1996. Cavalli-Sforza, et al; The History and Geography of Human Genes. (Basic data on non-molecular genetics)


1996. Huntington, Samuel P.; The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.


1997. Diamond, Jared; Guns, Germs, and Steel. (Polynesian migrations and a good overview of the world)


1999. Ridley, Matt; Genome – The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters.  (A readable introduction to modern genetics)


2000. Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi Luca; Genes, Peoples, and Languages. (Summary of ref. 1 with updates)


2001. Brown, Lester R.; Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth.


2001. Deffeyes, Kenneth S.; Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage.


2001. Lewis, Bernard; What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response.


2001. Sykes, Bryan; The Seven Daughters of Eve. (European mitochondrial DNA and a world summary)


2002. Olson, Steve; Mapping Human History. (General Summary)


2002. Rifkin, Jeremy; The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the World-Wide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth.


2002. Stiglitz, Joseph E.; Globalization and Its Discontents.


2002. Wells, Spencer; The Journey of Man – A Genetic Odyssey. (Also available on DVD) (Mt and Y-Chromosome data with a world migration map).  For updates, see:


2003. Brown, Lester R.; Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble.


2003. Holmes, David L.; The Religion of the Founding Fathers.


2003. Ridley, Matt; Nature via Nurture. (Interactions among genes and the environment in a very readable form)


2003. Sornette, Didier; Why Stock Markets Crash. (Note in paperback: Drawdowns (Runs) pp 51-75; 2050: The End of the Growth Era? pp 355-396)


2003. Zakaria, Fareed; The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad.


2004. Brzezinski, Zbigniew; The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership.


2004. Fagan, Brian; The Long Summer.  This is a good discussion of the effects of climate change on human populations since the last glacial maximum 18,000 years ago with warnings for present populations.


2004. Huntington, Samuel P.; Who Are We?  The Challenges to America’s National Identity


2007. Chin, James; The AIDS Pandemic.  The collision of epidemiology with political correctness


2007. Epstein, Helen; The Invisible Cure.  Africa, the West, and the fight against AIDS


2007. Mandelbaum, Michael; Democracy’s Good Name. (The Rise and Risks of the World’s Most Popular Form of Government)  This is a readable history of the interactions among a free market economy, an educated middle class, religious and social tolerance, and a welfare safety net which are required to create and maintain a functioning democracy. I would add a low birth rate given no frontier and limited energy supplies.


2008. Friedman, Thomas L.; Hot, Flat, and Crowded (Why we need a green revolution and how it can renew America) Friedman is easy to read.  He clearly states that this revolution will be costly, difficult, and necessary. I would argue that better regulation of our financial businesses is necessary and that political and economic incentives to reduce birth rates could make changes easier.


2008. Phillips, Kevin; Bad Money. This is a very detailed discussion of the interactions of money and politics. See pages 170-171 for an overview of what went on during 1980-1999 on repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and almost complete deregulation. We voters should insist that the finance industry and politicians provide much more responsible performance in the future.


2009. Hall, Charles A. S. and John W. Day; Revisiting the Limits of Growth After Peak Oil, American Scientist, 97:230-237 or This is an excellent summary and update of earlier work on energy and population.


2009. Doring, et al.; Blind Spot, DVD, a good warning about energy use and the human population. The size of the stable human population will be determined by energy efficiency and how much non-fossil fuel energy we can generate. I estimate a human population of up to 3 or 4 billion.


2010. Fagan, Brian; Cro-Magnon: How the ice age gave birth to the first modern humans. This is well written and fascinating!


2010. Wells, Spencer; Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen cost of Civilization. We must reassess our emphasis on expansion, acquisition, and perfectibility.  This is a good discussion of resource and population issues.


2010. Rattner, Steven; Overhaul: An insider’s account of the Obama administration’s emergency rescue of the auto industry. The Epilogue includes  interesting comments on our dysfunctional Congress.


2008. Macdougall, Doug; Nature’s Clocks. How scientists measure the age of almost everything. A very readable summary of the development of radioactive dating methods and their applications from 4.6 billion years BP to the present.


2010. Morris, Ian; Why the West Rules – For Now. Very interesting discussion of world history and social development. Objective history of East and West and driving forces of change and adaptations.


2011. Yergin, Daniel; The Quest – Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. An excellent history of world energy and future prospects. Population is also a controllable variable.


2013. Cowen, Tyler; Average is Over. This is an excellent discussion of future jobs, education, and earnings based on current trends. The US will have to balance its budgets with very significant consequences for the distribution of GDP per capita.


2014. Piketty, Thomas; Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Data sets back as far as 1700. The data show that the broader liberal wealth distribution between 1950 and 1980 was very atypical and that income is now as concentrated as it was before 1940. The data set includes at least eight major countries and several more recent data sets. Wealth will become more concentrated in the future as birth rates decline unless taxes are increased for the very wealthy. Perhaps the poorer majority will agree to reduce birth rates to about two per female in exchange for higher tax rates on the very wealthy raising the average income per person. Be sure to read pp 471-514.


2015. Harari, Yuval Noah; Sapiens. A very interesting history of Homo sapiens. There are many thought provoking statements: e.g. on page 221. Balancing human population, energy inputs, and climate is going to be tricky and will take time – which we are wasting.