It is not news to anyone that Charles Darwin was a bright guy. One of the great minds of science, as we all know, and the iconic images of the man, with his bald head, long white beard, and serious expression, leave no one in doubt. But still I was surprised to know how intelligent and sensitive he was at the tender age of 22. The first entries in this selection show how much knowledge he had already mastered in geology, zoology, botany, anthropology. The reader / listener has the privilege of observing him in the act of making the connections that lead ultimately to the elucidation of evolutionary processes, one of the great intellectual feats of science and civilization. Darwin's meticulous natural history of numerous species of plants and animals are as fresh and as fascinating as anything written today. Of particular timely interest is Darwin's experience of an earthquake in Chile, which sounds almost exactly like the news reports of the quake there in February 2010. Professor Dawkins selected these particular passages and brings the exuberance of the young man alive with every sentence in his reading. I recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in Darwin, in evolution, or in Dawkins.
You will enjoy this. I listened all the way through and then started over again.
My favorite "character" is John Lithgow. His intelligence and humor suffuse the collection.
I loved this audiobook. John Lithgow is erudite and funny. The collection is not comprehensive. How could it be? It's Lithgow's personal favorites, arranged in alphabetical order by poet's last name. No theme. No survey of development. Just lovely poems, one after another, with Lithgow's commentary in between.
Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain anatomist in her 30s and advancing in her academic research career, wakes up one morning in the early stages of a stroke. In the first part of the book, the author and narrator describes minute by minute the dawning realization of what is happening to her and the actions she takes to get help. Even though the listener knows by the fact that she herself is narrating the story that she does eventually get medical attention, the suspense is acute. Minute by minute, her brain function deteriorates and she knows in anatomical detail exactly what is happening to her. The damage is all in the left brain, allowing her (and us) to comprehend from a first-hand account left-brain versus right-brain anatomy and function. The story continues through her long, arduous recovery, with insight into brain structure and function that perhaps the world could never have gotten any other way. In the last part of the book, Taylor shares some profound lessons for all of us from her experience about why we have two brains and how we can benefit from controlling their interaction.
One of many memorable moments is when she finally makes telephone contact with her office and communicates her situation.
I recommend this book to anyone who has had a stroke or who knows someone who has had a stroke. I recommend it also for anyone interested in brain science, neurology, and neuroanatomy.
Learn some science and lose the arrogant attitude.
He's a poor reader. But the content is stupid, too, so it's a good match.
frustration, impatience, and derision
This book is for people who already know they hate science and want some reinforcement of that attitude of stupidity.
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