According to Richard Dawkins, Step 1 of Making a Scientist: Khaki Shorts and a Butterfly Net
Richard Dawkins’ memoir, An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, is the first of prospectively two volumes—Dawkins admits at the end that he may very well be “carried off by the unpredictable equivalent of a sneeze”—and mainly has to do with his fairly idyllic childhood spent in Africa, his comparatively miserable experience in the dreaded English boarding school system, his education at Oxford, and his early years of research up to the publication of his first book, The Selfish Gene.
Dawkins’ has a clear and outspoken personality, which has earned him acclaim as a scientist and made him a rallying point amongst militant atheists. He really fits the character of the mild mannered British scholar who can still say “I beg your pardon, did you say…?” while arguing with someone as unctuous as Ted Haggard without irony or sarcasm.
Audiences are used to seeing him employ this persona in debates and documentaries denouncing faith, but An Appetite for Wonder allows people to get to know him through his obsession with early computer programming via punchcards, his family’s legends of cannonball mishaps and clever elopements, his pride at being a Balliol man, and his thrill at his first trip to America, coupled with the embarrassment and mild shame of his more misguided protests he’d participated in while at UC Berkeley. Intimate and thought-provoking, this memoir is required reading.