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Download Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Pandoras Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Spencer Wells
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (433 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Spencer Wells Narrator: Spencer Wells Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2010 ISBN:
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This new book by Spencer Wells, the internationally known geneticist, anthropologist, author, and director of the Genographic Project, focuses on the seminal event in human history: mankind's decision to become farmers rather than hunter-gatherers.

What do terrorism, pandemic disease, and global warming have in common? To find the answer we need to go back 10 millennia, to the wheat fields of the Fertile Crescent and the rice paddies of southern China. It was at that point that our species made a radical shift in its way of life. We had spent millions of years of evolution eking out a living as hunter-gatherers. When we learned how to control our food supply, though, we became as gods - we controlled the world rather than it controlling us. But with godliness comes responsibility. By sowing seeds thousands of years ago, we were also sowing a new culture - one that has come with many unforeseen costs.

Taking us on a 10,000-year tour of human history and a globe-trotting fact-finding mission, Pandora's Seed charts the rise to power of Homo agriculturis and the effect this radical shift in lifestyle has had on us. Focusing on three key trends as the final stages of the agricultural population explosion play out over this century, Wells speculates on the significance of our newfound ability to modify our genomes to better suit our unnatural culture, fast-forwarding our biological adaptation to the world we have created. But what do we stand to lose in the process?

Climate change, a direct result of billions of people living in a culture of excess accumulation, threatens the global social and ecological fabric. It will force a key shift in our behavior, as we learn to take the welfare of future generations into account. Finally, the rise of religious fundamentalism over the past half-century is explained as part of a backlash against many of the trends set in motion by the agricultural population explosion and its inherent inequality.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/20/2014

    " Pandora's Seed: Why the Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival by Spencer Wells was somewhat disappointing. The early part of the book does a good job summarizing recent research in human genetics. Its strength is Wells expertise on using genetics to unravel human evolution and prehistoric migration. Unfortunately,the book falls apart in the final third and his travel anecotes were mostly neither compelling nor to the point. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vanessa | 2/16/2014

    " Another book that ties the relationship with plants to the evolution of humans. It aided me in understanding the bigger picture of how influential plants were in shaping our societies today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gerry Vogel | 1/19/2014

    " Ever think about why you are so miserable and screwed up, or why everyone else is? Society, man. Agricultural, urban, sedentary, conformist life goes against our DNA. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Petar | 1/15/2014

    " This book traces human evolution; specifically, that moment in time where we gave up being hunter-gatherers. Spencer Wells delves into the profound effects the dawn of our agricultural society has had on our current civilization. He covers subjects ranging from obesity, disease, mental illness, climate change and resource consumption. He argues how all these current challenges can be traced back to the development of agriculture. This book is well researched and very though provoking. I recommend this book to anyone interested in science or anthropology. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 holly | 1/14/2014

    " I liked the idea of this book. But like many other reviewers noted, once I got reading it, I realized that the premise is a bit misleading and he jumps all over the place throughout the whole book. And I know that there's a lot of controversy about the blood type diet as a weight loss diet - but i dont understand how a book that suppossed tracks our evolutionary history in terms of diet can completely ignore the evolution of our blood type and not even mention it once in the book. he doesn't address the agrarian diet on an individual level, he just makes blanket statements about people having diabetes and being obese, etc. yeah basically the author should have streamlined his approach to this topic. im only giving it three stars because he did spark my interest in a couple areas. but i wouldnt necessarily recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gordon G. Smith | 1/11/2014

    " Very informative look at how the human race got to where it is today. I hope a lot more people in power read this book so that they can truly understand where we have been and where we maybe headed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 12/27/2013

    " There is hope :) but really we are doomed. May be we will last for couple millennia. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Patricrk patrick | 10/31/2013

    " When mankind switched to agriculture as the main source of food, a flood of changes was initiated. this book looks superficially at some of these changes and changes that are still going on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 10/30/2013

    " Tells me what I already know, except with a reinforcement from the nutritional aspect. Human beings are a cancer on a planetary scale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 5/18/2013

    " Spencer Wells makes genetics sexy "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry | 2/12/2013

    " nice mix of Evolution, Genetics and Climatology. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michael | 2/6/2013

    " It sucked. This book just sort of bumbles along. I kept waiting for it to speed up or take a direction, but it didn't. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 11/26/2012

    " I listened to this as an audio book read by the author. Some sections were very good and new to me and some were a rehash on Global Warming,etc. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Owen | 3/27/2012

    " Seemed to be too sprawling. I would've preferred if he related more of the second half of the book back to his thesis--I felt like he strayed farther and farther from it as the book progressed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wrdwrrior Lehr | 2/26/2012

    " Excellent book on how people change the world, starting with the Neolithic hunter/gatherers changing to agriculture. Ultimately, a new take on climate change and what can be done. Interesting mix of history, sociology, genetics, and environmentalism "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikki Harmer | 10/22/2011

    " Very thought provoking as to how man and civilization have been permanently altered by agriculture. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anubis_lab | 7/25/2011

    " It was okay. Nothing I really didn't already know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 5/22/2011

    " Wow. I didn't know the extent of what we are today was determined by mankind changing to farmer from hunter-gatherer. And, interesting to think along with the author, of where this is taking us. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katy | 5/10/2011

    " Lots of food for thought.. No pun intended! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gordon G. | 2/9/2011

    " Very informative look at how the human race got to where it is today. I hope a lot more people in power read this book so that they can truly understand where we have been and where we maybe headed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Owen | 2/8/2011

    " Seemed to be too sprawling. I would've preferred if he related more of the second half of the book back to his thesis--I felt like he strayed farther and farther from it as the book progressed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gerry | 12/27/2010

    " Ever think about why you are so miserable and screwed up, or why everyone else is? Society, man. Agricultural, urban, sedentary, conformist life goes against our DNA. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tbooker | 12/15/2010

    " Tells me what I already know, except with a reinforcement from the nutritional aspect. Human beings are a cancer on a planetary scale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wrdwrrior | 12/14/2010

    " Excellent book on how people change the world, starting with the Neolithic hunter/gatherers changing to agriculture. Ultimately, a new take on climate change and what can be done. Interesting mix of history, sociology, genetics, and environmentalism "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J. D. | 11/19/2010

    " A well-considered and -researched survey of human biological and social evolution. Wells, like Bill McKibben, points out the necessity for giving up the chimera of perpetual growth in human consumption. That the goal is unsustainable seems laughably obvious. "

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About the Author

Spencer Wells is a geneticist, anthropologist, author, and entrepreneur. For more than a decade he was an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and director of the Genographic Project.