Read the invisible kingdom from the tips of our fingers to the tops of our trash inside the curious world of microbes by Idan Ben-Barak Online


In the spirit of Natalie Angier's The Canon, and writing with the verve and wit of Bill Bryson, Small Wonders takes the reader on a fantastic voyage to the microscopic, but massively influential, world of microbiology. It's a strange and dangerous world where oxygen is a lethal poison, sulphur is a delicious treat, deception is a basic survival skill, and perfectly good alIn the spirit of Natalie Angier's The Canon, and writing with the verve and wit of Bill Bryson, Small Wonders takes the reader on a fantastic voyage to the microscopic, but massively influential, world of microbiology. It's a strange and dangerous world where oxygen is a lethal poison, sulphur is a delicious treat, deception is a basic survival skill, and perfectly good alcohol is simply thrown away. Idan Ben-Barak wears his learning lightly as he introduces us to the amazing lives of genes and proteins, bugs, and viruses, and the myriad ways in which they interact to shape life on earth. Small Wonders is popular science at its best. Ben-Barak's love of bugs is infectious and makes for a scintillating, fast-moving adventure that will appeal to even the least scientifically savvy of readers....

Title : the invisible kingdom from the tips of our fingers to the tops of our trash inside the curious world of microbes
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9256545
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 216 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the invisible kingdom from the tips of our fingers to the tops of our trash inside the curious world of microbes Reviews

  • Jen
    2019-03-21 15:31

    When I first started this book--admittedly at a Holiday Inn Express in Texas at 2am because I couldn't sleep--I was deeply concerned that the author (hereafter IB) was just a tad too "aren't I funny" for the book's own good. However after reading more (and getting out of Texas--which let's face it couldn't have helped my opinion of the book), I realized that although IB is a bit too "LOOK HOW FUNNY I AM!!!" The information is exceptional and well told.Since nearly failing Biology in high school, my appreciation for science has grown leaps and bounds. I love reading about science, and this book was no exception. It covers the world of the microbe, the archaea, the eukarya, and the bacteria. Seriously..this is some cool stuff.This book, at best, is a starter book. But it's a good starter book.The purpose of a starter book is to make you interested in a subject, so that you'll read more, discover more, and seek out more information.Before I even ended the book, I was looking up more info on water bears (tiny microscopic pieces of awesome) and viruses, and how bacteria moves around. The book contains a glossary and a great bibliography on where to learn more. Skip the notes though...those reek of "I AM SO FRACKING FUNNNNY OMIGOD."

  • matt
    2019-03-24 12:17

    I often find that when scientists try to make their chosen field accessible to the masses, they dumb things down to the point of oblivion, and then try too hard to be witty and cute with lame jokes (do all scientists really want to do stand-up?) Such is the case with this book. The goofy jokes and extremely brief description of a the subject matter just didn't add up to anything very memorable.

  • Davytron
    2019-04-13 09:11

    The Invisible Kingdom is a charming introduction to microbiology. The author is clearly very knowledgeable and is also quite funny. I noticed other reviewers criticized the book for its humour (science is SERIOUS BUSINESS) but I think the jokes were cute/clever and done in an approachable but not over-the-top way. Also, I particularly loved how the author used the pronoun 'she' whenever a pronoun was needed. There were many times, however, that the author went on tangents or didn't really come to a point at the end of a section; I found the book to be a little disorganized, almost like I was participating in a stream of consciousness exercise with a super smart person. He addresses this structure in the epilogue by saying that science is always changing, many unknowns, etc. etc., but I think he could have wrapped things up a little neater.I liked this one and I'll definitely check out more from Ben-Barak in the future.

  • Martha
    2019-03-25 12:16

    Fun! In contrast to the hard-core microbiology of my everyday working world.

  • Carole Hazell
    2019-04-18 13:16

    "It is the dance of life, and its beauty is wondrous to behold, once you understand what you are looking at". Idn Ben-Barak could be referring to the cosmic universe. But in fact he writes about the microbial universe, & with his infectious (!) humour makes all that gross gloop totally entrancing. And I never thought I'd say that about E. coli!

  • Daniel
    2019-03-24 14:05

    I had not thought much about microbes before I read this book. I think I know a little more about them now. What can I say about the book? I wish I could write better reviews. It was an easy read. The author was funny so I laughed a lot reading the book. It was not filled with to much technical jargon.

