The Book of Life
Stephen Jay Gould
W. W. Norton & Company, 2001 - Science - 256 pages
The Book of Life uses an exemplary fusion of art and science to tell the story of life on earth. The text, under the editorship of Stephen Jay Gould, provides a thorough understanding of the latest research and is accompanied by paintings prepared especially for this book. Never before has our planet's evolution been so clearly, so ingeniously explained. History is marked by disaster. The Book of Lifeexplains how mammals, having survived at least one of these disasters--the impact of a massive comet--luckily inherited the earth. Next came the rise of modern humans, who would shape the world as no creature has. As this fascinating history unfolds, gorgeous illustrations allow us to observe climate changes, tectonic plate movement, the spread of plant life, and the death of the dinosaurs. We discover the chains of animal survival, the causes and consequences of adaptation, and finally the environmental impact of human life.
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Stephen Jay Gould was perhaps one of the greatest minds in modern science, and I regret that he passed. To attest to this, and his humanity, I recommend that anyone, even those who are not interested in cancer research, stories or statistics, read "The Median Isn't the Message." He was an inspirational individual.
The Book of Life is an incredibly comprehensive, clearly written and beautifully illustrated introduction to several fields: biology, paleontology, evolution, and so on. Gould lays out the basics and the interests of nearly every facet of life on earth, and in doing so gives solid explanation to the Earth's diversity and our place in it as human beings. It is impossible to conceive on your own the vast effects we have as a species on the entire planet, both good and bad.
I wish I had been given this instead of the vast number of biology textbooks I've had to painstakingly sift through since the beginning of my educational experience. This really would've encompassed most of everything (in terms of biology) I've been taught, and with a much higher likelihood of me retaining it.
Great read, 5 stars, and will be reading much more of Gould's work from now on.
Review: The Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on EarthUser Review - Jason Hare - Goodreads
The illustrations make the book. Steven Gould passed away too soon. One of the greatest minds of our generation. This is not meaty stuff like his other books on time, evolutionary biology and natural ... Read full review