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The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History (original 1985; edition 1987)

by Stephen Jay Gould

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91069,662 (3.96)9
Member:CalamariFritti
Title:The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History
Authors:Stephen Jay Gould
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1987), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould (1985)

Recently added byMorgae, private library, HeartwoodTMN, BCWEC, MikeBruscellSr, GMGee

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Interesting essays, as always, about how science works, evolution and natural history. Reading these essays is a pleasure, tinged with regret that Stephen Jay Gould is no longer writing them. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
This is another collection of essays loosely based around evolutionary biology (with some inevitable baseball references).

This is what the author is best at. He like language and uses it in his own verbose and slightly pompous manner but once again we can see that he doesn't seem to have a nasty bone in his body.

Having now seen him talk on you tube I can picture him reading the book to me, slightly out of breath, fiddling with his glasses dramatically and pausing for effect quite often. This only helps the enjoyment all the more.

Some of the material covered is getting old now (1987) so bear that in mind, but I particularly enjoyed some of the "period" references e.g. the dino-killing impact theory.

If you haven't read Gould then this might be a decent place to start - if you have read him then this is a cracking example of him in the medium he does best. ( )
1 vote psiloiordinary | Sep 6, 2010 |
Evolutionary Biology?: Is there any other type of modern biology? Evolution is so deeply interwined in today's biology that it almost seems a tautology to classify this book under Evolutionary Biology. Gould's reflections are masterpieces of rationality and logic heavily supported with facts and exposed with an uneven grace and uniqueness. This, as a lot of other Gould's books, is a collection of essays that don't need to be read in order since they are not chapters, their organization obeys the main subject of each essay, not a unique plot developed along the book. This is an easy and incredibly interesting journey inside reason and natural science, please don't hesitate if you want to be taken by the hand of one of the greatest zoologists of the twentieth century.
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
Love Gould, as usual. I can never remember which essays are in which - this is neither one of his first ones, where he's somewhat more accepting of standard stories, nor one of his later ones where his cancer becomes a frequent player, so I have no idea which of his stories are in here. But I enjoyed them! Not the first time I've read this one, either. He always makes me think, even on multiple re-reading. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jan 21, 2008 |
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An eminent colleague, a fine theoretician who has paid his dues in the field, once said to me, only partly facetiously, that fieldwork is one hell of a way to get information. All that time, effort and money, often for comparatively little when measured against the hours invested. True enough, especially when I count the hours spent drinking Cuban coffee, the one pleasure of my least favorite place, Miami airport. But all the frustration and dull, repetitive effort vanish to insignificance before the unalloyed joy of finding something new – and this pleasure can be savored nearly every day if one loves little things as well. To say, "We have discovered it; we understand it; we have made some sense and order of nature's confusion." Can any reward be greater? (from: Opus 100)
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