I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

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Joining the ranks of popular science classics like The Botany of Desire and The Selfish Gene, a groundbreaking, wondrously informative, and vastly entertaining examination of the most significant revolution in biology since Darwin—a “microbe’s-eye view” of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on earth.

Every animal, whether human, squid, or wasp, is home to millions of bacteria and other microbes. Ed Yong, whose humor is as evident as his erudition, prompts us to look at ourselves and our animal companions in a new light—less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we assuredly are.

The microbes in our bodies are part of our immune systems and protect us from disease. In the deep oceans, mysterious creatures without mouths or guts depend on microbes for all their energy. Bacteria provide squid with invisibility cloaks, help beetles to bring down forests, and allow worms to cause diseases that afflict millions of people.

Many people think of microbes as germs to be eradicated, but those that live with us—the microbiome—build our bodies, protect our health, shape our identities, and grant us incredible abilities. In this astonishing book, Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it.

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About the author

Ed Yong is an award-winning science writer on the staff of the Atlantic. His blog Not Exactly Rocket Science is hosted by National Geographic, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, Wired, the New York Times, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American, the Guardian, the Times, Discover, Slate, and other publications. He lives in London and Washington DC.

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Published on
Aug 9, 2016
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Medical / Microbiology
Science / Life Sciences / Biology
Science / Life Sciences / Microbiology
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Eligible for Family Library

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A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post and Seattle Times Best Book of the Year

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies—a fascinating history of the gene and “a magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick” (Elle).

“Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in The Gene: An Intimate History, in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of Paradise Lost” (The New York Times). In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

“Mukherjee expresses abstract intellectual ideas through emotional stories…[and] swaddles his medical rigor with rhapsodic tenderness, surprising vulnerability, and occasional flashes of pure poetry” (The Washington Post). Throughout, the story of Mukherjee’s own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

“A fascinating and often sobering history of how humans came to understand the roles of genes in making us who we are—and what our manipulation of those genes might mean for our future” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), The Gene is the revelatory and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master. “The Gene is a book we all should read” (USA TODAY).
The groundbreaking science behind the surprising source of good health

Stanford University’s Justin and Erica Sonnenburg are pioneers in the most exciting and potentially transformative field in the entire realm of human health and wellness, the study of the relationship between our bodies and the trillions of organisms representing thousands of species to which our bodies play host, the microbes that we collectively call the microbiota. The microbiota interacts with our bodies in a number of powerful ways; the Sonnenburgs argue that it determines in no small part whether we’re sick or healthy, fit or obese, sunny or moody. The microbiota has always been with us, and in fact has coevolved with humans, entwining its functions with ours so deeply, the Sonnenburgs show us, humans are really composite organisms having both microbial and human parts. But now, they argue, because of changes to diet, antibiotic over-use, and over-sterilization, our gut microbiota is facing a “mass extinction event,” which is causing our bodies to go haywire, and may be behind the mysterious spike in some of our most troubling modern afflictions, from food allergies to autism, cancer to depression. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Good Gut offers a new plan for health that focuses on how to nourish your microbiota, including recipes and a menu plan. In this groundbreaking work, the Sonnenburgs show how we can keep our microbiota off the endangered species list and how we can strengthen the community that inhabits our gut and thereby improve our own health. The answer is unique for each of us, and it changes as you age.

In this important and timely investigation, the Sonnenburgs look at safe alternatives to antibiotics; dietary and lifestyle choices to encourage microbial health; the management of the aging microbiota; and the nourishment of your own individual microbiome.

Caring for our gut microbes may be the most important health choice we can make.

From the Hardcover edition.
“Engrossing … [An] expedition through the hidden and sometimes horrifying microbial domain.” —Wall Street Journal

“Fascinating—and full of the kind of factoids you can't wait to share.” —Scientific American
Parasites can live only inside another animal and, as Kathleen McAuliffe reveals, these tiny organisms have many evolutionary motives for manipulating the behavior of their hosts. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds that then swoop down to feast on them. We humans are hardly immune to their influence. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness and impulsivity—even suicide. Germs that cause colds and the flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent.
Parasites influence our species on the cultural level, too. Drawing on a huge body of research, McAuliffe argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites. The horror and revulsion we are programmed to feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day. This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human.
“If you’ve ever doubted the power of microbes to shape society and offer us a grander view of life, read on and find yourself duly impressed.” —Heather Havrilesky, Bookforum 
>> „Kniha Obsahuji davy je syntézou doslova stovek a stovek vědeckých článků. Ed Yong vás přitom nikdy nezahltí odborností, ale vede vás od jednoho fascinujícího poznatku k druhému. Obsahuji davy je úplnou špičkou na poli vědecké žurnalistiky.“
— Bill Gates <<

