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Radiolab Reads: A Virtual Bookshelf

Monday, May 09, 2011 - 03:00 PM

Library shelf Library shelf (Swamibu/flickr)

We're keeping a running list of all the books we touch on in our hour-long episodes--a virtual bookshelf that you can scan any time you're looking for a little inspiration. It's in reverse chronological order, so titles from our most recent shows are at the top. Happy reading.



The Fact of the Matter




The Bad Show

Patient Zero



Talking to Machines

Desperately Seeking Symmetry

The Good Show





Who Are You?

Famous Tumors


Animal Minds

New Normal?


After Life




Musical Language


Memory and Forgetting




Where Am I?


Beyond Time and Time



Who Am I?




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Comments [49]

Eric from Albuquerque, NM

I was hoping to find a list of all the books Jad and Robert mention on the show and I found this! I just wish it was up to date.

Sep. 11 2015 12:19 AM
Lucille from Bronx

"Here's Looking at Eulcid."

Is that the best title ever, or what?

Mar. 09 2013 07:25 PM
John Weiss from Andover, MA

Have you read "On Human Communication" by Collin Cherry?
It's a clearly, written, fact based book. Here is a paraphrased sample:
"The intelligibility of a signal is inversely proportional to the amount of information it contains". This is why a "distress call" (... --- ... or mayday) contains so little information. They are very likely to be understood. On the other hand, pure noise, contains lots of information, but is unintelligible. Intelligibility, is directly proportional to repetition rate. Again explaining why distress signals are constantly repeated, and technical lectures are so hard to understand. Here is his Wikipedia entry:

Feb. 02 2013 05:47 PM
Sandro from Toronto, Canada

Thank you! What a great resource!

Nov. 07 2012 03:11 PM
Granbye from In n.y


Jul. 19 2012 10:29 PM
Chris from UK

Excellent! I tweeted @RadioLab about this very idea a few days ago and just casually noticed it's been here all along, since May last year. Did I miss it though, or did my tweet make it appear more prominently on the front page? ;-)

Either way, tremendous amount of work here guys. Thanks a bundle!

Apr. 09 2012 12:42 PM
Tom Joad from Knoxville, Tennessee

After listening to the episode "Talking with Machines" I thought it a good idea to suggest two books. "What Computers Still Can't Do" by Hubert Dreyfus and Martin Heidegger's "Introduction to Metaphysics." In the later the author argues that physics was a much more inclusive term in ancient Greece, so a category of investigation included and should include, being. Hubert Dreyfus, at least in part, begins with Heidegger's assumptions to argue that we are a long way from developing computers with substantial human qualities.

Feb. 06 2012 03:49 PM
drlandsnark from louisville ky

Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a lot of work.

Jan. 25 2012 11:54 AM

Where can I find a list of books for 'Cities' podcast?

Jan. 20 2012 08:00 PM
Rachel from Chicago

Do you have any recommendations for magazines that make science and technology fun for students (college/high school age)? I'm a librarian at a community college looking for something more engaging than the usual stuff, and a big fan of your show! Definitely taking a look at adding some of the books on your list to our collection.

Aug. 02 2011 04:59 PM

Not sure if you guys mentioned this book in any of the shows (maybe in Lucy), but you need to include Next of Kin by Roger Fouts!

Jul. 18 2011 01:04 PM

this book looks cool

May. 28 2011 06:19 AM
Tara from Santa Barbara, CA

Thank you so much for posting this, I've been wanting this book list since I started listening to your podcasts!

May. 20 2011 09:12 PM

Don't forget about Einstein's Dreams!

May. 19 2011 06:31 PM
Alistair from Los Angeles

Thank you! This is a great resource! You rock RadioLab!

May. 14 2011 02:26 PM

Fascinating..would be great if there is a link to the book didnt find the one featured in the talk about that episode you did the experiment on the walking speed

May. 14 2011 08:14 AM
josh g from israel

thanks! how about indicating which show each book was mentioned on? also, i hope you've set up to receive the referral fee from amazon so people can support the show in this way.

May. 13 2011 08:27 AM
jordan saia from san diego

someone already mentioned this, but i must second it. In one of your shorts you mention Richard Holmes' "Age of Wonder" I picked it up because of the show, and it is the best read Ive had in years! Thank you RadioLab!

May. 12 2011 07:05 PM

The wife told me about this site - and I am wonderfully pleased about learning about it! Many thanks for your individual and collective work.

May. 12 2011 03:49 PM

Thank you! Amazing!

