Download The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race Audiobook

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race Audiobook, by Walter Isaacson Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Walter Isaacson Narrator: Kathe Mazur Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2021 ISBN: 9781797117058
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The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn’t become scientists, she decided she would.

Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she would help to make what the book’s author, James Watson, told her was the most important biological advance since his co-discovery of the structure of DNA. She and her collaborators turned a curiosity ​of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions.

The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code.

Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? What a wonderful boon that would be! And what about preventing depression? Hmmm…Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids?

After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An urgent, sober, accessible, and altogether brilliant achievement.”

    Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “A heroine who will be for the ages; a worldwide cast of remarkable, fiercely competitive scientists; and a string of discoveries that will change our lives far more than the iPhone did. The tale is gripping. The implications mind-blowing.”

    Atul Gawande, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “When a great biographer combines his own fascination with science and a superb narrative style, the result is magic…[An] important and powerful work.”

    Doris Kearns Goodwin, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “A vital book about the next big thing in science—and yet another top-notch biography from Isaacson.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Kathe Mazur skillfully narrates this clear and well-researched biography of Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna, who, along with colleagues, advanced biochemistry by employing CRISPR technology to improve and simplify genetic engineering—ultimately leading to a safe, effective COVID vaccine. Moving beyond Doudna's own story, this audiobook also discusses the role of women in science, the intersection of research and business, competitiveness (and cooperation) in academia, and the implications of altering human genes. Mazur's personable delivery and measured pace help listeners access the science and connect to Doudna as a woman and a researcher. Her performance highlights the excitement of new discoveries, the difficulties of forging new paths, the wide-ranging ethical concerns of emerging technologies, and the hope for humanity's future. Author Walter Isaacson reads the epilogue."
  • AARP Magazine Editors’ Pick of Best Nonfiction Books of Winter

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About the Author

Walter Isaacson is the author of highly acclaimed works of nonfiction, including four biographies that have made the #1 spot on the New York Times bestsellers list. A professor of history at Tulane University, he has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu.

About the Narrator

Kathe Mazur has narrated many audiobooks, winning the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2014, being named a finalist for the Audie Award in 2013 and 2015, and winning several AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she can be seen as DDA Hobbs on The Closer and in the upcoming Major Crimes. She has worked extensively in film, theater, and television, including appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House, Brothers and Sisters, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, ER, Monk, and many others.