Cassandra Kay Silva's Reviews > Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin

Full House by Stephen Jay Gould
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Aug 08, 2011

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bookshelves: science
Read in August, 2011

How do I say this properly. Gould is brilliant, and a wonderful writer for starters. I also don't think his approach was wrong with this one. I thought the idea of hitting it out with statistics was a good one. But please too much baseball! If I buy a book referenced under science I want to read more science. I think he either should have lengthened the book to compensate on the science end of it or shortened the baseball reference considerably. I mean really how many pages were really necessary to get that point home? For me? I could have believed him and seen it in three I imagine, but did anyone count the pages in this dedicated to baseball? Eee Gads I get the comparison, great! MOVE ON!
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Trevor As hard as it is to disagree when someone criticises an obsession with sport - Umm, yes, but ...

This book utterly changed the way I think about evolution. After having read endless books on the subject I really didn't think I had anything fundamental left to learn - this book and In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life proved I knew virtually nothing at all. It will alway remain a very important book to me. The image of a drunkard walking between a wall and a gutter as an explanation as to way complexity happens is worth a million baseball references. And I still hold my arms out and say to people - in this hand is all the bacteria in the world, in this hand is all other life, which is heavier? Just as, from some other book, I still hold my hands out in the same way and say with all people on earth on one side and all ants on the other and ask which is heavier.

Cassandra Kay Silva I think as with all things in life sometimes something clicks with a certain delivery. The way something is explained just resonates with you and things fit together better than you ever imagined. Every brain is unique. We each get our moments. I think his approach was good. Statistics is a wonderful way to approach a problem like this for sure and I am glad it hit home for you. Unfortunately I have always had an obsession with microscopes and the very small world. I already had my moment with bacteria before reading this one, and I have also read statistical approaches that have already done the job for me. I needed something else from this book, something that I think Gould must have in his vast repertoire that I honestly must find. Humans are like that. Its difficult to write a non biased review and honestly I rarely try. Humans are biased that's part of being human and I have no need of hiding myself. Its the reason that no matter how often you agree with someones ratings some times you will get a miss. Some times we are just at different points and need different things from an author. Especially with non fiction. It's not the authors fault but I just didn't need baseball this time. I just didn't and I want people to know that that is a big part of the book before they pick it up, because if they are where I am at mentally when they read the book they may want to know. I know I would have appreciated a heads up. Then perhaps I could have picked this up at a better time. As with all things we get many chances to read. Re reading a book at a different time may give a different outcome and there are very few books I am not willing to re open. Gould would never be one of them, his writing is well met. As a side note I hated Charles Dickens as a kid and recently re read David Copperfield astonished at how much I enjoyed his writing later in life. Right now? I stand by my three stars. It wasn't for me at this time.

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