Oct 8, 2012

Book review - The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture

Some of the readers of this blog might hope this book is about Agile SW development, but it is not. The Agile Gene is book from Matt Ridley about genetics, evolution and how people are people. It starts form really early in first studies about human and behaviors. It tells a full journey to the latest genetics researches.

The main question in the book is the long lasting debate on nature, meaning the DNA and inherited things and nurture, the things that environment effects on people. It goes trough studies from both sides and digs deep in to the main pillars of the both explanations.

One by one it starts to get more obvious that there is no one explanation on this question. Nature plays it part on growing, but nurture also has a big effect on many things. The most surprising there is that genes actually work with environment to make things possible. So those are not only enablers or disablers, but can adjust to the environment.

I have to admit the book was quite hard to follow sometimes. It went such deeply to some of the scientific subjects, that it would have required some more basic understanding of genetics to follow fully. Still mainly it was fun and interesting to read. Matt Ridley knows how to write in very interesting form.

Reading the book I had to change my mind many times. On some points I was sure that genes are the main influencer of what we turn out to be, but then after some tens of pages I again thought that environment is the important thing. I can't remember a book that have mixed my head more during reading the book than this was. That said in a good way.

I recommend this book to those who are interested on psychology, genetics or evolution. It requires interest towards those subject, otherways it becomes too technical to read. I enjoyed it a lot. It goes to the one of the best books I've read this year.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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