Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars42
4.0 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 22 November 2013
A concise and readable review of the concepts underlying the possible start of life followed by an interesting account of the development of life
0Comment1 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 August 2013
ALTHOUGH i have not completed reading this book it is fascinating to see the ideas written in an illuminating way
0Comment1 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
It is not often that a book jumps out at you as being fresh, original and excellent within minutes of starting to read it - but this was definitely the case with Adam Rutherford's Creation. It is about both the biological origins of life and how we are artificially changing the nature of life with synthetic biology.

I have read plenty of books on basic biology, but Rutherford triumphs uniquely by giving us a clear exploration of the nature of life, breaking it down to its simplest components and seeing how these could have come into being. This goes far beyond the old `organic soup plus lightning' concepts and takes us across that most difficult of jumps from a collection of organic compounds to something that has a living function.

To be honest, that would be enough on its own, but Rutherford also gives us an excellent and eye-opening look at how we are modifying and constructing life, from Craig Ventner's synthetic bacterium, through `programmed' bacteria to the practical applications of modified life. This synthetic biology is much more than the basics of genetic engineering and is totally fascinating, perhaps even more so than the `origin of life' part.

What's more, Rutherford has a breezy approachable writing style that never intimidates and manages to making information entertaining - no mean feat. Just occasionally he overdoes the bonhomie, particularly in his asides in footnotes. I was particularly unhappy with one about Fred Hoyle. Rutherford was rightly pointing out what a big mistake Hoyle made with his 747 from a scrapyard analogy, but Rutherford gets his history of science all wrong by demonstrating Hoyle's iconoclastic `vocally rejecting mainstream ideas' by saying `He disputed the universe's origin being the result of the Big Bang, which is the overwhelming scientific consensus view.'

The problem with this is that at the time Big Bang was a seriously flawed theory, and arguably Hoyle et al's alternative Steady State theory was better - Big Bang was certainly not the overwhelming consensus view. It was only later data, combined with a much hacked about and improved Big Bang theory that made it become that. To put it as Rutherford does totally misrepresents the significance of Hoyle's theory at the time.

The other moan I have is the way the book is put together (I don't think this applies to the US or Kindle versions). The two parts of the book, exploring the origins of life and looking at the synthetic future, are in two totally separate halves, begun at opposite ends of the book, one printed inverted to the other. This implies the two sections are independent and can be read in any order - but they aren't. This is obvious as the introduction of the forward looking section has several references to reading the other section for detail. It should, without doubt, be read `origin of life' first then `future of life.' The flip book format is a silly gimmick that detracts from the outstanding quality of this book.

Without doubt one of the most important popular science books of 2013 and highly recommended.
0Comment0 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 April 2014
There were a number of things that I didn't like about the book. Firstly, the book is split into two halves, the origin of life, and the future of life. I am a biology undergraduate, so the origin of life was just a repeat of things that I have already learnt, told in a more confusing way. If I did not study biology I'm sure I would have found it more interesting, but I still would have not enjoyed it massively. However, the future of life was fairly interesting, even if it did jump from point to point frivolously.

Secondly, I personally didn't like the writing style. The number of analogies was too high and the quality of them was too low. There were far too many footnotes, which just ruin the flow of the book and interrupt any sort of rhythm that you manage to generate while wading through the average descriptions. Also, the writing itself was just grating, half chatty, half formal, and a strange use of 'jargon' where it was removed in some cases (both correctly and incorrectly) and inexplicably left in the text in other cases.

All in all, I would have enjoyed it more if I didn't have a background in the topic, but whether it would have moved my rating up to a 3 is unlikely, as the writing itself was one of the major problems.
0Comment1 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 March 2014
Rarely have I been so moved by a book, but not in a good way. If Dr. Rutherford's work is for the informed layperson he has failed by a narrow margin: the content could have been made much clearer by the judicious use of a few line diagrams.
That aside I cannot understand why a scientist and professional communicator can see fit to use "bacteria" as the singular noun, something seen all to often in the newspapers, then he attempts to justify the choice by some unintelligible, pseudo-philosophicall gobbledygook! It beggars belief quite frankly. How does he explain the second "a" in haemoglobin then and the dreadful "Woelerr" for "Wohler"? Another concession to general ignorance? Hopefully the book is not read by Biology students for he will have set back the work of their teachers by several years. Science is defined by precision and rules, individuals cannot arbitrarily change them to suit themselves. As he writes several times, if the genetic code is written incorrectly the result is rubbish. I fear the book's value is diminished by poor editing and proof reading and a failure to abide by simple scientific values.
0Comment2 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 June 2013
Wonderfully written with an ease that will make its subject fascinating for both experts and layperson alike. And there are 17 movie references. Spot them all and there will be prizes.
0Comment0 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 June 2013
An amazing read and a real eye opener to what is possible in the future. Easy to understand and digest with beautiful descriptive grammar. I loved it, Science is cool.
0Comment0 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 April 2013
The book is well-written and engaging, especially for those new to genetics and evolution. It does not come close to expliainingthe origin of life because this is an area where there are many diverse theories but where we still lack any solid scientific explanation. Science has a good body of evidence for how life evolved from the first simple single-celled organisms, but not how abiogenesis of those first single-celled organisms occurred. For that reason I find the book to be a tad disingenuous with better books available covering the subjects discussed in the book.
0Comment6 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 October 2013
Why make a POINT of insisting that the word "bacilli" should no longer follow the Latin rule of "-us" singular and "-i" plural and then use it for both? If it's not Latin, then why does it not follow English rules and add "s" for the plural? End of rant!
0Comment2 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 April 2013
bought this for my husband but he does not like the concept of 2 books in one and you have to turn it upsidedown. He thought it was a silly idea!
0Comment5 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse