I've been thinking about the books I've read on Paleo, and realized that the best books for me weren't specifically about Paleo. Rather they got me to think in surprising new ways about food in general, then later I refined my diet in a more Paleo direction.
What books (or sites or people) who really made a profound difference to you, whether or not they were actually about Paleo?
The two books that really stand out for me (possibly because of when I read them as their content) were:
Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. I'm sure most here know the importance of this book, which was literally life-changing for me. I could almost feel my mindset making a sudden u-turn (complete with squealing brakes) in my understanding of diet and health, and even of life. I didn't even start with a 'Diet' like Atkins or Paleo or whatever the names are. Instead I simply stopped eating carbs and began to educate myself about variations later.
Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine and Luke Shanahan. Not exactly Paleo and perhaps not so well known as some, but to me this was a very important book. It really illuminated how our bodies and our genes are in a dynamic relationship with our environment and our food, and that living foods are very different from 'dead' foods (and explains why - lots of strong science, something I also appreciated about GCBC above). Their critique is that (theory aside) it's hard to get comprehensive information about the actual neolithic diet, but there are many diets in traditional cultures that are very healthy, that they have very consistent commonalities even if the cultures and locations are very different (say, Eskimo and Swahili). It's because of this book that I've fully embraced cultured milk products like kefir (and I'm making my own sauerkraut too), and it feels completely right even if not exactly "paleo" to some.
There are other excellent books about diet in general and Paleo in particular that have been informative and useful, but the two above were for me major and exciting milestones.
What about yours?
The Omega Diet by Artemis Simopoulous http://www.amazon.com/Omega-Diet-Lifesaving-Nutritional-Program/dp/0060930233/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1
It's an excellent fatty acid primer even if her dietary recommendations fall short. Really really good book.
And so much more. Evolutionary psychology and evolutionary biology are continually and most powerfully reminding us of how important it is to understand and work with our biology....paleo to the core.
Evolution of Desire - David Buss http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Desire-Revised-4/dp/046500802X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303847942&sr=8-1
The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature- Matt Ridley http://www.amazon.com/Red-Queen-Evolution-Human-Nature/dp/0060556579/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1303847973&sr=8-8
The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature-Geoffrey F. Miller http://www.amazon.com/Mating-Mind-Sexual-Choice-Evolution/dp/038549517X/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1303847973&sr=8-12
The Evolution of Personality and Individual Differences - David Buss et al http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Personality-Individual-Differences/dp/0195372093/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1303847973&sr=8-6
Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior by Geoffrey Miller http://www.amazon.com/Spent-Sex-Evolution-Consumer-Behavior/dp/B002ZNJWHW/ref=pd_sim_b_3
The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Animal-Science-Evolutionary-Psychology/dp/0679763996/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303847869&sr=8-1
The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Virtue-Instincts-Evolution-Cooperation/dp/0140264450/ref=pd_sim_b_8
The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sam+harris&x=0&y=0
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Evidence-Evolution/dp/1416594795/ref=pd_sim_b_4
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens http://www.amazon.com/God-Not-Great-Religion-Everything/dp/0446697966/ref=pd_sim_b_6
My current cookbook picks would look something like this:
-"Meat" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (HF-W just rocks my world in general and his Escape to River Cottage series, from the UK but i watched the first few seasons on Amazon, is really delightful and entertaining)
-"Charcuterie" by Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman. A master class in making pates, sausage and other cured meats.
-"The Whole Beast, nose to tail eating" by Fergus Henderson. A cult classic. Offal!
-"On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee. Information on the science behind cooking.
-"Cured" by Lindy Wildsmith nicely illustrated book on basic techniques for preserving meats, fish, veggies, etc (I've been making my own gravlax and want to try some more of the recipes here)
-"Herbs and Spices" by Jill Norman mmm, a reference guide to herbs and spices, good combinations and recommended uses. Herbs and spices are a cook's BFFs.
"la Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange" - the book that got Julia Child cooking, an old tome covering everything on French Home Cooking, written by a woman with lots of strong opinions back in the day.
The Vegetarian Myth -- devoured this in a couple of days shortly after going paleo and it was inspiring/infuriating
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan was the second book after GCBC that really got me thinking about nutrition, and how broken the American Food Culture is. Later on both The Botany of Desire and In Defense of Food by te same author really put an exclamation point on the points made in Omnivore's even though written before and after, respectively.
Nina Planck's Real Food was a great read full of supplemental info as well.
For the non-food books, I would have to say Endurance by Alfred Lansing about Sir Earnest Shackleton's doomed expedition to the Antarctic as well as PT 109 by Robert J. Donovan about John F Kennedy in WWII were very influential in terms of survival and how things could be soooo much worse than they are. These are both very inspirational.
Born To Run by Christopher McDougall is a fascinating read and chock full of tasty bits of physiology, evolutionary theory, and anthropology. The story is compelling enough to keep you interested in the characters, and just nerdy enough to make me seek out more information. It also helped to get back on my feet and running again. I think I bought my minimalist shoes the second day after finishing it.
Imagining Head Smashed In a great scholarly work on Blackfoot N.American Native tribes' harvesting and processing of bison fat! Available as a free PDF.
1.Power Sex and Suicide by Nick Lane
2.Telomeres edited by Titia de Lange, V. Lundbald and E. Blackburn Cold Spring Harbor Press
My current reading is all about aging and telomeres because all things filter via these paths.
I found Ishmael by Daniel Quinn to fit into paleo philosophy well, or at least my variant. It's more of a look at the agrarian civilization that we belong to, and how it will likely fail. The same kind of thought can be/is applied to the agricultural system, that the conventional system is inherently flawed, and another system needs to take it's place.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that Quinn references hunter-gatherer and pastoral cultures to make comparisons with Western Civilization.
skinny b*tch is a great book... they are vegetarians( anti paleo lol) but have a ton of great info about ways to get you vitamins and stuff from foods.