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Summary

The author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life on Earth - a new view of the evolution of human and animal life that explains how the incredible diversity of life on our planet came to be.

Over billions of years, ancient fish evolved to walk on land, reptiles transformed into birds that fly, and apelike primates evolved into humans that walk on two legs, talk, and write. For more than a century, paleontologists have traveled the globe to find fossils that show how such changes have happened.

We have now arrived at a remarkable moment - prehistoric fossils coupled with new DNA technology have given us the tools to answer some of the basic questions of our existence: How do big changes in evolution happen? Is our presence on Earth the product of mere chance? This new science reveals a multibillion-year evolutionary history filled with twists and turns, trial and error, accident and invention.

In Some Assembly Required, Neil Shubin takes listeners on a journey of discovery spanning centuries, as explorers and scientists seek to understand the origins of life's immense diversity.

©2020 Neil Shubin (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"An engaging, must-read for anyone with an interest in evolution." (Library Journal starred review)

"A rollicking ride.... It’s light of touch, anecdote-rich and funny...satisfyingly informative.... Fossils, DNA, scientists with a penchant for suits of armour - what’s not to love?" (BBC Wildlife Magazine)

"Another winner from Dr. Shubin, who skillfully and thoughtfully steers us through the incredibly fascinating world of DNA and fossils. Dr. Shubin’s clear and engaging writing rewards us with a deeper understanding of how all life on our planet is interconnected. Steeped in the paradigm of evolutionary theory, he inspires us to think more deeply about our connectedness with the natural world. Charles Darwin would applaud Dr. Shubin’s clear explanations and insightful rendering of the incontrovertible evidence for the evolution of all life on planet Earth." (Donald Johanson, director, Institute of Human Origins; discoverer of "Lucy")

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Great and fascinating story

A Fascinating story with many twists and turns pointing to the molecular nature of the complexity of life.

1 person found this helpful

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Evolutionary biology transformed

An excellent explanation by a professional palaeontologists of how the field has been transformed by insights from molecular biology, genetics embryology and using new technology including gene sequencers and crispr. A really good story well told

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  • MSB
  • 10-04-20

Interesting but thin. ANNOYING narration

The book itself is kind of fun. I don't usually expect to LOL at non-fiction, but I did at this one. Very high-level, but a good explication of context and historical development of the science, not just evolutionary history. However, the narration is really distracting. Maybe it's just me, but when someone. Stops every. Couple of words. In the middle of. A sentence. It drives me bonkers. Marc Cashman does that. Other Audible narrators that I've listened to have had a much more flowing style, in which you can actually tell what the sentence structure is, among other things. The narration is annoying enough that I'm seriously considering trading this in on something else, despite not having finished it and finding the story interesting. Perhaps it won't bother others. I can't listen to Michael Barbaro's "The Daily," either. Barbaro has the same kind of stop-and-go cadence to his delivery, only even more extreme, and it drives me nuts. And yet that show is well-regarded.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 17-04-20

All around great

Neil Shubin's work is a fascinating! He walks the reader through some of the most amazing aspects of the workings of life. His style is easy to understand and it makes use of great examples. Well narrated, too.

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  • James
  • 19-03-20

Outstanding like his first book

If your a southern Baptist. It my be beyond your grasp. It’s a very well organized history up to where we are now. It also covers in depth where we at now. A small amount of 100 level biology will help you move along well with the author. Enjoy I certainly did.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-01-21

A beautiful story of evolution and genetics

Does an amazing job at simplifying difficult concepts while preserving the scientific theories behind them. I actually liked this better than Your Inner Fish. If you’ve ever wondered how lungs, feathers, or even memories evolved listen to this book.

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  • David Kalavity
  • 13-12-20

5 starts for content and perf. 2 for sound quality

Excellent book and narration. The sound quality is poor without some type of tailoring of output.

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  • Leslie RP
  • 21-09-20

Great

Really like Neil Shubin books. I’ve ready read ‘Inner Fish’ and it’s even better through audio book. Narrator Marc Cashman is terrific for this type of content as it feels like the author is reading it. Great content he really knows how to communicate a difficult subject for a laywoman to understand. Highly recommend if you like science.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-05-20

Good book,

Clearly written for the non scientist. Narration is easy to listen to. I recommend this book.

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  • DD
  • 26-05-20

intuitive prospective of development

I was aware of many of the concepts presented here but did get a new perspective on genetics which made this book very worthwhile. This book goes very fast and very worth your time to give you the up-to-date perspectives as everything is changing so fast in this field.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-20

An eye-opening and inspiring read

A well-told story of our historic progress in understanding the emergence and development of life, highlighting many interesting key aspects of our intra-cell findings over last 150 years. At once informative and thought-provoking, I recommend to all with a passionate curiosity about what we're made of and where we come from.

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  • Mellissa
  • 27-03-20

A beautiful tale

This book offered a beautiful tale of the history of life on Earth and how we have come to know it. Noel Shubin is not just a brilliant scientist, he is also an extraordinary storyteller.