Life Unfolding

  • by Jamie A. Davies
  • Narrated by Napoleon Ryan
  • 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Where did I come from? Why do I have two arms but just one head? How is my left leg the same size as my right one? Why are the fingerprints of identical twins not identical? How did my brain learn to learn? Why must I die? Questions like these remain biology's deepest and most ancient challenges. They force us to confront a fundamental biological problem: How can something as large and complex as a human body organize itself from the simplicity of a fertilized egg?
A convergence of ideas from embryology, genetics, physics, networks, and control theory has begun to provide real answers. Based on the central principle of "adaptive self-organization", it explains how the interactions of many cells, and of the tiny molecular machines that run them, can organize tissue structures vastly larger than themselves, correcting errors as they go along and creating new layers of complexity where there were none before. Life Unfolding tells the story of human development from egg to adult, from this perspective showing how our whole understanding of how we come to be has been transformed in recent years.
Highlighting how embryological knowledge is being used to understand why bodies age and fail, Jamie A. Davies explores the profound and fascinating impacts of our newfound knowledge.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating Biology ; Distracting Narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend the text of the book, but not the narrator.


What did you like best about this story?

Morphogenesis is utterly fascinating. This book is aimed at laypeople, but it goes into great detail.


How could the performance have been better?

The performer should completely stop paying attention to pronunciation. I'm guessing that Napoleon Ryan was trying hard to use received pronunciation, and for this reason he was not paying much attention to Jamie Davies's line of thought. Received pronunciation adds exactly nothing to a book like this. In the future, please just read the book using whatever accent you feel most comfortable with, or just stop focusing on accents altogether.

Pronunciation is nowhere near as important as a passion for what is being said.

No matter who you are, your most beautiful accent is the one you use every day, when you are not thinking about accents. When narrating, use that one!


Was Life Unfolding worth the listening time?

The biological details are immensely fascinating. However, it is very hard to pay attention to the text because Ryan's pronunciation is so distracting.

If you like reading books before bedtime, this book is nearly perfect, because it's impossible to read it without your mind drifting off.


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- Tim

Pseudoscientific nonsense

No consideration for the role of viruses in controlled cell type differentiation. Recommended for theorists but not for serious scientists.
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- Jim "James V. Kohl"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-10-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios