Like the author Walter Isaacson and the bioscience pioneer Jennifer Doudna, I too read The Double Helix in my youth. Except it didn’t inspire a career path for me as it did Doudna, and in a way, Isaacson. Though a very interesting topic, it’s terrifying to think of the potential repercussions from the misuse of these new powers. Just like it was at the beginning of the “atomic age” in many respects.

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human RaceThe Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Exceptional read, as most Walter Isaacson books are.

The scientific details are very interesting, but they get almost too detailed for the general reader. The book follows the timeline from the first findings of the double helix and Crick and Watson, up to the current pandemic.

The book is like most of it’s kind about inventors, explorers, and people of marvel – making new discoveries, the chase to achieve patents, the drive to market products based on these patents, and the desire to be “first” for the sake of personal pride and historical hindsight. But the best part of the book, for me, was near the end.

When the pandemic began, it changed the complexion of the whole enterprise. Instead of trying to keep their findings secret, and compete against other talented visionaries, the focus changed to that of openly sharing the endeavors. In other words, they were all working towards a common cause.

An interesting read, but also rather frightening when you think about the future uses of this newly found “power” of the humans.

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