007. Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know–And Doesn’t. HarperSanFrancisco.
  • Stenger, Victor J. 2007. God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist. Prometheus Books.
  • Paulos, John Allen. 2008. Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up. Hill and Wang.
  • Blackwell, Russell, & Udo Schüklenk, eds. 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Wade, Nicholas. 2009. The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures. Penguin.
  • Oxford. 2010. The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha. Oxford University Press.
  • Teehan, John. 2010. In the Name of God: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Ethics and Violence. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • McCauley, Robert N. 2011. Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not. Oxford.
  • Rosenberg, Alex. 2011. The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions. Norton.
  • Krasney, Michael. 2010. Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest. New World Library.
  • Prothero, Stephen. 2010. God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter. HarperOne.
  • de Botton, Alain. 2012. Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion. Pantheon.
  • Grayling, A. C. 2013. The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism. Bloomsbury. (notes)
  • Wells, Steve, annotator. 2013. The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible: The King James Version from a skeptic’s point of view. SAB Books; online here.
  • Bayer, Lex, and John Figdor. Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-first Century. Rowman & Littlefield. (post)
  • Ehrman, Bart D. 2014. The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  • Kitcher, Philip. 2014. Life After Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism. Yale.
  • Zuckerman, Phil. 2014. Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions. Penguin Press. (post)
  • Barker, Dan. 2015. Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning. Pitchstone. (notes)
  • Ehrman, Bart D. 2016. Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented their Stories of the Savior. HarperOne. (notes)
  • Johnson, Dominic. 2016. God Is Watching You How the Fear of God Makes Us Human. Oxford University Press.
  • Van Scaik, Carol, & Kai Michel. 2016. The Good Book of Human Nature: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible. Basic Books.
  • Wathey, John C. 2016. The Illusion of God’s Presence: The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing. Prometheus.
  • Aslan, Reza. 2017. God: A Human History. Random House.
  • Crane, Tim. 2017. The Meaning of Belief: Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View. Harvard. (post
  • Asma, Stephen T. 2018. Why We Need Religion. Oxford.
  • Ehrman, Bart D. 2018. The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World. Simon & Schuster.
  • Hitchens/Dawkins/Harris/Dennett. 2019. The Four Horsemen: The Conversation that Sparked an Atheist Revolution. Random House.

Irrationality and Gullibility

  • Gardner, Martin. 1957. Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science: the Curious Theories of Modern Pseudoscientists and the Strange, Amusing and Alarming Cults that Surround Them. Dover, revised from 1952 In the Name of Science.
  • Hofstadter, Richard. 1963. Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Vintage tpb.
  • Moore, Patrick. 1972. Can You Speak Venusian? A Guide to the Independent Thinkers. Star pb 1976.
  • Sagan, Carl, and Thornton Page, eds. UFO’s: A Scientific Debate. Norton tpb 1974.
  • Evans, Christopher. 1973. Cults of Unreason. US 1974 Farrar Straus Giroux.
  • Kurtz, Paul. 1986. The Transcendental Temptation: A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal. Prometheus.
  • Humphrey, Nicholas. 1996. Leaps of Faith: Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation. Basic Books.
  • Kaminer, Wendy. 1999. Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety. Panthon.
  • Plait, Phil. 2002. Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing “Hoax”. Wiley.
  • Jacoby, Susan. 2008. The Age of American Unreason. Pantheon.
  • Kaplan, Matt. 2015. Science of the Magical: from the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers. Scribner.
  • Andersen, Kurt. 2017. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History. Random House. (summary of NYT review)
  • Prothero, Donald R., and Timothy D. Callahan. 2017. UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says. Indiana University Press.
  • Young, Kevin. Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News. Graywolf Press.

Skepticism and Tools for Thinking

  • Kahane, Howard. 3rd edition 1980. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life. Wadsworth. (Many later editions since 1980) (comments)
  • Whyte, Jamie. 2003. Crimes Against Logic: Exposing the Bogus Arguments of Politicians, Priests, Journalists, and Other Serial Offenders. US 2005 McGraw Hill.
  • Levitin, Daniel J. 2016. A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age. Dutton.
  • Novella, Dr. Steven, et al. 2018. The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake. Grand Central.

