July 2017 Book Club Picks

Popular Science and Technology: The First Three Minutes

Steven Weinberg's classic account of the Big Bang, The First Three Minutes, is to this day still the best popular book about the origins of the universe. Weinberg, perhaps the greatest living physicist, tells the story of the birth of the universe in a way that only someone like him (a physicist who has been involved in the major physics discoveries of the past fifty+ years) could tell it. 

Classics, Old and New: The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth is one of the most powerful books written in the past twenty-six years. It's also one of the most infuriating books to read today: the practices that Wolf calls out and the attitudes toward women that she decries have not changed at all in the twenty-six years since this book was published. It is frighteningly relevant, angry, and passionate. It is an eye-opening classic that should be read by everyone, regardless of gender. 

Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Handmaid's Tale

Regardless of how many times you may have read Margaret Atwood's dystopian masterpiece in the past, there's no better time to re-read The Handmaid's Tale than today, with a brand-new edition you can read while you watch the (really amazing) Hulu adaptation. 

Computer Science and Software Engineering: Quantum Chance

As quantum computing emerges from its previous status as a theoretical possibility explored only in academia to a present-day reality, it's important for the software engineers of today to familiarize themselves with the basics not only of quantum computation but of quantum mechanics. Gisin's Quantum Chance is an extraordinarily fun little book that serves as the perfect introduction to the "quantum marvels" that exist in quantum mechanics. Importantly, it's accessible and easily understandable to anyone familiar with the basics of computer science, and it's an absurdly fun read. 

Philosophy: How to be a Stoic

The recent revival of Stoicism is one of my favorite things to have happened in the past decade. The most recent addition to the contemporary Stoic canon is Massimo Pigliucci's How to be a Stoic. While many of the other books on Stoicism reuse the same arguments, Pigliucci's book stands out from the crowd thanks to his focus on a more original and holistic application of the works of the Stoics. 

Physics: Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals 

It is impossible for me to do justice to this book using only a short description. All I will say is that, out of all of the books written on physics, this - the introduction to the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics written by the inventor of the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics - is the second greatest physics text ever written.