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Hacking Darwin

Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity
Narrated by: Eric Martin
Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Biology
4.5 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Summary

From leading geopolitical expert and technology futurist Jamie Metzl comes a groundbreaking exploration of the many ways genetic engineering is shaking the core foundations of our lives-sex, war, love, and death.

At the dawn of the genetics revolution, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. But as humanity starts retooling our own genetic code, the choices we make today will be the difference between realizing breathtaking advances in human well-being and descending into a dangerous and potentially deadly genetic arms race.

Enter the laboratories where scientists are turning science fiction into reality. Look towards a future where our deepest beliefs, morals, religions, and politics are challenged like never before and the very essence of what it means to be human is at play. When we can engineer our future children, massively extend our lifespans, build life from scratch, and recreate the plant and animal world, should we?

Passionate, provocative, and highly illuminating, Hacking Darwin is the must-listen book about the future of our species for fans of Homo Deus and The Gene.

©2019 Jamie Metzl (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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    3 out of 5 stars

Bad science but engaging nonetheless

Many scientific inaccuracies and misunderstood concepts (eg the idea that height must be controlled by many genes because many individual parts of the body must grow more / less- rather, genes act to increase or decrease height via small effects on overall height via regulating many body parts at once, not one gene for your neck, one for your legs, etc.). Not written by a scientist, which may explain some of the mistakes, but publishers should have picked up on these given that this is a historian trying to write about science. Despite this, the broad ideas of the book are OK and it is engagingly written, just wouldn’t recommend if you really want to understand genetic modification.

4 people found this helpful

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Couldn't get on with the narrator

Tried so hard with this but felt I missed a lot of learning due to the narrator sounding like a more annoying version of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Really distracting.

1 person found this helpful

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A must read for all those scientifically minded

This book is a great read and provides amazing thought experiments to really delve into at home it's extremely informative and is a real eye opener not just as to what our future holds technologically but also morally and ethically along with the potential traps we could fall to, I found my mind wondering for hours after each read (which I guess isn't hard) which only makes for better reading

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

eye opening

brilliant book loads of interesting ideas but the delivery is a bit tedious. still the book made my jaw drop to the fact we are now in a sci fi future.

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Gets you thinking

Especially if you're considering having children, really affects how you will look at the decisions you make on a personal level

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  • Wynns
  • 22-05-19

Performance detracts from book

I gave it a college try but found the performance too distracting and irritating. The performance sounds like listening to my computer read text. It is monotone, mechanistic, over annunciated, awkward and not natural. Which is sad considering I heard a podcast with Jamie, inspiring my purchase, and he was natural, smooth and accessible. The performance style handicaps the writers message. I quit after 1 hour into the book.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • 415Charlie
  • 01-07-19

Meh

some interesting information, awful voice over, insufferable egotistical author overuses the word "we" and clearly thinks he's much better positioned to decide what people do with genetic technology than the people themselves. I didn't pick up much new information or insight from this book

4 people found this helpful

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  • sct
  • 18-05-19

Technology Overview - Good; Policy Discussion - No

I bought the Audible after hearing Jamie on the Joe Rogan podcast. Metzl seemed articulate and passionate about the subject so I wanted to know more.

As someone who follows these advances at a pop-science level, I found the technology discussions to be interesting. I think he did a good job providing scientific historical context and broad coverage of all aspects of genetic research. While some criticized that he didn't go deep enough but I think the level was appropriate given goal he articulated on the podcast to bring this subject to the uninitiated.

I was less impressed with the chapters on ethics, policy, morality as this is where the author's bias was in exhibition. I realize that people have opinions, but if you're going to build a case for me, I need to see both sides of the argument. I can't say that I'm a fan of Greenpeace, but I'd like to understand why they believe GMO's are bad. On the discussion about abortion, he used the lazy trope of pro-lifers are either religions, old or conservative. There are pro-life positions that are science based; there are pro-life positions that are based on human natural rights. Further, people's acceptance of "abortion" is on a spectrum - i.e., disposing blastocysts from IVF is different than 3-trimester abortion.

Lastly, I think he made a mistake on the narrator. If Jamie wants to build a brand, he should get his voice out there - he seemed to do fine on the Rogan podcast. The narrator they chose, though technically proficient, sounded like sunglass wearing, robotic, human-hating, Agent Jones from the Matrix. Once you get this in your head, you can't unthink it.

14 people found this helpful

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  • ROBERT EDELHAUSER
  • 25-05-19

Would have been much more enjoyable if Jamie Metzel had narrated his own book

Eric Martin’s voice is very annoying however was slightly improved by increasing the cadence to 1.25x

8 people found this helpful

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  • Reed
  • 26-06-19

bad narration!

this narrator just doesn't keep the kind of flow needed to make this a marathon listen. I wish the author had done it himself.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lukas Kucinski
  • 16-07-19

Interesting Topic, Well Written, Lispy Narrator

I enjoyed the subject matter. Its written in a very accessible manner and the bigger ideas in the book make it compelling. I had an issue with the narrator though. It sounds like he has some kind of speech impediment/lisp. Took me a couple hours to get used to him. Never really did. Good book overall, but I wouldn't recommend audiobook because of the narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dzmitry Shatsila
  • 30-05-19

Incredible

Incredible book
Future is here
By the end of it will make you wonder how much we will develop over the next couple for decades

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jan S
  • 24-05-19

This book is a must read/listen

This book is a must-read/listen for every responsible human. Metzl goes into detail on the great changes coming as a result of humans taking charge of our own evolution using embryo selection and genetic engineering. His appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in May 2019 is a good introduction to the material discussed in this book. My mind was continually being blown, sufficiently enough that this is the first review I have posted. As for the reader, his diction is clear and the performance is satisfactory related to the material but it has all the warmth and charm of Jack Webb narrating the TV show Dragnet.

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  • Andrew Lewis
  • 25-07-19

Must read!!!!

An unbelievable insight to the world of genetic engineering and the conversations we need to have in order to ensure its ethical use and most humanly beneficial applications.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David
  • 13-07-19

The future is here

Metzl has gathered facts on genomic research. The future of reproduction is upon us.

The ability to edit the human genome while still in embryo stage is very impressive. Think of curing cystic fibrosis and hemophilia before the embryo is implanted. A miracle.

I give it the highest recommendation

1 person found this helpful