I have been asked a number of times by friends and colleagues to post the reference of my favorite books. Here is a list:
Evolution and societies
illuminating accounts of
© Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene.
Richard Dawkins: The Blind Watchmaker. Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design. W. W. Norton & Company 1996.
A man whose insight and generosity make sense of the evolution of human societies:
© Jared Diamond: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. W. W. Norton & Company 1999 (Gallimard botched the French translation).
Jared Diamond: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Viking Adult 2004.
Why we have a big head and play music to our loved one:
Geoffrey Miller: The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature. Anchor 2001.
And, finally a witty execution of the most enduring social and political clichés of the 20th century:
© Steven Pinker: The Blank Slate : The Denial of Human Nature and Modern Intellectual Life, Viking Adult and Pinguin 2002 (a French translation exists if you can afford it).
Understand modern Europeans:
© Barbara Tuchman. Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine Books 1987.
The Renaissance and Reformation wake-up call
Manchester: A World Lit Only by Fire: The
Medieval Mind and the Renaissance - Portrait of an Age.
Why the year 1000 now gives me the creeps
James Reston: The Last Apocalypse: Europe at the Year 1000 A.D. Doubleday 1998.
In spite of errors, the proof that one can care about environment and still prefer using one’s brain to smoking a pipe:
Bjorn Lomborg: The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge 2001. (A French translation exists).
The NGOs’ (ONG) tough situation
David Rieff: A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis. Simon and Schuster, 2002.
How language fits into the evolutionary perspective:
© Steven Pinker: The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. Harper Perennial Modern Classics 2000.
How the French differ from North Europeans and Americans:
Carroll: Cultural Misunderstandings : The
© Jean-Benoit Nadeau, Julie Barlow: Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French. Sourcebooks 2003.
© Philip Sandblom: Creativity and Disease: How Illness Affects
Literature, Art, and Music.
Science for nearly all of us:
Bill Bryson: A Short History of Nearly Everything. Broadway 2004.
Swordfish will never taste the same after:
Sebastian Junger: The Perfect Storm : A True Story of Men Against the Sea, Harper 1999 (French translation)
Jon Krakauer: Into Thin Air : A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, Anchor 1999 (French translation).
Being the mother of a Columbine child:
© Lionel Shriever: We need to talk about Kevin, Harper 2004 (French translation).