John Clark's Reviews > The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas
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's review
Jan 07, 2010

really liked it

In "The Lives of a Cell", Lewis Thomas dances around the question of what life is, and what it means to be alive. This book is a collection of essays that discuss biology, language, society, and other issues of naturalism and scientific observation that weave together into a rather unique way of looking at the lives of individuals with respect to the others. When I had finished this book, I was very excited by the new way I looked at the world around me, and eagerly discussed many of its concepts with friends and family. The individual essays sometimes overlap, but overall form an organic whole, which is amusing because one of the core theses of the book is the way in which overlap between individuals in a society tends to form a larger organism.
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Quotes John Liked

Lewis Thomas
“My mitochondria comprise a very large proportion of me. I cannot do the calculation, but I suppose there is almost as much of them in sheer dry bulk as there is the rest of me. Looked at in this way, I could be taken for a very large, motile colony of respiring bacteria, operating a complex system of nuclei, microtubules, and neurons for the pleasure and sustenance of their families, and running, at the moment, a typewriter.”
Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

Lewis Thomas
“Nature abhors a long silence.”
Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

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