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I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life (2016)

by Ed Yong

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,3794011,826 (4.15)97
This book lets us peer into the world of microbes -- not as germs to be eradicated, but as invaluable parts of our lives -- allowing us to see how ubiquitous and vital microbes are: they sculpt our organs, defend us from disease, break down our food, educate our immune systems, guide our behavior, bombard our genomes with their genes, and grant us incredible abilities. While much of the prevailing discussion around the microbiome has focused on its implications for human health, Yong broadens this focus to the entire animal kingdom, prompting us to look at ourselves and our fellow animals in a new light: less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we are. I Contain Multitudes is the story of extraordinary partnerships between the familiar creatures of our world and those we never knew existed. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it. --… (more)
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» See also 97 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Wonderful science writing about a fascinating topic! I’m a big Ed Yong fan now, can’t wait for his next book, whatever it is. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
Lost patience with the pop-science style. Chapter 5 was just a long series of "someone did this with mice, it was interesting, obviously mice aren't humans, but Isn't It Interesting?" TBH, I'm not really that interested in mice, and I suspect most other readers aren't either, so it seems to be playing pretty strongly on the implication that it could be extended to humans.
  ahailes | Dec 19, 2022 |
What a ride. I was aware of my microbiome, but knowing Earth life is as interconnected and mutually dependent as I fantasized as a child, staring up through the leaves of whatever tree I was perched in at the time? That is glorious. Science gives that early feeling solid footing and wings to fly - we're starting to manipulate microbiomes, hoping to save reefs, hamper disease-carrying insects, and make buildings healthier, to name just three. Fantastic.

If you want to become more aware of Earth life's smallest members, this book is your ticket in. It's a gentle, thorough ride with visits to different scientists and projects and always, Ed Yong's humor. About 30% of the text is notes and so on, so don't be daunted by the length, either. ( )
  terriaminute | Dec 4, 2022 |
For a person who knows next to nothing about microbes, this was a really interesting look into their impact in our lives, as well as into their possible future uses. I enjoyed the fact that this was written by a journalist, so the writing flowed easily and wasn't too dense, and even made me chuckle a couple of times. ( )
  tuusannuuska | Dec 1, 2022 |
Critters are everywhere, but they are not all bad for you. Humans entice critters to help us live. Furthermore, critters form unions with other critters to do things neither could do alone. To cap it all off, critters sometimes trade DNA the way ten year old boys trade baseball cards. If you read this book as an ebook, like I did, you will miss the illustrations, but still a good read. ( )
  bobunwired | Nov 19, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Ed Yong is a talented British science writer, a staff writer for The Atlantic and the author of a wonderful blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science, hosted by National Geographic. “I Contain Multitudes,” his first book, covers a huge amount of microscopic territory in clear, strong, often epigrammatic prose. Yong has advanced degrees in biology, and he is remarkably well informed; he includes descriptions of many studies that are still unpublished, and even a few original ideas for new experiments. He is infectiously enthusiastic about microbes, and he describes them with verve.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ed Yongprimary authorall editionscalculated
Anson, CharlieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, SaraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Earth is 4.54 billion years old.

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This book lets us peer into the world of microbes -- not as germs to be eradicated, but as invaluable parts of our lives -- allowing us to see how ubiquitous and vital microbes are: they sculpt our organs, defend us from disease, break down our food, educate our immune systems, guide our behavior, bombard our genomes with their genes, and grant us incredible abilities. While much of the prevailing discussion around the microbiome has focused on its implications for human health, Yong broadens this focus to the entire animal kingdom, prompting us to look at ourselves and our fellow animals in a new light: less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we are. I Contain Multitudes is the story of extraordinary partnerships between the familiar creatures of our world and those we never knew existed. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it. --

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