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Old 20-09-2010, 16:16   #1
MetalGearAl
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Question Good pop-science non-fiction reads?

Have recently read Quirkology which I really liked, and am about to start Freakenomics which looks a bit similar. Looking for other popular-science / non-fiction books, any recommendations?

Have also read Bad Science which is a great book, and have had Stiff recommended to me which looks interesting, so might be giving that a go.

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Old 20-09-2010, 20:46   #2
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Amazon.co.uk

Really liked that one.
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Old 21-09-2010, 11:55   #3
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Certainly looks interesting! Looks like a uni textbook

I do like the books that don't assume any prior knowledge on a subject but manage to cover a good deal too.

Should say it's not just science I'm interested in, any engaging non-fiction recommendations are appreciated. I never finished Bill Bryson's A Short History Of Nearly Everything, which I should perhaps revisit.

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Old 21-09-2010, 12:07   #4
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Thats meant to be good as well, always meant to try that one myself. The book I recommend is one of my favourite nonfictions, it contains multiple different ways of looking at time and is an easy read with its conversational style explaining things for the layman. One example of the top of my head, if you kept reducing time to smaller and smaller increments you should theoretically end up with a load of still pictures!
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Old 21-09-2010, 15:48   #5
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Why Evolution Is True

Brilliant book
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Old 22-09-2010, 06:07   #6
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Has anyone tried updating to the 3.0.2 Kindle early preview yet?
http://amzn.to/kindleupdate
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Old 22-09-2010, 09:09   #7
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Age of Wonder is a good read. Long and dense - but a very interesting group biography of Banks, Herschel and Davy (amongst others), their achievements, and how that all fitted in to the history of the 18th/19th century.

If you like books like Freakonomics and Gladwell's books, you should take a look at Risk which I really enjoyed.

Will keep an eye on this thread as I'd like to read some more along these sort of lines.
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Old 22-09-2010, 10:42   #8
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A Short History of Nearly Everything - was very good, plus you can just dip in and out of it.

You could try some of the New Scientists 'question' type books like Why Don't penguins feet freeze.

Or More specific ones like Simon Singh's Code Book - book on history of codes but touches on maths and computers is very interesting
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Old 23-09-2010, 12:15   #9
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Life at the Extremes / Frances Ashcroft investigates
Quote:
how much can the human body endure? What can it survive, what causes it to fail? Why can some creatures tolerate conditions that would kill others?
Excellent book. Here it is on Google books.
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Old 23-09-2010, 17:42   #10
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Asimov wrote this one years ago...
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Old 23-09-2010, 18:13   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martinb View Post
Why Evolution Is True

Brilliant book
And if you like that, I'd also nominate this book as well, as it goes deeper into the fossil evidence:

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
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Old 27-09-2010, 19:22   #12
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Thanks for the recommendations! Like the look of Why Evolution Is True and Risk.
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Old 08-11-2010, 21:06   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbly Jelly View Post
Or More specific ones like Simon Singh's Code Book - book on history of codes but touches on maths and computers is very interesting
Fermat's Last Theorem (also Simon Singh) is a very good read too - all about the history of pure mathematics.

The other two books that kind of fit into this category that I'd recommend looking up are 'Longtitude' by Dava Sobel and 'The Surgeon of Crowthorne' by Simon Winchester.
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Old 11-05-2011, 23:54   #14
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Al are you interested in non-fiction that isn't science? I'm looking for some good non-fiction books myself
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Old 16-05-2011, 06:29   #15
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Definitely, anything that's a good read. I picked up Mark Thomas' Belching Out The Devil last year and still haven't gotten around to reading it though
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Old 16-05-2011, 10:20   #16
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These are on my "to read" list, Al. If you know of anything similar that you can recommend I'd be interested. Amazon.co.uk used to have a non-fiction chart, now it seems to be split into sub-catagories (ie cookery, biography, etc) so it's hard to spot any of the best NF books.

Free lunch (explains the basics of economics)
The ascent of money (based on the documentary series last year)
Bounce (Gladwell discussed the idea that "talented" people are often those who spend most time practising. This book is about that idea)
The triumph of the City (How cities are the reason for most of the worlds success)
Checklist - Artul Gurwande (Checklists can solve a lot of problems, y'all!)
The Drunkards walk (How Randomness Rules Our Lives. Looks at things like probability
The Black Swan (Gladwell mentioned this in one of his books)
Out on your feet (Journalist takes part in an annual 100mile walk)

The one book I highly recommend is "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. His premise is that Humans were born to run and we don't and he explores that idea but most of the book is really a story about how he tries to find an american living in the mountains in Mexico, among a tribe who are known to run hundreds of miles a day. It's truly excellent and someone should make it into a film

EDIT: I've just seen that it's number 17 in the Amazon.com non-fiction chart (they have a non-fiction chart!). It's got 4.5 stars and 723 reviews. If that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is.

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Old 16-05-2011, 11:07   #17
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I enjoyed these food-related titles -

Fast Food Nation: What The All-American Meal is Doing to the World - film version was fictional, this is factual and very wide ranging - from farming to the plate. Gets a bit 'too American' in places though (eg: their school system).

Don't Eat This Book - Morgan Spurlock - more researched than you might think from watching the film-version 'Supersize Me', and not as light-hearted, but very readable.

China Study, The: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted - Colin Campbell - given a snappy title by the publishers, this is a review of decades of nutritional research.
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Old 18-05-2011, 00:04   #18
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I wonder if you're joking about the last one! Forgot about FFN, that's a fairly old one though.
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Old 27-05-2011, 08:32   #19
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Just finished FFN, it was okay but it covered much of the same material as the documentary Food Inc. which is more recent but I saw first.
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Old 15-06-2011, 07:33   #20
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There's been a few non-fiction titles free on the Kindle these last few weeks - check out recent entries on this thread - link is to p7 but there is a p8 too.
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