What’s on your reading list for this summer? We posed that question to IDRI employees – focused on books related to science or technology – and got some interesting answers. Take a look – you might want to add these to your list!

Linda Hawkins, Director, Quality Assurance and Compliance, has three favorites to recommend.

Drive:  The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink details startling results of psychological experiments that reveal that there are three elements that drive us – autonomy, mastery and purpose. “Forget the carrot and stick. Reading it gave me a better understanding of not only what motivates my employees but what motivates me as well.”

The follow-up book to Marie Kondo’s first New York Times best-selling book, “Spark Joy,” shows that “we all need a little more joy from our environment as well as know-how to fold clothes origami-style. The book speaks to my Japanese Zen side,” said Linda.

And, finally, “Operations Management” by W. Stevenson is a study guide on managing a manufacturing or service organization that “might reveal some good tips for application for IDRI’s GMP operations.”

How about a “non-fiction science horror novel” to whet your reading appetite? That’s how Charles Kelsey, Manufacturing Associate, describes Richard Preston’s “The Hot Zone,” listed on Amazon as the #1 best seller in the communicable diseases category. “Everyone knows that they should be afraid of Ebola, but it is hard to get an idea of what you are up against. The author goes into grisly detail about how these viruses work, and the symptoms that occur in humans. This book also brings up an all-important point: we are only an airplane ride away from the outbreak of a pandemic.”

Charles just finished reading “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, about a futuristic dystopian society that chooses to go into a virtual reality world to live rather than interact in the real world. “It’s a pretty interesting concept and Steven Spielberg is directing a movie, due to be released in 2018, based on the novel.”

Looking for an out-of-this-world (literally and figuratively) or a looking-to-the-future summer read? Randy Howard, Sr. Project Manager, has a couple to recommend.  “Seveneves” by Seattle author Neal Stephenson is imaginative with a lot of scientific background and detail with good character development and protagonists. “You’ll learn the reason for the title partway through this big read,” Randy guarantees.

Aurora” is by popular sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson.  “This, too, has interesting scientific detail as well as being imaginative in scope and ‘space’ and has characters you care about.”

For something more past and present, Randy is currently enjoying astrophysicist Lisa Randall’s “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs.” “The author has a nice, clear writing style with explanations one can easily grasp or visualize. Thus far, I’ve learned a lot about dark matter (maybe it should be called transparent matter instead?) and dark energy.  I haven’t gotten to the dinosaurs yet.”

Randy also enjoyed the beginning of Karen Masterson’s “The Malaria Project” about the U.S. government’s efforts to develop anti-malarials with the outbreak of WWII. “I got busy with other books (“Seveneves,” for example) and didn’t finish “The Malaria Project,” but expect I will get back to it at some point.”

Finally, Randy says, “Upright Thinkers” by Leonard Mlodinow is a “thought-provoking read, and I’ve started – and been enjoying — Andrea Wulf’s book “The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World.”  “The latter seems to be a thoroughly researched book about Humboldt, his travels, and how his ideas changed views of the natural world — in the 1800s, laying the groundwork for the environmental movement.”

IDRI’s VP of Operations, Chris Antony, takes every chance he gets to recommend “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. “It was a brilliant eye-opener of how people in the early days of biotech were taken advantage of; clearly, the author tried to educate and make amends by writing this. I’m astonished the HeLa cells are still alive and helping science today.”

Chris was given the book by his daughter Christina; Chris passed the book along to the baker at Grand Central Bakery at 1616 Eastlake (in the IDRI building), who in turn passed the book to her daughter and now recommends it to everyone!

If IDRI employees haven’t given you enough to read, take a look at these ideas:

Interested in learning how emoji may be the fastest-growing form of language in history? Read The Wall Street Journal’s guide to “Three Books Every Geek Should Read This Summer.”

Science Friday’s host and executive producer Ira Flatow and  guests share their favorite summer science reads ranging from classics like “Dune” by Frank Herbert to newly published books like “Version Control: A Novel” by Dexter Palmer, recounting the “effects of science and technology on our friendships, our love lives and our sense of self.”

Striking a chord during this year’s U.S. presidential election is “Infomocracy” by Malka Older, which presents a futuristic world where elections are held every 10 years so that there is “time for governing in between bouts of politics.” Read more about this book and other best science fiction novels to read this month in The Washington Post.

Trying to keep your kids both educated and entertained over the summer? Check out this list of “Best Science-y Books for Kids,” featuring books about paleontology, ecology, human biology, space and more.

Happy Summer Science Reading!

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IDRI
IDRI