Books by James D. Watson

Released: Aug. 24, 2017

"In this bible of DNA information, Watson is as provocative and optimistic as ever."
A masterful summary of genetic science past, present, and future, from one of its prime movers. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 6, 2012

"Readers old or new are in for a fine treat; there really has been nothing in the history of science writing comparable to Watson's tell-all memoir."
The classic Double Helix (1968) is here again, this time annotated and illustrated and told in all the bold, brash, bumptious style that has become Watson's (Avoid Boring People and Other Lessons from a Life in Science, 2007, etc.) trademark in the intervening years. Read full book review >
AVOID BORING PEOPLE by James D. Watson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2007

"Vintage Watson: brash, bumptious, brilliant—and never boring."
Age cannot whither nor custom stale the sharp tongue of "Honest Jim"—the title the Nobel Prize-winning Watson (DNA: The Secret of Life, 2003, etc.) originally wanted for The Double Helix, his first tell-all account of science and personal history. Read full book review >
DNA by James D. Watson
NON-FICTION
Released: April 7, 2003

"A grand tour of epochal events in biology history."
Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Watson-Crick double helix model, and with a PBS series on the history of DNA hosted by Watson, this blockbuster recaps how it happened, what came before, where we are today, and what the future may hold. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Feb. 5, 2002

"Watson seems more tempered this time around, especially in the treatment of Rosalind Franklin. But the urge to reveal all will surely upset a few who may not see it that way at all."
Part memoir, part love story, part homage to the brilliant physicist George ("Geo," pronounced Joe) Gamow, this is another tell-all tale in the tradition of The Double Helix. Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: Feb. 19, 1967

Even without understanding any of the scientific data processed here, the general reader will find it hard to remain immune to this account of how J.D. Watson, along with another bright, volatile young man—Francis Crick, discovered DNA, the fundamental genetic material.

This is a memoir of "the way I saw things then, in 1951-1953, the ideas, the people and myself"—among them Sir Lawrence Bragg (who contributes the foreword here) who was their superior in the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University and who, midway, told them to stop tinkering with the project: Maurice Wilkins, who had a vested interest in DNA and had been working for many years on it: and Linus Pauling, Cal Tech's great scientist, who during this time came up with another structure whose chemistry was "screwy." What emerges here is not only a story of a scientific scrimmage as competitive as the race to the moon—but also a happy sense of surprise that anything as seemingly assiduous and systematic as pure science could be so much the result of random speculations at lunch and teatime and anything from light to "solid fiddling" at odd hours.

It all seems remarkably fresh and impulsive and adventitious. Read full book review >