Tag Archives: Science


Litercurious Book Review

Entangled Life By Merlin Sheldrake

“If you only take one thing from Entangled Life take this; Mycorrhizal Relationships are the bedrock of life on earth.”

— DR. C. A. Hampson Ph.D.
TitleEntangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change
Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
AuthorMerlin Sheldrake
PublisherRandom House; Illustrated edition (May 12, 2020)
GenreMushrooms in Biological Sciences Ecology Biology
ISBN 10/130525510311 / 978-0525510314


Meet Dr. Merlin Sheldrake Ph.D.


Entangled Life abounds with astounding facts about fungi. Sheldrake’s seminal work is densely packed with a plethora of scientific research, amazing facts and humor. Sheldrake has created a revolutionary narrative and is a must read for all ages.

Through Sheldrake’s eyes you will discover how mycelium networks manage to have such a superior ability to communicate over great distances at incredible speeds. Sheldrake describes how the communication methods include not just mushrooms or fungi, but insects, animals, plants and codependencies that are so eco-dependent that they become life and death. You will learn how mycelium computers could be in our foreseeable future.

The author explains how the very ground we stand on only exists because of fungi dating back into ancient history. Your forest walk will be forever changed when Sheldrake explains how ubiquitous the vast mycelium network is below ground. You will learn how fungi can assist urban rail architects in designing the most efficient routes. 

Sheldrake provides the historic context of fungi across eons of time. He explains how, from an experts perspective; the interconnectedness of mycelium has literally been central to earths evolution. In addition, he covers a myriad of practical applications and uses for mushrooms. Entangled Life covers every aspect of the importance of fungi from scientific advances in research that include the development of mycelium based neural computers. Then there are the revelations of fungi based medical advances that may provide improved treatments for depression and anxiety. The examples don’t end there; Entangled Life also contains detailed information relating to the complexity and quotidian nature of mycelium networks and structures. There isn’t a forest on the planet that doesn’t hum with activity of mycelium in epic underground networks across endless spaces of our global arboretum. 

Sheldrake further discusses the Wood Wide Web Labyrinth – AKA Mycorrhizal Relationships (the original WWW – Fungi, plants, bacteria, and trees). He details how fungi use chemicals to control or alter behaviors in plants, animals and insects. Zombie Ants are prime examples of how Ophiocordyceps, the zombie fungus, became totally dependent upon the Carpenter Ant. Even more exciting, is the possible environmental impact of fungi. Sheldrake reveals how in a process of mycoremediation, fungi are being used to decontaminate the environment.

Perhaps the most gratifying section of the book is the discussion on how mycelium networks manage complex communications in the absence of a central nervous system. Including the possibility of fungi based complex computer networks in the future.

If you are currently watching the latest Star Trek show then you know the Starship Discovery has a Spore drive. It allows the starship to instantly transport to any place along the mycelium network. A theory taken from some of the research described in Sheldrake’s book.

Zombie Ants and Ophiocordyceps


Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake is a stupendous publication. It is engaging, awe-inspiring in its breadth and span, and it challenges the reader’s world-view with every turn of the page. It is less of a book and more of a journey that once you begin, you have to complete. If you want to expand your knowledge of our world from the edge of space to the depths below, Entangled Life is a work that will thrill you. 

To write exciting and interesting prose takes a special kind of academic writer. We find such a scrivener in Merlin Sheldrake. It is even rarer to find an author that doesn’t dumb down the science. Sheldrake doesn’t patronize his audience, but through his expert knowledge and communication, he elevates the reader to the appropriate level of comprehension. The reader gains more from Entangled Life than a mere text book, the reader gets a whole new weltanschauung or world view.

If you are the kind of reader who wants to learn while you have fun reading, then this is definitely the book for you. A thoroughly enjoyable sojourn into the alien world that is just below our feet.

I am already looking forward to re-reading Entangled Life again in the near future. I was saddened and reluctant to put it down. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Merlin Sheldrake, NetGalley, and Random House for affording me the opportunity to review Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures.



