Best science books chosen by critics

We list the best science books recommended by critics from Washington Post, NPR, New York Times and many more. All critics' recommendations are referenced with customer reviews. The rating you see is an aggregate from several platforms and is always higher than 4 out of 5 stars.

4.5 Code Girls

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

Smithsonian

“In a clear, braided narrative, Liza Mundy reveals how these codebreakers broke both codes and new ground—and why it’s high time they were recognized for their achievements.”

Featured in Smithsonian’s Best Science Books of 2017.

$19
4.3 The Evolution of Beauty

The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us

New York Times

“If a science book can be subversive and feminist and change the way we look at our own bodies — but also be mostly about birds — this is it. Prum, an ornithologist, mounts a defense of Darwin’s second, largely overlooked theory of sexual selection.”

Featured in New York Times’ Best 10 Books of 2017.

$19
4.4 Homo Deus

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Time

“The Israeli historian, whose works consistently appear on wonky best-of lists by the likes of Bill Gates, takes on deep philosophies of humanity and ethics, but the stakes of Homo Deus are basic: What’s next for humankind?”

Featured in Time’s Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2017.

$20
4.7 Paleoart

Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past

Smithsonian

“Dinos have long captured the imaginations of scientists and artists alike, and Paleoart brings those visions together in a sublime blend of human knowledge and creativity.”

Featured in Smithsonian’s Best Science Books of 2017.

$75
4.3 Why Time Flies

Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation

Smithsonian

“In this always-thought-provoking investigation, New Yorker staff writer Alan Burdick examines the greatest oppressor, master and gift humanity has ever known: time.”

Featured in Smithsonian’s Best Science Books of 2017.

$16
4.6 Numbers Making of Us

Numbers and the Making of Us: Counting and the Course of Human Cultures

Smithsonian

“Anthropologist Caleb Everett examines the seemingly limitless possibilities and innovations made possible by the evolution of number systems.”

Featured in Smithsonian’s Best Science Books of 2017.

$21