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Blueprint

How DNA Makes Us Who We Are
Narrated by: Robert Plomin
Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Blueprint, written and read by Robert Plomin. 

The blueprint for our individuality lies in the 1 percent of DNA that differs between people. Our intellectual capacity, our introversion or extraversion, our vulnerability to mental illness, even whether we are a morning person - all of these aspects of our personality are profoundly shaped by our inherited DNA differences. 

In Blueprint, Robert Plomin, a pioneer in the field of behavioural genetics, draws on a lifetime's worth of research to make the case that DNA is the most important factor shaping who we are. Our families, schools and the environment around us are important, but they are not as influential as our genes. This is why, he argues, teachers and parents should accept children for who they are, rather than trying to mould them in certain directions. Even the environments we choose and the signal events that impact our lives, from divorce to addiction, are influenced by our genetic predispositions. Now, thanks to the DNA revolution, it is becoming possible to predict who we will become, at birth, from our DNA alone. As Plomin shows us, these developments have sweeping implications for how we think about parenting, education, and social mobility. 

A game-changing book by a leader in the field, Blueprint shows how the DNA present in the single cell with which we all begin our lives can impact our behaviour as adults. 

©2018 Robert Plomin (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"A clear and engaging explanation of one of the hottest fields in science." (Steven Pinker)

What listeners say about Blueprint

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Very challenging (as a topic and a medium)

It's taken me three attempts to start and finish this audio book. Audio is a very challenging medium for this content, because of the large amount of numerical data that is being presented to support the arguments in the book. I'm highly numerate, statistically literate and have a pretty good working memory; but I have really struggled to follow some threads completely.

That said, it's a very compelling narrative and I shall be getting a paper copy; first time that's happened with an audio book.

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Must read for all educators

This book is fascinating and gives evidence to basic truths that every experienced educator knows. Well worth a read I only hope policy makers will finally take notice.

1 person found this helpful

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Naive and reductionist scientism

Got it by accident (instead of the book by Christakis), followed by more and more disappointment: starting with a sadly naive and reductionist understanding of genetics, forms a hypothesis that's little more than thinly veiled racism, carefully hidden behind the brand of scientism that's become quite popular recently.

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Very compelling - worryingly so!

I enjoyed this book immensely - it has opened my eyes far wider than I thought it could and far wider than I'd have liked. Important science that now needs backing with important policies.

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Heavy going for non-genetic psychologists

very interesting account of developments in genetic psychology but increasingly technical as it goes along. Not an easy read

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A must read for parents and educators

A fascinating part of the evolving story of our genome. Quite academic but the way it is read helped. Skates quite near some controversial material but addresses some if those issues. I think this will be a book I’ll read again within a year which is rare.

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challenging and enlightening

A clear and accessible explanation of how DNA shapes who we are, well read by the author. It challenges assumptions that many of us hold about the nature and nurture question. it describes what is, and not how we might like the world to be.

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Excellent

A story which needs a wider audience. Not necessarily telling people who follow the subjects much more than they will have been aware of, but still an excellent summary, well read. More people need to be made aware of these fundamentals and hopefully this book, from such an eminent and respected (by unbiased critics) scientist Will help spread the word. And the word is: Good

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Fascinating

Has got me curious to try having my genes read. I had been familiar with twin studies before but the recent advances in gene reading have lead to predictive powers beyond what I imagined.

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Like swimming through treacle

Persuasive language used, to over-state author's beliefs (which have some truth I think). That DNA underpins us and interacts with the environment (but this bit doesn't make a difference according to him) to equal individual outcomes.

What happens matters too between 30 and 60 per cent (that's loads right, so let's be nice to each other right- though author thinks this doesn't actually make a difference to a person). Except for weight that's more heritable as he keeps saying again and again, that sucks. Interesting, if people don't know this already then maybe worth a read. I am finding it very tedious, I think that's my impatient gene. Doesn't feel like a revolution to me. Maybe I will change my mind once I am the end of the book, I will update this review if so.

He ends up going on a lot about himself too. Lots of contradictions, repetition and ambiguities. Some ideas I love (eg disorders as we know them don't exist, and we should get to know our children,not mould them to fit) but they're not new. Somewhat boring. Discounts all which cannot be proved. Overstates what "he feels" has been proved. So not really my cup of tea.

Really persevered listening to this as I want to be challenged. I have not been won over, I still think parenting makes a difference. I do agree DNA underpins us and matters a lot, he is just overstating it.

"Children are not blobs of clay to be moulded" Amen. Hopefully all parents could come to learn this without needing proof of DNA. It's obvious isn't it.

Nature of nurture- irritating phrase
Genetic revolution - another one. Repeated way too many times. YAWN.
The abnormal is normal - like this
There are no disorders to diagnose- move to tailored treatments. Like this, but I'm not holding my breathe for those really in need.
Focus on prevention rather than treatment - like this, though it brings ethical considerations

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  • Matt
  • 15-06-20

Incredible insight

The insight that this book has given me in my parenthood is quite incredible.
The idea that my child is inheriting traits from my wife and I and that we have to take into account her genetic propensities in a higher degree than I expected fills me with hope and joy for her and finding out who she is during the course of her life.
The author taking such a complex subject and making it understandable for most anyone is very impressive.

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  • andrewpinney
  • 05-12-18

Book that changes your mind and the future

This book challenges commonly held beliefs , but in a delightfully robust way. Needs careful listening and warrants reflection and thought. Always a joy to hear the author read their own words.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-11-18

good summation on genetics in psychology

don't think the minor political parts were needed, but otherwise good. narration is clear, not annoyingly performed in any way and sped up works well.