Life Ascending

  • by Nick Lane
  • Narrated by Graeme Malcolm
  • 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Where does DNA come from? What is consciousness? How did the eye evolve? Drawing on a treasure trove of new scientific knowledge, Nick Lane expertly reconstructs evolution's history by describing its 10 greatest inventions - from sex and warmth to death - resulting in a stunning account of nature's ingenuity.

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What the Critics Say



Royal Society Prize for Science Books, 2010
"Original and awe-inspiring . . . an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology." (New Scientist)
“For about 150 years, we have known how species evolve. The emergency of life itself remains more obscure. But as Lane shows with clarity and vigor in Life Ascending, fascinating studies on the subject abound.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“In this wonderful book….Lane does a masterful job of explaining the science….” (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great and informative but with prior knowledge

This was an interesting and fun listen. I have been interested in evolution for most of my adult life, and while this book takes for granted that evolution is real (who, in their right minds, doesn't?), it does so with great inquiry. Many of the topics held within evolution are discussed here, such as the eye and if evolution was slow and gradual or fast and abrupt.

The book can seem to drag at points, more so if the reader (listener) does not have a firm grasp on many of the scientific terms (I didn't). Because I listened to this book commuting in 2 hour chunks, it was easy for my brain to tune out a lot of the scientific trains of thought. Not a good thing, if that's what you are expecting from this book.

All in all a decent listen and read. I would recommend this to anyone interested in evolution, but without the need to prove it's existence to themselves.
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- Joshua

Great book!

This was a great book. I think I understood maybe half of it, but that half was fascinating. I used to be a science teacher, but I've been retired for a while now, and I've let my subscriptions to science magazines lapse, and I have fallen behind. He lets us in on the newest theories about a number of scientific theories, and they are fascinating: How did life begin? How was DNA, photosynthesis, cells, sex invented? Will we ever be able to overcome old age and death? There are ten chapters on ten topics, and the information in each one is mind boggling. I kept thinking, "Gee, I wish I'd known this when I was still teaching." But actually, much of it hadn't been discovered then. This is really fresh stuff.

You will have to concentrate to understand this book. I don't commute anymore, so I usually play computer games while I listen to Audible books--games that don't require a lot of thought. But even solitaire was too complicated to play while listening to this book. I plan to listen to it again, but I'm going to get the Kindle version to read along with the audio version.

This book is difficult but very rewarding. I recommend it highly.
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- ShySusan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-25-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios