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A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 18, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
[Venter is] not just trying to understand how life works; hes trying to make it work for him, and us.
The Atlantic Monthly
Top Customer Reviews
The best part of the story begins as he returns from Vietnam, a near failure in high school, now stimulated by his experiences as a corpsman to study and go to medical school. He has married a New Zealand girl he met on R&R in Australia. They both go to UCSD once they have mastered junior college. Here he becomes interested in biochemistry, then cell biology.Read more ›
Venter doesn't sound particularly bitter about petty, two-faced, and undermining peers (there are plenty) and their apparently dishonorable behavior, but he clearly gets back his own with this book. Thus, the greatest scientific achievement of Venter's life reads less compellingly than the more quotidian aspects of his earlier life and career: playing chicken with trains as a kid, racing jets with a bicycle as they lifted off from San Francisco Airport, and the lessons of the "University of Death" that was Vietnam, where Venter served as a medic at Da Nang navy hospital.
Venter's descriptions of the science he pursues assume a fair amount of knowledge on the part of the reader, and may be tough for the lay reader to follow, but are always thankfully short. Sailors may enjoy the accounts of his escapes to the ocean, handily winning a trans-Atlantic race and fighting a storm in the Bermuda Triangle. One of the stronger features of the book are boxes set off from the narrative that describe various details of Venter's own genetic code in relation to the latest findings about inheritance, disease, and how genes express themselves in our bodies and lives.Read more ›
The book does wander a bit through Craig's earliest years and the strongest material coincides with the formation of TIGR, Celera, and the JCVI. I can vouch for many of the stories and perspectives from the Celera years, having heard, directly or indirectly, of the events at the time. The interludes about Craig's genome are fascinating, and the science is presented with enough explanation and metaphor that it should be easy to grasp for the non-expert.
However, as much as Craig "sets the record straight", or grinds axes depending on your perspective, his ego tinges the entire book and regrettably diminishes its credibility. It's simply hard to believe a man, who in his own account, was always right, never showed a shred of self-doubt, and never made a mistake beyond trusting the incompetents and villains surrounding him.
Craig also spends his time railing against commercial science and business people, claiming that he never had any aspirations to make money---although he made plenty---and feuded constantly with those that did. Although this seems superficially noble, it does make we wonder at his motives to request tens and hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capitalists if he truly never intended to repay those investments.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Book is just a description of the politics that Craig went through in his career, also a short intro of his life and justifications of his personal life, (his marriagies). Read morePublished 8 months ago by Darius 838
Book was heavy in science terminology and very fine print. Very slow reading. Son had it has a requirement for college. So I picked it up and read several chapters of this book.Published 12 months ago by Seier
This is a great man. He is also crazy; he almost drowned his friends rather than turn his yacht around in the face of a violent storm/hurricane. Read morePublished 17 months ago by S. Duval
Craig has certainly established himself as the king of genomics. By innovating and going against the huddled masses he, nearly solo, brought about a huge paradigm shift on how we... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Steven T. Wolf
Dr. Venter’s autobiography is an amazing journey inside the mind of a super-achiever ultra-egotist. Do the two go hand in hand? Read morePublished 18 months ago by OK
Craig Venter is a jerk, or so my professor told me when he recommended this book. J-Craig articulates his adventure of sequencing the first genome. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Gift Card
A fascinating read about a very interesting individual. I realize that it is an autobiography, but it is an extremely one-sided view of the search for the human genome. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Harlow Kreitzman
Craig Venter is an amazing man, scientist and entrepreneur, but I found this book to be, for lack of a better word, boring. Read morePublished on August 9, 2014 by jeremy j wethall
This was a book which is worth reading a couple of times and I intend purchasing the paperback for my library.
It is a pity that I can't lend this e book to my friends.