Books for Science-Minded Readers

c.2022, various publishers 
$24.00 – $28.00
various page counts

By Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Truth Contributor

The world is filled with wonders.

There are so many things to learn, so many things to learn about. So why not grab these great books for science-minded readers…?

First, for the mathematician in you, there’s Making Numbers Count by Chip Heath & Karla Starr (Avid Reader Press, $24.00), a book that shows how numbers can change minds and lives.

For instance, you probably already know that statistics can be manipulated to a writer’s whims, but how do you make statistical information relevant to your audience? How do you properly “recast” a stat for better rememberability? And how can you use numbers to do nifty tricks, help people see your point of view, and make your commute better?

The answer’s in this book.

If you happen to spill something on it, well, you’re going to want Sticky The Secret Science of Surfaces by Laurie Winkless (Bloomsbury Sigma,$28.00), then.

This very cool book explains that stickiness is everywhere: not only does it exist in nature, but many arms of science rely on properties of stickiness and its accompanying friction. There’s not necessarily an “icky” in Sticky, as you’ll see; sticky exists in very surprising places that keep us moving, working, playing, and alive.

Speaking of alive, you know you want to read A Taste for Poison by Neil Bradbury, PhD (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99). Every whodunit fan and armchair detective needs to read this book, in fact; it’s full of true mysteries, nefarious behavior, impressive sleuthing, historical plots, and fascinating ways that chemical substances and natural concoctions have be used, misused, and terribly abused throughout time – including some chillingly modern poisonings that may shock you. Though the approach to this subject is serious, Bradbury makes it very fascinating and easy to enjoy. The interesting thing about poison is this: it’s not always what it does, but also what it doesn’t do. Read this book to find out more…

And finally, check out Owning the Sun by Alexander Zaitchik (Counterpoint, $26.00), a history of “monopoly medicine,” or meds that have been owned by corporations that closely guard their manufacture.

Readers, especially news junkies, won’t be surprised to know that there’s a lot of background to this, going back to at least World War II, and it includes business and government entities. A lot of legalities are involved, too – for instance, do we protect intellectual properties to allow for corporate profits, or do we insist that life-saving medicines and vaccines be free or extremely low-cost? Why do your taxes pay for medical research, while the companies who benefited from tax-funded grants make big profits?  Shouldn’t medical substances be cheaper, for the good of humanity? Argument starter, thought-provoker, question-asker, Owning the Sun is a book you need to read now.

And if these great science-minded books don’t exactly speak to your burning curiosity, be sure to ask your favorite librarian or bookseller for their ideas or insight. They know books better than almost anybody. They’ll help you find these four great books. You’ll wonder how you ever missed them.