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I’m looking for internationally applauded textbooks on fundamental biology. Books that are a must for a pre-medicine student/high school advanced. Currently, I study Biology by Neil Campbell, Jane Reece(and team) and I really like it. What I’m looking for is 21st century pedagogy and a modern writing style(as opposed to a stiff, unfriendly writing style that reads like a fact presentation pamphlet); books so good you don’t need an amazing teacher(which I definitely do not have.) Thanks. P.S.- If you have come across amazing books in branches of biology like say biochemistry or neuroscience or immunology, even those suggestions are welcome. P.P.S- My question is distinct from the “Books for beginners” question asked by user31782 because: 1.cost is no bar 2.I am not a beginner in biology, I’m studying pre medicine; and 3.All the resources suggested in the answers, I already know about them/have used them.

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  • $\begingroup$ How can one study pre-medicine (note the hyphen)? Or is this an example of the modern writing style you yearn for? And as for 21st century Pedagogy, sounds like a film company or a rock band. I would suggest that you explain yourself more clearly. $\endgroup$ – David Nov 19 '17 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ @David, a number of universities require a year of basic biology, biochemistry, calculus, biostatistics and psychology after high school for admission to medicine. That preparatory year is called pre-medicine (hyphen duly noted). Pedagogy means the method of teaching; both an apathetic school teacher and an ivy league professor know that DNA is transcribed into RNA and RNA is translated to protein, but their methods of presenting that to a student is what creates the difference. That’s where pedagogy comes in. $\endgroup$ – Inkjet Nov 20 '17 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ My criticism of your use of words is because the lack of precision makes your request unclear, so that all that happens is people express opinions about books they like or use, which is both off-topic here and does not answer your question. Pre-clinical medical courses differ throughout the world and within countries (and in some ‘21st centurary pedagogy’ has replaced them completely by ‘problem-based learning’ — although this is clearly not what you mean by the term). The problem is that the adjective you use describe your emotions towards the books, rather than the books themselves. $\endgroup$ – David Nov 20 '17 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ To clarify further: What do you find ‘amazing”? (Do you really mean this or just good?) How is a book ‘unfriendly’? (Author frowning in photo?) What do you consider a ‘modern writing style’? And when you have ceased to be a beginner, biology is not a single subject. Do you want to understand one branch at a less superficial (more chemical and mathematical) level, read something in which the science is related to medicine, or be inspired to do something about the apalling maternity mortality statistics in the US? Or do you, like most students, just want a book to pass an exam? Tell us. $\endgroup$ – David Nov 20 '17 at 14:10
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For fundamental mammalian cell biology, and molecular biology, and fundamental biochemistry: "The Molecular Biology of the Cell" by Bruce Alberts and colleagues.

It is mostly written for first semester students at university and thus summarizes the basics in a very clear way. Moreover they state whenever findings have some ambiguity, and they use many nicely drawn pictures to convey abstract concepts. Despite its approachability it covers most fundamental topics of many domains (also diseases).

While the ~2,000 pages of the complete edition might seem a bit intimidating they rarely provide unnecessary detail, and the individual chapters are written in a very concise way (even allowing you to skip some of them).

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Biology by Brooker (and now additional authors Widmaier, Graham, and Stiling) 4th edition is one which I used, and I quite liked it. Great presentation of information, in my opinion.

Textbook of Medical Physiology by Guyton and Hall, though not friendly, is a decent book.

I mostly have recommendations in the field of biopsychology, etc.

Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain by Bear, Connors, Paradiso (2016 ver) is colourful, inviting and VERY friendly! Great for high school advanced or pre-med, though I suppose if you want more details in neuroscience, you'll need something like Kandel.

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  • $\begingroup$ Have you ever had a chance to compare Neuroscience by Bear, Connors and Paradiso and Neuroscience by Purves, Augustine and Fritzpatrick? Are they the same level or one is more in-depth than the other? $\endgroup$ – Inkjet Nov 19 '17 at 6:02
  • $\begingroup$ Both seem to be on more or less on the same level. Presentation of the matter is better in B,C,P. Neuronal signalling is really good in P,A,Z, as in, it goes pretty in-depth. If you're a high-school student, I'd recommend B,C,P as your text book and P,A,Z as a reference book because B,C,P teaches better and that is what you want. $\endgroup$ – EMMs2008 Dec 2 '17 at 18:19
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Best textbook is no textbook. Don't read textbooks. Textbooks are overpriced reviews.

Do a literature search like a scientist. Create a list of keywords from the books you already have. Search PubMed for review papers containing the keywords in the titles or abstracts and read:

  1. titles;
  2. sentences containing the keywords;
  3. entire abstracts;
  4. skim through the papers (look for pictures).

If you collect all papers for each keyword, thousands in some cases, you can learn a lot by reading just the titles. Some programming skills will be useful.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

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I really like The Molecules of Life: Physical and Chemical Principles from John Kuriyan. It does a good job of introducing basic to intermediate principles in biochemistry. In particular it is a great introduction to protein biochemistry and pharmacology.

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  • $\begingroup$ I just got the book last month, I find it very helpful. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – Inkjet Nov 21 '17 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ My pleasure. Good luck! $\endgroup$ – Hayden S Nov 21 '17 at 3:36

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