• The Triumph of Seeds

  • How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses & Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History
  • By: Thor Hanson
  • Narrated by: Marc Vietor
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 08-04-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (962 ratings)

Regular price: $19.95

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Publisher's Summary

We live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and the humble peppercorn drove the Age of Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the Enlightenment and cottonseed help spark the Industrial Revolution. And from the fall of Rome to the Arab Spring, the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a Middle Eastern grass known as wheat. In nature and in culture, seeds are fundamental - objects of beauty, evolutionary wonder, and simple fascination. How many times has a child dropped the winged pip of a maple, marveling as it spirals its way down to the ground, or relished the way a gust of wind(or a stout breath) can send a dandelion’s feathery flotilla skyward? Yet despite their importance, seeds are often seen as a commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked. Thanks to Thor Hanson and this stunning new book, they can be overlooked no more.

©2015 Thor Hanson (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Marc Vietor's mellow, upbeat narration adds personality and energy, and every chapter brings fresh information and insight." ( AudioFile)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Delightfully simplistic!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book looks at the history and evolution of seeds. That's it. Thor Hanson's appreciation of seeds and his passion for study are evident, yet he presented the topic in a lighthearted way that was easy for a layman to follow. I enjoyed this book very much.

What other book might you compare The Triumph of Seeds to and why?

I love books that have a small scope, but enlighten me in a big way. This book reminds me of "A History of the World in 6 Glasses" by Tom Standage, which I read a decade ago, but still keep on my desk.

What about Marc Vietor’s performance did you like?

I thought the content and the narrator were perfectly matched. Marc Vietor did excellent work of bringing this book to life.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have enjoyed listening to this in one sitting. I didn't, but I did listen to it while I walked, shopped, cooked and washed dishes.

Any additional comments?

I didn't know much or care much about seeds when I started this book. I can now confidently speak about seeds because I've enjoyed this wonderful lesson and learned a lot without being lectured to.

51 of 54 people found this review helpful

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a fantastic book and great narration

this is such an great book. it's so informative and yet feels like you are part of love story between the author and his passion for everything seeds.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This is an amazing book

This book is very interesting to read you get some history, biology, chemistry, physics and a whole lot of awesome BOTANY.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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more than seeds

I loved the background told in the beginning. I am studying secondary metabolites in plants, and this book was a good compliment to the plant's functions and uses of them.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Background for a seed lover

Dr Hanson gave me a look inside seeds, their behavior, and place in the context of history and modern life.

He kept the jargon to Botany 101 and infused each chapter with colorful images and metaphors.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

very insightful

I liked the narrator, but not for this book. He seems more suited to mystery or thriller, or even sci-fi, but somehow didn't work for me in this documentary or non fiction genre.
Great book though. I thought it seemed like a mildly interesting topic, but it turned out to be a massively interesting topic.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 05-04-16

Inspiring

Concepts from many researchers work laid out and built up with a wealth of experimental findings with wonderful clarity. Enthralling side notes and stories into the part of seeds in history and ever pertinent philosophical paradigms. A core maintained throughout of the story of his own research into the Almendro tree woven perfectly within the wider subject and a sincere admiration of nature's core principles. Brilliant. Thank you Thor, thank you Nature.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

just.. .. meh.

there are a few good chapters near the end but it's generally a flop. he spends more time discussing his son and in-laws than he does seeds.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Useful history with a little physiology of seeds

I thought that the author did a good job of describing histories and interesting scientific discoveries without using too many scientific terms. I was hoping it would include more physiology of how seeds develop rather than the descriptions of physical characteristics of seeds. I was not crazy about the readers tone. it made me a little sleepy.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderful, Accessible Book About Little 'Ol Seeds

This was certainly better than I thought it would be. Based on the subject matter I thought this book would be a tad dry; but, on the contrary, it was really interesting and quite entertaining. The writing is very accessible and heavy scientific terms are left by the wayside for the most part. Hanson takes a common item that we take for granted and weaves interesting tales around them to make his point of how seeds shaped the world and influenced its history.

Hanson takes the story back to how seeds evolved to become so successful and the most common way of plant reproduction after spore reproduction was the method of choice during prehistory. Instead of reciting a history of seeds he divided the book in to sections which included information pertaining to how seeds defend themselves, how they travel, how they endure long periods of dormancy, and how the design of different types of seeds helps them flourish. The examples he uses to exemplify each section and chapter are relatable and narrative easy to follow.

Prior to reading the book, my wife and I were talking about fruits and wondered why apple trees, orange trees, peach trees, watermelons, etc., would wrap their seeds with such a large quantity of fruit. This is covered in the book. So are other interesting topics such as the design and function of the seeds of coconuts, coffee, chili peppers, and cotton. Cotton and coffee were given a lot of ink as their popularity basically changed the world, in good ways and bad.

My favorite parts were the discussion of how seeds travel and the chapter about the seed banks found throughout the world, the most famous of which is the Global Seed Vault in Norway. Also, fascinating was the chapter about the endurance of seeds. A 2,000 year old seed found by archaeologists in the ruins of a city in Israel started growing in 2005 and is still flourishing!

I would recommend this to anyone as the subject matter is really interesting and relatable to everyday life. The subject matter is presented more anecdotally than scholarly or technically, knowledge of botany is not necessary. Seeds are everywhere and almost everything we eat and drink every day either was processed from a seed or grew from one. How can you not love them? 4.5 stars

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • shaun mace
  • 09-20-16

very interesting if you're curious about seeds :)

great book if you're into permaculture, sustainable seeds, the planet or plants.

Not the most exciting but am very happy to have read it

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-11-18

fantastic.

A fantastic book. Good narration which is matched to style of book. Very easy to listen to.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-23-18

Fantastic book

Really enjoyed this book with so much information and easy to understand, in-depth descriptions. if you have an interest in plants or the natural world, this book definitely worth it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-23-18

marriage of narrator and text is beautiful

the text is performed rather than simply read. fascinating insight, really interesting and very enjoyable.