top of page
  • Writer's pictureNovel Nest

10 Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time According To Evolutionary Biologist Colin Wright

When an evolutionary biologist like Colin Wright recommends a list of nonfiction books, you can be sure that these selections are not only thought-provoking but also deeply rooted in the realm of science, culture, and human nature.

Let's dive into the top 10 nonfiction books recommended by Colin Wright, exploring topics that range from evolutionary biology to social issues, and everything in between.

So, let's get started with this intriguing literary journey.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.

Richard Dawkins takes readers on a mesmerizing journey back through time in "The Ancestor's Tale." This book is a fascinating exploration of our shared ancestry, as we travel backward through the tree of life, encountering our distant relatives. Dawkins masterfully weaves together science and storytelling, providing profound insights into the history of life on Earth. It's a must-read for anyone eager to understand the origins of the human species and the incredible diversity of life that surrounds us.

“My objection to supernatural beliefs is precisely that they miserably fail to do justice to the sublime grandeur of the real world. They represent a narrowing-down from reality, an impoverishment of what the real world has to offer.”― Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution

"Unmasked" by Andy Ngo offers an unflinching look into the radical elements of contemporary society. Ngo's investigative work takes readers deep into the world of Antifa, shedding light on their tactics, goals, and impact. This book provides a critical perspective on the challenges democracy faces in the modern world, making it a thought-provoking read for anyone interested in current political and social dynamics.

“The word “violence” is being systematically remade to conform to their worldview. Looting and arson aren’t violence, they argue. And yet physical violence directed at their opponents is also not violence but rather “self-defense.”― Andy Ngo, Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy

"Galileo's Middle Finger" by Alice Dreger is an enthralling exploration of the history of scientific controversies. It delves into the experiences of scholars who dared to challenge prevailing orthodoxies and provides insights into the tumultuous nature of scientific inquiry. Dreger's book highlights the battles that often accompany the pursuit of truth and the resilience required to stand against the status quo.

“Science and democracy grew up together in Europe and North America, as twins; it is no coincidence that so many of America’s Founding Fathers were science geeks.”― Alice Dreger, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar's Search for Justice

Abigail Shrier's "Irreversible Damage" is a thought-provoking examination of the transgender phenomenon and its societal implications. Shrier raises important questions about the rapid cultural changes related to gender identity, particularly among young people. Her book is a crucial read for anyone who seeks to understand the complexities and consequences of these changes.

“I can’t think of any branch of medicine outside of cosmetic surgery where the patient makes the diagnosis and prescribes the treatment. This doesn’t exist.”― Abigail Shrier, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters

"Cynical Theories" by Helen Pluckrose provides a comprehensive exploration of how activist scholarship has influenced contemporary discussions on race, gender, and identity. Pluckrose and co-author James Lindsay examine the impact of postmodern thought on academia and society, offering a critical perspective on the intersection of ideology and scholarship. This book is an invaluable resource for those interested in the dynamics of modern discourse.

“But this principle is based on a more profound philosophical idea—that no matter how certain you may be that you are in possession of the truth, you have no right to impose your belief on society as a whole.”― Helen Pluckrose, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody

Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind" delves into the psychology of morality and the factors that divide good people along political and religious lines. Haidt's work provides a captivating journey into the human psyche and the evolutionary origins of moral and ethical beliefs. It's a must-read for those eager to understand the root causes of ideological disagreements.

“Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.”― Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

In "The Blank Slate," Steven Pinker challenges the notion that humans are infinitely malleable and that culture entirely shapes who we are. Pinker explores the interplay between biology and culture in shaping human behavior, urging readers to consider the role of genetics and evolution in understanding our nature. This book is essential for those interested in the dynamic relationship between nature and nurture.

Equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.”― Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

"Higher Superstition" by Professor Paul R. Gross is a critical examination of the influence of postmodernism and critical theory on scientific discourse. It questions the impact of these ideologies on academia and science, emphasizing the importance of maintaining rigorous scientific standards. This book is a compelling defense of the scientific method and is a must-read for those concerned about the boundaries of scientific knowledge.

“We believe that the health of a culture is measured in part by the vigor with which its immune system responds to nonsense.”― Paul R. Gross, Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science

Jonathan Rauch's "Kindly Inquisitors" advocates for the importance of free thought and open dialogue in society. This expanded edition defends the principles of free expression and intellectual freedom, making a compelling case for the value of robust and respectful discourse. It is an essential resource for those interested in the state of intellectual freedom in today's world.

“In a conflict of opinion between Einstein and a fool, one wishes for Einstein to prevail. And in a conflict between Einstein and thousand fools or a million, one wishes all the more for Einstein to prevail.”― Jonathan Rauch, Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought

"Wonderful Life" by Stephen Jay Gould explores the fossil record, specifically the Burgess Shale, to unravel the history and diversity of life on Earth. Gould's book is a captivating journey through evolutionary history, shedding light on the fascinating creatures that once populated our planet. It leaves readers with a profound appreciation for the complexity of the natural world and the mysteries of deep time.

“Alter any event, ever so slightly and without apparent importance at the time, and evolution cascades into radically different channel.”― Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

“Alter any event, ever so slightly and without apparent importance at the time, and evolution cascades into radically different channel.”― Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History


If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out more similar list on my on my blog —

Colin Wright's list of the best nonfiction books of all time is a diverse and thought-provoking collection.

From evolutionary biology to societal challenges and scientific controversies, these books offer readers a chance to explore a wide range of topics and perspectives.

Whether you're a science enthusiast, a critical thinker, or simply a curious reader, these books are sure to provide you with valuable insights and food for thought.


bottom of page