A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life (Allen Lane Science) Hardcover – 25 Oct 2007
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'This book marks the beginning of something new. It is the first molecular biography...Venter's account is never less than engaging' -- Sunday Times
`maverick, publicity hound, risk-taker, brash, controversial, genius, manic, rebellious, visionary, audacious, arrogant, feisty, determined, provocative. His autobiography shows they are all justified' -- Nature
`A Life Decoded is a page-turner throughout' -- New Scientist
`A wonderfully original work...brims with entertaining revelations about the feuds, fights and friendships that underlie great research projects' -- FT Magazine
`a voyage of discovery: a description of code-breaking as complex as the cracking of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and no less important'
About the Author
J. Craig Venter is one of the leading scientists of the 21st century. He has made visionary contributions in genomic research. He is founder and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation.
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Top Customer Reviews
of molecular biology and it must be well written because it held my attention despite my complete ignorance of biology, molecular or otherwise. Of course its all about Craig and the essential point is that he pioneered the full sequencing/reading of a human genome (program code). Hithertoo I had the impression that Craig was an unscrupulous villain tryng to steal the secrets of our DNA and lock them up for profit. This book sets the record straight. Craig has been sinned against - on the one hand by greedy capitalists who sought to exploit him - and on the other by petty bureaucrats abetted by jealous academics who sought to stiffle him or steal his laurels. No wonder Craig has to pop off on his latest yacht every now and again and have a larger scale man v. nature adventure - but you can skip his yacht excursions without compromising the rest of the book. Finally, I'm sorry to say that Big Jim Watson doesn't emerge very well from this tale. I've long harboured (Cold Spring Harbour ?) a fond image of Watson and Crick rushing into the Eagle that famous Saturday lunchtime in January 1953 and woofing back pints of Abbott to celebrate discovering the meaning of life - and no one in the pub knew what they were talking about! Now my image is a bit dashed, as the "father" of DNA, Jim was no help to Craig's decodering endevours at all - it looks like he was obstructive and possibly devious. Another hero struck off. Good job Craig can take his place. This book is about Craig and molecular biology so far - his next book is going to be about the future. Bring it on !
Venter is a man driven, both in the laboratory and behind the wheel of his expensive yachts which he sails with a passion. There is only one thought in Venter's mind- success at any price. This book is a must for anyone wanting a current perspective of genomic science written by one of the leaders in the field.
Of course his text is a setting straight of records and a settling of old scores: major figures such as James Watson, Francis Collins and John Sulston are all, let's say critically appraised, along with Venter's various business partners, ex-colleagues and even ex-partners. He leaves no-one of consequence unscathed. However, in his defence he no doubt suffered at times unjustly at the hands of PR machines and he did, one way or another, accelerate the human genome project to its conclusion, if only as a consequence of others wanting to keep the control from his grasp. All of this one can analyse and conjecture on ad infinitum, probably without conclusion or perhaps even merit. The book does nevertheless find its place on the shelf of those telling the story of one of the most remarkable scientific achievements of all time.
Undoubtedly though the most engaging and formative parts of J.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Craig Venter is a hugely controversial character.This is Venter's version of a brilliant innovator against the combined US (the National Institute of Health) and the British... Read morePublished on 7 Dec. 2013 by M. Hillmann
Having recently heard John Sulston our Nobel Prize Winner in a half-hour R4 programme recently - what a self-effacing man - I had to read this book. Read morePublished on 11 Dec. 2011 by David R. Patten
It's not easy being a genius. Venter describes how he cracked the human genome, but also gives a terribly depressing account of the politics of big science. Read morePublished on 29 Aug. 2010 by Loz
If you ever were mistaken in thinking that science was the rational pursuit of objective knowledge, this autobiography will finally cure you of that misconception. Read morePublished on 12 July 2010 by Arthur Piper
Ok, Craig Venter is not short of a trumpet or two for himself to blow, but what an amazing insight into the race to map the genome and a glimpse into what these genomicists do! Read morePublished on 11 July 2010 by Ant
I have really enjoyed this book as it has science in it along with Craig Venter's life story. Any science lover should read this!Published on 12 Jun. 2010 by Steph_85
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