Customer Reviews for

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Average Rating 4.5
( 31 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Good Book

This book is pretty good...from a scientific aspect of things most of the content of this book can be found in any introductory biology textbook...however the social issues that Ridley approaches in this book are interesting to think about and that makes most of this bo...
This book is pretty good...from a scientific aspect of things most of the content of this book can be found in any introductory biology textbook...however the social issues that Ridley approaches in this book are interesting to think about and that makes most of this book enjoyable.

posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Awful!

Ridley's book is a simplistic, overgeneralised approach to a topic about which there is already enough confusion. He makes assertions which are dubious at best, and often doesn't bother to provide adequate scientific proof of why a statement is the case. Also, the boo...
Ridley's book is a simplistic, overgeneralised approach to a topic about which there is already enough confusion. He makes assertions which are dubious at best, and often doesn't bother to provide adequate scientific proof of why a statement is the case. Also, the book is poorly written, with sentences that are frequently choppy and amateurish. I salute Ridley for his audacity in attempting to 'explain' an area which is still in the process of being understood by the most advanced scientists, but I sharply criticise his lack of substance. Although most readers wouldn't be able to understand the real technicalities of what occurs, he insults our intelligence by assuming that this then means that we do not require proof. Far better to pick up a copy of The Scientific American and get the current, partial, well-documented truth than a book full of half-understood, half-articulated conjecture.

posted by Anonymous on January 31, 2002

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2006

    Good Book

    This book is pretty good...from a scientific aspect of things most of the content of this book can be found in any introductory biology textbook...however the social issues that Ridley approaches in this book are interesting to think about and that makes most of this book enjoyable.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 21, 2009

    Great book, especially for bio class

    This was a great book to read during my Advanced Biology class. It was not required, but i loved reading it. It is a great introduction to genetics and many diseases and it is simply interesting. Not for everyone, though, especially those that have no major interest in science and its complexities.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    If you're even thinking about Genetics. . .

    I got this book because I was told I'd need it for college but I found that it is a very interesting book. Even If you're not into the really technical stuff this book offeres wonderful insights into humans as a people and has relevance to anyone who might read it. If you intend upon a Genetic major or if you are unsure, be sure to get this book. It will really help you to decide.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2003

    Better than a Genetics Class

    Several of my friends and I, who all attend the University of Pittsburgh and are biological science majors, read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Ridley manages to capture fact while adding humor. As with his other books, this book inspired many conversations between us and our professors.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2003

    Best book in the last 10 years

    This is a great book. It is clearly written and interesting. As a scientist, I found the book very easy to understand but at the same time challenging and thought provoking. This is not a simple minded 'popular science' type of volume. I learned alot from this book--something I can say about very few books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2002

    Awful!

    Ridley's book is a simplistic, overgeneralised approach to a topic about which there is already enough confusion. He makes assertions which are dubious at best, and often doesn't bother to provide adequate scientific proof of why a statement is the case. Also, the book is poorly written, with sentences that are frequently choppy and amateurish. I salute Ridley for his audacity in attempting to 'explain' an area which is still in the process of being understood by the most advanced scientists, but I sharply criticise his lack of substance. Although most readers wouldn't be able to understand the real technicalities of what occurs, he insults our intelligence by assuming that this then means that we do not require proof. Far better to pick up a copy of The Scientific American and get the current, partial, well-documented truth than a book full of half-understood, half-articulated conjecture.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2001

    Gene Understanding Made Easier

    I have had an interest in genetics for some time now, but for the first time I have been able to read a book on the topic without needing a scientific background in it. Though a new vocabulary is introduced, it is not necessary to learn it in order to understand the processes going on with our genes. For anyone who wants a layman's understanding of our genetic makeup and how it affects us and the world around us, I highly recommend this well written and easy to read book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    This book is interesting but BE WARNED - it is NOT a NEW book! I

    This book is interesting but BE WARNED - it is NOT a NEW book! I thought I was getting the latest and greatest on this subject when I saw it advertised as a NEW release. Not so - This book was written in 2000! It is still worth reading if you are interested in genetics and do not want a lot of technical detail.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2011

    Genome: A Map of the Human Condition

    Most people on the planet who took any sort of high school biology course know about the human genome; it is the blueprint that makes us, us. Perhaps if one¿s memory is advanced enough, they will remember that DNA is wrapped into 23 chromosomal packages and that each chromosome does something different. However the sheer idea that there are millions of tiny base pairs in specific sequences is overwhelming to most. What Ridley does is takes a very basic approach to the situation and presents this overwhelming idea in a way that is very narrative. The separate chromosomes act as a setting for the human story that Ridley flushes out, from life, to history, to our own personalities. His approach may not be heavily based in scientific detail, but for what he sacrifices in appropriate scientific jargon, he makes up in entertainment value. Each chapter is titled with a particular heavy subject, such as Chromosome 22¿s ¿Free Will¿ - a very effective method that keeps interest high. He then proceeds to describe how a gene on the chromosome in question relates to the chapter¿s title. Genome is one of the most accessible books on genetics whose purpose is to enlighten a mass audience. I highly recommend that anyone who is curious about how our genetic blueprint is actually read should pick this up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Superbly written and thought provoking

    As a scientists, I truly respect the amount of research peformed by Mr. Ridley. I really like his writing style which is casual enough for the non-scientists yet academically precise for the science/medical professional. Chapter 1 has already been updated since the original publication date so some of the evolution theories have been disproved with the recent findings (called The Link). However, the discussion of our relatedness to chimpanzees was well-developed and defended, despite several recent suggestions of a possible separate lineage from orangutans. Mr. Ridley also does a good job tackling the bioethical questions surrounding genome testing, and demonstrates that knowledge is not the same as wisdom. Truly, a terrific read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2002

    Here we all are!

