`"An exhilarating ride through the geography and history of all life on earth"' Guy Brown, Mitochondrial Physiology Society Review
`The book was written for anyone interested in some of the most profound questions of twenty-first century science. The central proposals of 'Power, Sex, Suicide' are clearly and forcefully propounded... This is a new take on why we are here. Do, please, read this book.' John F. Allen, Nature
`I defy anyone (who doesn't know about mitochondria in detail already) to read this book and not come out amazed by the incredible subtlty, complexity and downright unlikeliness of the mechanisms of biological consideration. This book opens up the secrets with an obvious delight from Lane that the readers are likely to share. Recommended.' Popular Science Review
`One of the most interesting stories modern biology has to tell' Steven Rose, The Guardian
`Nick Lane's magnificent new book... bracingly and convincingly revisionist... Explains life's workings, fabric and inner logic with a previously unapproachable coherence.' Oliver Morton, Prospect Magazine
`Full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life as we know it.' The Economist, Books of the Year 2005
`A good tale. This is a "popular science" book, aimed at the non-specialist with the admirable goal of making the topic more accessible.' John Alcolado, bmj.com
Nick Lane's book is a fantastic look at just how important mitochondria are for our lives. He cites a vast range of fantastic research (most of it from Nature no less) that tie together the importance of the little extra energy cells that are packed into our own larger cells (and those of all "complex" life). Nick makes some impressive connections between mitochondria and the origins of life, of warm-bloodedness, the need for two sexes, and the nature of death and aging.
My only complaints are: 1- The font is too small, so this is a really dense book literally to read. I suspect it was done to make the book look smaller and less intimidating because... 2- This is NOT an easy popular science book. Without a strong understanding of the cell, you're going to be in trouble. I'd put it at 1st Year University Biology level, maybe 2nd year if you really want to appreciate the ins- and outs-.
Which is disappointing for some I'm sure, but the problem is it's hard to water down complex topics without losing the force of your argument. So it's an excellent book on the topic of mitochondria, and one very well worth your while if you have a basic understanding of biology (I personally enjoyed it VERY much). If you're looking for a fun, easy read though, this probably isn't the book for you.
I thought I had a firm grip on cellular and molecular biology. Within about 5 pages, I realized that I had never fully integrated the knowledge I had learned in university, and I had never seen the purposes and greater implications of the biological processes with which I thought I was so familiar. This book is probably the best popular science book I have ever read (and I've read many!), and I will be using it as a textbook in the first year undergraduate courses that I teach. The explanations are easy to understand, the analogies strengthen comprehension, the ideas discussed are more far-reaching than anything you are likely to find in any undergraduate university classroom, and the prose is almost poetic. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the origins of life, mitochondria, or indeed, Power, Sex, or Suicide!
I've just spent the last month absorbing Nick Lane's fabulous new book on mitochondria. Like a fine wine, it deserves a slow savoring to appreciate all the complexities it presents. In this reader's opinion it is definitely one of the most intriguing and compelling of stories in current science. Beautifully and clearly written, each page abounds with well thought-out arguments illustrating the central importance of mitochondria in the evolution of life on earth.
From their origin and initial improbable symbiosis with other cells; their critical regulation of cellular processes, such as energy generation and programmed cell death; their involvement in the development of the sexes; to their final role in the degeneration of tissues during aging, mitochondria have mediated the complexity of life as we know it. A thrilling scientific exploration and a must read for anyone interested in the Meaning of Life.
Nick Lane's "Power, Sex, Suicide" is an amazing book that profoundly expanded my knowledge of how mitochondria have shaped life as we know it. It leaves you with a similar sense of awe to Richard Dawkins "The Selfish Gene", but covers even a greater depth of biology and draws connections between fields that you would never think were connected.