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The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code | [Sam Kean]

The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

From New York Times best-selling author Sam Kean come more incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA. There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking.
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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Sam Kean come more incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA.

In The Disappearing Spoon, best-selling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In The Violinist's Thumb, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.

There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.

Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.

©2012 Sam Kean; ©2012 Hachette Audio

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  •  
    Mark Lakewood, CO, United States 07-21-14
    Mark Lakewood, CO, United States 07-21-14 Member Since 2011

    I spend 90+ minutes a day in my car, Audible makes it enjoyable regardless of what's happening in traffic. My taste varies from endurance fitness to economics and from to combat stories and romance novels.

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    "What a disappointment"

    After listening to a couple of episodes of Radio Lab with Sam Kean that featured stories from this book, I had to read it. I wish I had just stuck with the stories I'd heard on Radio Lab and saved myself the credit. While I love learning about the latest developments in the field genetics as we reveal more from the Human Genome Project, this book has two interesting chapters and the rest is historical background told in a manner that puts you to sleep. I expected to be drawn in and instead the stories seemed drawn out, trying to give too many meaningless details and not bringing in enough interesting new developments and discoveries. Surely, with all the research Kean did to write this book he ran across more interesting stuff than this... or perhaps not. In any case, I can't in good conscience recommend this book to a friend who values their reading/listening time.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LaDin 03-03-13
    LaDin 03-03-13
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    "Interesting information but annoying writing style"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    First let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Keens first book, The Disappearing Spoon. It was a joy to listen to and I have played it three times.

    But in this book his writing style has progressed from quirky and interesting to outright annoying. As much as I enjoyed the content I don't think I will be able to sit though it again. For me, Mr Keen has become too taken with his own wit and has elevated (or lowered) himself to “too cleaver by half” status.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Sam Kean again?

    Probably not.


    What character would you cut from The Violinist's Thumb?

    Mr Keen.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't recommend the The Disappearing Spoon enough.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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