Morality and Meaning

  • (Also Harris 2010, Sagan 2006, Shermer 2004, 2015, Wilson 2014; Carroll 2016; Feynmann 1998)
  • Singer, Peter. 1981. The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2011 Princeton tpb.
  • Johnson, George. 1995. Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order. Knopf.
  • Kauffman, Stuart A. 2008. Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion. Basic Books.
  • Neiman, Susan. 2008. Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists. Harcourt.
  • Gleiser, Marcelo. 2014. The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning. Basic Books.
  • May, Todd. 2015. A Significant Life: Human Meaning in a Silent Universe. University of Chicago.
  • Gleiser, Marcelo. 2016. The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher’s Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything. ForeEdge.
  • May, Todd. 2019. A Decent Life: Morality for the Rest of Us. University of Chicago.

Politics and Social Issues

  • Hughes, Robert. 1993. Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America. Oxford.
  • Henry, William A. III. 1994. In Defense of Elitism. Doubleday.
  • Glassner, Barry. 1999. The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things. Basic Books.
  • Keen, Andrew. 2007. The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture. Doubleday/Currency.
  • Lakoff, George. 2008. The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain. Viking.
  • Mooney, Chris. 2012. The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science–and Reality. Wiley. (notes)
  • Niose, David. 2014. Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Junger, Sebastian. 2016. Tribe: On Homecoming the Belonging. Twelve.
  • Prothero, Stephen. 2016. Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): The Battles that Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage. HarperOne. (comments)
  • Levitan, Dave. 2017. Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science. Norton.
  • Nichols, Tom. 2017. The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters. Oxford.
  • Sloman, Steven, and Philip Fernbach. 2017. The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone. Riverhead Books. (summary of NYT review)
  • Davies, William. 2018. Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason. US Norton 2019.
  • Fukuyama, Francis. 2018. Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Kakutani, Michio. 2018. The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump. Tim Duggan Books.
  • Rosling, Hans, et al. 2018. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think. Flatiron Books.
  • Gopnik, Adam. 2019. A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism. Basic Books.
  • O’Connor, Cailin, and James Owen Weatherall. 2019. The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread. Yale.

Technology

  • Brin, David. 1998. The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?. Addison Wesley.
  • Brand, Stuart. 1999. The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility. Basic Books.
  • Gleick, James. 1999. Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. Pantheon.
  • Broderick, Damien. 2001. The Spike: How Our Lives are Being Transformed by Rapidly Advancing Technologies. Forge.
  • Kelly, Kevin. 2010. What Technology Wants. Viking.
  • Gleick, James. 2011. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. Pantheon.
  • Tegmark, Max. 2017. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Knopf.
  • Metzl, Jamie. 2019. Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and Future of Humanity. Sourcebooks.

Possible Futures

  • (Also Diamond 2005; Harari 2017, 2018; Sagan 1994)
  • Clarke, Arthur C. 1958. Profiles of the Future. 2/e pb Popular Library 1977; other editions to 1999. (notes)
  • Clarke, Arthur C. 1968. The Promise of Space. Harper & Row.
  • Benford, Gregory. 1999. Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia. Avon Bard.
  • Sterling, Bruce. 2002. Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years. Random House.
  • Rees, Martin. 2003. Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future in This Century–On Earth and Beyond. Basic Books.
  • Weisman, Alan. 2007. The World Without Us. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne.
  • Kolbert, Elizabeth. 2014. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Henry Holt. (notes)
  • Bregman, Rutger. 2017. Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World. Little, Brown. [2014 in the Netherlands]
  • Kaku, Michio. 2018. The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth. Doubleday.
  • Keen, Andrew. 2018. How to Fix the Future. Atlantic Monthly Press.
  • Rees, Martin. 2018. On the Future: Prospects for Humanity. Princeton. (notes)
  • McKibben, Bill. 2019. Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?. Henry Holt.
  • Wallace-Wells, David. 2019. The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. Tim Duggan Books.

Essays

  • Einstein, Albert. 1954. Ideas and Opinions. Dell pb 1978.
  • Feynman, Richard P. 1999. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman. Perseus Books.
  • Grayling, A. C. 2015. The Challenge of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times. Bloomsbury.
  • Hawking, Stephen. 1993. Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays. Bantam.
  • Hawking, Stephen. 2018. Brief Answers to the Big Questions. Bantam. (post)
  • Lightman, Alan. 1996. Dance for Two: Selected Essays. Pantheon.
  • Lightman, Alan. 2018. Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine. Pantheon.
  • Singer, Peter. 2016. Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter. Princeton.
  • Thomas, Lewis. 1974. The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher. Bantam pb 1975. (comments)
  • Thomas, Lewis. 1979. The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher. Viking.
  • Thomas, Lewis. 1983. Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. Viking. (notes)
  • Weinberg, Steven. 2009. Lake Views: This World and the Universe. Belknap Harvard.
  • Weinberg, Steven. 2018. Third Thoughts. Harvard/Belknap Press.