Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Harvard University. Dr. Christakis’ lab is currently focused on the relationship between social networks and health. He is the author of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.

The Iliad, by Homer

The Iliad

by Homer

“This book inspires and depresses me every time I read it. Hector is the only tragic hero worthy of the name. And Andromache reminds me of my wife, Erika.”

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Shogun, by James Clavell

Shogun

by James Clavell

“I read this book as a teenager, and it has a long reach; I recently met a man my age who referred nonchalantly to Toronaga, and i realized I was not the only one.”

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Ulysses, by James Joyce

Ulysses

by James Joyce

“A conventional choice for a list like this; but I read this book in college and the last sentence is still one of the most romantic and moving things I have encountered in my life.”

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On Growth and Form, by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson

On Growth and Form

by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson

“Famous for its transformation of fish, this book has so much else to offer for understanding the natural world.”

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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

by Jared Diamond

“Bristles with so much knowledge that it is riveting.”

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Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

“My wife gave this treasure to me on my 40th birthday, and I was astonished at my ignorance in having never read it before; it’s a perfect novel.”

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Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert

Stumbling on Happiness

by Daniel Gilbert

“This book helped tame my more crazy natural inclinations, though Dan appears not to have noticed.”

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The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, by Steven Pinker

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

by Steven Pinker

“Whenever I read this book, I find myself wishing I could write like Steve.”

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The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us, by Christopher Chabris & Daniel Simons

The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us

by Christopher Chabris & Daniel Simons

“I was fortunate to get this book before it was published, and my repeated amazement motivated my entire family to read it.”

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Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, by Richard Wrangham

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

by Richard Wrangham

“One of the things that I so like about this book is that it at once scientifically and poetically finds the extraordinary in the ordinary act of cooking.”

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