The Lives of a Cell – Notes of a Biology Watcher

Reviewed by Nancy, posted by Lisa


The Lives of a Cell – Notes of a Biology Watcher” by Lewis Thomas


During college, my creative writing professor frequently said this was the most well written book he’d ever read. I used to see quotes from this book on boxes of EmergenC, until they updated their packaging. Yet, I put off reading this until now. It seemed daunting. But Professor Hall was right; this was an extremely well written book. I guess that’s why it won the National Book Award. This book is a series of essays by Lewis Thomas, written/published in the early 70’s. The essays also appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. (I bet it blew their minds.)


Now, this was heavy reading. How heavy is it? It’s heavy enough that Wiley could use it against the Road Runner. But, it is interesting. Lewis seems to “humanize” science, all the while using elegant and poetic language. He compares ant colonies to watching the people in a medical meeting, an interesting look at the (then) future of pheromones, germs of astronauts, the earth as a membrane and much, much more.


No, this is not light reading, but if you love the mysteries of life and science, as well as poetic language, then this book is for you. Road Runners beware.



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