Good Books on Evolution

We know little about ourselves or the world without an understanding of evolution because everything evolves. Here is a list of some good books on the implications of evolutionary theory that I have read and recommend. For more information click on one of the links below. (** Books that had a special influence on my thinking.)

• Philip Appleman ~ Darwin (Norton Critical Editions)
. Philip Appleman ~ The Labyrinth: God, Darwin, and the Meaning of Life
• Barlow, Connie ~ Evolution Extended: Biological Debates on the Meaning of Life **
• Pascal Boyer ~ Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought
• Richard Dawkins ~ The Selfish Gene ** 
• Richard Dawkins ~ The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals …
• Daniel Dennett ~ Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life **
• Ed Gibney ~ Evolutionary Philosophy
• Stephen Jay Gould ~ The Panda’s Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History
• Stephen Jay Gould ~ The Mismeasure of Man (Revised & Expanded)
• Julian Huxley ~ Evolutionary Humanism (Great Minds Series)
• George Levine ~ Darwin Loves You: Natural Selection and the Re-enchantment of the …
• Jacques Monod ~ Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern …
• Richard Morris ~ The Evolutionists: The Struggle for Darwin’s Soul
• Michael Ruse ~ Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose?
• Michael Ruse ~ Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy
• Steve Stewart-Williams ~ Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary …
• E.O. Wilson ~ On Human Nature: With a new Preface, Revised Edition ** 
• Robert Wright ~ Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny ** 
• John Ziman ~ Technological Innovation as an Evolutionary Process

7 thoughts on “Good Books on Evolution

  1. The overlap between your library and mine is fascinating. I have a number of the books you mentioned in previous posts, and a number of the ones on this list. I have another author to add to your list: Stephen Jay Gould. He wrote a series of essays about science and evolution during the 80s and 90s, all of which ended up being compiled into a number of books. The man is a magnificent writer; each of his essays, no matter how odd the subject, is fascinating. He covers a huge range of topics within biology and evolution. His books are fun to read. I do not agree with everything he writes; he can be strident at times and his dismissal of evolutionary psychology is just plain wrong. However, the man was a genius and the world is poorer for his death.

    By the way, I happen to know another man named Stephen Jay Gould, who is also an author of books — but they’re science fiction, not biology. Odd coincidence.

  2. I did a summary of it for my meaning of life book and also quoted from it in my book on Piaget’s biology. Forgot about it. I’ll add it. JGM

  3. Thanks Chris. I have read or perused many of Gould’s books but forgot about them when compiling this list. I’ll go to Amazon and add the ones I most remember. JGM

  4. I will add to the list “The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution” by David Quammen.
    This book takes you into the philosophical, spiritual and human (father, husband, scientist) struggle Darwin went through while developing his theory of natural selection; an aspect of the man that is rarely touched upon in the literature of evolution.
    Another comment I would like to make relates to the image at the top of the entry that is often used in books and articles on evolution. To start with it is misleading because it gives the impression of the evolution of man as a progression from ape to man when the truth is that evolution is a branching process. The second criticism I have is that the image is unfortunate because it contains unintended racist message. It seems to say that the present final product of the evolution of man is Caucasian in looks. Note also that behind the Caucasian figure there are two figures like whom you can still find people who have the same silhouettes.

  5. Hey! I’m embarrassed to be on here with my self-published stake in the ground from which I built my website, but thank you deeply for the mention. I hope my more rigorous revision someday will earn two ** from a few more people.

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