Technical language used by scientists can make current research and ethical issues difficult for the non-scientist to digest. Here is a list of interesting, informative and entertaining books written on a wide range of pertinent issues. Topics include basic biotechnology references, current technologies, dangers of human progress, resolution of misguiding historical information, the failure of humanity and the socio-economic impacts of major plagues.
The common thread is that all of these issues are relevant on a global scale. Our world is becoming smaller by means of digital communication. If more people become versed in significant global issues, there is a greater chance we can work together to overcome dangers to humanity, our environment and perhaps learn from our mistakes. Shared knowledge leads to increased collaboration, tolerance and positive solutions.
1. Francis Collins. 2011. The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine. HarperCollins
An informative and captivating look the emerging field of personalized medicine.
2. Michael B.A. Oldstone. 2009. Viruses, Plagues, and History: Past, Present and Future Revised and Updated Edition. Oxford University Press
Current factual and historical view of plagues.
3. Ronald Wright. 2009. What Is America?: A Short History of the New World Order. Vintage Canada
The real history of the Americas. Hint: it is not what you learned in school.
4. Stephen Lewis. 2006. Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa. House of Anansi Press-based on the Massey Lectures
Politics and solutions in AIDS torn Africa.
5. Ronald Wright.2005. A Short History of Progress. House of Anansi Press-based on the Massey Lectures
A historical journey through the habit of humans to forge ahead with progress until they ultimately destroy themselves.
6. Romeo Dallaire. 2004 Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Vintage Canada
A Canadian hero's account of the failure of humanity to take action during the genocide in Rwanda.
7. Jeffre Witherly, Galen Perry, Darryl Leja. 2002. An A to Z of DNA Science: What Scientists Mean When They Talk About Genes and Genomes. Cold Spring Harbor Lab Press
A comprehensive introduction to DNA science, genetics and genomics.
8. Ronald Wright. 1999 A Scientific Romance. Fiction. Vintage Canada
A fiction novel with scientific foresight. What will the world be like in 500 years?
9. Boyce Rensberger. 1996. Instant Biology: From Single Cells to Human Beings, and Beyond. Ballantine Books
An overview of biology from birth to death, single to multi-celled.
10. Laurie Garrett. 1995. The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. Penguin Books
A fascinating and sobering look at plagues through human history and the significant socio-economic impacts and influences.