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Vlatko Vedral's Top Book Recommendations

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


The Evolution of Cooperation

The Evolution of Cooperation provides valuable insights into the age-old question of whether unforced cooperation is ever possible. Widely praised and much-discussed, this classic book explores how cooperation can emerge in a world of self-seeking egoists—whether superpowers, businesses, or individuals—when there is no central authority to police their actions. The problem of cooperation is central to many different fields. Robert Axelrod recounts the famous computer tournaments in which the “cooperative” program Tit for Tat recorded its stunning victories, explains its application to... more
Recommended by Vlatko Vedral, and 1 others.

Vlatko VedralWe can explain living systems scientifically very well, but what about human beings? What about the mind? I don’t think we have any ideas in science really how to attack this problem. Because, even defining what the mind or consciousness is, this is still completely open, and in science we have to have a good definition. So now we are not talking about biology any more; we are really talking... (Source)

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What Is Life? is a 1944 non-fiction science book written for the lay reader by physicist Erwin Schrödinger. The book was based on a course of public lectures delivered by Schrödinger in February 1943 at Trinity College, Dublin. Schrödinger's lecture focused on one important question: "how can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?" In the book, Schrödinger introduced the idea of an "aperiodic crystal" that contained genetic information in its configuration of covalent chemical bonds. In the... more
Recommended by Vlatko Vedral, and 1 others.

Vlatko VedralIn physics we always study simple, inanimate objects, so physicists find it very difficult to understand, for example, weather patterns, or financial markets. Anything that’s more complicated, it seems that we don’t have the same grasp that we have with atoms or things like that, so I think that’s exactly where I would like to go to with the next three books. Firstly, What is Life? by Erwin... (Source)

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Anybody who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it. Niels Bohr's dictum bears witness to the bewildering impact of quantum theory, flying in the face of classical physics and dramatically transforming scientists' outlook on our relationship with the material world. In this book Paul Davies interviews eight physicists involved in debating and testing the theory, with radically different views of its significance. less
Recommended by Vlatko Vedral, and 1 others.

Vlatko VedralThe Ghost in the Atom. This was actually a sequence of radio interviews recorded by Paul Davies, who’s probably the best populariser of physics we have. (Source)

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Quantum Physics

Illusion or Reality?

The concept of Quantum Physics led Einstein to state that "God does not play dice." The difficulty he, and others, had with Quantum Physics was the great conceptual leap it requires taking from conventional ways of thinking about the physical world. Alastair Rae's introductory exploration into this area has been hailed as a "masterpiece of clarity" and is an engaging guide to the theories offered. This revised edition contains a new chapter covering theories developed during the past decade. Alastair Rae has been a Lecturer, a Senior Lecturer, then Reader in Quantum Physics in the School of... more
Recommended by Jim Baggott, Vlatko Vedral, and 2 others.

Jim BaggottAn excellent introduction to the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment. (Source)

Vlatko VedralThis is a completely popular book about quantum physics: there is not a single equation in there, I think. What he does is to go through all the major ways in which we try to understand quantum physics, all the major interpretations. It’s extremely good in that he writes in a very objective way and it’s very difficult to tell which one he supports. It’s very passionately argued as well, and it’s... (Source)

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The Selfish Gene

Inheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we had since Mendel's work was rediscovered, we turn it around and imagine that "our" genes build and maintain us in order to make more genes. That simple reversal seems to answer many puzzlers which had stumped scientists for years, and we haven't thought of evolution in the same way since.



Charles T. Mungerrecommends this book in the second edition of Poor Charlie’s Almanack. (Source)

Matt RidleyTurned evolutionary biology on its head and was written like a great detective story. (Source)

Phil LibinHad a profound influence on me pretty early on. (Source)

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