  • Guilherme Passos
    2019-03-24 08:22

    Livro de divulgação científica que mais me fez rir.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-17 11:08

    Very similar to other microbiology related books I've read in the past. It reminded me a lot of my microbial physiology course in the first half of the book with information on interesting organisms like tardigrades and the radiodurans bacteria and how other organisms tolerate harsh conditions. Interesting read, but nothing too new for me within its pages. Most of the time I found the author amusing, but sometimes his jokes were a bit too much. I thought the way the material was presented was simplified enough that a basic biology major could understand it, but there was some information that might be too much if there was no understanding of genetics.

  • Blablabla Aleatório
    2019-04-13 10:04

    O que são micróbios? O que eles fazem? Como eles influenciam nossa vida? São essas perguntas e outras tantas mais que Ben-Barak propõe responder em seu livro Pequenas Maravilhas. Apaixonado pelos seres microscópicos resolveu extravasar esse amor ao mundo e deixar registrado no papel o quão importante esses organismos são para o funcionamento da natureza e a manutenção da vida.“Quero lhe contar algumas histórias sobre micróbios. Mas estou com um problema: se eu entrar em explicações detalhadas e rigorosas sobre ideias e termos biológicos, gastaria muito tempo e muito papel, este livro se tornaria um livro acadêmico e eu acabaria perdendo o leitor. Por outro lado, se eu simplesmente começar a tagarelar sobre fatores sigma e RNAsi, você talvez decida me mandar passear.Não quero transformar você em um microbiologista. Ser microbiologista é uma coisa para a qual os microbiologistas é que foram mandados à Terra.”Como bem evidenciado pelo autor no trecho acima, ele não quer formar microbiólogos e sim trazer informações sobre esses seres microscópicos, de forma que um leigo possa entender. Por isso, seu texto é simples, e apesar de citar processos complexos, ele o faz de forma clara e objetiva, mas faz questão de frisar que o processo é complexo e indica para os leitores mais curiosos, leituras complementares. Ah, e sim, como grande parte dos livros de divulgação científica, o livro é repleto de notas de rodapé, mas em sua maioria, além de complementares elas são bastante divertidas. Em algumas partes o texto beira à poesia, por mais que você neste momento esteja achando que é impossível fazer poesia envolvendo micróbios e que eu tenha que confessar que enxergar poesia na natureza é algo inerente à natureza do biólogo, culpada.Micróbios estão envolvidos na fabricação do vinho, da cerveja e de mais um tanto de outros alimentos, alguns vivem nos ambientes mais inóspitos da Terra e outros tantos (milhões e milhões) vivem mais próximos de nós do que imaginamos. Você sabia que a razão entre células microbianas e células humanas em nosso corpo é de dez para uma? Um a dois quilos de nosso peso são puros micróbios, isso pode no mínimo até parecer nojento, mas tem lá seu motivo. Controle cerebral? Doenças e condições mentais que parecem estar associadas a micróbios? Isso sim é assustador, controverso, curioso, preocupante e de por caraminholas (isso se já não tiver outras coisas por lá) em sua cabeça. Mas as doenças são só uma ínfima parte de todas as informações que o autor traz.Continue lendo em:

  • Beth
    2019-04-08 10:09

    Very enjoyable book about our relationship with our microbial colleagues. They can be both friend and foe, and Ben-Barak explains this well, and with humor. He doesn't get too technical here, which makes this a good book for the layperson who wants to understand a bit about the complex and fascinating microbial world. However, he provides enough detail to keep those of us who DO know more about it interested. In fact, one of his best points was that when discussing such topics with those not in the profession, it is important to not constantly use technospeak. It's easy to do, because you're used to those terms, but it doesn't help your audience understand the subject. I liked what he wrote about PCR (polymerase chain reaction): "[PCR is] just about the most useful tool in biological research since the invention of the wheel." I was fortunate to see the onset of the use of PCR in the clinical laboratory, and even years later, I'm STILL amazed at the technology. He also gives an excellent explanation of the influenza virus, about how and why it can mutate so easily and quickly, and why it continues to be a threat to humanity. Probably my favorite thought of his was about the interaction of living things and the numerous and varied molecules, atoms, and processes. He writes, "It is the dance of life, and its beauty is wondrous to behold, once you understand what you're looking at." This explains my love of science perfectly. The more I understand and learn, the more amazed I am at the complex and elegant processes involved. A fun read for anyone who wants to learn a little more about our relationship with microorganisms. Like them or not, we can't survive without them.

