• Hacking Darwin

  • Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity
  • By: Jamie Metzl
  • Narrated by: Eric Martin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (682 ratings)

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Hacking Darwin

By: Jamie Metzl
Narrated by: Eric Martin
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Publisher's Summary

From leading geopolitical expert and technology futurist Jamie Metzl comes a groundbreaking exploration of the many ways genetic engineering is shaking the core foundations of our lives-sex, war, love, and death.

At the dawn of the genetics revolution, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. But as humanity starts retooling our own genetic code, the choices we make today will be the difference between realizing breathtaking advances in human well-being and descending into a dangerous and potentially deadly genetic arms race.

Enter the laboratories where scientists are turning science fiction into reality. Look towards a future where our deepest beliefs, morals, religions, and politics are challenged like never before and the very essence of what it means to be human is at play. When we can engineer our future children, massively extend our lifespans, build life from scratch, and recreate the plant and animal world, should we?

Passionate, provocative, and highly illuminating, Hacking Darwin is the must-listen book about the future of our species for fans of Homo Deus and The Gene.

©2019 Jamie Metzl (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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What listeners say about Hacking Darwin

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Technology Overview - Good; Policy Discussion - No

I bought the Audible after hearing Jamie on the Joe Rogan podcast. Metzl seemed articulate and passionate about the subject so I wanted to know more.

As someone who follows these advances at a pop-science level, I found the technology discussions to be interesting. I think he did a good job providing scientific historical context and broad coverage of all aspects of genetic research. While some criticized that he didn't go deep enough but I think the level was appropriate given goal he articulated on the podcast to bring this subject to the uninitiated.

I was less impressed with the chapters on ethics, policy, morality as this is where the author's bias was in exhibition. I realize that people have opinions, but if you're going to build a case for me, I need to see both sides of the argument. I can't say that I'm a fan of Greenpeace, but I'd like to understand why they believe GMO's are bad. On the discussion about abortion, he used the lazy trope of pro-lifers are either religions, old or conservative. There are pro-life positions that are science based; there are pro-life positions that are based on human natural rights. Further, people's acceptance of "abortion" is on a spectrum - i.e., disposing blastocysts from IVF is different than 3-trimester abortion.

Lastly, I think he made a mistake on the narrator. If Jamie wants to build a brand, he should get his voice out there - he seemed to do fine on the Rogan podcast. The narrator they chose, though technically proficient, sounded like sunglass wearing, robotic, human-hating, Agent Jones from the Matrix. Once you get this in your head, you can't unthink it.

21 people found this helpful

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Performance detracts from book

I gave it a college try but found the performance too distracting and irritating. The performance sounds like listening to my computer read text. It is monotone, mechanistic, over annunciated, awkward and not natural. Which is sad considering I heard a podcast with Jamie, inspiring my purchase, and he was natural, smooth and accessible. The performance style handicaps the writers message. I quit after 1 hour into the book.

12 people found this helpful

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Would have been much more enjoyable if Jamie Metzel had narrated his own book

Eric Martin’s voice is very annoying however was slightly improved by increasing the cadence to 1.25x

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Meh

some interesting information, awful voice over, insufferable egotistical author overuses the word "we" and clearly thinks he's much better positioned to decide what people do with genetic technology than the people themselves. I didn't pick up much new information or insight from this book

9 people found this helpful

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bad narration!

this narrator just doesn't keep the kind of flow needed to make this a marathon listen. I wish the author had done it himself.

8 people found this helpful

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great book, painful audiobook

the narrator is monotone and makes listening to this a chore even though the author has exhaustively detailed gene editing and the book is presented and organized in an attractive way.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting Topic, Well Written, Lispy Narrator

I enjoyed the subject matter. Its written in a very accessible manner and the bigger ideas in the book make it compelling. I had an issue with the narrator though. It sounds like he has some kind of speech impediment/lisp. Took me a couple hours to get used to him. Never really did. Good book overall, but I wouldn't recommend audiobook because of the narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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Incredible

Incredible book
Future is here
By the end of it will make you wonder how much we will develop over the next couple for decades

2 people found this helpful

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This book is a must read/listen

This book is a must-read/listen for every responsible human. Metzl goes into detail on the great changes coming as a result of humans taking charge of our own evolution using embryo selection and genetic engineering. His appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in May 2019 is a good introduction to the material discussed in this book. My mind was continually being blown, sufficiently enough that this is the first review I have posted. As for the reader, his diction is clear and the performance is satisfactory related to the material but it has all the warmth and charm of Jack Webb narrating the TV show Dragnet.

2 people found this helpful

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Not a bad book.

I have seen some reviews about the narrator of this book. None favorable.

If you stick it through, it's not a bad book. There are some interesting sections of this book that detail what we are currently capable of. While Metzl is not a scientist, he never pretends to be. He is very good at researching the information and presenting it in an easy to absorb format.

The narrator of this book seems to be trying to channel the love child of Rod Serling and Carl Sagan. However, he does not have good mic etiquette and frequently sounds like he is struggling to breath. This was tedious to listen to. It was also easy to lose focus and drift away because of the droning love child channeling thing.

