The Violinist’s Thumb

By Sam Kean

“From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes more incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA.

In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In The Violinist’s Thumb, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.

There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK’s bronze skin (it wasn’t a tan) to Einstein’s genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.

Kean’s vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species’ future.”

Staff Note: I just read Sam Kean’s earlier book The Disappearing Spoon, and I absolutely LOVED it. Kean is a knowledgeable scientist, but even better, he’s a talented writer – he makes science accessible and writes in a story-telling style that makes his books surprisingly readable. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand and enjoy his writing (although I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt). I can’t recommend him highly enough! –Luisa

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