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I Contain Multitudes

The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
By: Ed Yong
Narrated by: Charlie Anson
Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It's an entire world, a colony full of life. In other words, you contain multitudes. These microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth.

In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems. We learn the invisible and wondrous science behind the corals that construct mighty reefs and the squid that create their own light shows. We see how bacteria can alter our response to cancer-fighting drugs, tune our immune system, influence our evolution and even modify our genetic make-up. And we meet the scientists who are manipulating these microscopic partners to our advantage.

In a million tiny ways, I Contain Multitudes will radically change how you think about the natural world - and how you see yourself.

©2016 Ed Yong (P)2016 Random House AudioBooks

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Wonderful, fascinating book.

A great book - a tour of the extraordinary world of microbes and the many ways that scientists are studying and using them. The audiobook is only let a bit by patchy production quality - several takes with quite different studio conditions are edited together almost at random - can be distracting. But the book itself is fantastic, not to be missed.

2 people found this helpful

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Very interesting with one small irritation…

Throughout this audiobook the narration noticeably changes. Sometimes it’s just a few words, other times it’s several sentences. The sound and intonation is markedly different and it distracted this listener from what was being said. While I understand that edits need to be made in narration, every effort should be made to match the sound quality, tone and volume etc. Sadly, this seems to have been done pretty haphazardly at times. Overall, I enjoyed this audiobook but the recording did spoil what could have been an otherwise five star review.

1 person found this helpful

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very informative book and intriguing.

very informative book and intriguing. this Book made me aware of my surroundings and biomes it contains.

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Think Small.

If you have been lulled into thinking you know the world, read this and wonder.

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A science class you don't want to miss

Absolutely fascinating. Even though the science itself, as Yong explains, is still in its infancy, I'd go so far as to say it's a revelation: It has forever altered my fundamental understanding of life on this planet and, what's more, has certainly made me grasp why my gut health is kind of a biggie. That's not news, of course: functional health gurus have been peddling the gut microbiome and dysbiosis message for a while, but I was somewhere between skeptical and merely confused, until I Contain Multitudes with its wide-angle lens and telescope both trained on the subject of microbes and their hosts radically altered my perspective - quackery it ain't. Well written and well narrated, I highly recommend this book.

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  • Millymagpie
  • 09-14-16

Very enjoyable read

Any additional comments?

One of the most informative books on the microbiome, dispels some myths, challenges the new multi billion dollar probiotic / fermented food movement. This book gives a very balanced factual look at how we destroy our microbiome with the overuse of antibacterial products, western diet / lifestyle and drugs especially antibiotics. Unlike many other books I have read on the topic this book clearly states that there is no magic solutlion such as stool transplants and change in diet / lifestyle, while these may work the main point I got from reading this is that we are all different and what will work for one person will not work for another! So will I give up my kombucha and probiotics - hummm probabily not however I will not put as much faith in such supposed miracle foods and supplements.
My main takeaways:
We are all different, very different so one solution does not fit all.
Trying to recolonise your microbiome doesn't always work as fermented foods and probiotics seem to produce a temporary alteration in bacteria which can return to your original state shortly after - so don't waist your money!
Stop using antibacterial products, stop cleaning so much (excellent I say), open your windows & eat fiber!
Excellent read, interesting informative and yes this book had an impact on how I live

26 people found this helpful

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  • Cian Hickey
  • 11-01-16

Excellent, interesting science book for anyone.

Lots of amazing information on a largely hidden world. The author makes the topic of microbes very interesting and engaging. Faultless narration.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Lakeskip
  • 11-03-16

Really Fascinating Stuff.

Who knew we had so much going on in us! There's no way I would have got all the way through this in printed form. (Not because of the content but due to my attention span for the technical stuff being too short) but so glad I bought it as thoroughly enjoyed it, so very interesting and the narrators voice is just right. It's one of the books I'll listen to again.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Tony
  • 10-19-16

Excellent. A window into our fascinating world.

This is on a par with The Selfish Gene, Guns, Germs and Steel and the Vital Question as a book which adds a whole new perspective on what we are.

5 people found this helpful

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  • William Kelly
  • 12-28-19

Great but distracting edits

Really interesting book and well eat but some very distracting edits throughout. Just a minor niggle really but I haven't come across this on other books before.

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  • G. Watson
  • 09-06-19

badly edited

great book, great narrator, but bits of the book seem to have been edited for some reason, and the edited parts aren't recorded to the same quality. so you'll be listening, then all of a sudden there'll be a sentence that sounds odd, of a lot poorer quality, audiowise. which can be a bit irritating at times.

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  • Ursula Verburgt
  • 05-21-19

Amazing inside in the importance of Microbes!

I listen to it over and over again... Fascinating aspects of life usually overlooked and underestimated.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Emma newton
  • 02-09-19

Easy listening

From a students point of view this book is very helpful and insightful.
From a general interest point of view, it is fascinating.

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  • Jacimac
  • 01-31-19

Microbes all around us

The microbiome is described in fascinating detail, across species & inside us humans too. A brilliant, gripping tale of a world within a world & the cutting edge discoveries that will take medicine in a whole new & unexpected direction. Totally enthralling. I’m going to read it again very soon as there is so much interesting detail to take in.

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  • Squeeeble
  • 01-04-19

Fantastic

Really entertaining - an engaging and intelligent approach to larger species interactions with their microbial flora and the interplays between them. I cannot comment 100% on how accessible it is as I do have a micro backround, but I was under the impression that it would be understood by most laypeople while having enough depth to keep those that might know a little more about the subject wanting to hear more.

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  • Miss Amy V
  • 01-22-18

Enjoyable and very interesting

A really fantastic and eye opening book, about the overall importance of bacteria and other microbes for all living things. Young discusses how new gene technologies are revealing the ways in which we are essentially controlled by our bacteria, and how to use these in the prevention of diseases and overall environmental management.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Barry Thomas
  • 01-04-20

Changed my two dimensional view of microbes

Very well told and illuminating story of the microbes around us and those who study them. This book changed my view on how microbes interact with us and other organisms and the hard yakka it took to work out the subtleties of these interactions and how we can manipulate these associations to our own ends.
If I learnt nothing else it is also never underestimate the far reach and importance of Wolbachia and that they eat ‘Chowbachia’.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-17

cool journey

amazing read so informative and interesting lots more discovery to be had in the world of microorganisms