I Contain Multitudes

I Contain Multitudes

The Microbes Within Us and A Grander View of Life

Book - 2016
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This book lets us peer into the world of microbes -- not as germs to be eradicated, but as invaluable parts of our lives -- allowing us to see how ubiquitous and vital microbes are: they sculpt our organs, defend us from disease, break down our food, educate our immune systems, guide our behavior, bombard our genomes with their genes, and grant us incredible abilities. While much of the prevailing discussion around the microbiome has focused on its implications for human health, Yong broadens this focus to the entire animal kingdom, prompting us to look at ourselves and our fellow animals in a new light: less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we are. I Contain Multitudes is the story of extraordinary partnerships between the familiar creatures of our world and those we never knew existed. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it.
Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780062368591
Branch Call Number: 579.17 YON 2016
Characteristics: 355 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm

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SFPL_danielay Sep 05, 2017

Human beings are pretty much human-shaped colonies of microbes, every surface on the planet is home to teeming hordes of bacteria and these microbes not only inhabit us but also shape our bodies and we are only just scratching the surface of what they can do. If this sounds fascinating, you should read Ed Yong's excellent book. If this sounds gross, you should definitely read his book - it will change your mind!

JCLCourtneyS Aug 24, 2017

My favorite things about this book were things that I don't necessarily find in other pop-science books, even ones that I love. First, this book readily admits that while these things that we know about microbes are super neat, we don't yet know everything and we need more data before doing much with this information. Second, the narrative encompasses much of the breadth of life, which I found a refreshing contrast to the usually human-centric nature of these types of books.

SnoIsleLib_DarrenN Aug 15, 2017

Utterly fascinating and paradigm-shifting, told with charming thoughtfulness, I Contain Multitudes will make you realize how reliant we are on microscopic life within and among us to survive and thrive. The specific medical points were a surprise, with individual health being increasingly seen as a matter of "environmental" balance and not just metaphorically. A corrective to sanitizing paranoia, this is a book to remember. I also love a natural science book with a title paying homage to poetry. Terrific!

ontherideau Mar 07, 2017

Medical science of the future

j
JLMason
Feb 05, 2017

We are one with our ever-changing micro-biome and it is us. This book is a thorough and very readable presentation by a science journalist of the latest research on the integrated ecosystems created by bacteria and their hosts. Those expecting to read mostly about the human biome and its effect on our health will be disappointed as the book ranges across the taxonomic “tree of life" in depicting the symbiotic relationships that exist between bacteria and plants, animals, fungi, viruses and other bacteria. In fact, humans, animals, plants, etc cannot live without bacteria and vice versa, and I was left wondering whether we exist to keep bacteria alive! There are a couple of chapters on the human biome where we learn that what types of bacteria exist in our gut can influence the state of our health and the efficacy of drugs on our bodies. Biodiversity is generally good, which is why overuse of antibiotics can be harmful by causing imbalances and eliminating some species. In the future, we may take specific bacterial infusions to cure us of disease or enhance the effect of a drug. But our integrated ecosystem is complex and we still don’t know enough about how to nurture or manipulate it. This was a fascinating read and recommended as a top book by The Economist in 2016.

g
gprusakowski
Dec 30, 2016

Wow what an eye opener. Our previous assumptions about health and illness have just been reworked and need serious revision. This could very well revolutionize how we are diagnosed and treated by the medical profession, not soon enough in my opinion.

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Wuffles
Nov 05, 2016

This book is fascinating.
Despite the subject matter and density it's a relatively easy read so don't let those things keep you from picking it up.
I feel like this is a book you want to read more than once as something new will catch your attention each time.

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jamesian
Dec 19, 2016

Veteran writer Ed Yong takes us on a journey to understand the significance of the "invisible" small microbes around us, inside us, and perhaps sometimes controlling us. He explains what researchers have learned about the human gut and the microbial life that ebbs and flows within. Well-researched and carefully written to entertain while educating.

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