The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee



Rate: 4.5/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers): The Gene is an insightful, organized and highly detailed history of the gene that will be a delightful read for everyone, regardless of having a scientific background. Mukherjee weaves a tale that is quite personal, having several relatives suffering from schizophrenia, along side the slow scientific development regarding solving and understanding the source of heredity. Mukherjee skillfully takes the reader through many complicated experiments and the importance of their results without ignoring the science behind the findings. I chose to listen to The Gene by audiobook, however an actual physical read of this book might have been better suited to the text. I had to mentally focus on what I was listening to because every sentence was important, similarly to a scientific article. If I, as the reader, happened to mentally drift off while listening to a section I frequently had to rewind to make sure I truly captured what was happening. Also, if the concept being portrayed was complex, I would have to listen to the same passage two or three times to fully grasp what was being said. I might have even listened to one section close to 10 times during an especially distracted moment. Mukherjee takes the reader through the political and historical impact of genes, specifically field of eugenics that swept the world, including the United States. Eugenics was most infamously employed by the Nazis prior to and during WW2, resulting in the horrifying  murder of millions that didn’t fit their perfect genetic mold. Additionally, Mukherjee added valuable personal insight into what may lay ahead for mankind as we continually learn more and are able to manipulate our own genes. The Gene was a wonderful read that enlightens the reader regarding a complex scientific topic that could easily become a political firestorm in the near future.



  1. This sounds interesting! I might try the audiobook, myself. I tend to focus more when things are said to me than when I read them (I have a habit of skim-reading through the slower paced stuff!). Great review 🙂


  2. Just finished reading this book. Absolutely enlightening as it is not just straight science. It’s also a history of how scientific discovery can change society. And how misunderstanding that discovery can lead to nightmare scenarios. Leads me to conclude that science education is now more important than ever, so everyone can have a clear understanding of science and not be lulled into false representations that can serve political purposes.

    Mukherjee is a wonderful science writer. I recently read his biography of cancer, Emperor of All Maladies. Can’t recommend it enough

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Liked by 2 people

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