About Power, Sex, Suicide


Reviews of Power, Sex, Suicide from Nature, Science, Prospect, The TLS, The Guardian, The BMJ, Popular Science....


"Audacious... parts of it qualify as primary literature, by announcing at least two major, original and testable hypotheses.... The book was written for anyone interested in some of the most profound questions of twentyfirst-century science. The central proposals of Power, Sex, Suicide are clearly and forcefully propounded, are serious, have far-reaching consequences — and may even be correct. This is a new take on why we are here. Do, please, read this book." Read more

John F. Allen, Nature


Impressive… readable, provocative and often persuasive. Although written for the general reader, it manages to cover its enormous range of topics in considerable depth, and the technical details are very well managed… Much of what he says is plausible, very well explained, and undoubtedly important. This is an exciting and unusual book." Read more

Jonathan Hodgkin, Times Literary Supplement


"Nick Lane's magnificent new book.... has a central relevance to questions that range from the astrobiological – how common is complex life in the universe? – to the fundamental – how did life begin? – to the world-historical – how realistically can we imagine lengthening human life expectancy by a century or two?.... Books like Lane's cannot give life a meaning, but they can explain its workings, fabric and inner logic with a previously unapproachable coherence." Read more

Oliver Morton, Prospect Magazine


"An enthralling account...The author has accomplished something quite breathtaking... Moreover, he brings the science alive...he is always accessible, lively, thought provoking and informative. Every Biologist should read this book."

Philip John, The Biologist, October 2006


"Nick Lane makes a persuasive case that we owe these tiny clumps of genetic material lurking in our cells more than we can imagine. It was mitochondria, in his view, that allowed us 'eukaryotes' (beings with nuclei in our cells) to break away from the bacteria, to grow larger, to join together, to split into sexes, and now force us to age. This is heavy stuff, but Lane compensates by flattering the reader into feeling that they are being asked to evaluate opinions which other scientists would dub heretical. Challenging, but rewarding." Read more

Robert Colville, The Observer, December 2006


"Full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life as we know it."

The Economist, Books of the Year, 2005.


"An exhilarating visit to some frontiers of modern biology, by a writer who’s not afraid to think big – and think hard."

Frank Wilczek, 2004 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Update Magazine (The New York Academy of Sciences)

"An enjoyable and readable book. Nick Lane has achieved the difficult goal of taking selected aspects of a complex field and making them intelligible. To do so, he employs some felicitous turns of phrase... Power, Sex, Suicide focuses strongly on theories relating to evolutionary aspects of the mitochondrion. Mitochondriologists may find some of his preferred hypotheses too controversial but they, and anyone interested in the broader and more philosophical aspects of their discipline, will profit from reading the book."

David G. Nicholls, Science


"I defy anyone (who doesn't know about mitochondria in detail already) to read this book and not come out amazed by the incredible subtly, complexity and downright unlikeliness of the mechanisms of biological construction. This book will open your eyes to the almost incredible processes going on... it opens up the secrets with an obvious delight from Lane that the readers are likely to share. Recommended." Read more

Popular Science


"A thought-provoking synthesis ... the very articulate writing style makes the going as easy as it could be... I am happy to recommend wholeheartedly Nick Lane’s book to anyone who is interested in central issues in contemporary biology." Read more

Stuart Ferguson, The Biochemist, September 2006


"A most thought-provoking book… His knowledge of the field is truly impressive, as he surveys major trends in evolutionary biology, cell biology, population biology and genetics, bioenergetics, power-law theory, and complexity, to name but a few of the fields covered - and then follows the data to likely logical conclusions… Well worth reading." Read more

Eric A. Schon, Journal of Clinical Investigation


"The book is serious and scholarly, yet written in an easy-going, non-technical style. Lane argues with verve... It is a brave attempt to accomplish a feat that is becoming all too rare in contemporary science: to grasp the tangle of data from many disparate fields, and to weave them into a unifying pattern that makes sense of the way things are." Read more

Franklin Harold, Microbe Magazine (American Society of Microbiology)


"Traditionalists beware: You will be taken on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of time to the present and ultimately to where the Grim Reaper rules... Reading the book is a thought-provoking exercise that could invigorate mitochondrial research." Read more

Mark van der Giezen, EMBO Reports


"This is a wonderful book, not only for learning more about mitochondria, but also for addressing important questions: Who are we? Why are we here on earth? Why do we have sex? Why are there two sexes? Why do we fall in love and have children? And why must we grow old and die? This enlightening book provides a good starting point for fruitful discussions of all these questions."

Sølve Tegnér Stenmark, Science in School, Summer 2006


"Mitochondria are truly fascinating beasts. As a Darwinian evolutionist, the author tells a good tale, and there are more twists and turns than in an average detective story, all plausible and potentially possible. This is a "popular science" book, aimed at the non-specialist with the admirable goal of making the topic more accessible." Read more

John Alcolado, The British Medical Journal


"One of the most interesting stories modern biology has to tell." Read more

Steven Rose, The Guardian


"The most interesting and significant addendum to Darwin's theory I think I've come across since Richard Dawkins explained how genes are the mechanism for evolution." Read more

Laurence Phelan, Independent on Sunday


"Lane delivers his arguments thoroughly and persuasively… his respectful treatment of other viewpoints and his readers’ intelligence makes for refreshing reading in this era of polemics thinly disguised as pseudoscience."

Charleston Post and Courier


"Full of fascinating insights into the origins of life and the way that mitochondria play key roles from the moment of conception to the moment of death. Is there anything that mitochondria cannot do?"

Tony Onyett, Chemistry World, Royal Society of Chemistry


"An exhilarating ride through the geography and history of all life on earth… I can’t help being jealous of his audacity, ambition, breadth of knowledge, penetrating reasoning, and writing style."

Guy Brown, Mitochondrial Physiology Society Review


"From the secret of longevity to why we are here at all, Lane's story is intriguing.... he argues convincingly that "mitochondria are the clandestine rulers of our world."

PD Smith, The Guardian, paperbacks, December 2006

"A great read. I recommend wholeheartedly this book. It is superbly written."

Barry Halliwell, Free Radical Research, September 2006

"Lane writes with a fluent, easy-to-read style and discusses some major theories that are truly amazing and enlightening.... I never thought that reading a lengthy book entirely about mitochondria could be so pleasurable. Lane excels at highlighting the importance and significance of this organelle, resulting in a text which is accessible and fascinating in equal measure."

Lucy Moore, Sense about Science


"Presents an extraordinary account of how complex life arose, why we have to have sex to procreate, and even why our lives must lamentably end. A captivating and thought-provoking book, recommended to anyone intrigued by the wonder and bizarreness of life."

Science a GoGo


"An extraordinary account of groundbreaking modern science… The book abounds with interesting and important ideas."

Mark Ridley, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford