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The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by [Walter Isaacson]
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The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 7,263 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This year’s prize is about rewriting the code of life. These genetic scissors have taken the life sciences into a new epoch.” – Announcement of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

"Isaacson’s vivid account is a page-turning detective story and an indelible portrait of a revolutionary thinker who, as an adolescent in Hawai’i, was told that girls don’t do science. Nevertheless, she persisted." — Oprah Magazine.com

"The Code Breaker marks the confluence of perfect writer, perfect subject and perfect timing. The result is almost certainly the most important book of the year.” Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Isaacson captures the scientific process well, including the role of chance. The hard graft at the bench, the flashes of inspiration, the importance of conferences as cauldrons of creativity, the rivalry, sometimes friendly, sometimes less so, and the sense of common purpose are all conveyed in his narrative. The Code Breaker describes a dance to the music of time with these things as its steps, which began with Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel and shows no sign of ending.” – The Economist

“Isaacson lays everything out with his usual lucid prose; it’s brisk and compelling and even funny throughout. You’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of both the science itself and how science gets done — including plenty of mischief.” – The Washington Post

"This story was always guaranteed to be a page-turner in [Isaacson's] hands." – The Guardian

"The Code Breaker unfolds as an enthralling detective story, crackling with ambition and feuds, laboratories and conferences, Nobel laureates and self-taught mavericks. The book probes our common humanity without ever dumbing down the science, a testament to Isaacson’s own genius on the page." — O Magazine

 “Deftly written, conveying the history of CRISPR and also probing larger themes: the nature of discovery, the development of biotech, and the fine balance between competition and collaboration that drives many scientists.”— New York Review of Books

The Code Breaker is in some respects a journal of our 2020 plague year.”The New York Times

"Walter Isaacson is our Renaissance biographer, a writer of unusual range and depth who has plumbed lives of genius to illuminate fundamental truths about human nature. From Leonardo to Steve Jobs, from Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein, Isaacson has given us an unparalleled canon of work that chronicles how we have come to live the way we do. Now, in a magnificent, compelling, and wholly original book, he turns his attention to the next frontier: that of gene editing and the role science may play in reshaping the nature of life itself. This is an urgent, sober, accessible, and altogether brilliant achievement." —Jon Meacham

"When a great biographer combines his own fascination with science and a superb narrative style, the result is magic. This important and powerful work, written in the tradition of The Double Helix, allows us not only to follow the story of a brilliant and inspired scientist as she engages in a fierce competitive race, but to experience for ourselves the wonders of nature and the joys of discovery." —Doris Kearns Goodwin

“He’s done it again. The Code Breaker is another Walter Isaacson must-read. This time he has a heroine who will be for the ages; a worldwide cast of remarkable, fiercely competitive scientists; and a string of discoveries that will change our lives far more than the iPhone did. The tale is gripping. The implications mind-blowing.” – Atul Gawande

"An extraordinary book that delves into one of the most path-breaking biological technologies of our times and the creators who helped birth it. This brilliant book is absolutely necessary reading for our era."  — Siddhartha Mukherjee

“Now more than ever we should appreciate the beauty of nature and the importance of scientific research; This book and Jennifer Doudna’s career show how thrilling it can be to understand how life works.” —Sue Desmond-Hellmann

“An extraordinarily detailed and revealing account of scientific progress and competition that grants readers behind-the-scenes access to the scientific process, which the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us remains opaque to the wider public. It also provides lessons in science communication that go beyond the story itself.” – Science Magazine

“An indispensable guide to the brave… new world we have entered."Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A vital book about the next big thing in science—and yet another top-notch biography from Isaacson." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In Isaacson's splendid saga of how big science really operates, curiosity and creativity, discovery and innovation, obsession and strong personalities, competitiveness and collaboration, and the beauty of nature all stand out." — Booklist (starred review)

"Isaacson depicts science at its most exhilarating in this lively biography of Jennifer Doudna, the winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in medicine for her work on the CRISPR system of gene editing...The result is a gripping account of a great scientific advancement and of the dedicated scientists who realized it." — Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"Isaacson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of best sellers Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs, offers a startling, insightful look at this lifesaving, hugely significant scientific advancement and the brilliant Doudna, who wrestles with the serious moral questions that accompany her creation. Should this technology be offered to parents to tailor-make their babies into athletes or Einsteins? Who gets altered and saved and why?” AARP

"A brilliant and engaging book. There are many quotable gems but I have chosen one sentence from the epilogue that epitomizes not only Doudna but also Isaacson himself, whose book title ends with a hortatory claim that CRISPR affects the future of the human race: 'To guide us, we will need not only scientists, but humanists. And most important, we will need people who feel comfortable in both words, like Jennifer Doudna.'" Policy Magazine

"Mr. Isaacson is a great storyteller and a national treasure — like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and of course his latest subject, Jennifer Doudna.” The East Hampton Star

"The journalist who told the life stories of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs is back with a timely biography of Jennifer Doudna, PhD, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry. It’s a fast-paced account of her life as a pathbreaking scientist on CRISPR — and how gene editing could alter all life as we know it." Medium

"This challenging, fascinating story examines Doudna's background and excavates the moral quandaries she grapples with as her creation opens up more and more avenues for scientific advancement." Elle

"It is a gripping tale, showing how our new ability to hack evolution will soon start throwing us curveballs." New Scientist

“[A] fascinating story... [Isaacson’s] unique skill as a master storyteller of scientific development over the centuries has educated not only his fellow Baby Boomers, but also succeeding generations, helping people of all ages and backgrounds travel down the long and winding road toward understanding how life works.” – Washington Independent Review of Books

"[A] marvelous biography... With his dynamic and formidable style, Isaacson explains the long scientific journey that led to this tool’s discovery and the exciting developments that have followed....Isaacson is truly an immersive tour guide, combining the energy of a TED Talk with the intimacy of a series of fireside chats....For readers seeking to understand the many twists, turns and nuances of the biotechnology revolution, there’s no better place to turn than The Code Breaker."– BookPage

“ Isaacson expertly plumbs the moral ambiguity surrounding this new technology. ”Scientific American

"A riveting expedition through biochemistry, structural biology, and academic politics that transcends the traditional scientific detective story and captures the raw, magical enthusiasm of living pioneers like Doudna and her colleagues. ” – New York Journal of Books

“Isaacson senses a more collaborative spirit between the rivals that will surely pay dividends come the next pandemic... The Code Breaker is a true celebration of science and scientists, for all their flaws and jealousies.” – Nature Reviews Chemistry

About the Author

Walter Isaacson, a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of Leonardo da VinciThe Innovators; Steve JobsEinstein: His Life and UniverseBenjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08G1XNG7J
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster (March 9, 2021)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ March 9, 2021
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 55204 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 552 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 1982115866
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 7,263 ratings

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Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography. He is also the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
7,263 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2021
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Top reviews from other countries

Hande Z
5.0 out of 5 stars All cut up
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 24, 2021
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24 people found this helpful
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Anantha Narayan
4.0 out of 5 stars Helps understand biogenetics but drags in parts
Reviewed in India on April 11, 2021
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35 people found this helpful
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Dr Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping account
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 17, 2021
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12 people found this helpful
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Serghiou Const
5.0 out of 5 stars Gene editing in humans
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2021
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fc
5.0 out of 5 stars Broad yet detailed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 9, 2021
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2 people found this helpful
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