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Summary

Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It's an entire world, a colony full of life. In other words, you contain multitudes. These microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth.

In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems. We learn the invisible and wondrous science behind the corals that construct mighty reefs and the squid that create their own light shows. We see how bacteria can alter our response to cancer-fighting drugs, tune our immune system, influence our evolution and even modify our genetic make-up. And we meet the scientists who are manipulating these microscopic partners to our advantage.

In a million tiny ways, I Contain Multitudes will radically change how you think about the natural world - and how you see yourself.

©2016 Ed Yong (P)2016 Random House AudioBooks

What listeners say about I Contain Multitudes

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable read

Any additional comments?

One of the most informative books on the microbiome, dispels some myths, challenges the new multi billion dollar probiotic / fermented food movement. This book gives a very balanced factual look at how we destroy our microbiome with the overuse of antibacterial products, western diet / lifestyle and drugs especially antibiotics. Unlike many other books I have read on the topic this book clearly states that there is no magic solutlion such as stool transplants and change in diet / lifestyle, while these may work the main point I got from reading this is that we are all different and what will work for one person will not work for another! So will I give up my kombucha and probiotics - hummm probabily not however I will not put as much faith in such supposed miracle foods and supplements.
My main takeaways:
We are all different, very different so one solution does not fit all.
Trying to recolonise your microbiome doesn't always work as fermented foods and probiotics seem to produce a temporary alteration in bacteria which can return to your original state shortly after - so don't waist your money!
Stop using antibacterial products, stop cleaning so much (excellent I say), open your windows & eat fiber!
Excellent read, interesting informative and yes this book had an impact on how I live

30 people found this helpful

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Excellent, interesting science book for anyone.

Lots of amazing information on a largely hidden world. The author makes the topic of microbes very interesting and engaging. Faultless narration.

10 people found this helpful

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Really Fascinating Stuff.

Who knew we had so much going on in us! There's no way I would have got all the way through this in printed form. (Not because of the content but due to my attention span for the technical stuff being too short) but so glad I bought it as thoroughly enjoyed it, so very interesting and the narrators voice is just right. It's one of the books I'll listen to again.

11 people found this helpful

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a bit fluffy

There is a lot of very good science backed information in this book, but it is somewhat spoiled by the author's insistance on describing the character, appearance and surroundings of the people he has gathered his information off.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent. A window into our fascinating world.

This is on a par with The Selfish Gene, Guns, Germs and Steel and the Vital Question as a book which adds a whole new perspective on what we are.

7 people found this helpful

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Fantastic listen with detailed and interesting information

A really great book. As a microbiology student I thoroughly enjoyed the depth and detail this book goes to, though it presents information in a way that it’s accessible to all

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Jaw-dropping journey through the microbiome

With a title borrowed from Walt Whitman, an author who is the science communicator's science communicator and a pangolin worn as a cummerbund, this book is off to a storming start. The subject is the growing field of the microbiome - the host of microbes, invisible to the naked eye, that inhabit animal bodies. All of us are teeming zoos of life, and we wouldn't be here without the help of our tiny co-habitants, who help us digest our food, fight off the bad microbes that threaten our health - the 'germs' that give all the others a bad name - and generally keep us ticking over. This much I knew before starting the book, but I spent much of the time with my jaw on the floor as more startling facts were revealed.They colonize the skin of squid. They enable single-celled organisms to form colonies. They are part of our immune system. There's no point in listing everything! Something new and fascinating round every corner in this book.

On the Audible version: I found this a bit difficult as a listen rather than a read - the subject matter is so dense that I would have liked to turn back to refer to something again. And there are several odd 'patches' in it where it sounds like the same voice is very obviously recording somewhere else!

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I love microbes!

A teacher recommended this book as some extra reading I could to around the subject of biology and as it turned out, I have loved it. I have learned microbes have a far greater influence over our world then I ever could have imagined. I Would recommend to anyone interested in biology - you will be surprised how microbiology connects to seemingly every other area of biology.

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Fascinating

Fascinating book about our relationship with microbes all around us that more often do good than harm despite our prejudgements. It offers new insights into treatments of disease that would by convention be treated with antimicrobial agents instead suggesting the utilisation of abundant and inexpensive microbes around us.

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Great book, ruined by badly edited audio

An engaging and interesting exploration of a microscopic world; I really enjoyed it. However there is no excuse for such a poor edited audiobook. Must’ve been read over several days and just chopped up and smashed together- kind of ruined it.

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  • Matthew Andrews
  • 19-10-16

Wonderful, fascinating book.

A great book - a tour of the extraordinary world of microbes and the many ways that scientists are studying and using them. The audiobook is only let a bit by patchy production quality - several takes with quite different studio conditions are edited together almost at random - can be distracting. But the book itself is fantastic, not to be missed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jana
  • 03-05-18

Very interesting with one small irritation…

Throughout this audiobook the narration noticeably changes. Sometimes it’s just a few words, other times it’s several sentences. The sound and intonation is markedly different and it distracted this listener from what was being said. While I understand that edits need to be made in narration, every effort should be made to match the sound quality, tone and volume etc. Sadly, this seems to have been done pretty haphazardly at times. Overall, I enjoyed this audiobook but the recording did spoil what could have been an otherwise five star review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-06-21

Captures the excitement of scientific discovery

It brings you into the exhilarating viewpoints of scientists finding marvels in the mundane.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Harshvardhan Gupta
  • 28-12-18

very informative book and intriguing.

very informative book and intriguing. this Book made me aware of my surroundings and biomes it contains.

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  • Tecomarob
  • 08-12-18

Think Small.

If you have been lulled into thinking you know the world, read this and wonder.

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  • Lauren L
  • 21-09-18

A science class you don't want to miss

Absolutely fascinating. Even though the science itself, as Yong explains, is still in its infancy, I'd go so far as to say it's a revelation: It has forever altered my fundamental understanding of life on this planet and, what's more, has certainly made me grasp why my gut health is kind of a biggie. That's not news, of course: functional health gurus have been peddling the gut microbiome and dysbiosis message for a while, but I was somewhere between skeptical and merely confused, until I Contain Multitudes with its wide-angle lens and telescope both trained on the subject of microbes and their hosts radically altered my perspective - quackery it ain't. Well written and well narrated, I highly recommend this book.