If you've been devouring British science writer Ed Yong's insightful articles on COVID-19 in The Atlantic these last few months, but haven't read his 2016 book, you are in for a treat. Yong's enthusiasm for his subject — the microbial world and our ever-expanding research into it — is absolutely infectious. Yong shares some of the most significant research into our planet’s diverse and countless microbes and explains the symbiotic relationships that have evolved and melded within and around them. It makes for an extraordinary and, at times, mind-blowing read. Recommended By Lori M., Powells.com
We have over 39 trillion microbial cells in and on our bodies. What is the value of all of these bacteria, and should they be destroyed? With humor and intellect, Ed Yong provides a wonderful look at how microbes "contribute to our lives in profound and wide-reaching ways." Recommended By Kim S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Joining the ranks of popular science classics like The Botany of Desire and The Selfish Gene, a groundbreaking, wondrously informative, and vastly entertaining examination of the most significant revolution in biology since Darwin — a “microbe’s-eye view” of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on earth.
Every animal, whether human, squid, or wasp, is home to millions of bacteria and other microbes. Ed Yong, whose humor is as evident as his erudition, prompts us to look at ourselves and our animal companions in a new light—less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we assuredly are.
The microbes in our bodies are part of our immune systems and protect us from disease. In the deep oceans, mysterious creatures without mouths or guts depend on microbes for all their energy. Bacteria provide squid with invisibility cloaks, help beetles to bring down forests, and allow worms to cause diseases that afflict millions of people.
Many people think of microbes as germs to be eradicated, but those that live with us — the microbiome — build our bodies, protect our health, shape our identities, and grant us incredible abilities. In this astonishing book, Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it.
“A science journalist’s first book is an excellent, vivid introduction to the all-enveloping realm of our secret sharers.” New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice
“[An] excellent and vivid introduction to our microbiota....infectiously enthusiastic.” New York Times Book Review
“In I Contain Multitudes, Yong synthesizes literally hundreds and hundreds of papers, but he never overwhelms you with the science. He just keeps imparting one surprising, fascinating insight after the next. I Contain Multitudes is science journalism at its best.” Bill Gates
About the Author
Ed Yong is an award-winning science writer on the staff of the Atlantic. His blog Not Exactly Rocket Science is hosted by National Geographic, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, Wired, the New York Times, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American, the Guardian, the Times, Discover, Slate, and other publications. He lives in London and Washington DC.