Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link", you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message and data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
The Diversity of Life: With a New Preface Paperback – Illustrated, Nov. 15 2010
Enhance your purchase
Frequently bought together
Special offers and product promotions
- Deal: Save 10% when you spend $100 or more on textbooks. Enter code SAVE10 at checkout. Offered by Amazon.ca. Here's how (restrictions apply)
“The central message of Edward O. Wilson’s stirring new book…is that Homo sapiens is in imminent danger of precipitating a biological disaster to rival anything in evolutionary history. Mr. Wilson…is the doyen of American biology. Two decades ago he popularized the term ‘sociobiology,’ and generated a small industry of speculation about the biological basis of human nature. In this book he stops asking what biology does to humans, and asks instead what we humans are doing to biology.”―David Papineau, New York Times Book Review
“We need prophets to shake the souls and grab the attention of those who have eyes but see not. The Diversity of Life is a deft and thoroughly successful mixture of information and prophecy.”―Stephen Jay Gould, Nature
“Edward O. Wilson…has laid and elegant and ingratiating literary style over a fundament of science to produce a book that will enlighten the uninformed, correct the misinformed and serve as a beacon of lucidity in the wilderness… Wilson takes us by the hand and leads us through the wilderness of diversity―explaining along the way how species evolve, adapt, specialize, colonize, hybridize, recreate new versions of themselves, radiate out to new locations, become new things in often symbiotic combination with other new things, then transmogrify themselves into something else and move on again to fill other niches, other combinations―a mad, wonderful saraband of complexity and cohabitation that Wilson conducts with eloquence, clarity, and wit.”―T. H. Watkins, Washington Post Book World
“[Wilson’s] passion for the beauty and mystery of nature, coupled with his adherence to scientific method and his unsurpassed professional standing, give the work the possibility of being the most important environmental book since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.”―Charles A. Radin, Boston Globe
“Edward Wilson reminds the jaded viewer that there really is a crisis, and that―just as in 1917―it is already almost too late to do anything about it. He gives a penetrating historical analysis of what went wrong and even has a New Economic Plan which might, just, pull us back from the brink… [This] book is a passionate defense of life’s variety.”―Steve Jones, London Review of Books
“One of the most engaging and interesting books that this reviewer has seen recently. Wilson, internationally recognized as one of the leading experts in this field, leads the reader through the often difficult subject of biodiversity.”―Choice
About the Author
- Publisher : Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; 2 edition (Nov. 15 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 440 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0674058178
- ISBN-13 : 978-0674058170
- Item weight : 730 g
- Dimensions : 15.75 x 2.92 x 23.72 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #234,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from Canada
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Wilson begins with a discussion of what is a species (of plant or animal) and how they diversify. While this can be at times very academic and dry, it forms the basis necessary for further discussion and exmaples. He shows how life migrates to the far reaches of the earth and how a "dead" island rarely stays dead for long. If anything, this gives the glimer of hope in his otherwise dire message - life has a way of surviving and growing - it may not be pretty, but it usually works. But that doesn't mean we can ignore the threats to our planet's life. For while many may not give a care about there being hundreds of species of ants (in fact they may want to reach for the RAID), nature cares, and each one has it's place and roll in the system. For many of us, our only exposure to animals may be in the back yard, or in a zoo, but there is so much more out there, and Wilson tries to show you this.
It's far too late to call this a wake up call. But suffice it to be another kick in the pants for fear of our future.
His presentation of the value and ethic of diversity may not be for everyone, but is thought provoking. I would not agree with him that all developers understand the practical value of wild species. At times he comes across as an American biologist "having the answers" for third-world counties, rather than looking for deeper understand of these problems, that aren't purely biological. I found Hecht and Cockburns "The Fate of the Forest" a deeper understanding of the issues in the Tropics. I would also take particular issue with his idea of creation "synthetic faunas" is an arrogance that science can solve and create. In Florida, we have way to many exotics already!
But first a warning: readers should have some basic biological knowledge and part of the book (with many examples and useful digressions) will only appeal to botanists/microbiologists.
Prof. Wilson clearly demonstrates that the world's demographic explosion initiated a big extinction of all sort of biological species and that we have to stop this, for biodiversity is priceless.
Governments take the biological wealth of their country not serious enough. He states for instance that fewer than 3 percent of the flowering plants of the world have been examined for alkoloids and that many species are at risk.
Prof. Wilson illustrates very forcefully the impact of biodiversity by giving numerous examples from the medical, pharmaceutical, energy and agricultural field with colossal numbers in $ for actual applications.
To give one example: 'the rosy periwinkle of Madagascar produces two alkaloids that cure most victims of two of the deadliest of cancers, Hodgkin's disease and acute lymphocytic leukaemia. The income from the manufacture and sale of these two substances exceeds $ 180 million a year.' (p.271)
This is a very important book for the future of humanity. It cannot be underrated.
Wilson's storytelling-type voice lends an air of interest to stories that could be approached on an entirely intellectual level. Instead of boring lecture material beset with convoluted explanations and superfluous wordings, The Diversity of Life uses a more personal voice, and from real-life experiences in the field, explains matters in a method too underused, and most appreciated. Though I haven't finished reading the book yet, I feel confidant that it will remain one of my favorite texts to read. I feel I could even enjoy it outside of class. It is moving, motivating, and almost compels me to be a Biologist. Highly recommended, especially for college biology students.
Top reviews from other countries
Amateurs as well as passionate biologists will rejoice from this book, which reminds us of why it is important to protect all the biodiversity that we have left.