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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive and clever defence of biodiversity.
This is an important book.
But first a warning: readers should have some basic biological knowledge and part of the book (with many examples and useful digressions) will only appeal to botanists/microbiologists.
Prof. Wilson clearly demonstrates that the world's demographic explosion initiated a big extinction of all sort of biological species and that we have...
Published on December 22, 2002 by Luc REYNAERT

versus
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Though it is okay, I was expecting the new edition, but the old edition was sent to me.... However, it is in good condition. In the future, the seller should specify the edition s/he is selling.
Published 17 months ago by Israel Borokini


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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive and clever defence of biodiversity., December 22, 2002
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is an important book.
But first a warning: readers should have some basic biological knowledge and part of the book (with many examples and useful digressions) will only appeal to botanists/microbiologists.
Prof. Wilson clearly demonstrates that the world's demographic explosion initiated a big extinction of all sort of biological species and that we have to stop this, for biodiversity is priceless.
Governments take the biological wealth of their country not serious enough. He states for instance that fewer than 3 percent of the flowering plants of the world have been examined for alkoloids and that many species are at risk.
Prof. Wilson illustrates very forcefully the impact of biodiversity by giving numerous examples from the medical, pharmaceutical, energy and agricultural field with colossal numbers in $ for actual applications.
To give one example: 'the rosy periwinkle of Madagascar produces two alkaloids that cure most victims of two of the deadliest of cancers, Hodgkin's disease and acute lymphocytic leukaemia. The income from the manufacture and sale of these two substances exceeds $ 180 million a year.' (p.271)
This is a very important book for the future of humanity. It cannot be underrated.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Interesting, and Inspiring, December 4, 1998
By 
This review is from: The Diversity of Life (Paperback)
I'm a freshman at college and I was required to read this for class. When I sat down to read this I thought it was going to be just another stupid book. I WAS WRONG! It is one of the most moving and motivating books I've ever read. Wilson backs up all of his ideas 110%. Though they are opinions, he makes some really good points. You'll want to be a biologist after reading it. You'll want to go out and not just plant a tree but a whole forest!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but vital reading, December 3, 2005
By 
Stefan Jones (Suburbs of Portland, OR) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Edward Wilson takes off where popular science accounts of evolution leaves off, demonstrating how life, interacting with other life and the environment, gives birth to new species and indeed whole ecosystems.

This is *not* an easy book to read; not because it is badly written, but because the subject matter is highly complex.

It is also a hard book to read because it makes you realize how unthinkingly destructive humanity can be. When you realize how long it takes for a species to arise, and how delicate an ecosystem is, it becomes a lot harder to justify ransacking of wilderness areas for short-term gain.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Jungle. Gets worse here every day., July 2, 2006
There are some books where the superlative is simply insufficient. Edward Wilson writes with panache and vigor. He knows how to describe and keep the reader entertained. It was like I was reading fiction.

Wilson also writes with detail and accuracy. He knows his science. He knows the intricacy of ecology, and knows enough to know he can't know everything. This allows him to keep the mystery alive for the reader. I was continually astonished to see how he pulled in various aspects of Biology when telling a life story, and various sciences, to show how it All was inter-related. He would pull in constant relationships between different forms of life, and just when I thought he was done, he would go down a microscopic level. And then down another five levels. If is possible to be a savant within ecology, then this is it.

Wilson doesn't stop with good writing and excellent research. He tells us there's a problem. This is another The Jungle- only this time, there isn't much of a jungle left. Through out the book he makes clear that the planet is dying, and dying fast, and the causes of this death. Through the use of the ecological relationships, we see how an attack on one species can be an attack on thousands. Better authors are brave enough to tell us that not everything is okay.

The best authors tell us that there's a way to solve these problems. There are gloom and doom authors out there, teaching the world that everything will be destroyed, and the only thing to do now is get saved yourself. That's too little, and too easy, for Wilson. He doesn't make the situation worse than it is- his facts, studies, and research make it clear the situation is pretty bad. But it's not hopeless. He lays out how we can be changing things, and there's still time to change things. Not that it will be easy. But like an economic austerity program, sacrifices must be made, that we all might survive. To make it clear, this is a survivalist book. If you are hoping to see our species survive, then this book will assist in that. If you're okay with losing out on our currect ecological richness, with the disappearance of all the ecosystems you are familiar with, and the end of a species that can create a world wide web- but the survival of constant insect lifeforms- then there's no need to read any further.

