Experts > Helen Scales

Helen Scales's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Helen Scales recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Helen Scales's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Deep in a polluted city, a worker escapes his office for a sandwich on a park bench. But his moment's peace is shattered by a stranger - a seaman with a tale to tell...

The Rime of the Modern Mariner is a recasting of Coleridge's famous poem - now, though, the fantastical voyage is one of environmental disaster. Stranded in the North Pacific Gyre - a vast, hypoxic maelstrom of plastic waste - the mariner comes face to face with the consequences of man's excessive consumption - in the form of wrathful gods, petroleum slicks and tsunamis, ghostly apparitions, and the great...
Recommended by Helen Scales, and 1 others.

Helen ScalesThis graphic novel is a beautiful re-telling of Coleridge’s poem for our modern plastic-filled times. It carries a really chilling message about our consumer-driven lives and its consequences on our planet and the ocean in particular. The book is also an object of great loveliness with stunning illustrations. In and of itself it is a beautiful thing to have, but the story is also very touching... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...



From the author of the bestselling novel "The Riders" comes a bewitching fable sure to delight readers of all ages. A wise exploration of the difference between the acquisition of information and the quest for knowledge, Tim Winton's gem-like ecological fable will warm the hearts of his fans. Illustrations National author publicity. . less
Recommended by Helen Scales, and 1 others.

Helen ScalesI read this story years ago and it is just lovely. Winton calls it a fable for all ages and I think that is absolutely true. I read it to my nephews when they were about seven but I think everyone should read it no matter how old they are. It is about a boy called Abel Jackson who grows up in this gorgeous part of what I presume is the Western Australian coast, because that is where the author... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


Lady with a Spear

Recommended by Helen Scales, and 1 others.

Helen ScalesI had the great honour of meeting her when she was in her late 80s. She is an absolute inspiration to me. Getting a chance to sit down and chat with her over lunch was a joy. She had been studying the ocean for 60 years and was still diving, still researching and still as much in love with the ocean as she ever was. I felt a huge connection with her. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

In Four Fish, award-winning writer and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a culinary journey, exploring the history of the fish that dominate our menus — salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna — and investigating where each stands at this critical moment in time.

He visits Norwegian megafarms that use genetic techniques once pioneered on sheep to grow millions of pounds of salmon a year. He travels to the ancestral river of the Yupik Eskimos to see the only Fair Trade–certified fishing company in the world. He makes clear how PCBs and mercury find their way into...
Recommended by Barry Estabrook, Helen Scales, and 2 others.

Barry EstabrookThis book is totally unbiased and very serious at looking for solutions to the global fisheries problem. He picks four iconic fish to use as examples to serve for the whole spectrum. So there is tuna, salmon, cod and sea bass. He doesn’t condemn fish farming outright but he explores ways to do it so that we continue to fish in what is the last wild place where we get our food. (Source)

Helen ScalesGreenberg brings Roberts’s story bang up to date. He answers questions about what we eat today and how that is affecting the ocean. He picks four fish, which in the western world at least are the main species we eat. Those are tuna, salmon, cod and sea bass. It is a fascinating story about how we got hooked on those four species, which he tells from his perspective as an avid angler. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


The Unnatural History of the Sea

Humanity can make short work of the oceans’ creatures. In 1741, hungry explorers discovered herds of Steller’s sea cow in the Bering Strait, and in less than thirty years, the amiable beast had been harpooned into extinction. It’s a classic story, but a key fact is often omitted. Bering Island was the last redoubt of a species that had been decimated by hunting and habitat loss years before the explorers set sail.

As Callum M. Roberts reveals in The Unnatural History of the Sea, the oceans’ bounty didn’t disappear overnight. While today’s fishing industry is ruthlessly...
Recommended by Denise Russell, Helen Scales, and 2 others.

Denise RussellNow we know that all the major commercial fish populations are in trouble, we’ve probably got until about 2050 to be harvesting wild fish. (Source)

Helen ScalesThis book goes through the sequence of events that led us to today’s depleted ocean. It takes you back to a time when people believed the oceans were essentially inexhaustible. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Don't have time to read Helen Scales's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.