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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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 of 2 people found this review 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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lauren L
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 09-21-18

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

24 of 26 people found this review 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 of 10 people found this review 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 of 14 people found this review 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 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Grant L Wilson
  • 09-22-18

Wow!

If you have the slightest interest in science then this book will be a great listen. It uncovers a fascinating world that the average person is completely unaware of. I rarely reread/re-listen to books but i will this one. It is written well enough to covey a lot of information in a way that is interesting and doesn't make you feel you are in class!

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  • Peter Collinson
  • 09-12-18

Great story

Ed Yong gives a brief history of the subject as it emerged from the 19 century to present. He then discusses present research findings.How microbes are neither good or bad; their symbiotic relation with animals ( including humans); how medicine is now understanding the concept of individual bionomes and personalisation of medicines.Discusses the theoretical implications in evolution. In essence that microbes are essential part of the balance of ecosystems and essential for proper functioning. How man’s interference with bionomes is ultimately counterproductive. Really opens one’s eyes to a fascinating world.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-12-18

Very informative!

Fewer anecdotes and more actual studies than in similar books. Still, an easy and pleasant read.

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  • ryan
  • 06-23-18

very insightful

very insightful with a little humor to keep reader's interested well worth a read or two

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  • LC
  • 02-09-18

Makes you look at the world in a different way

Really good introduction to the importance of microorganisms in the ecology of life on earth, and the implications for humans.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-04-18

Fascinating

Extremely well written and read. A fascinating listen. Recommend to everyone! Even if you have just a passing interest in science.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

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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