Richard Dawkins

Why

Dawkins is my role model because his books played a major role in forming my understanding of the world. His writing is crisp and clear: he knows his stuff and can defend it well, so he doesn't need to obfuscate or confuse. He has strong opinions on religion and is not afraid to share them.

The Blind Watchmaker

This was my first brush with a Dawkins box was probably the single most influential, mind-changing experience I've ever had with a book. Until I'd read him, I didn't have well-formed mental models of scepticism, religion, or evolutionary biology.

This book gives a thoroughly convincing argument for the Darwinian theory of evolution. Dawkins is a master at this. He builds a seemingly-impossible case, Paley's Watchmaker Analogy, and proceeds to demolish it to pieces in the rest of the book.

Book recommendations

His early books are around the wonders of science and evolutionary biology. I recommend pretty much everything he's written, but these early ones are my personal favourites.