(This review refers to the 1992 edition.)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very rich book!, September 8, 2003
By 
merrymousies (Waterford, VA USA) - See all my reviews
An incredibly full and rich book that seems to cover every aspect of nature - it poses great questions about diversity and human impact and uses countless examples and sound research. Really great - better if you have a science background as I (without such a background) was a little lost in some of the examples/descriptions. I ceratinly feel better for having read this book. Its a very important work.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll want to be a biologist!, January 25, 1997
By A Customer
Wilson writes a great overview of biodiversity--how it is created, why it is crucial to human survival, and what we must do to preserve it. Enjoy accessible and well-documented writing that takes you from California to Madagascar, from the present to the beginnings of life as known from the fossil record. Along the way you'll learn many of the crucial ecological and evolutionary concepts (such as natural selection, community ecology, biogeography, and more) necessary for understanding what biodiversity is and how it is maintained. And finally, in the last part of the book, learn about philosophies and practices that will enable each of us to preserve the amazing diversity of life that surrounds us. You'll want to be a biologist by the time you finish the book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review of The Diversity of Life, February 10, 2004
A Kid's Review
In the Diversity of Life the world-famous biodiversity expert Edward O. Wilson outlines his many studies and theories on the current biological diversity of the world. Wilson identifies the crisis of the decling biodiversity and sites many reasons for it. Much of the book explores the differing patterns of evolution. From the fundamental unit that defines each species to an indepth analysis of adaptive radiation, Wilson discusses why life is the way that it is now. In the conclusion of the book Wilson explains the human impact on the environment. Outlining what should be done to perserve the world for future generations.
Overall The Diversity of Life is a well thought-out and throughly explained book. Even for those of us who are not ecological experts the book is easy to read and understand. The diagrams and specific examples throughout the book help explain each indiviidual topic. The reader is engaged into the world of ecology through Wilson's expainations of the world around us. The only slight problem with the book is the fact that Wilson overkills certain points with excessive examples that make the chapter redundant. Nevertheless, The Diversity of Life is a great book for anyone with any biological background or interest in the environment around them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a remarkable accomplishment, January 17, 2005
One of the most accessible of E.O. Wilson's books. This book puts humans in the context of another animal amidst great biodiversity. One of the most humane aspects of this book is to help us humans feel part of something greater, not someone superior and exclusive to nature.

The value of biodiversity and the symbiotic relationships of animals to each other paints a picture that is both enlightening as well as uplifting. This book was one that changed my mindset on many fronts and I owe a great deal to E.O. Wilson for this wonderful book.

As a companion to this wonderful book, I would read "The Ancestor's Tale" by Richard Dawkins. You come away from reading both books with a renewed appreciation for life on our planet and for our place amidst this great diversity of life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An example for many young scientists to follow, January 24, 2001
By A Customer
"Don't practice science in order to be a success, but be successful in order to practice science" --- E.O.Wilson is an example for many young scientists to follow. His knowledge is broad as well as deep, he studies the nature with awe and respect, he sees far ahead of the rest, and most of all, he's determined to make the world a better place with his knowledge. This book shows you exactly what I mean. No longer can scientists mind their own business behind the closed door of their laboratory, and be blind to what's going on in the real world. Ignorance of the world's problems will only lead to bad science and wrong science. Scientists are also the world's citizens, and it's their duty to serve the interests of the human kind. According to Wilson, nothing is more threatening than the accelerating loss of biological diversity and environmental destruction. In light of the continuing debate of global warming, and the recent oil spill near the Galapagos, Wilson's warnings are most timely. The world is changing, for more worse than better, and what could the coming generations of scientists do? They will find the answer in this wonderful book by a wonderful scientist, E.O.Wilson.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction to the Tapestry Of Life, August 27, 2006
By 
Andrew Wyllie "History Buff" (Roslindale, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This is a very eye-opening book which shows how important the diversity of life forms is to all of us. It demonstrates how even when we think we are conserving nature by setting aside

small areas to remain undeveloped, we are still dooming many species of life to extinction. With the loss of some species, others are threated and in the end, all of us are threatened.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a large view picture of nature in this world and how it is all interelated.
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The Diversity of Life ("Daily Telegraph" Talking Science)
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