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This is by no means a light-hearted scientific book or for people with only a passing interest in science. You really need to have an understanding of chemistry or biology to get to grips with this book. That being said, this book is interesting and thought-provoking. For instance, in an early section of this book, there is an intriguing discussion about why there is unlikely to be extra-terrestrial life due to the way in which a random event caused life to occur on Earth. This may not be something you expect from a book on life, but, actually, the argument solidifies the reason for our existence (and those of other life forms on Earth) and leaves you pondering whether there is life on other planets. However, the book does not solely rely on science, it also uses ideas from philosophy, religion and history to explain people’s thought processes and why these might or might not tether with the science. It takes us on a journey of life all the way from the primordial soup to how a systematic approach can be used. The book really encompasses the question ‘what is life?’.

Professor Luisi uses his book to challenge your thinking processes and to leave you thinking well after you have finished the book.