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Summary

'Original and awe-inspiring... an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology.' (New Scientist)

Where does DNA come from? What is consciousness? How did the eye evolve? Drawing on a treasure trove of new scientific knowledge, Nick Lane expertly reconstructs evolution's history by describing its 10 greatest inventions - from sex and warmth to death - resulting in a stunning account of natures ingenuity.

©2010 Nick Lane (P)2010 Audible Inc

What listeners say about Life Ascending

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Let down by the narration

A fascinating book, but alas the narrator doesn’t seem to understand what he’s reading. The result is rather flat, with little intonation - beautiful diction, but minimal emotional communication.

3 people found this helpful

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Not for beginners

It's a great book with a fantastic story of how life evolved on planet Earth. However, I found it too complicated many times. The author tried explaining everything from the scratch, which I did appreciate, but without a strong background in biology and chemistry it is simply too much to take all at once. As a result, I didn't grasp the key concepts that led to the author's conclusions. I will have to come back to this book in the future, once I understand bio-chem better.

The narrator was good most of the time, however sometimes sounded lile a synthetic text reader.

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating and well narrrated

I like nick lane’s books. I have a bit relevant knowledge and found this easy to understand. It’s well pitched, well paced and encompasses a wide range of topics. Excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Terrible reader

I'm sure this book is really interesting, but the reader sounds like a vicar delivering a sermon of which he has no understanding. It's really difficult to follow. I have to continually remind myself to listen and not to let my attention wander.

8 people found this helpful

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Interesting subject

The concept of this book is excellent. It surveys in detail the evolution of 10 different aspects of life on earth, such as vision, movement and dna itself. Nicely read too. From what I've listened to so far, each chapter seems to be self-sufficient in itself.

Think book would be even better if the author had chosen twice as many evolutionary subjects and not spent quite so much time on each. The level of detail and science involved can become arduous for the interested layman and I found myself wishing that the author didn't feel the need to prove every claim he was making, such proofs often being beyond the appreciation of the non-specialist.

A similar book might be written relating who is related to whom in the great evolutionary scheme of things and how they are related. That would be easier to understand than the biochemistry of cells.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Very poor reader

I'm sure this is a really interesting book but it is difficult to listen to as the reader seems to have no understanding of the words he is reading, or the sense of the sentences, and his portentous tone is like listening to an uninspiring preacher on an off day. It's very distracting, and very disappointing, as all my other audible books have been read very well.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful

I was surprised by how insightful and enjoyable this book was. I liked its critical scientific tone and the wealth of evidence to back up his ideas. The topics were very important. I loved the part where he tries to describe great biochemical inventions (respiration, photosynthesis) and try to come up with plausible explanations of how they might have come about.

1 person found this helpful

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As much biochemical textbook as popular science

Fascinating topics and great mastery of the material, but loses itself in the technical detail, becoming a biochemical primer

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better than expected

If you have any scientific background in biology, biochemistry or any life science, this will be a good book for you. the author does not hold back from delving into the complexities of biochemical pathways in an understandable way. this may not be great for anyone who hasn't already read plenty of evolutionary science books.

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Great great science

Every chapter is fascinating.
Beautifully written.
Inspiring stuff.
And shout to the narrator, it’s superbly read.