Recommend one book in your field

Fantastic book by an industry giant.

Mine runs through film history and archival preservation: Burning Passions: An Introduction to the Study of Silent Cinema by Paolo Cherchi Usai, former head of the George Eastman House Film Preservation Center and current head of the Australian National Screen and Sound Archive.

I’ve become quite interested in financial history, being a history major who’s working as a financial journalist, so I’ll go with James Grant’s Money of the Mind.

Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest

Of all the computer science and technical books I’ve read, it’s the one with the most staying power.

UNIX System Administration Handbook by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, Trent R. Hein. I use the second edition. The best part about the book (to me, at least) isn’t the technical data for the various UNIXes, but the advice given on why you might want to do something, or avoid something else. It has something for everyone, no matter how they got forced into UNIX admin. :smiley:

Gods, Graves and Scholars. Kinda romantic view of the field, but I don’t know an archaeologist who hasn’t read it.

I thought the author had changed his name to Fr. *Kallistos * Ware. That’s how it reads on my copy of the book.
Now, for my field, I’m a baker. Surprise! There are a lot of good baking books, but for bread, just good bread of all sorts, nothing beats, Beard on Bread, by the late James Beard. The thing I always liked about Beard is that he wasn’t snooty about food. He appreciated quality, and a job well done, but he was not a total purist, he liked to experiment. And if I many branch out Beard on Pasta is the best book on that subject.

Mr Tompkins in Paperback

I’m in grad school for physics. My entire ‘understanding’ of modern physics comes from this book. Plenty of classes and textbooks have left me being able to solve problems about the topics (quantum mechanics, relativity) but never gave me much understanding or intuition.

Applied Drilling Engineering by Bourgoyne, et al.

Dr Bourgoyne was the Dean of the Petroleum Engineering Dept at LSU (eventually the Dean of the College of Engineering) while writing/editing this book and we used it as our text for Drilling Engineering and Advanced Drilling Engineering classes. So we essentially provided free editing services for him! :slight_smile:

First chapter describes the rotary drilling process in a readable form even for the non-engineering type person.

Cool idea for a thread.

From my structural engineering side, I’d recommend Why Buildings Fall Down, a look at structural failure, and it’s companion book, Why Buildings Stand Up, a neat layperson’s intro to structural engineering.

For rowing, The Amateurs : The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal is the gold standard. A really good one about women’s rowing is The Red Rose Crew : A True Story of Women, Winning, and the Water.

Hmmm, my other passions are learning Japanese (can’t really think of a good “novice” book for that) and Japanese women’s comics. If you’re at all interested, a decent, recently translated, not particularly smutty book is Desire. A smuttier intro book (and one of my favorite stories) would be Kizuna Vol.1.

Just one article for me: Manfred Bukofzer, Caput: A Liturgico-Musical Study (Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music, 1950). A truly brilliant example of writing about music, and of treading the fine line between scientific analytical behaviour and muical interpretation.

The Origin of Species.

Obviously, my field (college major, actually) is Evolutionary Biology. Darwin’s work is still amazingly readable, and still very fascinating. For those more interested in a more recent work on the subject, Ernst Mayr’s What Evolution Is is a good introduction.

Also, as a progressive (liberal, whatever) Christian, I highly recommend John Coleman’s The Unexpected Teachings of Jesus. I’m sure even many conservative Christians would enjoy this book. It treats the Gospels seriously and without the legalistic literalism that a lot of other similar books suffer from.

My fields of study and work don’t lend themselves to good easily accessible book recomendation. But my interest in cooking does. Try and find “The Sunday Times Cook’s Companion” (ISBN:0091781701) it is a fairly short work, going through the basic skills and methods of cookery including how to make up a recipie plus sections by several major chefs. I also allways like to suggest Larousse Gastronomique to people interested in cooking for the insite and coverage it gives to French cuisine and methods.
From my interest in Japanese Martial Arts, I like to suggest people should read "Go Rin No Sho’ (The book of Five Rings) by Myamoto Musashi.

The Chemical Rubber Company Handbook of Chemistry and Physics contains everything you need to know. For something more convenient to carry in a briefcase I recommend Cameron’s Handbook.

For my profession: Standards of Brewing by Charles Bamforth

For my hobby: German Wheat Beer by Eric Warner, the best of the Classic Beer Styles series, IMO

After reading the usual art history survey texts, I’d send someone to Michael Baxandall’s Art and Experience in fifteenth-century Italy, regardless of whether one gives a rat’s ass about Renaissance Italy. Wafer-thin and readable and a great approach and methodology.

Well, IMHO, for cooking the best general resource is The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker. Personally, I prefer the editions that came out in the '60’s & '70’s than the newer ones, so I usually recommend a trip to your favorite used bookstore for that.

To combine my love of cooking with my love of history, I recommend Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks by Constance B. Hieatt, Brenda Hosington, Sharon Butler.

On the medieval history front, Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman is one of the best out there.

As far as my love of true crime (slightly morbid topic, I know) I recommend just about anything by Ann Rule. Most of her stuff is fairly neutral as far as “picking sides”.

I love TV & movies, too, but can’t think of any one book I’d specifically recommend. I also work as a medical biller for a living, but unless you want to read the ICD-9 or the CPT Professional Edition , you’re pretty much out of luck. :wink:

I would recommend Song for the Blue Ocean by Carl Safina; he does an excellent job of conveying the interdependent nature of humans, the sea, and fisheries.

New Jack by Ted Conover is a very accurate depictation of what my job is like.

Well, I’m studying to be a forensic scientist, and the one textbook I have that all my non-forensic friends are fascinated by is Practical Homicide Investigation, if only for the gory photos.

Chemistry (especially physical chemistry, and analytical methods that rely on the intersection between physics and chemistry) is my true love, and I think that I can pinpoint my interest in it exactly, to 11th grade, when for the Academic Superbowl we were required to read Rosalind Franklin and DNA. I had just started chemistry that year and the moment I finished that book I knew I wanted to be Rosalind Franklin when I grew up. :slight_smile:

I do interaction design.

The two major popular classics are The Design of Everyday Things and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.