The 20 Highest-Rated Science Books on Goodreads & Amazon

There are many excellent books about science out there, but some are the creme de la creme. These 20 are the highest-rated science books on Goodreads and Amazon.

The 20 Highest-Rated Science Books on Goodreads & Amazon
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Not all science-related books are created equal and these 20 highest-rated science books on Goodreads and Amazon are no exception. They cover a wide range of scientific disciplines and are a good mixture of old and new.

The list contains some absolute classics of scientific literature and some more modern masterpieces but all are well worth reading. We've created this list from the highest rated science books to be found on Goodreads and on Amazon and included their relative ratings for comparison, which it has also been sorted by.

best science books feynman
Source: Barak Sh/Wikimedia Commons

1. The Feynman Lectures on Physics

Author: Richard Feynman

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.59

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.7

The Feynman Lectures on Physics is a classic physics textbook based on series of lectures provided by legendary physicist Richard Feynman between 1961 and 1963.

Since it was first published in 1964 it has become the most widely read physics book of all time.

best science books cosmos
Source: Amazon

2. Cosmos 

Author: Carl Sagan

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.36

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.6

First published in 1980, Cosmos was written to compliment the incredibly influential, and still must watch, TV series of the same title.

Written by Carl Sagan, the book (and series) explores the mutual development of science and civilization. 

best science books blue dot
Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Author: Carl Sagan

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.33

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.6

The Pale Blue Dot is another fantastic book by the late, great, Carl Sagan. It was first published in 1994 and is officially the sequel to his equally popular Cosmos detailed above.

Inspired by the famous photo of the same name, this book mixed philosophy with the understanding of astronomy of its time.

best science books godel
Source: Amazon

4. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Author: Douglas R. Hofstadter

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.29

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.4

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid is another high-rated science book on both Amazon and Goodreads. It was first published in 1979 and is still popular today.

It explores how, through self-reference and formal rules, systems can acquire meaning despite being made of "meaningless" elements.

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best science books  joking feynman
Source: Amazon

5. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

Author: Richard Feynman

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.28

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.6

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Was first released in 1985 and is a selected collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.

It is a biography of sorts and covers various aspects of the man personal and professional life.

best science books Demon
Source: Amazon

6. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Author: Carl Sagan

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.27

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.7

 Another classic by Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World was first published in 1995. The book attempts to explain the scientific method to the "layman".

It also aims to promote critical and skeptical thinking - both sorely lacking in our current age.

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best science books nearly everything
Source: Amazon

7. A Short History of Nearly Everything

Author: Bill Bryson

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.2

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.6

A Short History of Nearly Everything is an incredibly popular science book written by Bill Bryson. The book attempts to explain various areas of science in an easy to understand and simply written in that manner.

It was first published in 2003 and is still very popular today.

best science books greatest show
Source: Amazon

8. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Author: Richard Dawkins

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.16

Average Amazon Rating out of 5:

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, by the great Richard Dawkins, was first released in 2009. It sets out, in typical Dawkins style, the evidence for biological evolution.

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It was his 10th book and comes highly recommended.

best science books Brief History
Source: Amazon

9. A Brief History of Time 

Author: Stephen Hawking

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.15

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.5

A Brief History of Time by the late, great Stephen Hawking, was first published in 1988 and is one of the most popular science books of all time.

Hawkings takes the reader on a journey through the origin and development of the Universe is an easy to read and non-technical format.

best science books The Universe in a Nutshell
Source: Amazon

10. The Universe in a Nutshell

Author: Stephen Hawking

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.14

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.5

The Universe in a Nutshell is another heavy-hitting science book by the venerable and much missed Stephen Hawking. It was first published in 2001 and its general theme is about theoretical physics.

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It is generally considered by many as the sequel, and update, to his hugely popular A Brief History of Time (above).

best science books The Selfish Gene
Source: Amazon

11. The Selfish Gene

Author: Richard Dawkins

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.13

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.5

The Selfish Gene is one of Richard Dawkins older classics but is still as popular today as it was back in 1976. Dawkins uses his idea of the selfish gene as a vehicle to explain the gene-centered nature of evolution.