  • Kara
    2019-03-29 13:19

    I really enjoyed this book! I'm a bio major and I'm taking a microbiology class next semester, this book had a lot of really interesting (beginner) facts and went in depth enough to give a solid amount of background information, but didn't overwhelm with a bunch of terms and scientific info. I loved that it was just enough information to make me want to go out and read more and do a bit more research, all the while feeling comfortable reading the entire book and not feeling lost. It had a ton of cool facts and phenomenon mentioned to have a lot of interesting (and to some people gross) trivia! I loved this book, I'm definitely going to look into a lot of the things that this book mentioned later on, but I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who is slightly interested in microbes, genetics, medical history, and witty comments!

  • Shinynickel
    2019-03-22 13:07

    Off this review: The Invisible Kingdom: From the Tips of Our Fingers to the Tops of Our Trash, Inside the Curious World of MicrobesBy Idan Ben-Barak (Basic Books)Microbiologist turned science writer Ben-Barak’s debut book is dotted with pub-worthy facts (two to four pounds of human body weight is made up of microbes) and playful footnotes that make for an accessible and amusing look at the hidden world of ubiquitous microscopic creatures like bacteria, archaea, protists, and viruses. Woven into the humor is a bona fide crash course in parasitology, microbiology, and gene transfer, as well as a compelling case for the vital role microbes play in the continuation of all of life on Earth.

  • Rosanna Chau
    2019-03-24 14:12

    Despite holding much information that will not just educate the layman but also refresh microbiologists, this book tends toward being verbose. There are enough sections that could have been more concisely written, and some analogies seem unnecessary. I find myself skimming through paragraphs of "witty humor" while searching for the essence of the knowledge that the author wishes to impart to the reader. I would recommend this to someone who is looking for a comprehensive view of microbes that live and adapt to a variety of environments, but caution that there may be frustrating moments with the garrulity.

  • Jen
    2019-04-09 12:33

    Genre:Informational/nonfictionCopyright: 2009CHAPTER BOOKAuthor Ben-Barak’s amusing narration of the world of microbes entertains while informs the reader about the unseen world that is all around us. This book introduces the reader to the how genes and protein, bacteria and viruses, and the innumerable ways that they interact with life on Earth. This resource is well researched and exceptionally written. It introduces students to the world of microbiology. Creating a vivid picture of a part of science that is often difficult to imagine.

  • Tim
    2019-03-25 16:04

    This is a great little book to help you find interest in what you probably had no interest before: microbes. I would say that the author also has a good grasp of science, in general, and presenting it to the reader. It lacks a strong central path of direction when it comes to the topics presented, but the anecdotes are fascinating enough to hold the reader.

  • Jen
    2019-03-29 16:12

    Sometimes I found my mind wandering while reading this (never a good sign), but other times I was completely captivated. While I can't wholly say this book has a cohesive narrative thread running through it, the author more than makes up for that with his witty writing style and humorous footnotes.If you're the least bit interested in science or microbes, I'd say give it a shot, for sure.

  • Samantha Freeman
    2019-03-29 14:13

    I am not sure why people get annoyed with his trying to be funny or accessible. If he wasn't then it would just be a microbiology text book. His next book is even better. Love this writer. Fascinating topic.

  • Steve
    2019-03-29 14:11

    If I wrote a book on bacteria - it would be much like this. Plenty of interesting biology and a light sense of humor to go along with it. I'm shocked that this is rated so low - which might mean I shouldn't write a book.

  • Ann-Marie
    2019-03-23 15:13

    Quite interesting. Not too heavy on the biological details so if you're not into that kind of thing, this book would be quite suitable. Some interesting theories pertaining to microbes that I'd like to read a little more on, and the author has provided a bibliography for me to do so.

  • Andypants
    2019-04-09 15:25

    Recommended reading when you are sick...

  • Thomas
    2019-03-20 15:05

    The book is masterfully written, sure to appease any readers who choose to read it. I enjoyed this book simply because it was written in a way that appealed to me and my characteristics.

  • Mirel
    2019-03-25 09:31

    This book compiled my knowledge of microbes very well, however it would be very difficult to follow for someone without prior knowledge of microbes

  • Mary
    2019-04-08 15:12

    Very informative in a hilarious presentation. Loved it.