Life Ascending

The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution

 

Reviews from Nature, New Scientist, The Guardian and more...

 

 

  • "What makes this such a great read is that Lane, a biochemist by training, does not simply rehash the standard evolutionary tales - unlike many books published recently. Instead, he is familiar with all the latest research and has made up his own mind about who is right. The result is an original and awe-inspiring account. The first two chapters are the most coherent and convincing summaries of the dawn of life and of DNA that I have ever read... This is an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology. Anyone interested in life should read it. Highly recommended." Michael Le Page, NEW SCIENTIST
  • "With clarity and vigor... Lane smoothly pulls in evidence from genetics, proteomics, paleontology and geophysics to show how the critical components and mechanisms of complex life could have developed. Peter Dizikes NEW YORK TIMES
  • "Excellent and imaginative... full of surprises... Life Ascending is a fascinating book for anyone interested in life and evolution." Lewis Wolpert, NATURE
  • "From start to finish, origin of life to death, this book is a pleasure to digest. As I turned the final page it crossed my mind to go back to the beginning and enjoy it all over again." Ruth Francis, NATURE
  • "Lane brings the science alive with the kind of beautiful prose that turns a book full of interesting information into a book you simply cannot put down."Amanda Gefter, NEW SCIENTIST, Books of the Year, 2010
  • "Lane’s prose is elegant, poetic almost, and he reveals himself as a stylish, persuasive essayist. His award of the 2010 Royal Society Book Prize is eminently deserved." THE TIMES, Books of the Year 2010
  • "An outstanding contribution to evolutionary writing." Peter Forbes, THE INDEPENDENT Books of the Year 2010
  • "Nick Lane is one of the most exciting science writers of our time." THE INDEPENDENT
  • “With its vast scope, page-turning revelations and elegant prose, Nick Lane’s Life Ascending is everything one could hope for in a science book." DAILY TELEGRAPH
  • "Lane is that particularly rare breed: a scientist who can not only offer a birds-eye view of an entire field but also tell you about his own very interesting ideas." Carl Zimmer, SCIENCE
  • "This is a science book that doesn't cheat: the structure is logical, the writing is witty, and the hard questions are tackled head on." Tim Radford, THE GUARDIAN
  • "Wonderful... Lane does a masterful job... an elegant, fully satisfying whole." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
  • "Make no bones about it, this is an excellent book. It is great fun, readable, bubbling over with enthusiasm, and not afraid of controversial, even weird, ideas... Hopeless as a bedside book: you'd never sleep." Graham Cairns-Smith, CHEMISTRY WORLD
  • "A clever concept is carried through with a clarity and enthusiasm that belies the sophistication of the science.." GUARDIAN SUMMER READING
  • "It will blow your bloody mind… A series of lucid and logical explanations of the sublime intricacies and mechanics of biological evolution… blissful epiphanies on every page.” Giles Broadbent, WHARF
  • "A writer who's not afraid to think big - and think hard." Frank Wilczek, 2004 Nobel Laureate in Physics
  • "An amazing scientist." Don Braben, TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION
  • "Nick Lane's examination of the brilliance of evolution isn't as thunderous as Richard Dawkins' last book but in a strange way that makes it all the more fascinating… Lane provides a thought-provoking account of how inspirational life really is." SHORTLIST MAGAZINE
  • "Nick Lane comes closer to achieving [my dream popular science book] than any other book I have read. From the first sentence he writes with a sense of wide-eyed wonder that (almost) always keeps its feet firmly on the facts... highly recommended as an update and tonic for any biologist who has lost touch with the subject’s excitement: bravo, Nick Lane!"John Cheverton, THE BIOLOGIST
  • "The book is, in the tradition of the best science writing, an ommateum (a compound vision) of the interconnectedness of everything in the world, as befits a poet who just happens to be extremely well-versed in physics, geology, and biochemistry. Lane tells a scientists tale in a way that adds to his reader’s sense of radical amazement.... It is literate and witty and one of my favorite science books of the past few years." Wayne Mones, AUDUBON MAGAZINE
  • "Extremely well written... It should be read by all biology students and their professors. I have just concluded reading it, and despite having studied biology for about six decades I have learnt a lot from it."Lars Olof Björn, INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY
  • "Ambitious and stimulating... Captures the excitement of science in action, with its mysteries, questions and conflicts... exhilarating." Margaret Quamme, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH (Ohio)
  • "Lane lays out processes of dizzying complexity in smooth, nimble prose." KIRKUS REVIEWS
  • "Life Ascending really is beautifully written, and Lane has a true flair for scientific story telling... uttery gripping." Lewis Dartnell, ASTROBIOLOGY SOCIETY OF BRITAIN
  • "Ambitious... a fascinating and provocative scientific book for the layperson." LIBRARY JOURNAL
  • "Explores many of the most important questions in biology... Nick Lane is clear and concise in his writing, delivering concepts and ideas with ease and enthusiasm." HOW IT WORKS
  • "A fascinating look at how scientists have come to understand evolution with an ingenuity rivaling that of nature herself." SCIENCE NEWS
  • "A vivid picture of how evolution has informed life." GLOBE AND MAIL (Canada)
  • "Terrific explanation of the newest evolutionary findings." SUNDAY STAR TIMES (New Zealand)
  • "There are wonderful explanations here, and even better questions... in this compelling book." Rob Hardy, THE DISPATCH
  • "Lane writes about tricky topics like the chemistry of photosynthesis with grace and ease… he not only reports on the latest research on each topic but also sometimes steps in with intriguing ideas of his own." Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER MAGAZINE
  • "A fun read, deep enough to give you some substance, yet clearly written with the general public in mind… a really enjoyable text." PZ Myers, PHARYNGULA
  • "A very smart discussion of the status of our understanding of the origins of life, how life has changed over the millennia, and how we have learned about those things... I enjoyed it a great deal." Hal Harris, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL EDUCATION
  • "Lane is at his best, parsing competing theories with the command of a practitioner, yet cushioning the sharp edges of the technical details. He deftly employs metaphor, toeing the line between presenting the fully scientific details and sketching the larger picture." Jacob Lemieux, The OXONIAN
  • "A fascinating and beautifully written account of the great mysteries of life - how it arose, how it works, why things die, how consciousness evolved. It's a great read, and provides real insight into current scientific thinking about the big evolutionary puzzles without getting tangled up in difficulties. Ian Stewart
  • "If Charles Darwin sprang from his grave, I would give him this fine book to bring him up to speed." Matt Ridley