20 Books On Gaia Theory, Recommended by Lovelock Fans

books gaia

Gaia Theory, put simply, is the idea that this planet and its biosphere is a single complex system. It also incorporates the concept that life within that system has as much influence on the system as the system has on life in return.

It was dismissed as New Age mumbo-jumbo when it was first advanced by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s but today, it is considered to be a scientific fact.

If you’d like to learn about Gaia Theory we’ve got the best books to get you started with.

The Molecular Biology of Gaia
by George Ronald Williams

George Ronald Williams dives deep into the individual cells of creatures to show their impact on the regulation of the Earth’s climate.

This book has deep ramifications for how we might approach healing the damage from climate change. 

the molecular biology of gaia

Gaia’s Body: Towards A Physiology Of Earth
by Tyler Volk

Tyler wanted to eliminate much of the spiritual element of the Gaia hypothesis to demonstrate that it wasn’t needed, that science shows the truth of the theory and, in the main, he succeeds admirably. 

Gaias Body

Life As A Geologic Force
by Pieter Westbroek

Pieter Westbroek joins Gaia Theory to geology to determine how life affects the formation of the planet Earth and vice-versa.

It’s a little dry for a casual reader but worth the time you spend with it all the same.

life as a geological force

Gaia: A Way Of Knowing
by William Irwin Thompson

William Irwin Thompson brings together experts from a host of fields to see how the Gaia hypothesis affects individual areas of thought (such as atmospheric science and cybernetic biology).

He, as an independent scientist, builds a compelling case for how this can positively impact the larger world. 

gaia a way of knowing

From Eros to Gaia
by Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson, the renowned mathematician, takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understand Lovelock’s Gaia Theory

This work is as much a great work of literature, even poetry, as it is of science. 

from eros to gaia

Gaia In Turmoil
Edited by Eileen Grist
& H. Bruce Rinker

Gaia in Turmoil asks what are the implications of the Gaia hypothesis for science, policy, ethics, education, economics and more and it provides positive answers for us to build on. 

Jim Lovelock’s predictions go far beyond scientific circles and challenge conventional belief in every aspect of how the Earth functions.

gaia in turmoil

Gaia In Action: Science of the Living Earth
by Peter Bunyard

Peter Bunyard’s concerns with Gaia Theory are purely practical.

He takes an in-depth look (with the support of his fellow scientists) at how the theory might help solve the problems of our modern world. What Lovelock outlines, Bunyard fills in.

He shows that Life-on-Earth is all connected.

gaia in action

Scientists On Gaia
by Stephen H Schneider
& Penelope J Boston

Schneider and Boston look to determine what science underpins the Gaia hypothesis and how this is reflected in the world around us.

With contributions from dozens of scientists this is a solid scientific introduction to Gaia Theory. 

scientists on gaia

Scientists Debate Gaia
by Dorion Sagan

Dorion Sagan brings together 53 scientists from a diversity of disciplines to thrash out what the scientific basis for Gaia Theory is and what it means for each field of study.

This is an unmissable text if you truly want to understand Gaia Theory. 

scientists debate gaia

Earthdance: Living System In Evolution
by Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris

Earthdance is a brilliant and ambitious book which seeks to explain the relationship between every living thing and the cosmos as a whole, think of it as extended-Gaia Theory. 


The Gaia Hypothesis: Science On A Pagan Planet
by Michael Ruse

Michael Ruse’s contribution to Gaia Theory asks “how did a theory that was once reserved for kooks make it to the mainstream?”

His journey is insightful and fascinating and the answers are very powerful indeed. 

the gaia hypothesis

Gaia: An Atlas of Planetary Management
by Norman Myers

Norman Myer’s classic work goes beyond Gaia Theory and asks how could Gaia Theory be applied to the planet to heal the damage that mankind has wrought upon it.

It’s a surprisingly thoughtful study of how to make the world a better place through science. 

atlas of planetary management

Acquiring Genomes: A Theory Of The Origin Of The Species
by Dorion Sagan
& Lynn Margulis

Dorion Sagan and Lynn Margulis show how new species can be created from the act of symbiosis and how much data there is that supports this position that cooperation, not chance, is the greatest creative natural force. 

acquiring genomes

Symbiotic Planet
by Lynn Margulis

In Symbiotic Planet, Lynn Margulis develops a theory that better answers “What is the origin of our species?” than Darwin’s more famous text does.

In particular, the act of symbiosis rather than chance is highlighted as essential.

symbiotic planet

Microcosmos: Four Billion Years Of Microbial Evolution
by Lynn Margulis

Lynn Margulis takes the humble microbe and using Gaia Theory, she shows how evolution occurs for all species and enables us to better understand our relationship with the biosphere too. 


What Is Life?
By Lynn Margulis
& Dorian Sagan

Lynn Margulis was one of the originators of Gaia Theory so she knows what she’s talking about.

With Dorian Sagan she attempts to address the biggest question of them all, “What does it mean to be alive?”

Everyone should read this. 

what is life

Homage To Gaia
by James Lovelock

This is a witty and entertaining autobiography of the man who founded the Gaia hypothesis and of his life’s work.

Even if you’re not into science, we think you’ll enjoy it.  James Lovelock deftly explains everything from the Earth’s atmosphere to life on Earth, to joining the Royal Society.

homage to gaia

Healing Gaia
by James Lovelock

James Lovelock was the first person to theorize Gaia Theory and in Healing Gaia, he uses his theory to show how the planet can be a better place, if we want it to be.  This book explores a new look at life through the lens of practical science!

Author James Lovelock is always a joy to read.

healing gaia

Gaia: A New Look At Life On Earth
by James Lovelock

This was the first book ever to be published on Gaia Theory and if you want to know how things started this is an essential addition to your bookshelf.  


Earth In Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future
by David Grinspoon

David works for NASA as an astrobiologist and his book is all about applying Gaia Theory to real world problems to find practical solutions.

It’s a very positive and uplifting volume. 

earth in human hands

So, there you have it. The greatest books on Gaia Theory, from those who began the idea to those refining it today. 

Gaia Theory is a very simple idea with some very complex consequences for humanity and the planet. The good news is that with a little effort, these consequences can be positive for all of us.