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Would you listen to Evolution again? Why?
I will be listening to this more than once, as there is a lot of information in here.
What did you like best about this story?
Finally a description of evolutionary biology that take into account the last 20 years of advances in biological research.
What does Ira Rosenberg bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
An enjoyable voice for sure. However, the real benefit for me was being able to perform menial tasks while listening.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
My reaction was largely relief that the field of evolutionary biology may be moving in a direction where it will finally incorporate recent advances in molecular biology.
Any additional comments?
As an audiobook the content may be a little difficult for those without a background in biology, however a lot of additional content is available on his website. If you are interested in evolutionary biology it is worth the effort of understanding the information in this book. I think far too many people learn about evolutionary biology from authors like Gould and Dawkins only because it is easy and not because it best represents our current understanding of biology.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What didn’t you like about Ira Rosenberg’s performance?
Ira Rosenberg does his best with this very technical material, but too often he doesn't understand the point of what he's reading so he places the emphasis on the wrong word or phrase, which makes the material even harder to follow.
Any additional comments?
This is a very technical book. Even if you know some molecular biology, you are likely to find this a difficult listen. It really is much more suited to being read than listened to, and even then it's challenging. A sample, selected at random: "LINE retrotransposons typically are a few thousand base pairs in length, contain internal transcription signals for RNA polymerase II, and encode two proteins involved in reverse transcription. The SINE elements are shorter (typically 100 to 300 base pairs in length), related in sequence to stable cell RNAs (tRNAs, short rRNAs, and protein export particle 7S RNA), and contain an internal RNA polymerase III promoter." It goes on like that, detail after detail, page after page. Taking it in by listening is very hard work.
It's an important book, but be warned: this is not a treatment aimed at general readers. It's aimed at specialists.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I consider myself well above average in my knowledge and understanding of evolution (for example, most people don't know the difference between lamarckian and darwinian evolution), and I have read several books on the subject, from "Dummies" to Dawkins and Shermer to Scott. I have even got myself a copy of the textbook "Evolution" by Douglas Futuyma. Unfortunately, this book hit me like a brick. I don't have a background in molecular biology, so I spent a lot of time on Wikipedia looking up terms that the author expects you to know beforehand. If I had this book as a PDF, it would have been easier to cut-n-paste the unfamiliar terms into Google. They way it is, with stopping the playback, trying to figure out the word, looking it up, then restarting the playback only to stop a few minutes later, I was extremely annoyed. Further, there are many references to material that is online, but I found nothing on the audible site and had to go look for it myself.
Whether this book is technically useful is very difficult for me to say, because I was so overwhelmed by the material that I can neither say it is scientifically accurate nor that the conclusions are correct. I have over a dozen audible book and this was the first one I regret having bought. It would be nice if I could get my money back or at least exchange it for a different one.