How to Build a Habitable Planet

| August 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

When it comes to evolution, whether it’s evolution of live organisms or evolution of planets there’s a lot of confusion. That’s were the “How to Build a Habitable Planet” comes in. It is a book with a reputation of an accessible yet scientifically impeccable introduction to the origin and evolution of Earth, which clears a lot of confusion about this topic. So let’s check out the new the new edition of this well known book.


Book Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Rev Exp edition (July 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691140065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691140063
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


About the Author

Charles Langmuir is a  geochemist at the university of Harvard. He has carved a distinguished career in the international science arena investigating many aspects of the solid earth geochemical cycle. Also, he co-led the first investigation of the Arctic Ocean ridge system.

Wallace Smith Broecker is the Newberry Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and a scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. He developed the idea of a global “conveyor belt” linking the circulation of the global ocean and made major contributions to the science of thecarbon cycle and the use of chemical tracers and isotope dating in oceanography.


Short Review

“How to Build a Habitable Planet” is basically a textbook often used by students studying the subject all around the world. Usually, I don’t overview textbooks in this section of the website, but I decided to make an exception as this textbook is quite different. This book is not well known outside the academic community, but it’s actually famous for being very accessible and avoiding technical language as much as possible. So due to this reason this book can be read as something that you read for fun, which is always an advantage.

The book is an introduction to the origin and evolution of Earth, from the Big Bang through the rise of human civilization. “How to Build a Habitable Planet” has nine chapters. It starts on the origin of the universe — the Big Bang, followed by how elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were created in stars. It then introduces step-by-step how the inner and outer planets were developed, how and when the Earth was segregated into layers. Most of all, during the evolution of the Earth, a combination of factors resulted in making it the only habitable planet in the solar system.

Interweaving physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, and biology, this sweeping account tells Earth’s complete story, from the synthesis of chemical elements in stars, to the formation of the Solar System, to the evolution of a habitable climate on Earth, to the origin of life and humankind. The book also addresses the search for other habitable worlds in the Milky Way and contemplates whether Earth will remain habitable as our influence on global climate grows.

You have read the book? If so, feel free to write your thoughts about it in the comment section below. 


  1. More books by Wallace Smith Broecker
  2. How to Build a Habitable Planet on Amazon:



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Category: General Science Books

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