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Ranking Author James Gleick’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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“What are James Gleick’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Gleick’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by James Gleick and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of James Gleick



8 ) Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything

 Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 8

From the bestselling, National Book Award-nominated author of Genius and Chaos, a bracing new work about the accelerating pace of change in today’s world. Most of us suffer some degree of “hurry sickness,” a malady that has launched us into the “epoch of the nanosecond,” a need-everything-yesterday sphere dominated by cell phones, computers, faxes, and remote controls. Yet for all the hours, minutes, and even seconds being saved, we’re still filling our days to the point that we have no time for such basic human activities as eating, sex, and relating to our families. Written with fresh insight and thorough research, Faster is a wise and witty look at a harried world not likely to slow down anytime soon.

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8 ) What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier

 What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 9

Here’s some of what just happened: Millions of ordinary, sensible people came into possession of computers. These machines had wondrous powers, yet made unexpected demands on their owners. Telephones broke free of the chains that had shackled them to bedside tables and office desks. No one was out of touch, or wanted to be out of touch. Instant communication became a birthright. A new world, located no one knew exactly where, came into being, called “virtual” or “online,” named “cyberspace” or “the Internet” or just “the network.” Manners and markets took on new shapes and guises. As all this was happening, James Gleick, author of the groundbreaking” Chaos,” columnist for” The New York Times” “Magazine,” and–very briefly–an Internet entrepreneur, emerged as one of our most astute guides to this new world. His dispatches–by turns passionate, bewildered, angry, and amazed–form an extraordinary chronicle. Gleick loves what the network makes possible, and he hates it. Software makers developed a strangely tolerant view of an ancient devil, the product defect. One company, at first a feisty upstart, seized control of the hidden gears and levers of the new economy.

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7 ) Time Travel: A History

 Time Travel: A History Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 7

The story begins at the turn of the previous century, with the young H. G. Wells writing and rewriting the fantastic tale that became his first book and an international sensation: The Time Machine. It was an era when a host of forces was converging to transmute the human understanding of time, some philosophical and some technological: the electric telegraph, the steam railroad, the discovery of buried civilizations, and the perfection of clocks. James Gleick tracks the evolution of time travel as an idea that becomes part of contemporary culture—from Marcel Proust to Doctor Who, from Jorge Luis Borges to Woody Allen. He investigates the inevitable looping paradoxes and examines the porous boundary between pulp fiction and modern physics. Finally, he delves into a temporal shift that is unsettling our own moment: the instantaneous wired world, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

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6 ) Nature’s Chaos

 Nature's Chaos Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 6

The essence of the earth’s beauty lies in chaos, in the disorder of grasses strewn in a meadow, the blotching of green lichen on a tree trunk. Eliot Porter’s photographs of the natural world, spanning thirty-five years and five continents — from an Antarctic ice floe to an American desert to an Icelandic lava field — reveal in mesmerizing ways what scientists are beginning to see for themselves: the patterns, relations, and interactions present in nature’s disorder and wildness. This is the perfect marriage of image and text — brilliant full-color photographs by the preeminent nature photographer of his generation together with an illuminating essay by the widely praised author of Chaos.

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5 ) Isaac Newton

 Isaac Newton Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 5
  • LibraryThing: 5

Isaac Newton was born in a stone farmhouse in 1642, fatherless and unwanted by his mother. When he died in London in 1727 he was so renowned he was given a state funeral—an unheard-of honor for a subject whose achievements were in the realm of the intellect. During the years he was an irascible presence at Trinity College, Cambridge, Newton imagined properties of nature and gave them names—mass, gravity, velocity—things our science now takes for granted. Inspired by Aristotle, spurred on by Galileo’s discoveries and the philosophy of Descartes, Newton grasped the intangible and dared to take its measure, a leap of the mind unparalleled in his generation. James Gleick, the author of Chaos and Genius, and one of the most acclaimed science writers of his generation, brings the reader into Newton’s reclusive life and provides startlingly clear explanations of the concepts that changed forever our perception of bodies, rest, and motion. Ideas so basic to the twenty-first century we literally take them for granted.