The Mycelium as a network



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Title The Truth About Animals
Author Lucy Cooke
Publisher Basic Books; I Edition (April 17, 2018)
Format Paperback
Pages 352
Language English
ISBN # 1541674081 (ISBN-13: 978-1541674080)


Lucy Cooke has a Master’s in Zoology from British New Collage, Oxford. She specializes in animal behavior and evolution. Among Lucy’s professors at Oxford was Richard Dawkins, who is a world-renowned Zoologist and author. Lucy is passionate about conservation as well as her love of all sloth kind. She is referred to as the next David Attenborough in some circles.

Her Curriculum Vitae includes a diverse range of skills including: television producer, director, award- winning documentary presenter, and filmmaker. Lucy has lecture at TED talks, was a New York Times best-selling author, and founded the Sloth Appreciation Society.

In May, 2015 at the age of 45, Lucy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She changed her lifestyle as a result of the diagnosis and has an increased appreciation of life and love.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.



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Title How To Clone A Mammoth
Author Beth Shapiro
Publisher Princeton University Press (April 6, 2015)
Format Hardcover, Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook
Pages 220
Language English
ISBN # 0691157057 (ISBN-13: 978-0691157054)


Beth Shapiro is literally a genius: at least that is what the administrators of the MacArthur Fellowship, known by some as The Genius Fund, believe. Most of us would be pleased with that alone, but Beth is resplendent with titles, honors, and holds a DPhil from Oxford; the University not the library. She is a Rhodes Scholar and has worked for some of the premier companies and organizations in the world; which includes the Welcome Trust where she became the Director of the Henry Welcome Biomolecules Centre. Her specialty is in Molecular Biology and Evolution

Beth is no Dodo, but she has analyzed its mitochondrial DNA. She is the author of a plethora of scientific publications.

Her Doctoral Thesis citation is: Shapiro, Beth, and A. J. Cooper. Inferring Evolutionary History and Processes Using Ancient DNA (2003). I did try to obtain a copy of her thesis but it is in a closed stack at Oxford’s store house and is currently unavailable except by request.

The Author spoke at TEDx conference in March 2013. I have included a link to the recent TEDx Conference “De-Extinction” for anyone who feels the book might be for right for them but still wants more information. If you visit the site you will hear directly from Beth Shapiro and what she is currently working on when she isn’t writing epic books.



Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the greatest favor you will ever do to your intellect; no small praise.

This book is a distillation of decades of education rolled up in occasional irreverent humor and suffused with hard science. No, not the kind of science you had in grade school where the Biology Master lorded over you because you were more ignorant than he or she. Beth Shapiro doesn’t assume any pre-knowledge of the subject matter yet she infuses you the with facts and her enthusiasm.

I am going to be honest, even if you hated science as a child you will still enjoy this book. You will learn the fundamentals of the science of De-Extinction. The gamut in this text is huge, spanning a myriad of scientific disciplines over decades of study in the field of re-animation of the extinct – the Lazarus of our time.

While this subject is a weighty one, the delivery is not. I would compare it to a fine wine or exquisite champagne. It is full flavored, heavy on the heady stuff, and lingers on long after the taste has disappeared.

I struggle to find a comparison here in terms of the authors style. There have been some who compare Beth Shapiro to a Mary Roach. Whilst I chow down on Mary Roach with her sometimes pithily style, I slowly savor the heady mix of the leading new science of Beth Shapiro. The multitudinal cross over of disciplines that are woven together by Beth creates a masterpiece of scientific literature. Never heard of epigenetics? You will here; and you will come away with an appreciation of the enormity of this vast, complicated, and ethically challenging subject of re-birthing the dead.

Bob the builder says “we can do this,” but Beth asks “should we do this?” Should we? Is it ethical to bring back long dead animals in a world struggling with scarce resources? What about the risks versus the rewards? These are questions that Beth takes head on. In a TEDx conference, she expresses her reluctance in some aspects of the potential issues relating to the cloning of extinct species. The book does not dwell on the negative; its focus is on the how, rather than the why.

Perhaps we should talk about who the book isn’t for. If you suffer from Post Traumatic Study Dysmorphia (PTSd) this book may not rock your world.

I know that most people have no current knowledge of Mammon Telophase, but they will if they give this book some attention. I know there are some who could care less if an elephant has a self repairing hymen – yes that is true! What I hope readers take from this review about How to Clone a Mammoth is this technology will impact your life. Once Artificial Intelligence (AI), Quantum Computing, and De-Extinction technology combine, our world will never be the same; ever. This book is your opportunity to start learning just how much this new science will impact you and yours for all future generations.

