The Richness of Life: The Essential Stephen Jay Gould

The Richness of Life: The Essential Stephen Jay Gould

by Stephen Jay Gould
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The most entertaining and enlightening writings by the beloved paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and celebrant of the wonder of life.

"Nature is so wondrously complex and varied that almost anything possible does happen....I rejoice in [its] multifariousness and leave the chimera of certainty to politicians and preachers."—from Ever

…  See more details below

Overview

The most entertaining and enlightening writings by the beloved paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and celebrant of the wonder of life.

"Nature is so wondrously complex and varied that almost anything possible does happen....I rejoice in [its] multifariousness and leave the chimera of certainty to politicians and preachers."—from Ever Since Darwin

Upon his death in 2002, Stephen Jay Gould stood at the pinnacle among observers of the natural world, recognized by Congress as a "living legend." His prodigious legacy—sixteen best-selling and prize-winning books, dozens of scientific papers, an unbroken series of three hundred essays in Natural History—combined to make Gould the most widely read science writer of our time. This indispensable collection of forty-eight pieces from his brilliant oeuvre includes selections from classics such as Ever Since Darwin and The Mismeasure of Man, plus articles and speeches never before published in book form.

This volume, the last that will bear his name, spotlights his elegance, depth, and sheer pleasure in our world—a true celebration of an extraordinary mind.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Harvard professor and National Book Award winner Gould was one of science's best ambassadors to the general public until his death at 60 in 2002. These 44 essays represent his best-known pieces from his books and from essays for Natural Historymagazine, as well as never before published speeches. The editors have selected pieces on a wide range of subjects—from the ever-shrinking Hershey Bar, to his and Niles Eldredge's theory of punctuated evolution and Freud's adaptation of the (now abandoned) biological notion of recapitulation—which showcase Gould's immense curiosity as well as his skill at explaining even the most obscure topics with clear and vivid language. Autobiographical essays are followed by scientific ruminations on evolutionary theory and how it has been understood, misunderstood and misused, ever since Darwin put pen to paper. This collection demonstrates Gould's passion for life as well as his enthusiasm for, and awe at, the "majesty" of "the continuity of the tree of life for 3.5 billion years." Gould's many fans, as well as new readers, should find this collection intriguing as well as entertaining, an eminently suitable last hurrah for an amazing thinker. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Adult/High School
One of the most widely known and accessible of science writers, Gould reveled in living in a period of rapid scientific progress. Exploring this "best of all enterprises at the best of all possible times," he communicates his wonder and enthusiasm. The editor draws from hundreds of essays published from the 1970s until the scientist's death in 2002, organizing his choices into eight sections. The book starts with some of the best-loved autobiographical pieces (for example, Gould's scientific attitude defines his fight with cancer; he illustrates problems in statistics through examples in his favorite sport, baseball). Subsequent essays offer insights and anecdotes about other scientists, and then represent key points in the evolutionary scientist's career. In the final sections, Gould focuses his laser eye on the blunders and misunderstandings when sociology, psychology, culture, and religion have interacted with and impinged upon one another. The informative and provocative essays on topics like racism, misogyny, and creationism (including "Darwin and the Munchkins of Kansas") are sure to spark discussion. Readers browsing this volume will be fascinated and inspired by the man's creativity-and swept away by the surprising and often humorous tactics he employs to draw them in. Though his many other books are likely to stay in print, this anthology presents, with a Gould-like liveliness and breadth of perspective, a taste of his entire lifetime of insight. For collections that have room for only one volume of his writing, this is the essential one.
—Christine C. MenefeeCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780099488675
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/2007
Pages:
646
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Steven Rose is Emeritus Professor of Life Sciences at the Open University. Long active in the politics of sciences, their joint books include Science and Society and Alas Poor Darwin.

Steven Rose is Emeritus Professor of Life Sciences at the Open University. Long active in the politics of sciences, their joint books include Science and Society and Alas Poor Darwin.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 10, 1941
Date of Death:
May 20, 2002
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Place of Death:
Boston, Massachusetts
Education:
B.S., Antioch College, 1963; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1967

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >