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Here Is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics
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Here Is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  117 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
In 2007, Misha Angrist became the fourth subject in the Personal Genome Project, George Church’s ambitious plan to sequence the entire genomic catalog: every participant’s twenty thousand–plus genes and the rest of his or her six billion base pairs. Unlocking the secrets of our genomes opens the door to understanding why we are the way we are and potentially fixing what ai ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Harper Perennial (first published November 1st 2010)
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Lorne Daniel
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Human genomics is one of those big waves of science and change that I have mostly tried to ignore, in the hopes that it will just wash over me and I will come up, sputtering but alive, after it crashes through.

If you are a non-scientist like me, you also hope that when the term human genomics is thrown out at some dinner party you can deliver one pithy line of commentary and then retreat to the kitchen to refill your glass.

Here Is a Human Being is an entertaining tale about one man’s foray into
This book was kind of all over the place and not really what I was expecting, but still a lot of fun to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if I'd recommend it to people who aren't already super excited about genomes.

Misha Angrist was one of the first participants accepted into the "Personal Genome Project" (PGP) -- the brainchild of Harvard scientist George Church. The underlying premise of PGP is to not only sequence people's genomes (or maybe just exomes?) but also to give all of
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
When I entered and won this book from the Goodreads Giveaways promotion, I wasn't entirely sure I would like it. It sounded really interesting, but maybe just a bit too dry for someone who reads mostly fiction.

I could not have been more wrong.

This was such an interesting read. In the narrative, the author walks that fine line between informative and entertaining, thus doing an excellent job of keeping you engaged in the work. The book is written in a way that makes the more technical aspects e
Misha Angrist
Sep 10, 2011 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is my book. I think it's pretty good and that you should read it. Duh. I say more about it on my blog:
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Blogged here:
Of course, working in healthcare, I had heard about personal genomics. It was on my horizon, something about which I wanted to know more. When I was offered a review copy of the new edition of Here Is A Human Being, At the Dawn of Personal Genomics by Misha Angrist, I thought that would be a great way for me to accomplish that goal.

For context, I’ve written a few book reviews in my past. Enough so, that I have my usual strategy: read the
Dec 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I tend to be a fiction gal, the topic drew me to Here is a Human Being: At The Dawn of Personal Genomics by Misha Angrist as a book to receive (and then review) from the folks at Harper. I never really focused on science studies but I was always intrigued by genetics and fulfilled one of my natural science requirements in college with a course titled Human Genetics, Ethics and Public Policy. I was in college in the later 90s so obviously there has been change since then. I say all this ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science
I also read this book for my Genomics class, in hopes of finding something based a little more in hard science land than The Seven Daughters of Eve. That it does, though it really does more focus on ethics of personal genomics than the science itself, but it is most firmly grounded on the cutting edge, as it were. Angrist describes and examines with clarity and humor the sociological implications of where human genomics is headed after the sequencing of human genome, particularly in what the imp ...more
Adrian Bubie
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up on a whim after learning that the Author was a Case Western Grad (Genetics PhD.) and was really impressed with the range of commentary - the social, economic, medical and moral consequences - on how personal genomics will affect our lives in the very near future. Many of the books on genomics and genetic engineering i've read recently tend to take a extreme stance on the topics; either the new technology is "Eugenics reborn! Grab your pitchforks!", or "This is the saviour of the h ...more
Jonathan Hunsberger
I bought this because the author is an acquaintance and I always like to read books that are written by people I know. Given the topic and his profession, I was expecting a hard slog through something very technical, but this book is very accessible and kept me interested throughout.

Several people who saw me reading this book asked what it was about. When I gave the basic premise, the first question was always "what did he find out?" That's the natural first question, but once you've read (or e
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Decent overview of the trajectory of personal genomics. One of those books where minute details about the day to day mechanics of his neurosis about the whole thing kinda got in the way. I do realize that that was kind of a subtext of his book but it didn't do anything for me. Once again though, a book that illuminates the personalities of the people in the industry is very valuable to me. Because one of my subtexts is that personality is way more important in human endeavors than is ever given ...more
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
I was fascinated by the genome for years, but didn't have a lot of background. This book gives me some answers, but even more questions about how personalized medicine will be handled in the future.

Angrist gives us a first-person account of his PGP-10 experience. (PGP-10 is the first 10 individuals to publish their complete genomes.) The account was easy to read as it flows like a stream of conscientiousness tale. It is personal and you actually get an idea of the personalities of people he foll
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cool look at the history of personal genomics and Misha's personal experience within this history. In the field of genetics, he's a rock star - and we as readers benefit from his back stage pass to all other rock stars in the field (e.g., George Church, Francis Collins). I appreciated the historical perspective. It's easy to think that the way things happened (the development of genetic sequencing technology, the mapping of the human genome) were all sort of a pre-destined, linear unfolding of e ...more
DeLene Beeland
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful read! Angrist's story is an engaging blend of humanism and science. I wrote a review of this book on my personal blog, here's a taste: "Angrist also delves in to the human dimension of what it means when an individual chooses to dive into their own genome — he likens it to drinking from a fire hose — an experience that is as individualistic as it is communal in terms of how the information you learn about yourself can affect your loved ones, and even your children. In short, ...more
Daniel Hooker
Tough subject. Deeply scientific, parts of this book are fascinating. But he launches into the story without much of a preamble, I never felt I understod what the author was trying to explain to us at a high level. The beginning chapters (and portions of each subsequent chapter) are bogged down by names and places of corporations that power genomic testing, but without a context for what they're doing, it's just plain boring. It gets better in the middle when talking about the actual science and ...more
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Angrist was chosen as one of ten scientists to have their personal genome mapped as an example of what could be learned. Ethics about disclosing propensities for certain diseases that have no cure or way of being prevented is discussed. There is a lot about Angrist's own feelings and misgivings, especially about disclosing a genetic predisposition for a disease that his daughters might inherit and wouldn't be prepared to hear about yet.
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Martin Samuel, Amit Aggarwal, Marie Wong
Shelves: science
A very good overview of the state of the art, well as of mid last year anyway. An insightful and informative read, with lots of introspective anecdotes all over. I almost feel like I know these folks now... the champions of personal genomics. Highly recommended for all interested in the field (or who have family members who are happy to publicize their genomes). Forget social media, here comes gen-X, the genetic-exhibitionists :)
Jacqueline Ogburn
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A fascinating combination of science and the personal, Angrist was one of the first people to have his genome sequenced and made public. He takes readers through the fast-evolving field of personal genomics, introducing key players and meditations on the implications revealing his genetic information. It's also quite funny in places.
Errol Frank
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Scrubs LLC
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
What caught my eye was the cover very colorful.In the beggining it started out good then toward the rest of it I find that it dragged on.My brain was wondering and had a hard time focusing on this book,lots of information.
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Not extremely bad... It was difficult for me to connect to what the author was trying to say: a recount of his adventure as a Ginny pig in a genome decoding project. I was expecting something else; like descriptions of genes and relations to the human way of being; but it was more like a journal.
Robin Hulbert
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I recommend this book for anyone interested in human genetics and personal genome sequencing. Very enlightening and informative. Misha Angrist has a good sense of humor and explains the biology in a way that the non-biologist can understand.
Mary Whisner
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medicine, memoirs, science
Memoir by a man who signed up to have his genome sequenced and made public. I lost interest during some of the discussions of the business deals of the genome companies—but I do understand that that's part of the story.
Christopher Vetek
Less technical learning than a memoir, overview for the public audience.
But it was interesting, sort of.
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
*recieved this book in giveaway.

Fascinating and entertaining!
Science For The People
Featured on Skeptically Speaking show #143 on December 18, 2011, during an interview with author Misha Angrist.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It might be more than you want to know, it might be less than you can understand, but it's well written & good to see what's going on in science. Recommended to anyone who wants to see the future.
Jeff Grown
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good post! That is if these are all writers on the internet can really find what you're looking! Regards
Joanne  Manaster
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like it! I did a video review here, along with The $1000 Genome by Kevin Davies!

rated it really liked it
Dec 10, 2014
Emily Anthes
rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2012
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Misha Angrist is Assistant Professor of the Practice at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy. In April 2007 he became the fourth subject in the Personal Genome Project. In 2009 he had his full genome sequenced and made it public. His book, Here is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics (2010) is published by HarperCollins. "
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“For most of the last thirty years the judicial system has been fairly consistent: once they leave your body, you do not own your tissue, organs, or bodily fluids or any of the revenue they might generate for a biotech company, a university, or anyone else.” 1 likes
“Although he’s told the story many times, with a faint smile Maxey described the process of masturbating into a cup while behind the wheel of a moving automobile as “risky and fairly difficult to do.”22 And you thought texting was dangerous.” 0 likes
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