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4.5 out of 5 stars31
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 3 July 2012
This really is an interesting read. It is nothing like the usual flower/plant and garden books. There are some really interesting and thought provoking topics in the book that I couldn't help but keep reading. Did you know flowers can distinguish between light of different colours. If you touch a beech tree it will remember it has been touched. There really are some very interesting facts and points in this book. You will almost definitely learn something new from reading this book. You will view plants in a different way. I also think this would be a great gift for gardeners or people who like the great outdoors. This book certainly goes beyond expectations.
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on 11 January 2013
This book is an absolute revelation without requiring any interest in or knowledge of plants. By the end of the book you have a new found respect for plants and how they behave and cannot help but look at them in a different way. If there was any reminder needed as to how clever nature can be, this book contains the evidence.
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on 3 July 2012
Excellent book, and very thought provoking. Couldn't put it down once I started reading it and have bought it for a friend who also finds it very interesting. Based on scientific researches.
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on 28 February 2013
The book is well written and notes scientific method. Everything seems reputable and the writer manages to relate a plants life very closely to human life considering how different the two ways of life are. This book is incredibly interesting and the writer has even included a few youtube links to help visualise what he describes - although some of the links are down you can find the same thing by searching for it on youtube as there are multiple similar videos to the ones he gives links to.
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This book is superficially about plants, but for me the main interest is the light it sheds on what it means to be human.

Daniel Chamovitz writes in a very clear, simple and easy to read style. I was able to go through the book from cover to cover in just a few hours.

As he discusses each of a plant's 'senses' (seeing, smelling, touching etc), he always relates the 'sense' technically to what happens in animals, and then shows how similar chemical processes underlie the same 'sense' in plants. It is fascinating to ponder just how closely related animals are to plants, and how much 'awareness' plants somehow have.

The discussion of plants as being in some sense 'aware' is very thought provoking, because plants have no brain or central nervous system. Which leads one to wonder whether animals, including humans, retain plant like 'awareness' apart from their brain in a similar way (my speculation - Chemovitz does not comment on this).

It is clear that a lot remains to be found out about plant life via further research.

This book is not in any way cranky or sensational. The author is very low key and simply outlines recent scientific research. Earlier this year I read Rupert Sheldrake's book 'the Science Delusion' which discusses ideas of consciousness outside of the animal kingdom, among many other zany ideas. Sheldrake is much more of a character than Daniel Chamnovitz and unfortunately some of Sheldrake's science is decidedly flaky and cranky. Daniel Chamovitz, on the other hand, in his low key and methodical way, opens up some robust science in this area, which is very welcome.

Why only fours stars? It's so methodical and low key that I didn't feel overwhelmingly inspired as I do by the very best books. But I still thoroughly recommend it.
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on 10 May 2013
I read this through in maybe 6 hours on a flight and was fascinated. It was an easy read that updated a lot of the interests I had as a biology student over 30 years ago. Much of the research - relatively easy experiments - about tropisms (plant movements) has been done in the last thirty year and these are expanding our overall grasp of the complex plant - environment interaction.
My only complaint would be that the book is too short - 180 pages but these are short, large print pages - perfect for reading on a plane though.
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on 13 December 2015
The topic is interesting for a non botanist. The reason for not a higher rating is because of the writing style. At times it is like the author is trying to show off with all the knowledge he has. Even though it is not directly related to the title, or it can also some minor detail, irrelevant for the main theme.

At one point I wondered if the author is a scientist. On page 156 he makes the point that how cherry trees know when to blossom is because of the winter chill. There is a day in the spring and another day in the autumn that has the same day length. The reason the tree will not bloom in the autumn is because the tree "remembers" the winter chill. That may be so, but it is stupid not to factor in the tree sensing the gradient of each day has more and more ( or less) sunlight. To think that the only thing that matters is that the tree is looking for a day with a precise day length to bloom is the thought of an enlightened child, not a scientist.
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on 6 December 2014
A wonderful and insightful book, written in a clear and succinct way. Excellent for advance school students and non-majors at University level, with robust and accurate, up-to-date information. Particularly admirable is the way the senses of plants are described as a story, rather than dry facts and bullet points.
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on 2 July 2012
This is a very interesting and informative book which I couldn't put down once I'd started it. It is the type of book I will read many times or just dip into it when there is something specific I want to recall.
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on 22 July 2012
How good to find an up-to-date serious book on the amazing botany of plants that is easy to read. I just flowed through it. And learned more about how I may help (or hinder) my own plants.
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