Expand Your Mind with Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Reading List

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a famed astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator. In addition to his frequent radio and TV appearances, he serves the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space — part of the American Museum of Natural History, where Tyson founded the Department of Astrophysics in 1997. 

Tyson, who has written a number of popular books on astronomy over the years, has laid out a list of books he believes will expand your mind. Here are a few:


For centuries, cadavers have played a pivotal role in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In Stiff, Mary Roach tells the oddly compelling, often hilarious story of what happens to our bodies when we are no longer with them.

Gulliver’s Travels

Jonathan Swift’s classic tells the tale of a gallant explorer as he sails into the unknown, visiting surreal worlds, solving problems, starting and ending wars, and getting into — and back out of — one mess after another. At its heart, the book is a dramatic adventure filled with the curiosities and feats of daring that have thrilled readers for centuries.

Mirror Earth

Two decades ago, astronomers discovered planets orbiting stars in the Milky Way. Armed with  powerful technology, planet hunters are exploring these planets in a race to find a true twin of Earth. Science writer Michael Lemonick tells the story of their passionate quest. 

A Short History of Nearly Everything

In Bill Bryson’s biggest book yet, one of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers attempts to tackle the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. He does this by reading books by the world’s most advanced scientists, and following them around to ask them questions until he finds what he — and the world — is looking for. An intense and intensely entertaining read.

The Age of Reason

Written partly in a French jail — where he was confined for his opposition to the execution of Louis XVI — Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason coolly rails against “tyranny in religion.” The book influenced religious thinking throughout the world during Paine’s time, and it remains relevant today. 

Take a journey to the cosmos with more books from Tyson’s reading list.

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