1 Free Trade For All: How Trade Can Promote Development by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Andrew Charlton 7/10 A substantial and informative treatment of some of the issues related to free trade, but it's written in a relatively technical style which could makes it a hard read unless your familiar with economic and economist terminology.
2 The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers by Robert L. Heilbroner 7/10 An insightful classic that illuminates some of the most important ideas in economics through the lives of their originators. A good read but it requires a reasonable knowledge of economic theory.
3 Einsteins Cosmos: How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time by Michio Kaku 8/10 Accessible and entertaining, if a little brief. Kaku is good at explaining complex theory in simple language and his enthusiasm is engaging.
4 On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy by S.W. Hawking 6/10 Some of the works that had the biggest impact on our understanding of the physical world, it's just reproductions/extract of the original works but fascinating stuff if your interested in that kind of thing.
5 Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives by Richard Wiseman 9/10 Get fun and it makes you think, but people will get tired of you telling them about it.
6 Free Lunch by David Smith 9/10 A really good and well written introduction to the basics of neo-classical economic thinking that will leave you able to understand the economic analysis in the news, I especially liked he used a pragmatic approach rather than taking the side of one of the ideological camps (monetarist/Keynesian). I'm tempted to say that this should be required reading for all students no matter what subjects their studying.
7 The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond 8/10 Great book placing humans in their proper biological context as a member of the Pan genus.
8 The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the Extraordinary Number of Nature, Art and Beauty by Mario Livio 5/10 An interesting subject, with some great little facts but it's not the best written and you end up feeling that it could have been better.
9 Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History by Damian Thompson 5/10 Not substantial enough and there are other better books about skepticism.
10 The Accidental Theorist: And Other Dispatches from the Dismal Science by Paul R. Krugman 8/10 A great collection of Krugman's columns, his evisceration of the foundations of Reaganomics need particular attention.
11 The Fabric of Reality: Towards a Theory of Everything by David Deutsch 8/10 A deeply personal discussion of some the fundamental theorys of the universe, his treatment of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics is especially interesting.
12 Beyond Einstein: Superstrings and the Quest for the Final Theory by Michio Kaku and Jennifer Thompson 6/10 It's well written and the authors enthusiasm is evident, but there's not enough detail and they fail to address the criticism of string theory.
13 I Am America (and So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert 7/10 Irreverent and hilarious.
14 The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins 8/10 A classic of modern popular science, a must read book for anyone interest in evolutionary biology.
15 The Company of Strangers: A Natural History of Economic Life by Paul Seabright 8/10 A great book that explains the fact that in spite of common belief, humans are natural cooperators and how the ability to allow strangers to treat each others like friends underpins the economic success of the free market economies.
16 Placebo: Mind Over Matter in Modern Medicine by Dylan Evans 9/10 A wonderful little book that attempts to explain some of the current research into the fascinating and perplexing placebo effect, by the authors own admission a lot of it may be incorrect as we have a fairly limited understanding of the placebo effect, but it's a great book to have read whenever a friend starts telling you about how good applied kinesiology or craniosacral therapy is.
17 The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good by William Russell Easterly 6/10 It's not especially well written and his lack of specific proposals is frustrating, but the overall thesis that international aid has been handled badly and we need to concentrate of bottom up local initiatives rather that large scale high profile projects is undeniable.
18 The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton 4/10 Superficial and disappointing.
19 Eat This Book: A Year of Gluttony & Glory on the Competitive Eating Circuit by Ryan Nerz 9/10 The ridiculous, endearing and laugh out loud funny tale of an all American sport.
20 Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf 8/10 A great book about research into aspects of how of the brain work, especially interesting if you want to know about dyslexia.
21 Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World by Stephen Oppenheimer 7/10 A really good attempt to handle a massive subject in a way that it accessible to a lay audience whilst still being reasonably comprehensive, although I wish he would have put less emphasis on the role of the now drowned Beringia land bridge as a major source of population as the controversy that surrounds this theory detracts from the rest of the book.
22 Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets by John McMillan 8/10 This combines historic insight about how markets have evolved with contemporary insights about their impact and how they function.
23 Dawn Of The Dumb: Dispatches from the Idiotic Frontline by Charlie Brooker 8/10 A collection of hilarious columns from from Britains most ascorbic misanthrope at his uproarious spleen-venting best.
24 When The Rivers Run Dry: What Happens When Our Water Runs Out? by Fred Pearce 7/10 The alarmist title shouldn't put people off, this is a clear and concise look at the current state of world hydrology and how various countries are mismanaging their resources.
25 The Economic Naturalist: Why Economics Explains Almost Everything by Robert H. Frank 6/10 He has a fun approach, but its a little over simplistic and probably best suited to a school age audience.
26 The Book Of Nothing by John D. Barrow 6/10 This book is essential in two parts the first is about the history of nothingness and zero as a concept, which is interesting if a little slow and laboured. The second part is about modern scientific issues relating to vacuum states and scalar fields which was the part I was more interested in, but there is a lack of clarity which made it quite hard going even though I was already familiar with the concepts being discussed.
