Francis S. Collins, M.D., PhD., Book Recommendations


What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?
“The Creative Destruction of Medicine” by Eric Topol

Who are your favorite science writers? Anyone new and good we should pay attention to?
“The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Oliver Sacks’ books

You have written several books on the intersection of religion and science. What other books on the subject would you recommend?
“Coming to Peace With Science,” by Darrel Falk
“Origins,” by Deborah and Loren Haarsma
“Finding Darwin’s God,” by Kenneth Miller
Karl Giberson’s “Saving Darwin
Denis Alexander’s book “Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose?”
“The Reason for God” by the Rev. Tim Keller

What are the best books for laypeople about genetics and the most recent developments in the field?
“The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine” by Francis S. Collins
“The $1,000 Genome,” by Kevin Davies
Misha Angrist’s “Here Is a Human Being”

Are there particular books on bioethics or medical controversies you’d recommend?
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

What are your favorite novels of all time?
Charles Dickens’s “The Pickwick Papers”
“Tom Sawyer”
“Huckleberry Finn”

What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of?
Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Einstein: His Life and Universe,” by Walter Isaacson
Jim Watson’s “The Double Helix”
As for what I steer clear of, that would include anything involving shoddy science and/or self-indulgent writing

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion”
Christopher Hitchens “God Is Not Great”

What book has had the greatest impact on you?
C. S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity.”

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
“Leadership in Decline: Assessing U.S. International Competitiveness in Biomedical Research.”

You were brought up on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley and home-schooled until the sixth grade. What kinds of books did you read as a child?
Everything written by Frank Baum — including “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
Cowboy books by Zane Grey,
The Doctor Dolittle series
All of the Winnie-the-Pooh books from A. A. Milne.

Did you identify with any fictional characters growing up? Who was your literary hero?
The Cowardly Lion from “The Wizard of Oz”

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
All of the Dan Brown books

What do you plan to read next?
“C. S. Lewis: A Life” — a new biography from Alister McGrath


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