Overall, if you are interested in this material, it is worth the read. You may have to rewind it a few times to catch something you drifted off during.

So I am editing my review. This is based on having listened to the book once and I am going through it again because the material is quite interesting and very much worth the listen.

The main reason the narrator sounds the way he does is because he finishes every word before starting the next one. The result makes him sound a bit droning, but I have to say it a much better read than I expected.

He also does not mispronounce any of the words. He has made a major effort to make sure his rendition of this book is not only clear, but precise. We have all listened to science books before where in a narrator pronounces a word incorrectly and consistently. This can be very irritating. Not so with this book. He gets every word of it correct and he is very clear in what he is narrating. This makes this book a pleasure. Trust me, you will get used to his pace.

Jamie Metzl has a PhD in Psychology. This does in fact make him a scientist. My own personal bias is that you really can not consider a discipline a science when your entire laboratory lies to you. I could be wrong on that. Maybe that makes you a better scientist.

This book is well worth the read. Or listen if you will. Jamie has some interesting insights into the future of the human race and he has done his research. It is clear he knows the subject matter very well. While he does not go in depth into the science of every aspect of his subject matter, that is not the point of this book. If you are interesting in the subtitle, you should read this book. You will get used to the narration and probably learn to appreciate it as I have.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-25-19

Bad science but engaging nonetheless

Many scientific inaccuracies and misunderstood concepts (eg the idea that height must be controlled by many genes because many individual parts of the body must grow more / less- rather, genes act to increase or decrease height via small effects on overall height via regulating many body parts at once, not one gene for your neck, one for your legs, etc.). Not written by a scientist, which may explain some of the mistakes, but publishers should have picked up on these given that this is a historian trying to write about science. Despite this, the broad ideas of the book are OK and it is engagingly written, just wouldn’t recommend if you really want to understand genetic modification.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Eskimo
  • 01-05-20

Couldn't get on with the narrator

Tried so hard with this but felt I missed a lot of learning due to the narrator sounding like a more annoying version of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Really distracting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-04-19

A must read for all those scientifically minded

This book is a great read and provides amazing thought experiments to really delve into at home it's extremely informative and is a real eye opener not just as to what our future holds technologically but also morally and ethically along with the potential traps we could fall to, I found my mind wondering for hours after each read (which I guess isn't hard) which only makes for better reading

1 person found this helpful

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  • Louis Raubenheimer
  • 08-19-21

Accessible, broad-spectrummed and fascinating

Metzl takes what is an incredibly complex topic and chops it into digestible, understandable chunks. What is genetic engineering? Where are we with the technology? What's possible? Who are the big players? What're the dangerous? The geo-politics and ethics? All soundly covered. Found it fascinating, especially in terms of what is possible, imagining what the future human could look and be like and the kinds of choices parents could potentially need to make in future. It's a brave new world and I it feels like most of us aren't prepared for it...

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-21-21

An excellent book, shame about the narration.

This is an excellent and important work and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the near future. In many ways it's the book that I hoped the disappointing Homo Deus by Harari would be.
The audio-book narration however is truly dreadful, and I had to work hard not to let it distract me from the book's content. Imagine someone whose regular day job is doing voice-overs for cheesy American commercials who think it's necessary to do an impression of a Star Trek Vulcan because he's reading a science book.
Buy the printed version!

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  • Stevo
  • 07-27-20

Couldn’t make it past the first chapter

I am fascinated by the subject matter but the narrator is so grating I had to stop after 20 minutes.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr m p c orchard
  • 11-12-19

eye opening

brilliant book loads of interesting ideas but the delivery is a bit tedious. still the book made my jaw drop to the fact we are now in a sci fi future.

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  • Molly Kirk
  • 10-16-19

Gets you thinking

Especially if you're considering having children, really affects how you will look at the decisions you make on a personal level

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  • Roberto
  • 07-30-20

A silent revolution exposed

loved this book. Should be read by anyone interested in the possibilities genetic engineering is currently looking at. The last half should be read by every politician in the world. Ultimately a call to inform ourselves, before it is too late, of the benefits and perils of the technology and to begin to discuss in which way we can use this technology to bring about positive outcomes for humanity.

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  • Alexander Bourne
  • 08-05-19

Off to the biobank I go.

Wow. I truly believe this book has altered my future lineage so positively, as I'm now inclined to deposit my genes whilst at the peak of my health. Had no immediate intention for kids, so better bank up for the future in reservation of by existing optimal state of being.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-17-19

Must read if you're a homo sapien

Metzl is an expert in giving objective information, while providing possible solutions to problems that he anticipates will arise throughout the genetic revolution. every one of his ideas is backed by studies and opinions of experts.
The genetic revolution is inevitable. It will not wait for you. It should excite you and simultaneously alarm you. Get educated ASAP. This book is a fantastic resource to do that.

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  • dominique collett
  • 06-13-19

Like a time machine for right now

Should be mandatory reading for everyone. Later when the rest look back on how we got to an #InYrLifeTimeReality, I'd say it's all laid out here when there was still time to nudge the future