10 Best Science Books to Read in 2023
Written and Reviewed by: Elysium Health
Here are ten of our favorite science books to read in 2023, from a masterful exploration of cell biology to a practical guide for feeling better in your body. One big highlight is a book on living a healthy, happy, long life from an 80-year study of life satisfaction. We hope you find these books enjoyable and useful in your own life.
The Good Life: Lessons from the World's Longest Scientific Study of Happiness
ROBERT WALDINGER & MARC SCHULZ
What makes people live happy, fulfilling, healthy lives? This book by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz, director and associate director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, has our best answer yet. Based on their findings from the longest scientific study of happiness ever conducted, Waldinger and Schulz point in particular to the role of good relationships—friends, lovers, coworkers, and others—for health and longevity.
The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human
Oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee has a follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning book about cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies. In Song of the Cell, Mukherjee explores the scientific journey of cell biology, from the discovery of cells as the individual building blocks of life in the 1600s to today’s advances in engineering cells to treat disease. His own experience as a doctor and researcher, and his metaphor-rich writing, bring the story to life.
How the World Really Works: A Scientist's Guide to Our Past, Present and Future
A “masterpiece” according to Bill Gates, How the World Really Works explores the major factors that govern human survival and prosperity, including global energy, food, material production, and trade. Smil, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba, uses data—and, importantly, makes it relatable—in explaining our current situation. Did you know, for instance, that a single supermarket tomato requires 5.5 tablespoons of diesel fuel?
The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science
Nancy Hopkins is a celebrated biologist and MIT professor emerita, but she endured discrimination and harassment beginning as an undergraduate. The Exceptions tells her story, and how she joined forces with 15 other women at MIT to advocate for change. They used their quantitative skills—measuring lab spaces and investigating how lab equipment was allocated—to conduct a four-year study showing how women were being kept small. While MIT ultimately owned up to sexual discrimination, The Exceptions describes many challenges that still persist for women in science.
A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease
Inflammation is “the body’s ancestral response to its greatest threats,” but chronic inflammation, unrelated to a particular injury or infection, is related to many diseases. In A Silent Fire, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, Shilpa Ravella, explores the scientific history of inflammation, current medical research, and offers insight into how we can better deal with inflammation through diet and attention to our microbiomes.
Built to Move: The Ten Essential Habits to Help You Move Freely and Live Fully
KELLY STARRETT & JULIET STARRETT
Do you want to reclaim your mobility and fitness, avoid injury, and stop paying experts to fix you? That’s the promise of high-profile physical therapist Kelly Starrett, whose practices seek to democratize feeling good in our bodies for longer. His latest book, Built to Move, includes 10 tests and 10 practices to achieve that goal—including domains beyond movement, like sleep and nutrition.
The Long COVID Handbook
GEZ MEDINGER & DANNY ALTMANN
Long COVID has been a distressing continuation of the pandemic for some 100 million people globally. Renowned immunologist Danny Altmann teamed up with Long COVID patient Gez Medinger to serve those living with Long COVID. Their book includes symptoms, treatments, tips for recovery, and more, for this underserved population.
Thinking with Your Hands: The Surprising Science Behind How Gestures Shape Our Thoughts
Communication is much more than just language, argues cognitive psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow in her new book, Thinking with Your Hands. Through the course of her research, she has “come to believe that gesture not only reveals our attitudes and feelings about ourselves, our listeners, and the conversation between us, but also contributes to the conversation itself.” Her book explores the science behind this conclusion, with surprising implications for our everyday lives.
The Darkness Manifesto: On Light Pollution, Night Ecology, and the Ancient Rhythms that Sustain Life
Following our circadian rhythms, including light/dark cycles, is essential for our health—but what happens when the whole planet is becoming brighter? That’s the question Swedish bat scientist and conservationist Johan Eklöf explores in The Darkness Manifesto. The book is both a call to appreciate the darkness and a scientific exploration of what goes wrong for us and other living creatures when we don’t.
An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the World Around Us
A science journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Ed Yong has become a household name for anyone who appreciates deeply-researched science writing that reads like a novel. His latest book, An Immense World, brings readers inside the “Umwelt”—or sensory experience of the world—particular to beetles, turtles, plants, scallops, and other animals. Readers will finish this book with a greater appreciation for the genius and importance of our fellow creatures.
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