PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... fascinating ... Ms. Plebuch’s effort to solve the mystery of her father’s life makes for fascinating reading. She takes courses in the science of DNA testing. She compiles spreadsheets of data. Her growing expertise is critical to her quest. Even more crucial is her ability to elicit the sympathy and participation of people who are biologically related but utterly unknown to her. By helping her understand the changing narrative of her life, they write themselves into her story.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalScience is surely a noble calling, but it is also, Mr. Ramakrishnan reminds us, a type of professional guild, and guild members have economic and personal motives, not only scientific ones, when it comes to recognizing and rewarding ideas. For research to become established knowledge, a scientist needs to build a compelling narrative and provide an interpretation of the findings that others will accept. Mr. Ramakrishnan engagingly pursues these themes and others ... He is forthright about the drudgery of lab work and its problems ... Mr. Ramakrishnan doesn’t stint on anecdotes that show his sometimes petty behavior, not least in some of his comments about...a woman in a male-dominated profession could rightly be considered a fellow outsider but who doesn’t elicit much of his sympathy ... Mr. Ramakrishnan never stops keeping score, but it is his full embrace of the role of the antihero that makes Gene Machine so much fun to read and also serves as a reminder to us all of the beating human heart that lies at the center of every advance in science.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalThe book covers a lot of ground through meticulous reporting and deft analysis, presenting a wide range of case studies...Mr. Duhigg tries to come away with insights that apply to the rest of us.