The educator, author, TV presenter and mechanical engineer best known as The Science Guy, Bill Nye has been an outspoken advocate for science since donning his trademark lab coat and bowtie on screen in the early ’90s. Nye’s quirky humor and contagious enthusiasm made his show one of the most-watched educational programs on TV, inspiring generations of kids to keep curious about the natural world. His latest Netflix offering, Bill Nye Saves the World, brings together both experts and celebrities to carry on Nye’s lifelong work of making science exciting and accessible to the masses.

In addition to his TV work, Nye has authored two best-selling books on science (2014’s Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation and 2015’s Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the Worldand has shared his own reading lists with New York-based bookstores Strand and One Grand. Spanning comedy, history, physics, sports, writing, and even poker theory, Nye’s bookshelf reflects the man’s endless quest to better understand our world, and ourselves.

Read on for Bill Nye’s favorite books, and complement with the reading list of fellow science celebrator Neil deGrasse Tyson.


The Physics of Baseball by Robert Adair

“A book that provides us with words to live and play by.” -BN

Doyle Brunson’s Super System: A Course in Power Poker by Doyle Brunson

The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters by Sean B. Carroll

Fundamentals of Modern Physics by Robert Martin Eisberg

“The Fundamentals of Modern Physics is just that. It has been said: ‘All science is physics.’ When I learned the fundamentals of physics, my view of the world and life itself was changed forever.” -BN

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas L. Friedman

Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boat Codes, 1939-1943 by David Kahn

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham 

“It’s about a real-life American hero who pulls himself through life with genius and hard work. He inspired me as kid — he still does. I hope to make the movie someday soon.” -BN

Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change by Michael Mann

The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars by Michael Mann

“The Hockey Stick graph changed the way most of us understood the natural history of Earth. Ours is only the second species known to be capable of changing the climate of an entire planet. Intuitively, you’d think we’d have more awareness of our influence than blue-green algae. But these days, I’m not so sure.” -BN

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (also rec’d by Trevor Noah)

“This is the story of my hero. The guy who inspired me to do what I do now.” -BN

Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances by Leland Melvin

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy

Code Girls is the story of the remarkable women, including my mother, who served our country and helped shorten World War II. My mom is mentioned in the book.” -BN

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Cosmos is the story of my other hero, Carl Sagan. The other guy who inspired me to do what I do now.” -BN

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us Better People by Michael Shermer

Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

“It is about human stories intertwined, just like your life and mine.” -BN

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., Maira Kalman and E.B. White

“This is my guide. I accept that I’ll never write anything as good as the introductory essay by E.B. White. It’s brilliant. As a guy, who is often asked to read aloud from radio scripts and teleprompter, I am a fan of the serial comma. Red, white, and blue comes out properly. Red, white and blue, seldom does.” -BN

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy provides the reader with insight into how the United States got into its current mess. People with strong and often inconsistent values feel disenfranchised and often don’t act in their own best interest. I hope J.D. Vance’s story will help us learn to work together and improve the quality of life for all our citizens.” -BN

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner

(via One Grand Books & Strand Books)

Categories: Scientists

Leave a Reply