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The Chemicals of Life

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  46 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Asimov, the scientist & professor of biochemistry, give nontechnical explanations of enzymes, hormones, proteinshormones and more.
Paperback, 151 pages
Published 1987 by Penguin/Signet (first published 1954)
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Mar 31, 2015 Charles rated it really liked it
Written in 1954, some of the material and current facts in this book are dated. However, Asimov is such a good expository writer that in most cases it does not matter. He covers the basics of proteins, vitamins and enzymes in such a lucid style that it is still possible to learn a great deal of the basics from this book. Since it is designed to explain the fundamentals of the complex chemicals of life and most of the advances since the writing are in the working out of the details, there are ver ...more
Steve Carroll
Oct 08, 2014 Steve Carroll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good short intro to proteins, enzymes, hormones, cholesterol, vitamins. Like all these Asimov nonfiction books I filled a bunch of holes in my knowledge that I didn't know I had. This one is a really early work which makes it interesting... Scientists didn't know what cholesterol was for at this point so Wikipedia was my friend.
Aug 14, 2012 Andrewcharles420 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf12
Excellent and easy read (perhaps a fourth-grade reading level) introducing the molecular chemistry of the body. A few things are out of date ("the 103 known elements...", "scientists have no idea what cholesterol is for...", etc.) and there are a few no-longer-P.C. relations in the book (i.e. a scientist is uniformly referred to as "he", emotion-inducing chemicals turn cheeks pink, "orientals" have yellow skin because they eat more beta-carotene (??), etc.), but the basics are largely there, and ...more
King Ævil
Jan 18, 2009 King Ævil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, biology, asimov
[Weird—I thought I'd already written a review for this book. Oh, well.:]

Isaac Asimov provides here a clear and very basic introduction to macromolecules and enzymology. Published shortly after Watson and Crick's famous Nature paper, The Chemicals of Life does not delve at all into what is now the central domain of molecular biology, however. This book is mainly of historical interest, although anyone teaching an introductory biochemistry class might consult it for ideas on how to present certain
Jun 13, 2016 Max marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erik Graff
Sep 10, 2008 Erik Graff rated it liked it
Recommends it for: high school chemistry and biology students
Recommended to Erik by: Mr. Greene
Shelves: sciences
Editing the mess that is GoodReads' Isaac Asimov database I stumbled upon this title, the cover of which suddenly reminded me that I'd bought it at the Maine South H.S. Bookstore back when taking A.P. Chemistry there.

As ever, Asimov is quite good at explaining the physical sciences to non-scientists.
Jan 28, 2012 Nicole rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, science
I like thinking on the yellowing of pages in an old book as it slowly burning on the shelf instead of the instantaneous ignition brought on by direct flame. In the end, it all goes down in flames because of chemicals.
Andrew Wright
Aug 23, 2013 Andrew Wright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outdated, but still presented well, good job Asimov
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Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered the most prolific writer of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the te
More about Isaac Asimov...

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