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Download The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People Audiobook, by Neil Shubin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (182 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Neil Shubin Narrator: Marc Cashman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9780449012932
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From one of our finest and most popular science writers, and the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us?

In The Universe Within, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, Shubin takes an expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do. Starting with fossils, he turns his gaze skyward, showing us how the entirety of the universe’s fourteen-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. As he moves from our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system) through the workings of our eyes, Shubin makes clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our own bodies.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What is special about the book is its sweep, its scope, its panorama—how physics, biology, geology, chemistry and seemingly every other science are brought to bear on the most intricate details of human life.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “An illuminating account of how life on earth is shaped by the rhythms of the cosmos…[A] dazzling excursion into life, the universe, and everything.”

    Times Literary Supplement

  • “A new, fresh way of telling the story of life, the universe, and everything…Shubin illuminate[s] the story of discovery in unexpected and hugely enjoyable ways.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Walt Whitman yawped, ‘I contain multitudes,’ and in Your Inner Fish, Shubin confirmed him by demonstrating how the evolution of life on earth is inscribed in the human body. Now Shubin shows that all creation, from the big bang on, is packed in there, too…In short, universal history made us what we are. Wow.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Shubin illuminates, with Carl Sagan-like clarity and elegance, the specifics behind the Joni Mitchell lyric ‘We are stardust.’”

    Time Out Chicago

  • “Even those familiar with the basic underpinnings of how we evolved will find The Universe Within engaging.”

    Scientific American

  • The Universe Within gives us an appreciation of how we are just small specks and small moments in time. But it also challenges us to take steps to protect our environment so our world can last a little longer.”


  • “Shubin shares the findings of some of the great scientific specialists—as well as those of a few unsung heroes. But he also explains how a generalist’s appreciation of their work is still possible, simply by looking inside the human body.”

    New Scientist

  • “Wonderful…We need writers [like Shubin] who can make deeper connections between people and the natural world around them, as well as showing how that interrelatedness has played out over the deep time of geology.”

    Seattle Times

  • “An intelligent, eloquent account of our relations with the inanimate universe.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A volume of truly inspired science writing…Shubin deftly balances breadth and depth in his search for a ‘sublimely beautiful truth.’”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title” for Nonfiction, January 2013

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B. Rule | 2/10/2014

    " This is another good one from Neil Shubin. It manages to encompass all manners of cosmology, geology, climate science, and evolutionary biology to describe how humans came to be. It's a pretty fast moving ride and there are places where I longed for more detail, but it's worth a read. That said, some of his transitions are jerky and he flits between facts and anecdotes in a way that can sometimes feel scattershot. He does his best to give credit to a wide range of scientists who are not often known outside their field, but these efforts occasionally detract from the narrative. A minor quibble for a good pop science book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Sullivan | 2/9/2014

    " Good overview of the relationships between development of the earth, and eventually, man. Very easy read; good fact sources; brought the reader into the story, well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monty | 2/2/2014

    " I feel mixed about this book. In spite of the way the author weaves personal stories about scientists and their discoveries over the last 100-200 years, which in turn adds more knowledge about the world we live in and how it got that way, there seems to be something missing for me. But I don't know what it is. If you like science and the stories behind science, then this book is for you. Each chapter contains the potential for volumes, and fascinating tidbits that whet the appetite are served all along the way. There is a rather large bibliography for those who want to pursue a topic further. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 1/21/2014

    " Not perfect, but pretty darn good. Rounded up to a full 5 stars because it was so full of memorable tidbits. Shubin may be a paleontologist, but you'll learn about astronomy, physics, microbiology, social sciences... And so many things in between. Accessible science writing that offers a solid starting point to many additional disciplines. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 12/25/2013

    " Read my review: here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 B. | 12/16/2013

    " A very concise "history of the universe", if not too concise. Much shorter than I would've expected. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/16/2013

    " I really wanted to love this, and at first I did. Lots of great information and facts on how we're all connected to the earth, sea, space, and time. But somewhere near the middle, the book seemed to disconnect. But maybe it's just me and my need to be constantly entertained. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nick | 12/9/2013

    " I liked his first book a lot because it was packed with facts and interesting things about our biology. This book takes a slightly more "Gee whiz, isn't the universe amazing" approach which left me feeling a little pandered to. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nigel | 11/7/2013

    " - the universe for dummies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Timothy Delaney | 10/31/2013

    " Things you already know put together in a new way. Good stuff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ken Hamm | 9/2/2013

    " really great survey of some of the greatest hits of science with lots of fun anecdotes about scientific discovery along the way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brittany Robinson | 7/5/2013

    " Good overview of planet history for those who haven't been exposed to much of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kamcakes | 5/28/2013

    " Before reading this book, I never knew just how much everything in our world, from star dust, to rocks, to human beings, is connected. This book has given me a new outlook on life, and just how meaningful it is to be a part of this wonderful history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daphne Miller | 4/23/2013

    " Although not as fantastic as Your Inner Fish (Shubin's previous book) this book is a great reminder of just how intimately our biology (and our health) is connected to our environment and our planet. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Mandell | 1/12/2013

    " Loved "Your Inner Fish." I was hoping for similar insight and careful description in this new book. The text feels rushed, with careless and unfinished analogies. It still contains wonderful details and facts though, written in a similarly humorous way to Fish. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe Macko | 1/4/2013

    " Enjoyed The Universe Within but was looking for more emphasis on the biological and human side of this story. There was a major emphasis on the geological history. Although interesting and informative was not as interested in this area of the history of the planet. "

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About the Author
Author Neil Shubin

Neil Shubin is the author of the bestselling Your Inner Fish, which was chosen by the National Academy of Sciences as the best book of the year in 2009. Trained at Columbia, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley, Shubin is associate dean of biological sciences at the University of Chicago. In 2011 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

About the Narrator

Marc Cashman is a four-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for audiobook narration. His voice has also been heard locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally on radio, television, film, documentaries, radio plays, and video games.