    Matt Ridley does something very few other writers could with this book, he explains the science of genetics to a totally unscientific mind like mine! I welcome this book for anyone with an open mind who is willing to try and learn something that wouldn't appear on their normal curriculum. Pick this one up you just might be pleasantly surprized!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2002

    a true epiphany for thought of things important---

    An amazing trip through the genetic forest guided by a 'regular guy' who makes the complex subject approachable to layfolk . I carry it with me when I travel to revisit various chapters and consider implications the material prompts me to do. Very refreshing reading--no sterile bland science text here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2001

    New way of looking

    This book says how small we are in whole our history, and also how big gen could be to rule with part of our lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2001

    Excellent book but with some sticky spots

    I have learned more from this book than any other so far i have read. I found all of it interesting and enabling me to understand and enjoy biology more fully. there were a couple of chapters that didnt make a lot of scence to the layman, but most of it was clear enough to take in. over all, i would recomend you read this book for a general knowledge of the human genome.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2001

    Learning What You Will Need to Know About Your Genes!

    Many people describe the work in decoding the genome to be the beginning of the most important work ever done in science. Are you prepared? The field of genetics is doubling knowledge every few weeks. So Matt Ridley had set himself an impossible task in writing one of the last books before the completion of the Human Genome project. Yet, he has created a book of unique value to all of us as the full impact of genetic knowledge begins to take over our world. Forget 99 percent of what you have ever heard about genes. The school wasted your time with obsolete knowledge that wasn't in the ball park, in most cases. What Ridley has done is given us a roadmap of the kind of territory and effects that occur within our genes, and among our minds, bodies, and genes. The interrelationships are extremely complex and diverse. Beware any simple judgments about what genetics mean, as a result. What was most impressive to me was the remarkable potential to use genetic information to shed light on all kinds of issues. For example, the genetic record can give insights into the development of species, past expansion of nomadic peoples, language, personality, stress, memory, sex, instinct and the effect of the environment. To give us each a full panoply of ideas about genetics, he adopted the interesting structure of having one chapter about each chromosome. The chapter is not exhaustive, but picks on one or a few aspects of what is known or is in the process of becoming known. Fear not! I never took biology, and know little biological jargon. Yet the book portrayed the ideas and information simply and clearly enough that I don't think I got lost anywhere. The only part of the book that I did not like was a completely unsatisfactory discussion of what free will is in the last chapter. Skip that and you'll enjoy the book a lot more. How accurate is the book? In five chapters, I had read source books or articles referred to by Ridley, and each was well chosen for what he was trying to do and scrupulously described. Of course, we are still up against the fact that we know very little on this whole subject. This is the most stimulating science book that I have read in a long time. I even liked in better than The Selfish Gene, which I thought was a terrific book (which is also referred to and discussed in this book). I found that the book stimulated a lot of new thinking on my part. Fifteen minutes with the book led to four hours of conjecture on several occasions. I liked that feature of the book. Have a great time reading this book and thinking about its implications for your own life! Where will you have more potential in the future? Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2001

    Very Good

    Very intresting, like how the author put it in simplest terms, so even a preteen can read. I recommend this to anybody intrested in genetics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2000

    Historic Misinformation

    I have only read a portion of this remarkable work so far. However I must point out that on pg 56, on the topic of Huntingtons disease, it is stated that several decendants of a particular family were burnt at the stake as witches in Salem 1693. The historic society of Salem states that no accused person was ever burnt in this country and 19 people were hung in the Hysterics of 1692-93. This is a great book but that fact bothered me given how much research was put into this work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2000

    e no e

    It's a nice addendum to 'THE BLIND WATCHMAKER.' This field is so new that every baby step is a 'great leap for mankind'. If there's a kindergarten for new ideas put this in the sandbox. It's a start, not a finish. It's part grist, part mill. It's wonderfully intelligent for what it is. It's too bad that when the human genome has been fully writ the word 'Genome' will not be available for copyright.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2000

    COMMON SENSE AND GENETIC ENGINEERING

    Ridley explores one chromosome per chapter in a style that is both informative and entertaining. The reader does not have to understand advanced chemistry nor in depth genetics to become educated to this most important topic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2000

    A fascinatingly interesting look at 'us'

    If you never thought you'd read a book about genetics, (or even if you have) then this is the book for you. Ridley shows how the genetic map that is being developed for us will lead us to many of the answers that we have sought about ourselves. He explains in basic terms how genetics and evolution works. The most amazing part of this book is that it is extremely enjoyable to read. While still in the second chapter I was contemplating reading it again. If you have any interest in how we got to be what we are and what the future may hold for us, (or if you want some great party trivia) then reading 'Genome' will be both entertaining and enriching.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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