Recommended Biology Books for Beginners

The phenomenon of the emergence of life is something that as human beings arouses interest, either to understand what surrounds us or to know how our own body works.

In fact, if we think and act as we do it is because our organism has emerged through a biological process: evolution. Our psychological dimension can also be studied from the point of view of biology. This selection of biology books can be useful for those interested in deepening the science that studies life.

Best biology books

Biology is a science as complex as life itself, so it branches into many disciplines to make the most of it. In fact, some of these branches have strengthened strong ties with other sciences that have ended up generating other disciplines already independent, such as biochemistry or paleoanthropology.

One way to increase our knowledge independently is by reading texts that expand our knowledge of the diverse topics related to this broad science. Here I present a selection of manuals, books and outreach texts to cover different topics of interest in modern biology without having to have great prior knowledge. And they are all biology books in Spanish.

Biology for Dummies (René Fester Kratz and Donna Rae Siegfried)

The book “Biology for Dummies” is ideal for introducing biology in a general way, with clear, easy and well-organized text for any reader to understand the fundamentals of the science of life. Ideal if you are not looking for anything specific in the matter.

The cell (Geoffrey M. Cooper and Robert E. Haussman)

This biology book is for many the manual par excellence to enter fully into the knowledge about the unity of life, that is, the cell. It is characterized by simple and clear use of language and backed by a multitude of graphics and drawings that make it easier to understand the explanations. Each edition draws on new advances in cellular and molecular biology, disciplines that have rapid expansion.

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (Matt Ridley)

Matt Ridley’s work is a good way to get into the fundamentals of genetics in aspects such as DNA inheritance or replication, as it presents it in a pleasant language and from the point of view of a journalist, who investigates and corroborates the information with real experiments conducted, to conclude to help understand terms that are difficult for themselves to understand. Containing 23 chapters is no coincidence, as it represents the 23 chromosomes that humans have in their genetic code.

The chosen species: the long march of human evolution (Juan Luis Arsuaga and Ignacio Martínez)

Human evolution is a thorny, complicated and complex subject. But this book of evolutionary biology is written so that it makes the subject seem very simple. A well-known text that is already a few years old, although it is so well written, has become a classic of the disclosure. Reading becomes enjoyable and easy to understand without giving up all the rigour expected of two renowned researchers of the subject, working in Atapuerca for so many years.

The Selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins)

Where do we come from? More than once, we have asked ourselves these questions, and zoologist Richard Dawkins gives us his answer with this book that presents us with the evolution from a different point of view: focusing on behaviour. With this work, Dawkins offers us the biological basis of animal and human behaviour, and how evolution has been partly to blame in its development.

Introduction to botany (Murray W. Nabors)

Murray W. Nabors is an American botanist who also teaches biology classes and sought to convey his knowledge of the plant kingdom. And this is how Introduction to Botany was born, a book of very didactic biology about this branch of the science of life, mainly focused on the upper floors, in herbs, shrubs and trees.

Plant physiology (Lincoln Taiz, Eduardo Zeiger)

If we talked about botany at a taxonomic level in the previous book of biology, “Plant Physiology” focuses on how the different tissues that makeup plants are structured. A didactic text, with many illustrations so as not to lose the detail of the knowledge that wants to transmit its reading.

Comprehensive principles of zoology (Cleveland P. Hickman Jr., Larry S. Roberts, Allan Larson, Helen I’Anson and David J. Eisenhour)

This manual presents the basic knowledge of discipline called zoology. He speaks of both the biology of invertebrates and vertebrates in general traits, with understandable and didactic language for understanding the principles of the study of animals’ kingdom.

Principles of Animal Physiology (Christopher D. Moyes and Patricia M. Schulte)

Zoology does not explain everything about animals, as is the case with botany, accompanied by animal physiology. This book of biology by Moyes presents in a didactic way the basic principles to understand the study of the structure of the different animals and the vital processes that keep them alive and adapted to their environment.

Your inner fish: 3.5 billion years of human body history (Neil Shubin)

This work tries to explain to us in an easy way how our body has become what we know today through 3.5 billion years of evolution. To do this, the author makes an anatomical comparison with other species of living beings. This book of biology was born from the author’s discovery of the text with his team of the fossil Tiktaalik roseae, a fish with limbs, which encountered the way of life that helps to understand the passage from the sea to the land of our ancestors.

Microbiology (Lansing M. Prescott, John P. Harley, Donald A. Klein)

Microbiology is an excellent manual to introduce us fully into the world of microorganisms. A work recommended for both biology and medicine since it deals with the structure, functioning and classification of bacteria and so on and deals with diseases caused by them when acting as parasites.

Viruses and pandemics (Ignacio López-Goñi)

Viruses have always been present in human history. This book’s author presents to us in an informative, simple and illustrative way what a virus is, its transmission mechanisms, and its existence within cells. It also addresses a virus-related topic: pandemics.

Ecology. Individuals, populations and communities (Michael Begon, John L. Harper, Colin R. Townsend)

The environment is an issue of great importance, and more so in recent times. Although ecology is a rather complicated science, Begon and company set out to write a biology book that presented the environment’s study to curious and novices in the field.

Lehninger. Principles of Biochemistry (David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox)

Biochemist Albert L. Lehninger first wrote this work in 1970, creating an introductory manual to the discipline of which biochemistry was a part. This is the science that studies chemistry within living beings, such as analysing proteins and their functioning. It was so well presented and had content so understandable and didactic that it continues to be updated today with the latest discoveries, even though its original author is no longer part of the new content.

 How does the brain work? (Francisco Mora)

Francisco Mora, a professor in human physiology at the Faculty of Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid, presents us with an easy and reading language that threatens the complicated world around the brain’s study. Although it is not itself a biology book, it does address a very related topic: neuroscience. The nervous system is a topic of interest to biologists and a fundamental part of the lives of the most complex organisms.

Evolution: The Greatest Show on Earth (Richard Dawkins)

In this book, the famous spreader Richard Dawkins talks about the functioning of biological evolution with a contagious feeling of fascination.

JUNK DNA (Nessa Carey)

A good book to understand how DNA works, the “architectural plane” of living beings within our cells, however different their functions may be.

The Ghosts of Evolution (Connie Barlow)

An interesting book about rarities of nature that seem to have been anchored in the past of millions of years ago and which still survive today. It is a tour of species that appeared a long time ago, which tells us about remote times.

Beyond fatalism (Gilliam Barker)

Does this book pose a cross between biology and philosophy on a fascinating subject: do our genes predestined us to create societies that are not inclusive and based on our individual needs’ satisfaction?

Birds, Country Guide (Angels Julivert)

An excellent book to start learning about the fascinating world of birds, very useful to start recognizing them in flight and distinguishing the characteristic attributes of the most common and known species.

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