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Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution
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Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  297 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Microcosmos brings together the remarkable discoveries of microbiology of the past two decades and the pioneering research of Dr. Margulis to create a vivid new picture of the world that is crucial to our understanding of the future of the planet. Addressed to general readers, the book provides a beautifully written view of evolution as a process based on interdependency a ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 29th 1997 by University of California Press (first published 1986)
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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonA Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingCosmos by Carl SaganGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
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6th out of 178 books — 22 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,546)
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Erik Graff
Aug 28, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: evolutionary theory fans
Recommended to Erik by: Tom Miley
Shelves: sciences
Tom Miley, his older brother and I once shared an apartment in East Rogers Park, Chicago. Both the Miley brothers are, like myself, dissatisfied with themselves and both have striven mightily to make improvement. Much, but not all, of this effort has been along the lines of self-education in the common sense of going to schools, reading lots of books, writing and talking about one's studies. We have long inspired and comforted one another. We have, despite their moves to San Francisco and Sonoma ...more
Jackie Daggers
Margulis is kind of a crazy bitch, but this book reflects her better (more sane?) ideas. Her primary ideas contrast sharply with Dawkins, and her science background gives her a much stronger footing on which to present her case. Dawkins always struck me as an angry asshat writing about science and what he thinks is right. Margulis writes like an asshat scientist. I love the concepts of cooperation and non-competition in the grand scheme of evolution. They don't invalidate or combat the harsher " ...more
Mike Smith
Life has existed on Earth for nearly 4 billion years. For 80% of that time, according to Microcosmos, it consisted solely of pre-cellular and single-celled organisms. Authors Margulis and Sagan give a convincing and engrossing account of how atoms and molecules on the early Earth may have coalesced and combined, eventually forming more complex molecules that could make copies of themselves. Through a variety of chemical interactions, these complex molecules combined together to form bacterial ce ...more
Daniel Aguilar
One of those mind-bending books that make you rethink many things about yourself, about the world... inspiring, entertaining, exciting...
The authors make an excellent job at taking ideas from many different thinkers and scientists (Lovelock, Darwin, von Neumann, Dawkins... ) and create a coherent narrative that takes the reader (relatively) easily through disciplines such as biology, cybernetics, anthropology and more. At some points the arguments seem to get a bit too far, a bit too speculativ
...more
Kate
Microcosmos inspired in me a real awe for the complexity and the durability of this small world. We are literally swarming with microbes, and there isn’t much we touch that isn’t also teeming with them. We are intimately involved with the microbial world, from the moment the sperm cell with its flagellum (likely inherited from spirochetes, according to Margulis) punctures the egg—to when we rejoin the earth and are consumed by and reissued from, microbes. Since it is a book written toward a non- ...more
Shaun Joyce
Jul 10, 2014 Shaun Joyce marked it as to-read
published in 1997 so a good bit of it may be outdated... may still be a good read though.
Dave
Especially enjoyed the first several chapters that discussed early evolution. Her projections for the future were less interesting.
M
I might not recommend it for the casual reader but I really liked it. I appreciated the picture of the biosphere as a place of balance, a universe of microbes. Lower organisms have no clue that they make up us higher organisms (and vice-versa).
Jenny Wehinger
It will change the way to see living systems for sure! An excellent eye-opener.

Brenda
Jan 24, 2009 Brenda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
Nice book, but, unfortunately, some of it is a little out of date now.
Mario
Por recomendación de Tático. No conocía este libro; ya está en mi Kindle ;)
Kate
Sep 28, 2010 Kate marked it as to-read
Shelves: shelved
I had to return it to the library. I'll hit it again later...
Ellen
Sep 01, 2008 Ellen is currently reading it
Standing on the shoulders of micro-organisms...
Janelle
One of the most important books I've ever read!
Spacemummy
I'm hot for microbes!
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Lynn Margulis (1938-2011) was a Professor of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
More about Lynn Margulis...
Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution (Science Masters) What Is Life? Acquiring Genomes: A Theory Of The Origin Of Species Mind, Life, and Universe: Conversations with Great Scientists of Our Time Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature

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