Book feature: “How We Live and Why We Die: The Secret Lives of Cells”


My first book review is for Lewis Wolpert’s “How We Live and Why We Die: The Secret Lives of Cells”. This is a short book (a little over 200 pages) which aims to give the ‘layperson’ a glimpse into the complex world of cell biology. The author is a biologist whose scientific career has been dedicated to the study of embryos and development and he has written many science books.

The book is broken down into 14 chapters which give a history of the discovery of cells, and then gives a really good overview of what can be found in a cell, what the functions of these ‘organelles’ are, and why these are so essential for life, death and disease.

One of my favourite things about the book was that it really does get across the complexity of our cells using some great analogies and allows the reader to speculate on the difficulties that can arise when trying to study cells. However, one of my only niggles with this book was its lack of diagrams and pictures which would have really helped to visualise what is going on in the cell. And so I definitely think that it helped to already have a basic awareness of what is going on inside cells to be able to picture what the author is describing.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was a quick read which only took me a couple of hours to finish and I learnt some interesting new bits, particularly on the history of cell theory. But I would recommend the book to those that are already educated in biology to at least GCSE level as otherwise it could be quite easy to get lost in some of the explanations.

If you’ve read it too or get a chance to give it a read, then please let me know what you thought in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Book feature: “How We Live and Why We Die: The Secret Lives of Cells””

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