History of Science

  • Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, W. W. Norton and Co., 2012.

  • James Gleick, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood , Vintage, 2012.

  • Siddhartha Mukherjee The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer , Harper Collins, 2010.

  • Leonard Mlodinow The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives , Pantheon, 2008.
    The book is full of interesting anecdotes. Interestnig even for someone well-versed in probability theory.

  • Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, Walker 1995.
    Read about how the Grand Challenge of its time was solved.

  • Dava Sobel, Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love, Penguin, 2000.
    The story of Galileo told through his daughter's letters to him. Don't miss the ending!

  • David Bodains, E=mc^2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation, Berkley, 2000.
    A very entertaining book.

  • Nick Taylor, LASER: The Inventor, The Nobel Laureate, and the Thirty-Year Patent War, Simon and Shuster, 2000.

  • Ken Alder, The Measure of All Things: The Seven Year Odyssey and Hidden Error that Transformed the World, Free Press, 2002.
    The story behind the standardization of the Meter.

  • Simon Singh, Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem, Anchor Books, 1997.
    Do you often wonder what it's like to think about one problem for a long time?

  • Simon Singh, The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography, Anchor Books, 1999.

  • Simon Singh, Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe,, Fourth Estate, 2005.

  • Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin , Broadway, 2012.

  • Erik Larson, Thunderstruck, , Crown, 2006.

  • Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City, , Vintage, 2003.


  • Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution , Vintage, 1991.

  • Ian Kershaw, Hitler: A biography W.W. Norton & Co., 2010.

  • Candice Millars, Destiny of the Republlic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, Anchor, 2012.

  • Sadakat Kaderi, The Trial: Four THousand Years of Courtroom Drama , Random House, 2007.

  • Scott Anderson, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East , Anchor, 2014.

  • Reza Aslan, Zealot , Random House, 2013.

  • Thomas Asbridge, The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land, Ecco, 2011.

  • Jon Meacham, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House , Random House, 2009

  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
    I first picked this book up after I heard Barack Obama talk about it during the primary campaign. Don't be intimidated by its length, I could not put it down once I started on it. Obama seems to be applying the basic ideas in putting together his cabinet. This is obviously written as a history book but it really doubles up as a management book.

  • David McCullough, John Adams , Simon and Shuster, 2006.
    Read about the 2nd President of the United States. His presidency and the events surrounding it are responsible for setting the tone for the early American political experience. The book is much more interesting than the HBO movie.

  • Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary Perrenial, 1999.
    You will never look at a dictionary the same way again!

  • David Starkey, Six Wives: The Queens of Henry the VIII, Harper Collins, 2003.
    A true story unmatched by any fictional account.

  • David Starkey, Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne, Perennial, 2000.
    The ultimate fight-to-get-a-job story.

  • David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, Avon, 1989.
    A must-read for anyone interested in the modern history of the Middle East.

  • Donald Neff, Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower Takes America into the Middle East, Linden Press, 1981.
    If you enjoy this book you will enjoy the subsequent parts that complete Neff's Trilogy. You can find them at on-line used book stores easily.

  • Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, , Knopf, 2006

  • Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Norton, 1999.
    A theory of Macro-History. Now everything makes sense.

  • David McCullough, 1776 Simon and Schuster, 2005.

Books on Paris and France

Note: I read these books when my family and I spent a month in Paris in Summer 2006. I highly recommend them.

  • Colin Jones, Paris: The Biography of a City, Penguin, 2005.

  • Alistair Horne, La Belle France: A short History, Vintage, 2004.

  • William Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution (2nd Ed), Oxford, 2002.

Miscellaneous Non-Fiction

  • Jim Holt, Why does the world exist? An exisitentia detective story, Liverlight, 2013.

  • Jeff Greenfield, Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics , Berkley Trade, 2012.

  • Carl Zimmer, Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, Perennial, 2001.

  • Jim Defede, The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland, Harper Collins, 2002.

    Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success,, Back Bay Books, 2011.

  • Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The power of thinking without thinking, Little Brown, 2005.

  • Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Back Bay Books, 2002.

  • Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, Freakanomics: A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything,, Morrow, 2005.

  • Thomas Friedman The World is Flat: A brief History of the twenty-first century, Ferrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.

  • Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A story of race and inheritance, Three Rivers Press, 2004.

  • Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on reclaiming the American Dream, Random House, 2006.


  • George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire Series (a.K.a. The Game of Thrones Series) , Bantam 2011.
    A great escape into a detailed made up world.

  • Harry Turtledove, Guns of the South , Del Rey, 1997.
    Once you get over the time-travel belief hurdle, I found this book really enjoyable. You can read this at many levels.

  • Harry Turtledove and Martin Harry Greenberg(Eds), The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century , Del Rey 2001.
    If you enjoyed Back to the Future you will enjoy alternate history. This book is a great introduction to the genre with many pointers for other books to read.

  • Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, The Light of Other Days, Tom Doherty Assoc., 2000.
    The consequences of progress in communication taken to an extreme.

  • James Hynes, Publish and Perish: Three Tales of Tenure and Terror, Picador, 1997.
    The title tells it all. Make sure to read the three stories in sequence.

  • James Hynes, The Lecturer's Tale, Picador, 2001.
    You need to be an academic to enjoy this.

  • James Hynes, Kings of Infinite Space , Picador, 2004.
    OK, so I can't have enough of James Hynes' books.

  • Arthur C. Clarke (and Gentry Lee) The Rama Series: Rednezvous with Rama, Rama II, The Garden of Rama, and Rama Revealed.

Authors of "Mindless" Fiction That I like

  • Dan Brown
  • Michael Connelly
  • Robin Cook
  • Michael Crichton
  • John Grisham
  • Greg Iles
  • P.D. James
  • Richard North Patterson
  • Guillaume Musso (in French)