Last week, I asked readers to name five must-read books on science and technology. The results are below. I included nominations from my comments section, from the comments over at Crooked Timber, and from any other blogs I spotted. This represents the consensus of about thirty people.
The most-mentioned book was Hofstadter’s Goedel, Escher, Bach, which received eight votes. Interestingly, GEB was the only book that received negative votes (urging me not to include it). One of the negative voters called it a “show-off book”.
|1||Goedel, Escher, Bach||Hofstadter||8|
|2||Guns, Germs, and Steel||Diamond||6|
|3 (tie)||On the Origin of Species||Darwin||5|
|3 (tie)||The Character of Physical Law||Feynman||5|
|5 (tie)||A Brief History of Time||Hawking||4|
|5 (tie)||What is Mathematics?||Courant, Robbins||4|
|5 (tie)||The Selfish Gene||Dawkins||4|
|8 (tie)||The Visual Display of Quantitative Information||Tufte||3|
|8 (tie)||The Double Helix||Watson, Crick||3|
Six books received two votes: Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Feynman’s The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, Medawar’s The Limits of Science, Pinker’s The Blank Slate, and Schneier’s Beyond Fear. Eighty-five books received a single mention.
As in the university presidents’ survey, the respondents to my query showed a notable lack of consensus.
I’ll post my list tomorrow.