Books : reviews

Nick Lane.
Oxygen: the molecule that made the world.
OUP. 2002

Nick Lane.
Power, Sex, Suicide: mitochondria and the meaning of life.
OUP. 2005

Nick Lane.
Life Ascending: the ten great inventions of evolution.
Profile Books. 2009

Nick Lane.
The Vital Question: why is life the way it is?.
Profile Books. 2015

There’s a black hole at the heart of biology: we do not know why life is the way it is. Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth, and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death – but why?

In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a cogent solution to conundrums that have troubled scientists for decades. The answer, he argues, lies in energy: how all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. In unravelling these scientific enigmas and laking sense of life’s quirks, Lane’s explanation provides a solution to life's vital question: why are we as we are, indeed, why are we here at all?