1 Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Metropolitan/ Holt. The surgeon and New Yorker writer considers how doctors fail patients at the end of life, and how they can do better. (Last month’s ranking: 1)
2 David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Little, Brown. How disadvantages work in our favor, from the author of “The Tipping Point” and “Outliers.”
3 What If? by Randall Munroe. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Scientific, often humorous answers to hypothetical questions, derived in part on the author’s website, xkcd.com. (3)
4 The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Scribner/Simon & Schuster. An oncologist’s history of cancer and its treatment covers both the eureka moments and the decades of despair.
5 The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Random House. An examination of the science behind habits, how we form them and break them. (5)
6 Quiet by Susan Cain. Crown. Introverts — one-third of the population — are undervalued in American society. (4)
7 Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The winner of a Nobel in economic science discusses how we make choices in business and personal life, and when to trust our intuitions. (6)
8 The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Random House. Intuitive signals that protect us from becoming victims of violence.
9 A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Bantam. The British cosmologist reviews efforts to create a unified theory of the universe. (2)
10 Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. Princeton University. The presiding genius of Bletchley Park, the center that cracked the German Enigma code.
11 What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren. Touchstone. Canine powers of detection, and what dogs can sniff out: truffles, bedbugs, bombs, drugs, disease and death. (9)
12 The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. Picador. The New Yorker writer examines human influences in the planet’s current spasm of plant and animal loss.
13 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Crown. A woman’s cancer cells were cultured without her permission in 1951. (7)
14 Beneath the Surface by John Hargrove with Howard Chua-Eoan. Palgrave Macmillan. A former orca trainer at SeaWorld on the dark side of the multibillion-dollar marine park tourism industry.
15 Asapscience by Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown. Scribner. Irreverent answers to questions that are not asked often in the classroom. (10)
16 Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Harper. How Homo sapiens became Earth’s dominant species. (8)
17 The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt. Harper/HarperCollins. What neuroscience has learned about brain development in the teenage years, along with practical suggestions for parents.
18 An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. Little Brown. Decades of education at NASA and in outer space yield adrenaline-filled anecdotes.
19 The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku. Doubleday. A theoretical physicist examines research at the intersection of neuroscience and physics that may lead to a complete map of the brain, as well as telepathy, mind-controlled robots and uploaded memories.
20 The Digital Doctor by Robert Wachter. McGraw-Hill Education. The advantages and the disadvantages of an increasingly computerized health care prescribing and delivery system.