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4 ) The Best American Science Writing 2000

 The Best American Science Writing 2000 Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 4

The first volume in this annual series of the best writing by Americans, meticulously selected by bestselling author James Gleick, one of the foremost chronicles of scientific social history, debuts with a stellar collection of writers and thinkers. Many of these cutting-edge essays offer glimpses of new realms of discovery and thought, exploring territory that is unfamiliar to most of us, or finding the unexpected in the midst of the familiar. Nobel Laureate physicist Steven Weinberg challenges the idea of whether the universe has a designer; Pulitzer Prize winner Natalie Angier reassesses caveman (and-woman) couture; bestselling author and Darwinian theorist Stephen Jay Gould makes a claim for the man whose ideas Darwin discredited; Timothy Ferris proposes a realistic alternative to wrap-speed interseller travel; neurologist and bestselling author Oliver Sacks reminisces about his first loves-chemistry and math. This diverse, stimulating and accessible collection is required reading for anyone who wants to travel to the frontier of knowledge.

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2 ) The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

 The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 2

James Gleick, the author of the best sellers Chaos and Genius, now brings us a work just as astonishing and masterly: a revelatory chronicle and meditation that shows how information has become the modern era’s defining quality—the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world. The story of information begins in a time profoundly unlike our own, when every thought and utterance vanishes as soon as it is born. From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long-misunderstood talking drums of Africa, Gleick tells the story of information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness. He provides portraits of the key figures contributing to the inexorable development of our modern understanding of information: Charles Babbage, the idiosyncratic inventor of the first great mechanical computer; Ada Byron, the brilliant and doomed daughter of the poet, who became the first true programmer; pivotal figures like Samuel Morse and Alan Turing; and Claude Shannon, the creator of information theory itself. And then the information age arrives. Citizens of this world become experts willy-nilly: aficionados of bits and bytes. And we sometimes feel we are drowning, swept by a deluge of signs and signals, news and images, blogs and tweets. The Information is the story of how we got here and where we are heading.

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2 ) Chaos: Making a New Science

 Chaos: Making a New Science Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 3

Few writers distinguish themselves by their ability to write about complicated, even obscure topics clearly and engagingly. In Chaos, James Gleick, a former science writer for the New York Times, shows that he resides in this exclusive category. Here he takes on the job of depicting the first years of the study of chaos–the seemingly random patterns that characterise many natural phenomena. This is not a purely technical book. Instead, it focuses as much on the scientists studying chaos as on the chaos itself. In the pages of Gleick’s book, the reader meets dozens of extraordinary and eccentric people. For instance, Mitchell Feigenbaum, who constructed and regulated his life by a 26-hour clock and watched his waking hours come in and out of phase with those of his coworkers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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1 ) Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

 Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 1

An illuminating portrayal of Richard Feynman—a giant of twentieth century physics—from his childhood tinkering with radios, to his vital work on the Manhattan Project and beyond Raised in Depression-era Rockaway Beach, physicist Richard Feynman was irreverent, eccentric, and childishly enthusiastic—a new kind of scientist in a field that was in its infancy. His quick mastery of quantum mechanics earned him a place at Los Alamos working on the Manhattan Project under J. Robert Oppenheimer, where the giddy young man held his own among the nation’s greatest minds. There, Feynman turned theory into practice, culminating in the Trinity test, on July 16, 1945, when the Atomic Age was born. He was only twenty-seven. And he was just getting started. In this sweeping biography, James Gleick captures the forceful personality of a great man, integrating Feynman’s work and life in a way that is accessible to laymen and fascinating for the scientists who follow in his footsteps.

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James Gleick’s Best Books



James Gleick Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOverall Rank
Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman 111 1
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood 332 2
Chaos: Making a New Science 323 2
The Best American Science Writing 2000 234 4
Isaac Newton 655 5
Nature’s Chaos 566 6
Time Travel: A History 777 7
Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything 898 8
What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier 979 8