May. 12 2011 03:10 PM
BklynListener from Brooklyn

In the show on symmetry you guys mentioned a book called An Age of Wonder (?) or something similar. Could you add that to the list, I loved listening to the author and would be interested in his book.

Thanks!! Great as always.

May. 12 2011 01:52 PM
Wilko from Netherlands

Great to hear and see that there are more people in the world that care for science.

May. 12 2011 01:40 PM
Adam Rabasca from

It's disparaging, in considering myself a writer, how few of these I've read or even know. Radiolab, I love you but you've piqued my self-loathing.

May. 12 2011 12:21 PM
Silvi from Vancouver, BC

Thanks so much for sharing!

100% love the show, by the way. Thanks for featuring my buddy Sxip in your Cities episode. It was an amazing surprise to hear him talking on the radio about trippy Sxip things!

Keep on with the excellence, my friends.

May. 11 2011 07:28 PM
kit from Aiken, SC

Fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

May. 11 2011 05:52 PM

Bless you Radiolab for remembering that we read! (I can no longer go out of my house, lest I have to speak to humans whose words are not in italics or surrounded by quotation marks...)

But you have brought joy! I happen to belong to the small but ever-hopeful band of those who read physics for fun though, we have no prayer of understanding it. The intellectual version of the Jamaican Bobsled team... We thank you...

May. 10 2011 09:42 PM
Adhiti from Georgia

Yay! This couldn't have come at a better time, right before summer vacation! Thank you so much!

May. 10 2011 06:44 PM
emily from new york

Fantastic. Now I can stop saying, "I wish the Radiolab guys would make a list of all the books they mention on the show."

May. 10 2011 03:46 PM
Ady from Purdue

You just made my course design for introduction classes SO much easier.

May. 10 2011 01:04 PM

Didn't you also feature Hidden Harmonies?

May. 10 2011 12:48 PM

Don't forget The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes

May. 10 2011 11:24 AM
Mario from Peekskill, NY

You don't know how many times I've said to myself, "They should compile a list of books." So thanks for reading my thoughts! This will make it easier to delve deeper into my favorite episodes!

May. 10 2011 10:48 AM
gabrielle from bk


May. 10 2011 10:31 AM
James West from UK

How about a list of the twitter usernames of your contributors?

May. 10 2011 01:20 AM
Tim L.

Great! Now do the same for all the contributers who have their own podcast shows as well!

May. 09 2011 10:54 PM

this is the greatest thing thats ever happened to me.

May. 09 2011 10:00 PM
Bonnie from Spokane, WA

Oh I am so glad you did this... proof that wishes do come true. :-)

May. 09 2011 09:59 PM
Kerry from Portland, Oregon

Cheers Radiolab! This should keep me busy for a bit!!!

May. 09 2011 09:42 PM
TPB, Esq.

Missing the Paul Ekman books from the episode on microexpressions.

May. 09 2011 08:57 PM
Steve from New Mexico

Were is "How We Decide" by Jonah Lehrer?

May. 09 2011 08:44 PM
Corianne from Western US

I was surprised that there's only two Oliver Sacks books (unless I missed some). It seems he's on RadioLab fairly frequently. Or maybe I just like Oliver Sacks enough that I pay extra close attention when he's on RadioLab...

May. 09 2011 07:51 PM
Sasha from San Francisco, CA

And when will these be available for brain download?

May. 09 2011 06:59 PM
Melia from Portland

Wonderful list and genius idea! Thanks for putting this together!

One curiosity... is the list in any particular order?

May. 09 2011 06:58 PM
Melia from Portland

Wonderful list and genius idea! Thanks for putting this together!

One curiosity... is the list in any particular order?

May. 09 2011 06:58 PM
Paul Sas from Berkeley

I'm inferring that somebody must've gone to Stanford, given the prominent quoting of Bob Sapolsky's books. I'm not saying it's over-quoting, as he's one of the best in the biz of science literacy. PS- There's on typo: Barry Schwartz wrote the Paradox of Choice.

May. 09 2011 06:39 PM

This may be the very best thing that has ever been done in the history of the world.

May. 09 2011 06:27 PM
Mana from Sydney Australia

Let's get reading! Thank you for the list

May. 09 2011 05:54 PM
Matt W. from TEXAS!

Thank you!
It would be great if the books were tagged or linked to associated episode(s).

May. 09 2011 05:44 PM
oreneta from Spain


Thanks so much for this!

May. 09 2011 05:41 PM

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