>> Každé lidské tělo, i to vaše, obsahuje davy: přetéká desítkami bilionů mikrobů. Co jsou vlastně zač? Škodí nám? Pomáhají? A jak? Nahlédněte do neuvěřitelného mikrosvěta, jehož důležitost pro člověka i všechen život na Zemi jsme až dosud neznali. Skvělý vypraveč Ed Yong vám bude zábavným a přitom erudovaným průvodcem.<<

## O knize

Mnoho lidí považuje mikroby za pouhé patogeny předurčené k likvidaci. Malé, otravné a nebezpečné. Slavný popularizátor vědy Ed Yong však ví, že drtivé většiny mikrobů se nemusíme bát, natož je ničit. Naopak, měli bychom je hýčkat, obdivovat a studovat, protože zcela zásadně utváří naše těla a ovlivňují naše zdraví. Život mikrobů je úzce propleten s tím naším, stejně jako se životem každého živočicha na Zemi. Bez nich bychom tu zkrátka nebyli. Toto poznání se v posledních letech stalo nejdůležitější biologickou revolucí od doby Darwina – a vy můžete být u ní.

## Proč si knihu přečíst

- Pochopíte, jak bakterie upravují odezvu lidí na léky proti rakovině, jak vylaďují náš trávicí nebo imunitní systém a dokonce mění naši genetickou výbavu.
- Dozvíte se, jaké nečekané schopnosti mikrobi propůjčují živočichům, od pláště neviditelnosti sépiím po zajištění energie tvorům bez úst a střev.
- Dočtete se o neuvěřitelných schopnostech bakterií, které si dokážou vzájemně vyměňovat kusy DNA a stavět tak na hlavu naše dosavadní představy o evoluci.
- Dozvíte se o příčinách současné epidemie alergií, proč jimi méně trpí mladší sourozenci a jak vám pomůžou domácí mazlíčci.
- Zjistíte, že každá rodina má svůj jedinečný mikrobiom, kterým do 24 hodin přepíše mikrobiální prostředí bytu, do něhož se přestěhuje.
- Získáte radikálně nový pohled na život na Zemi.

## O autorovi

ED YONG je cenami ověnčený popularizátor vědy a pravidelný přispěvatel měsíčníku The Atlantic. Jeho oblíbený blog Not Exactly Rocket Science vychází v rámci National Geographic. Práce Eda Yonga se objevují v periodikách Wired, New York Times, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American, Guardian, The Times a také v BBC. Žije v Londýně.

# Více o knize
Sdílejte s hashtagem #obsahujidavy
Yo contengo multitudes ya es considerado una obra fundamental de ciencia divulgativa -como lo fue en su momento El gen egoísta-. Un libro fascinante y rompedor que cambiará de mil millones de micromaneras nuestra percepción del mundo natural y el espacio que en él ocupamos.

El cuerpo humano alberga billones de microbios que conforman todo un mundo en simbiosis con su entorno. Estos microscópicos y multitudinarios compañeros vitales no solo moldean nuestros órganos, nos protegen de enfermedades, e influyen en nuestro comportamiento, sino que resultan clave a la hora de entender el funcionamiento de la vida.

En Yo contengo multitudes Ed Yong nos abre los ojos y nos invita con su erudición y sentido del humor a mirarnos como algo más que individuos: como receptáculos interdependientes de los microbiomas que conforman todos los seres vivos.

Así, descubriremos la asombrosa e invisible ciencia detrás de los gigantescos arrecifes que construyen los corales, aprenderemos cómo ciertos calamares crean juegos de luces, y veremos el modo en que las bacterias pueden alterar nuestra respuesta en la lucha contra el cáncer, manipular nuestro sistema inmunológico, influir en nuestra evolución e incluso modificar nuestro genoma.

Bill Gates opina sobre este libro...
«Después de leer el interesantísimo libro Yo contengo multitudes del periodista británico Ed Yong, veo los microbios con una mirada diferente y hablo de ellos con nuevos términos. [...] Yong sintetiza literalmente cientos y cientos de páginas, sin abrumarte nunca con la ciencia. Tan solo imparte una visión fascinante y sorprendente detrás de otra. Yo contengo multitudes es el mejor periodismo científico.»
The Blog of Bill Gates

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