Best Science Books 2016: Goodreads Choice Awards

As you all have no doubt noticed over the years, I love highlighting the best science books every year via the various end of year lists that newspapers, web sites, etc. publish. I've done it so far in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

And here we are in 2016!

As in previous years, my definition of "science books" is pretty inclusive, including books on technology, engineering, nature, the environment, science policy, public health, history & philosophy of science, geek culture and whatever else seems to be relevant in my opinion.

Today's list is Goodreads Choice Awards: Nonfiction, Memoir and Autobiography, History and Biography, Science and Technology.

  • The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
  • The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
  • The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll
  • Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich
  • Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett
  • Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James R. Doty
  • In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan, Caren Zucker
  • Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness by Nathanael Johnson
  • On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor
  • Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths
  • Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant
  • I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
  • The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
  • Time Travel: A History by James Gleick
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
  • Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest by Julie Zickefoose
  • Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal

And check out my previous 2016 lists here!

You can also check out my appearances on the Science for the People Gifts for Nerds podcasts for the last few years: 2014, 2015, 2016.

Many of the lists I use are sourced via the Largehearted Boy master list.

(Astute readers will notice that I kind of petered out on this project a couple of years ago and never got around to the end of year summary since then. Before loosing steam, I ended up featuring dozens and dozens of lists, virtually every list I could find that had science books on it. While it was kind of cool to be so comprehensive, not to mention that it gave the summary posts a certain statistical weight, it was also way more work than I had really envisioned way back in 2008 or so when I started doing this. As a result, I'm only going to highlight particularly large or noteworthy lists this year and forgo any kind of end of year summary. Basically, all the fun but not so much of the drudgery.)

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