In 2017 it was listed as the most influential science book of time by the Royal Society - and for good reason.

best science books fastslow
Source: Amazon

12. Thinking, Fast and Slow

Author: Daniel Kahneman

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.12

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Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.5

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman was first published in 2011 and won the 2012 National Academies Communication Award. It has since become one of the best selling science-related books of recent times.

The book focusses on helping the general public understand behavioral science, engineering, and medicine and summarizes research conducted by the author over several decades.

best science books hotzone
Source: Amazon

13. The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

Author: Richard Preston

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.11

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.7

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus is the best selling non-fiction thriller that was first published in 1995. It centers around the origins, and incidents of outbreaks of, viral hemorrhagic fevers, particularly ebolaviruses and marburgviruses.

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This is not one for the faint-hearted so be warned!

best science books blind watchmaker
Source: Amazon

14. The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

Author: Richard Dawkins

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.09

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.7

The Blind Watchmaker is another seminal piece by Richard Dawkins and one that has become a fond favorite for any science lover. It was first published in 1986 and is still a very widely read book today.

Within it, Dawkins explains and argues for, the theory of evolution by natural selection. It also includes refutations of criticisms he received for his first book The Selfish Gene.

best science books The Elegant Universe
Source: Amazon

15. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

Author: Brian Greene

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.07

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.5

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The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene, was first published in 1999 and was updated in 2003. The book attempts to introduce the reader to the string and superstring theory in an interesting and non-technical manner.

The book has been a huge success for Greene and even won the Royal Society Prize for Science books in 2000. It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction.

best science books Immortal Life
Source: Amazon

16. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.05

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.6

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was first published in 2010 and won the National Academies Communication Award in 2011. The book was written to help the public understand topics relating to science, engineering, and medicine.

It centers around Henrietta Lacks whose cervical cancer cells, that were biopsied in 1951, are still used today which are known as the immortal cell line or HeLa.

best science books man who mistook
Source: Amazon

17. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

Author: Oliver Sacks

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.05

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.2

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales was first published in 1985 and is written by the neurologist Oliver Sacks. It describes several case histories of his patients throughout his practicing career.

The title is based on one patient in particular, who he anonymizes as "Dr. P" who suffered from visual agnosia. A rare and debilitating disorder that prevents sufferers from recognizing faces and objects.

best science books guns germs steel
Source: Amazon

18. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Author: Jared Diamond

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 4.01

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.3

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies was written in 1997 by a professor of geography and physiology Jared Diamond. It won the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction in 1998 and the Aventis Prize for Best Science Book.

It is a transdisciplinary work that offers an explanation for why Eurasian and North African civilizations have survived and flourished over time. Its main focus is to dispell any notions of intellectual, moral, or other genetic superiority.

It is an incredibly important book for anyone interesting in human history and evolution to read.

best science books The Origin of Species
Source: Amazon

19. The Origin of Species

Author: Charles Darwin

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 3.98

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.2

The Origin of Species, or On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, is the original and best known scientific book on evolution. It was first published in 1859 and is a must read for any student for biology.

It is widely considered the principle foundational work for the entire field of evolutionary biology and is one of the most important pieces of scientific literature ever written. Darwin's book would change the very landscape of our understanding of man and our place in the natural world.

best science books freakonomics
Source: Amazon

20. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Author: Steven D. Levitt

Average Goodreads Rating out of 5: 3.95

Average Amazon Rating out of 5: 4.4

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything was the debut non-fiction book by economist Steven Levitt and NYT journalist Stephen J. Dubner.

It was first published in 2005 and had sold as many as 4 million copies by late 2009 and is still highly rated today.

The book blends pop culture, social science, and economics together in an attempt to explain basic economic principles in an interesting and entertaining way. Its primary message is that economics, at their very core, is the study of incentives, not numbers.

If you want something a little different this book comes highly recommended - you won't be disappointed.

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