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Biomimicry [Paperback]

Janine Benyus
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 2 edition (31 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060533226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060533229
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 397,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This profound and accessible book details how science is studying nature's best ideas to solbe our toughest 21st century problems. Essential reading for anyone interested in science, nature, ecology, and conservation.

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First Sentence
It's not ordinary for a bare-chested man wearing jaguar teeth and owl feathers to grace the pages of The New Yorker, but these are not ordinary times. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A wasted opportunity 12 Sep 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book, but it does not do anything like justice to the important ideas it is trying to introduce, and I had to stop reading it. I would not recommend it, especially to anyone with a scientific background as it is badly written, imprecise, subjective and bulked out by irrelevant and lame descriptive information, an infuriating mess through which the reader must struggle to pick out the facts. When trying to explain scientific concepts such as photosynthesis, the author seems to think that this can be done by mixing as many metaphors as possible. The author should have decided whether she was writing a book about a personal voyage of discovery or an objective factual book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The purported subject of this book is facinating, however most of the book seems to be about something else. The author lectures about current poor ecological practices (which were "news" about ten years ago). I found very little in this book regarding actual progress in technologies that were inspired by biological systems. Rather disappointing.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Halfway finished, I am putting this book down. It's very rare that I don't finish a book. If you have a strong science background, you will be very disappointed in what this book has to offer. The alleged topic is fascinating, and I think I will go find a book that really discusses it.
The photosynthesis chapter screams for pictures and diagrams, but the author has provided none. The reader will read thousands clumsy words trying to describe complex geometries, waiting for a clarifying picture that never comes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating topic, dissappointing book 27 July 1998
By A Customer
Solar cells modeled after green plants, fibers stronger than steel, chemical factories without pollution, ceramics as hard as abalone shell. Nature has invented many things that outperform engineering feasts, and this is book about nature's innovations.
Biomimicry is a hard book to classify: it is partly a popular science book (ca. 50%) but also a manifesto for sustainable development, a collection of miniportraits of scientists, and wild speculation of future engineering applications. All of this is embedded in the Benyus' personal odyssey of figuring out what biomimetics is all about. Lack of clear focus makes this book a difficult read: in the middle materials science exposee Benyus has decided to describe rock climbing hobbies of some prominent materials scientists.
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By A Customer
Biomimicry gives an insight into where future technology could take us without getting too technical on it's explainations. Benyus takes us into a variety of different natural world arenas and shows us how scientists are working to use millions of years of evolution in our everyday lives. Mother Nature is a smart cookie. We all should listen.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
With the eloquence of an angel, Janine Benyus captures and describes the rapidly emerging field of biomimicry. In this beautifully written "seed of hope", Janine reveals how Nature--in her complexity and intricacy--can provide the innovative solutions we as a society desperately seek as we strive for sustainability. Through clear, clever, and enjoyable writing, Janine tackles difficult scientific information and presents it in a manner digestible to even those that fear science! The book is full of wonderful examples ranging from biomimetic materials to agricultural systems to pharmaceuticals to industrial ecology. After reading this book, I can no longer look at the natural world in the same way. With over 3.8 billion years of research and at least 30 million case studies, Nature probably has the answer we are looking for. Every roadblock presented to me is now countered with the following question: "What would Nature do if she had to tackle the same problem?" As a biologist and a business person, I'm finding that the two have more in common that I previously thought. This book is on my number one list for life. I find myself carrying my page worn copy everywhere I go just so I can recommend it to everyone, including strangers! This book gives me hope for our society. If we can learn to look towards Nature as model, measure, and mentor, we might just stand a chance.
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