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Sean B Carroll's Top Book Recommendations

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

David Quammen's book, The Song of the Dodo, is a brilliant, stirring work, breathtaking in its scope, far-reaching in its message -- a crucial book in precarious times, which radically alters the way in which we understand the natural world and our place in that world. It's also a book full of entertainment and wonders.
In The Song of the Dodo, we follow Quammen's keen intellect through the ideas, theories, and experiments of prominent naturalists of the last two centuries. We trail after him as he travels the world, tracking the subject of island biogeography, which...

Isabella TreeQuammen’s wondrous peregrination of islands takes us on a journey of evolutions and extinctions in order to illustrate how like islands our continents have become. (Source)

Sean B CarrollThe book covers the role that islands have played in our thinking about how nature works. (Source)

TC BoyleA brilliant journalist who can tell scientific stories with the kind of panache you’d expect from a novelist. (Source)

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In a new preface to this special edition of his critically acclaimed memoir, Francois Jacob recalls the events that brought him to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the early 1960's and taught him much about phage biology and the informal ways of American science. Throughout his book, Jacob demonstrates a scientist's eye for detail and a poet's instinct for the inner life, as he tells of a privileged Parisian boyhood, young love, heroism in war, and the fascination of life at the edge of scientific discovery.
Recommended by Sean B Carroll, and 1 others.

Sean B CarrollIt stands out in terms of scientists telling their own stories. (Source)

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Born eighteen months after the first Neanderthal skeleton was found and a year before Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, Eugene Dubois vowed to discover a powerful truth in Darwin's deceptively simple ideas. There is a link, he declared, a link as yet unknown, between apes and Man. It takes a brilliant writer to elucidate a brilliant mind, and Pat Shipman shines as never before. The Man Who Found the Missing Link is an irresistible tale of adventure, scientific daring, and a strange and enduring love--and it is true. less
Recommended by Sean B Carroll, and 1 others.

Sean B CarrollHe concluded that the most important thing anybody could ever discover was the supposed missing link between humans and apes. (Source)

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The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

Hailed as the definitive biography, this monumental work explains the character and paradoxes of Charles Darwin and opens up the full panorama of Victorian science, theology, and mores. The authors bring to life Darwin's reckless student days in Cambridge, his epic five-year voyage on the Beagle, and his grueling struggle to develop his theory of evolution.

Adrian Desmond and James Moore's gripping narrative reveals the great personal cost to Darwin of pursuing inflammatory truths—telling the whole story of how he came to his epoch-making conclusions.
Recommended by Sean B Carroll, and 1 others.

Sean B CarrollIt is an almost four-dimensional treatment of Darwin and his life and times. (Source)

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The Eighth Day of Creation

In this classic book, the distinguished science writer Horace Freeland Judson tells the story of the birth and early development of molecular biology in the US, the UK, and France. The fascinating story of the golden period from the revelation of the double helix of DNA to the cracking of the genetic code and first glimpses of gene regulation is told largely in the words of the main players, all of whom Judson interviewed extensively. The result is a book widely regarded as the best history of recent biological science yet published.

This commemorative edition, honoring the memory...
Recommended by Sean B Carroll, and 1 others.

Sean B CarrollWhatever unit of measurement you have for revolutions, this was a big one. (Source)

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