Gain Some Cosmic Perspective With These Must-Read Books

A lot of people can look at books about science and space as hefty, jargon-filled ramblings, but there are so many good examples of great science communicators out there who write with passion and conviction. Sometimes, a little bit of healthy humility can be a surprisingly cheery endeavor. So put down that phone and switch off. Pick up a good book.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but these are just a few books that I personally think are excellent, digestible and inspiring.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
Chris Hadfield


Chris Hadfield is the Canadian astronaut you might remember for gaining internet fame for his series of YouTube videos of his life on the International Space Station. Namely, his cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity captured the love of millions of people worldwide. His book, An Astronaut’s Guide, recalls his personal journey of becoming an astronaut and the life lessons he’s gained along the way. It’s a truly inspirational read. Plus, he signed a copy for me in December 2016, so he had to make the list.

Also check out:
You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes

The Martian
Andy Weir


Andy Weir’s The Martian is the fictional story of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded and alone on Mars after a sandstorm separated him from his team, leaving them to evacuate and presume him dead. He has to use his knowledge and expertise to survive on the inhospitable planet until NASA can bring him home. Weir’s attention to detail is great and the 2015 film by Ridley Scott is a now a modern classic. For (almost) scientifically-accurate storytelling, look no further.

Also check out:
Artemis (coming out 2017)

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Carl Sagan


Carl Sagan is a giant upon whose shoulders many contemporary scientists and science-communicators stand. His last book before his death; Sagan posits that humanity’s future lies in the colonization of other worlds. It’s also an incredibly humbling read and will no doubt give you plenty of perspective on our place in the cosmos.

Also check out:

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World
Bill Nye


Let’s, dare I say it… Change the world!” Bill Nye is now back on our screens in his new Netflix show, Bill Nye Saves the World, but he has also brought out some amazing books about various topics, like tackling climate change. Unstoppable is one such book that looks at the technologies we have right now that can help bring about a greener future. He writes with real passion and puts in plenty of laughs throughout. Plus, bow-ties.

Also check out:
Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari 


Sapiens looks at the story of homo-sapiens and how we became the dominant species on the planet (for better or worse). Covering almost 200,000 years of history, it does a good job of not being overwhelming, but it’s well-written and leaves you with a lot of questions for further reading. Personally, it fascinated me to find out that, not relatively long ago, there were many different human species on the planet at once.

Also check out:
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Got any other recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments below!