Life's Greatest Secret

  • by Matthew Cobb
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Everyone has heard the story of DNA as the story of Watson, Crick, and Rosalind Franklin, but knowing the structure of DNA was only part of a greater struggle to understand life's secrets. Life's Greatest Secret is the story of the discovery and cracking of the genetic code, the thing that ultimately enables a spiraling molecule to give rise to the life that exists all around us. This great scientific breakthrough has had far-reaching consequences for how we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world and for how we might take control of our (and life's) future.
Life's Greatest Secret mixes remarkable insights, theoretical dead ends, and ingenious experiments with the swift pace of a thriller. From New York to Paris; Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Cambridge, England; and London to Moscow, the greatest discovery of 20th-century biology was truly a global feat. Biologist and historian of science Matthew Cobb gives the full and rich account of the cooperation and competition between the eccentric characters who contributed to this revolutionary new science. And, while every new discovery was a leap forward for science, Cobb shows how every new answer inevitably led to new questions that were at least as difficult to answer. But the setbacks and unexpected discoveries are what make the science exciting. This is a riveting story of humans exploring what it is that makes us human and how the world works.


What the Critics Say

"[G]ripping, insightful history." (Kirkus starred review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


If you could sum up Life's Greatest Secret in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, meticulous research

Which scene was your favorite?


Any additional comments?

"Life's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code" is not an easy read, but the author knows is subject matter thoroughly and writes in a clear and understandable manner. If you have any interest in molecular genetics it's a "must read".

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- Rodney Brown

Where does the science end?

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The book is meticulously researched and presents a great history of the cracking of the Genetic Code; however, the author's insistence of mixing in his own philosophy and interpretations were a bit frustrating. To me, the story and the author's input really confirm the genius of the Thomas Kuhn.

Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

John Lee's performance was one of the best that I have ever listened to.

Could you see Life's Greatest Secret being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No - the information was way to technical.

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- Michael A. Kelley

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-11-2015
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio