To-read list of evolution books


If I had to suggest two books to begin with, I would go with:

  • Ernst Mayr: What Evolution Is
  • Steve Jones: Darwin’s Ghost: The Origin of the Species Updated
  • (Or Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species directly if you have the patience and the wits…)

I’ve tried to give a certain order to the following list. The most influencial writers in comtemporary evolution theory come first. For example, Maynard Smith and Ernst Mayr are two very good writers and researchers from the 20th century. Super important stuff. One interesting note here, Niles Eldredge was the co-inventor of the theory of Punctuated equilibrium, on which you can read a really interesting article from Stephen Jay Gould’s free online archive.

  • John Maynard Smith: Evolution and the Theory of Games
  • John Maynard Smith: Evolutionary Genetics
  • Ernst Mayr: Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist
  • Carl Zimmer: Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea.
  • Stephen Jay Gould: Ontogeny and Phylogeny
  • Richard Dawkins: Climbing Mount Improbable
  • Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene
  • Niles Eldredge: Reinventing Darwin
  • Niles Eldredge: The Natural History Reader in Evolution
  • Jared M. Diamond: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
  • Jared Diamond: The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
  • Daniel C. Dennett: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea
  • Michael T. Ghiselin: Metaphysics and the Origin of Species
  • P.J. Greenwood, et al.: Evolution
  • Matt Ridley: The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
  • Daniel C. Dennett: Freedom Evolves
  • Nils L. Wallin, et al.: The Origins of Music
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