• Evolving Ourselves

  • How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth
  • By: Juan Enriquez, Steve Gullans
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (200 ratings)

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Evolving Ourselves

By: Juan Enriquez,Steve Gullans
Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping, paradigm-shifting account of how evolution is no longer driven just by nature but also by human choices.

Why are conditions like autism, asthma, obesity, and allergies exploding at unprecedented rates? Why are we living longer, getting smarter, having far fewer kids? If Darwin were alive today, how would he explain this new world?

Today's humans have developed such profound capabilities for redesigning bacteria, plants, animals, and ourselves that random mutation and natural selection are no longer the primary determinants of which species survive and how they change over time. Evolution is now increasingly driven by two forces: unnatural selection (what lives and dies has to do with human desires and choices, not the natural ability to reproduce and thrive) and nonrandom mutation (our techniques have gotten so precise that we can drastically alter the genetics of any life form).

Evolving Ourselves is a chronicle of how life is evolving to meet our specs and choices, of how we can change our own biology, and of the unintended consequences for future generations. It proves that how we use our enormous power over life forms and our ability to engineer new environments will determine nothing less than the survival of humanity.

©2015 Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"If you think that human evolution occurred only in the past, think again! Evolving Ourselves is a scintillating, witty, and sometimes scary account of how rapidly changing technologies are altering human evolution in consequential ways. The book boldly predicts our species’ evolutionary future." (Daniel E. Lieberman, Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, Harvard University; author of The Story of the Human Body)

"A refreshingly human-centered take on the future of nature, Evolving Ourselves shows how natural selection has become a participatory team sport. That’s right: Evolution itself is evolving, human beings are the cause, and we all better wake up and do this more consciously before we domesticate ourselves into extinction." (Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock)

"For anyone with an interest in understanding the complexity that defines us as human beings, there is plenty to absorb in the cleverly woven pages of Evolving Ourselves. Written in an engaging and often entertaining style, the book pinpoints the unique situation in which Homo sapiens find themselves: deciding what we become next." (Dr. Louise Leakey, Turkana Basin Institute) 

What listeners say about Evolving Ourselves

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fascinating ideas and science

this was a well written and engaging book that kept me thinking. it covers and brings together many topics that encompass the past future and present state of human species, technology, natural and unnatural selection. and what this has meant for the evolutionary path of humanity.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic Entertainment For Scientists

One of the most interesting and inspiring books I've ever read. As a scientist who is always looking for good presentations of recent research, this book provides an excellent narrative of the discoveries that have become a cornerstone of modern synthetic biology.

1 person found this helpful

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science without awareness

This is a well researched and well written text. I was left incredibly disappointed with the lack of engagement with the sociopolitical implications of human genetic manipulation.

There's no discussion of how the use of CRISPR systems could go wrong, or how it could impact human society beyond the smallest lip service. There's an entire sub section of the text devoted to human subspeciation but the authors refuse to acknowledge what that would do to our societies and our mortality. They simply take as a given that stratification will occur, and they assume that the overarching theme of their text, "humans have been manipulating the genome for centuries, we should continue that trend" is sufficient to answer the complex ethical questions that surround this issue.

For a history of science and current research text, Evolving Ourselves is above average, when it comes with really engaging with the ideas it sets out to tackle it doesn't just miss the mark, it actively dodges it. This maneuvering almost rises to the level of intellectual blindness or dishonesty.

If someone wants to know what's going on in the world of genetic manipulation, this is a good text. If you want more, one should look elsewhere. I for one would suggest Knofppler's book, 'GMO sapiens'.

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good argument! good narrator!

Enriquez and Gullans make a compelling argument! Narrator has voice and style suited for this work.

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Compelling story

A very entertaining discussion of evolution, human interference, and a comparison Darwin’s theory. A good technical read.

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super interesante

muy buen libro. excelente lectura para los amantes de la ciencia. vale la pena leer.

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very good book, getting outdated

it's a fantastic book for some who wants to gain information about the subject, yet some information is starting to get out dated. still recommended.

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Extremely forward looking

I loved this book as it gives very interesting perspective regarding life and evolution. It really makes people think about what technology can do to life itself.

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We shape the tools, then the tools shape us. -McLuhan, et.al.

I believe the authors are making a case that evolution is a symbiotic relationship between our thoughts (imagination and creativity) and with mother nature’s powerful selection process.

As a fellow scientist and theorist, I completely support a lot of the references and arguments for this theory. However, I was still wanting more potential & practical solutions on how to approach the dilemmas which may invariably come from wielding this powerful human process.

I do understand that many scientists try to reserve their ideology and opinions due to fear of retribution. Alternatively, I believe in this case, it would help to take a stance on proclaiming their beliefs, even if it would cause discomfort in some of the majority.

The authors did briefly touch upon the socio-political minefield that many researchers and scientists must navigate through this arduous discovery process to fully understand our existence and offer support on HOW to exist. Scientists are brave souls and should be commended for their willingness to challenge common beliefs & outdated dogmas.

I hope this book can support others who will dare to challenge conventional wisdom. It’s got solid peer-reviewed data and sites some of the most prominent leaders in the field; not pseudoscience!

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Imperfect but provocative

A lot of potentially great ideas. A few errors somewhat undermine the authors' credibility, but overall it's fantastic.