What are your favorite popular science books about ecology?
I’m actually struggling to think of favorites. I tend not to read popular science related to ecology. I tend to read popular science books on topics I know less about because I like learning new things; I already know a lot about ecology. But I also have a vague sense that there’s not much popular ecology out there that’s not conservation-related, and I tend to go for popular science that’s more about ideas than applications. But it could well be that there’s lots of stuff I’m missing.
There are lots of great popular books about evolution. Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker. Jonathan Weiner’s The Beak of the Finch. Marek Kohn’s A Reason for Everything (which kind of straddles the line between popular science and biography). Probably lots of others I haven’t read.
At the risk of hijacking my own thread, my favorite popular science books about other topics include Paul Hoffman’s The Man Who Loved Only Numbers (a biography, of legendary mathematician and eccentric Paul Erdös, rather than a popular science book, but far too great not to include), Simon Singh’s Fermat’s Enigma (about Andrew Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem), and William Poundstone’s Fortune’s Formula (about the Kelly Criterion for maximizing expected returns on wagers or other uncertain investments. An amazing story that, without stretching, involves everyone from Claude Shannon to Mafia bosses. It has evolutionary implications too, relating to the evolution of “bet hedging”, which aren’t noted in the book. Plus, it’s by William Poundstone, and he’s always good value).