I know what you must be wondering, you don’t have a background in this sector so it might be difficult to understand. Let me assure you, they are not. These are written in a simple language and the writers do a marvelous job of making it comprehensible irrespective of your academic background. However, some terms might need a little help from Google, but the search will totally be worth it. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

  1. The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher by Lewis Thomas
Source: Goodreads

We might be carrying the key to the answers we are looking for in the world within ourselves. When I was in school my Biotechnology teacher used to say, humans are marvelous creatures, if only we spent enough time understanding our own biology, we would probably have answers to most of the questions in life. She could not have been more right. I think this book is a testimonial to that. It is a collection of 29 essays by Lewis Thomas published in the 1970s. The essays cover molecular components, organelles, social setup and interactions, evolution and the life beyond Earth. This book also makes some relevant points on the importance of basic research and the power of inquiry and curiosity.

One of the many favorite quotes from the book:

“Still, you’d think there would be some way in. Joined together, the great mass of human minds around the earth seems to behave like a coherent, living system. The trouble is that the flow of information is mostly one-way. We are all obsessed by the need to feed information in, as fast as we can, but we lack sensing mechanisms for getting anything much back.”

2. Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley

Source: Goodreads

This is a pretty interesting read. Matt Ridley does a wonderful job of making the chapters detail about each pair of chromosomes with stories. At the end of each chapter, you will feel like you have known the genes that he talks about as a friend. He highlights how the human genome is one of the greatest books to have ever been written and how we are still on the spectrum of evolution. This book gives you a peek into the military like precision of the cells and the genes. It might also help you start seeing other species in a more family like way. We are busy worrying about what external events might harm us but we barely think about the things that can go wrong on a genetic level. The interesting part is, that it is all random.

One of the many favorite quotes from the book:

“Life is a slippery thing to define, but it consists of two very different skills: the ability to replicate, and the ability to create order.”

These two books have helped me appreciate life more. The fact that we are born in one piece on this planet in itself is a great feat. When you read about how much work goes into ensuring that we survive a moment, all the other big troubles in life seem a bit easier to tackle. To be close to this idea, the books on life sciences are a key. I hope you pick one of these books and build your own perspective on life, universe and everything else 🙂

What are your favorite books on life sciences? Do share!

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