27 The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History by David Beerling 6/10 The concept is good and he's a good writer with a detailed knowledge of his subject, but this book is not substantial enough and seems to lack focus.
28 Struck by Lightning: The Curious World Of Probabilities by Jeffrey S. Rosenthal 7/10 There aren't as many examples of curious outcomes from an understanding of probabilities as you would expect from the title, but understanding the basics of statistics and applying them to every day life is really important and the approach take in this book is fun than either the essays of Stephan Jay Gould or Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos.
29 Demon Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark by Carl Sagan 9/10 A classic that everyone should read, some parts such as the chapter about alien abductions seem a bit dated, but the debt of intellectual gratitude the skeptic movement owes to Sagan for his clear and at times beautiful writing is undeniable.
30 No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan 8/10 A great summery of the beliefs and founding of Islam that places it in it's historical context.
31 The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson 9/10 A fantastic example of the micro history genre, if you like economic history then this is about as good a book as you'll find. Engrossing, surprising and entertaining.
32 The Fabric Of the Cosmos By Brian Greene 10/10 Probably the best book popularising physics available today, its clear and accessible without being superficial and even tries to explain string theory which a lot of authors shy away from.
33 The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean B. Carroll 6/10 This is an alright book in and of itself, but it doesn't contribute anything original, it seemed almost perfunctory compared to Richard Dawkins The Ancestor's Tale, but maybe the better option if you don't want to read a 600+ page book.
34 The Music of the Primes: Why an Unsolved Problem in Mathematics Matters by Marcus du Sautoy 8/10 An enjoyable and easy to read history of number theory, mixed with some personal history of the great mathematicians and it doesn't require a through knowledge of math to enjoy, but could have done with a concise statement of exactly what Riemann said.
35 The Secret Life of Trees: How They Live and Why They Matter by Colin Tudge 4/10 There isn't nearly enough about how trees evolved and live and why they're important for the biosphere, instead most of the book is essentially a list of different tree species, where they live and what people make out of them.
36 Molecules at an Exhibition: Portraits of Intriguing Materials in Everyday Life by John Emsley 8/10 Stuffed full of interesting facts, it requires no knowledge of chemistry to understand and leaves you wondering why unlike biology and physics there is an almost compete lack of books popularising chemistry.
37 Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith 9/10 The authors infectious enthusiasm and genuine scene of wonder is conveyed brilliantly, a great example of sciences alternative to the Genesis myth.
38 The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics by Eric D. Beinhocker 9/10 If your familiar with neo-classical economic theory, then you'll probably be aware that it's essentially Platonist as it relies on rather artificial assumptions (similar to ideal forms), which make it possible to deal with and solve equations related to complex phenomena in a mathematically rigorous way, but the results tends to diverge from empirical reality. Although neo-classical economic theory has brought great insight and unprecedented wealth to large parts of humanity, there is a need to address the problems with the theory and some of the best work is coming from the application of idea's from evolutionary, complexity, chaos and network theory to economics and this book gives a great introduction to that work. My only criticism is he overstates the degree to which this work is at odds with the main stream and tries to give the impression that it's almost an underground movement.
39 Tricks of the Mind by Derren Brown 8/10 A hugely enjoyable mixture of tips and tricks, personal anecdotes and polemic from a master magician, psychological illusionist, mentalist and self-professed sceptic regarding paranormal phenomena.
40 Kuhn Vs Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science by Steve Fuller
41 The Hot Topic: How to Tackle Global Warming and Still Keep the Lights on by David King and Gabrielle Walker
42 Dark Cosmos: In Search of Our Universe's Missing Mass and Energy by Dan Hooper
43 The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us by Bee Wilson
44 Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen
45 Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler
46 The Eye: A Natural History by Simon Ings
47 A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World by Gregory Clark
48 Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World by Nick Lane
49 The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History by Stewart Lee Allen
50 The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins
51 Crude: The Story of Oil by Sonia Shah
52 Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky
53 Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software by Steven Johnson
54 Dawkins Vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest by Kim Sterelny
55 Electric Universe by David Bodanis
56 Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
57 I Fought the Law: A Riotous Romp In Search Of British Democracy by Dan Kieran
58 Deep Simplicity: Chaos Complexity and the Emergence of Life by John Gribbin
59 Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by WB Logan
60 Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery by David Warsh
61 Aspirin: The Remarkable Story of a Wonder Drug by Diarmuid Jeffreys
62 The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to life by A.C. Grayling
63 Six Degrees: The New Science of Networks by Duncan J. Watts
64 Eight Little Piggies by Stephen Jay Gould
65 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive by Jared Diamond
66 How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
67 In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating by Michael Pollan
68 A Natural History of Time by P Richet
69 Citrus: A History by P Laszlo
70 In Defense of Globalization: With a New Afterword by Jagdish Bhagwati
71 Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
72 The Hare and the Tortoise: An Informal Guide to Business Strategy by John Kay
73 Inevitable Illusions: How Mistakes of Reason Rule Our Mind by Massimo PiattelliPalmarini
74 Atom by Jim Al-Khalili and Piers Bizony
75 Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up by John Allen Paulos
76 The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilisation by Thomas Homer-Dixon