The very best of 2021

Don’t just take our word for it

For some, the biggest end-of-year traditions might be holidays and hot chocolate, family and festivities, or the first snowfall and all the merriment that comes with it. Our favorite end-of-year tradition is gathering ‘round… to pore over the latest best-of book lists. It’s an opportunity to reflect on a year in publishing and, more importantly, to count just how many of the top picks made their way onto our bedside tables.

This year, we are honored to count many of our own books among the “best of the year.” Read on below, and sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about our next “best” books.


The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy by Hannah Zeavin in the New Statesman’s “Best Books of the Year, 2021”

Cover for Open Strategy

Open Strategy: Mastering Disruption from Outside the C-Suite by Christian Stadler, Julia Hautz, Kurt Matzler, and Stephan Friedrich von den Eichen in Strategy + Business’s “Best Business Books of 2021”; in the Globe & Mail’s “Best business books of 2021”; and in Leading Blog’s “Best Leadership Books of 2021”

The Beauty of Chemistry: Art, Wonder, and Science by Philip Ball in American Scientist’s “Science Book Gift Guide 2021”

Command and Persuade: Crime, Law, and the State across History by Peter Baldwin in the London Times’ “Best law books of 2021”

Your Computer is on Fire edited by Thomas S. Mullaney, Benjamin Peters, Mar Hicks, and Kavita Philip in Strategy + Business’s “Best Business Books of 2021”

Designing Motherhood: Things that Make and Break Our Births by Michelle Millar Fisher and Amber Winick in Vanity Fair’s “Books to Read and Bookish Gifts to Buy 2021”; and in the New York Times’ “What to read: 5 visual books”

Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning by Audrey Watters in the Chicago Tribune’s “Biblioracle’s 8 favorite nonfiction books of 2021”

Cover for The Curie Society

The Curie Society by Heather Einhorn, Adam Staffaroni and Janet Harvey, and edited by Joan Hilty in American Scientist’s “Science Book Gift Guide 2021”

They Knew: The US Federal Government's Fifty-Year Role in Causing the Climate Crisis by James Gustave Speth in Bloomberg’s “This Year’s Essential Climate Change Books”

A Black Gaze: Artists Changing How We See by Tina M. Campt in Bookforum’s “Writers on their favorite books of 2021”

Into the Anthropocosmos: A Whole Space Catalog from the MIT Space Exploration Initiative by Ariel Ekblaw in Yale Climate Connection’s “12 books on climate and the planet”

A Playful Production Process: For Game Designers (and Everyone) by Richard Lemarchand in the LA Times’ “15 games that will keep the fun going all year round”

The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another by Ainissa Ramirez in American Scientist’s “Science Book Gift Guide 2021”

Missing file.

Electrify: An Optimist's Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future by Saul Griffith in Yale Climate Connection’s “12 books on climate and the planet”

The Infinite Playground: A Player's Guide to Imagination by Bernard De Koven in the LA Times’ “15 games that will keep the fun going all year round”

Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World by Nina Kraus in Behavioral Scientist’s “Notable Books of 2021”

Dressing Up: The Women Who Influenced French Fashion by Elizabeth L. Block in the Washington Post's “12 books I should have reviewed last year”

Ada and the Galaxies from MIT Kids Press by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv, illustrated by Susanna Chapman in American Scientist’s “Science Book Gift Guide 2021”


Sign up for our newsletter to hear more about our books