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The Cell: A Very Short Introduction  

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1 review about The Cell: A Very Short Introduction  

3.5 Stars - Mostly a book about various biology topics

  • Dec 7, 2012
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Cell is the fundamental block of all life. Everything that is recognizably a living organism is made of one or more cells. In order to understand life we need to understand cells - how they function, what are they made of, how they are created, and how they die. Cell is thus one of the most fundamental entities in all of science. In fact, it could be argued that cell is the most complex physical system that we are aware of. Fortunately, our knowledge of the cell has increased exponentially over the last few decades and hardly a week passes without news of some major biological breakthrough. However, this makes it hard for anyone who is not immersed into the life sciences to keep abreast of the latest developments.

This short book aims to take the reader on a journey of discovery of some of the most fascinating facts about the cell. It is a fairly informative little book with a lot of interesting pieces of information. However, I don't think that this is the best introduction to the subject out there. The book has a distinct top down flavor, and treats cells from the perspective of biological processes as a whole, rather than trying to present a more detailed view of the nature of a cell in its own right. The top down approach also makes this a book about multicellular organism. Multicellular organisms are indeed very fascinating, but treating cells just as blocks that fit into a larger whole leaves a false impression that most of the cellular function is aimed at supporting the larger organism.

For the most part the writing in this book is clear and informative. However, oftentimes the authors jumble up too many distinct ideas into a single paragraph (and on a few occasions into a single sentence), and jump from biology to epidemiology, and then to history, with too much ease. Furthermore, most of the paragraphs tend to be way too long, extending over several pages on a few occasions. All of this makes the main themes in this book a bit hard to follow.

Overall, this is an interesting book about biology, but not necessarily the best introduction to the cell in its own right.

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