Human enhancement book. What are the best books about human enhancement and human augmentation? My top 8 and tips for (science) fiction & non-fiction!

Books human enhancement

What is a good book about human enhancement? Of course, you can order my book Future of Humans. In this book I will answer these questions:

  • What will the humans of the future look like?
  • Will we create and sculpt the ‘perfect’ human?

In this book you will learn more about the future of humans – for instance by looking at different methods and techniques in the field of (biomedical) technology, the ethics behind them, and their impact. Click here for more information about this book.

My book on human enhancement: link

Best book human enhancement

I frequently refer to non-fiction books by professor Yuval Noah Harari and professor Michael Bess. I also like to use examples from fiction every now and then, such as Brave New World and Oryx and Crake.

Here, you can find a list of the non-fiction books that I think are the best on this topic.

  1. Book Homo Deus
  2. Book Make Way for the Superhumans
  3. Book Evolving Ourselves
  4. Book The Gene
  5. Book The Techno-Human Condition
  6. Book Hacking Darwin
  7. Book Unfit for the Future

Here you can find a short description of the top 3 books:

1. Homo Deus

In the future we will have the capabilities of a god. With scientific advancement, immortality and digital consciousness come into view. But Harari also describes the downside: does humanism still fit in here if companies can predict us better than ourselves using data? Link.

2. Our Grandchildren Redesigned

Historian and professor Michael Bess delved into the future of human enhancement. In addition to describing advances in science and technology, a strong point of this book is that he focuses on social, cultural and societal consequences of human enhancement. Link.

3. Evolving Ourselves

Humanity itself is the most powerful engine of human evolution. From rising obesity figures from fast food to changing our DNA with CRISPR / cas9. We are experiencing the biggest shift of our kind: from unnatural selection and random mutations to natural selection and accurate mutations. Short chapters with sometimes provocative statements. Link.

But besides non-fiction, the concept of human enhancement also is the subject in many science fiction stories.

Stories human enhancement

Numerous fiction books have been written about our future as human beings. At the time of writing this article, I’m reading the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood [link at the bottom]. In the books, a deliberately planned biological disaster has almost completely destroyed mankind. In the stories, modifications to humans aren’t discussed that often, but the consequences of our modifications to animals, crops and the rest of the planet are.

The book Neuromancer by William Gibson is a compelling mix of technology and espionage. According to critics, this 1983 book describes the Internet for the first time. The author was ahead of his time with a story about hackers, artificial intelligence systems and the power of large corporations.

In a list of influential fiction on this subject, Brave New World is definitely one that needs to be mentioned. The book was written by Aldous Huxley in 1932 and describes a completely rationalized world. Both reproduction and education are artificial and all human aspects such as love, art and emotions have been banned from the world.

Frankenstein and more

Talking about human enhancement, I cannot help but mention the book Frankenstein from 1818 [link at the bottom]. The book is considered to be one of the first books in the horror genre and the title of the book often makes it to the media. This also made into a couple of movies, like Mary Shelly (2017) in the picture above.

A nice observation is from author Annegreet van Bergen. In an interview in the Volkskrant, she points to the influence of the technology that emerged at the time: “Around the time Mary Shelley wrote the book, scholars had just started holding demonstrations with electric machines.”

Apparently, the crackling power surge inspired Mary Shelley to incorporate this into her novel. Because the essence of the story is that the Viennese doctor in training Victor Frankenstein sews a being from body parts of corpses and brings it to life with lightning.

Contemporary successors

The book Frankissstein is a contemporary successor to the original. In this novel by Jeanette Winterson, two story lines are intertwined, namely about gender fluidity and artificial intelligence [link at the bottom]. Funnily enough, the story starts in 1816 on Lake Geneva with what, according to tradition, was the inspiration for Mary Shelley to write her novel.

Dog human combination

A special novel is A Dog’s Heart by the Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov from 1925. It is a story that is sometimes called pretty Frankenstein. It is about a professor who operates on a street dog, Sjarik. The professor gives the dog the testicles and pituitary gland of a criminal who died just before. The purpose of this experiment was to see if it leads to a rejuvenation of the animal.

However, this does not happen. The dog changes over time into a kind of person, but with the characteristics and traits of the previous owner.

Russian Revolution

I received this book as a gift from the organization of Talkshow De Idee, where I gave a lecture about human enhancement. It was a really good gift, because the book falls within the theme and because I would not buy it myself so quickly. I hadn’t read any Russian novels before this novel. I usually read some more recent science fiction books.

The gift was therefore a pleasant surprise. Although it is a small novel, it contains many layers. What does it mean to be human? Or animal? What happens if power falls into the wrong hands? In what kind of system are these kinds of experiments possible?

The last comment relates to the time in which the book was written. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the tsar was deposed and eventually replaced by a communist regime. In the book, Bulgakov subtly criticizes the political situation in his country at the time.

Hire me!

Do you want to know more about human enhancement?

Please contact me if you have any questions! Like if you want to invite me to give a lecture, presentation or webinar at your company, at your congress, symposium or meeting.

Or if you want to book a session with me as an expert consultant on this area.

Reading list

I previously wrote these related articles about human enhancement:

This is a summary of all the books mentioned:

What is your favorite book on this topic? Leave a comment!