Books written for a general audience from an evolutionary perspective comprise one of the fastest growing genres of non-fiction literature. Some have received the highest literary honors, such as Jonathan Weiner’s Beak of the Finch and Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, which won the Pulitzer Prize. Some cover biological topics, while others cover the length and breadth of human affairs. This page provides a small sample to whet your appetite.
General books on evolution
- Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives, by David Sloan Wilson.
- What Evolution Is, by Ernst Mayr.
- The Blind Watchmaker, by Richard Dawkins
- Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, by Carl Zimmer
- Charles Darwin: Voyaging (volume 1 of a biography), by Janet Browne
- Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (volume 2 of a biography), by Janet Browne
Books by Fall 2012 EvoS Seminar speakers
- The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions by Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven
- In the Name of God: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Ethics and Violence by John Teehan
Books by Past EvoS Seminar speakers
- Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, by Barbara Ehrenreich
- Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War, by Barbara Ehrenreich
- The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium, by Joseph Graves Jr.
- The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, by Jonathan Haidt
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, by Jonathan Haidt
- The Science of Self Control, by Howard Rachlin
- War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires, by Peter Turchin
Graduate Students’ Choice!
Every year, students taking the introductory graduate course “Evolution and Human Affairs” (Biol 570) select a book to review. Their choices illustrate the range of human-related topics being explored from an evolutionary perspective.
- The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
- Kindness in a Cruel World, by Nigel Barber
- Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Characteristics, by David Geary
- Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
- The Literary Animal, edited by Jonathan Gottschall and David Sloan Wilson
- The Red Queen, by Matt Ridley
- The Evolution Diet: What and How We Are Designed to Eat, by Joseph Morse
- On Desire, by William B. Irvine
- The Origins of Virtue, by Matt Ridley
- The Dark Side of Man: Tracing the Origins of Male Violence, by Michael P. Ghiglieri
- The Ancestress Hypothesis: Visual Art as Adaptation, by Kathryn Coe
- Saxons, Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland, by Brian Sykes
- Freedom Evolves, by Daniel Dennett
- The Scars of Evolution, by Elaine Morgan
- Thought in a Hostile World, by Kim Sterelny
- The Evolution of Morality, by Richard Joyce
- The Talking Ape, by Robbins Burling
Enough about us. How about the rest of life?
Although it is fascinating to study our own species from an evolutionary perspective, let’s not forget evolutionary theory’s amazing explanatory scope for all other creatures.
- The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution, by Sean B. Carroll
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom, by Sean B. Carroll
- The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World, by Michael Pollan
- Terrible Lizard: The First Dinosaur Hunters and the Birth of a New Science, by Deborah Cadbury
- The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow and Empathy—and Why They Matter, by Marc Bekoff
- The Singing Life Of Birds: The Art And Science Of Listening To Birdsong, by Donald Kroodsma
- Exploring Animal Behavior: Readings From the American Scientist, by Paul Sherman and John Alcock.