Life's Other Secret

Review by Sam Spruce 
by Ian Stewart

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This is one of those books you should have on your bookshelf. It is simply interesting from cover to cover but it is also full of insight and new perspectives. You can buy this book by clicking on one of these links.

I read this book on holiday and I will never forget the holiday.  Our daughter was six at the time and she and I had days of fun as a result of this book.  We counted Fibonacci series numbers in pine cones and petals and spent hours investigating nature for the clues introduced in the book.  And if you don't know what pronking is you should read this book (and try pronking on the beach).  We caught Mackerel and were fascinated by the patterns on their backs now that we knew something about how they are formed.

But there is much more to this book than fun.  It is a tremendous introduction to the expanding field of mathematics in all its forms.  It takes a journey through the principles of self-organising systems and self-replication.  It looks at the mathematics of form and clearly indicates the context in which DNA exists.  In layman's terms (that's my terms) the author illustrates how DNA does not need to carry all the information.  DNA nudges the environment and it's the underlying structure of the universe that contains the laws and mathematics that result in the diversity of life itself.  I can't rate the content and ideas in the book highly enough.

It is a fun book, easy to read, and it will enhance your life!

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