This is worse than a “Honey, the kids have found the matches” situation; it’s a “Honey, the kids have found the key to Pandora’s Box and they are about to open it” situation.

I cannot express to you the importance of this work. If you never read another book, you need to read this one; and then read all the associated information. This isn’t a pseudoscience idea; it is absolutely real and time is short. As the apex predator, we have impacted our environment and believe that we have contained it; brought it too heel, so to speak. However, the potential for a ‘monster’ we cannot put back in the box that: outperforms us, outlives us, or outkills us is a genuine possibility.

URL: https://press.princeton.edu/titles/10415.html

Literary Awards: https://www.goodreads.com/award/show/34115-aaas-subaru-sb-f-prize-for-excellence-in-science-books

Also by this Author: Ancient DNA: Methods and Protocols (Shapiro, Beth and Michael Hofreiter) Published (2012)




TitleThe End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking)
AuthorDr. Katie Mack
PublisherScribner (August 4, 2020)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook, Audio CD
ISBN 10/13198210354X / 978-1982103545


Dr. Katherine (Katie) Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist. Find out more about her on her webpage here. You can follow Dr. Mack on Twitter here and Facebook here.


This book will intrigue and enlighten anyone who might be interested in the birth and different possible deaths of our universe.


The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking) is an extremely well written exploration of five possible endings to the universe as we know it. She puts theory and physics into terms that are easy for anyone to understand. The graphs and pictures enhance that understanding and the footnotes are invaluable.

The End of Everything starts at the beginning; the “Big Bang to Now.” This is where Dr Mack explains the origins of our universe as we know it today. She follows up the beginning with chapters covering each the five possible ends:

  1. Big Crunch
  2. Heat Death
  3. Big Rip
  4. Vacuum Decay
  5. Bounce

Intermixed within these chapters are discussions on a variety of scientific principles. She clearly explains how each field of study interrelates with the others. She avoids using in depth mathematical equations but rather uses examples to explain the theories. These examples make the subject matter easy to understand for anyone not in the scientific field. I particularly appreciated the example of gravity by throwing a baseball so hard that it escapes the earths pull and continues on out into space forever.

Other than the fact that the universe will someday end; one of the most mind-blowing elements of her book is that there may be things beyond the visible horizon we will never know about. According to current scientific study, the universe is still expanding. No matter how far we see into space, we will never be able to see past 13.8 billion light years. The time that it takes for light to travel from the start of the universe to earth. In a constantly expanding universe, this means there may be a lot more out there that we will never know about. Unless we can travel in any direction fast enough to meet the light from that distant object, we will never see it. I wonder what lies out there beyond the horizon.


The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking) is a tremendously fascinating book. The look into our universe from its birth to its possible deaths is exciting and mind-blowing. The physics, mathematics and scientific study involved to inspire the theories and experiments are just, well, astronomical.

Dr. Mack does an exceptional job relating the information in laymen’s terms, so everyone can understand the principles involved. She relates the subject humorously and at the same time maintains intrigue. She includes numerous footnotes, graphs and depictions in each chapter to further explain the concepts involved.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in cosmology, or who just wants to understand more about our place in the universe.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank Dr. Katie Mack, NetGalley, and Scribner for affording me the opportunity to review The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking).

The Story of Jane Goodall – Review

Litercurious book Review

TitleThe Story of Jane Goodall: A Biography Book
for New Readers
Author/IllustratorSusan B. Katz / Lindsay Dale-Scott
PublisherRockridge Press (May 5, 2020)
FormatKindle, Paperback


Susan B. Katz is a Board Certified Educator with a quarter century of experience, an award winning bilingual author, and a popular speaker. When not writing, she can be found working as the executive director of ConnectingAuthors.org, a national nonprofit organization that brings authors and illustrators into schools. Susan also enjoys an active social life. You can read more about her here: http://susankatzbooks.com


Children 6 to 8 years old will enjoy reading this publication.


The Story of Jane Goodall is a child orientated biography. It’s an attractive and informative revelation about the leading light in conservation. The Story of Jane Goodall describes her life, passions, studies and her meteoric rise professionally, socially and educationally. Her name is synonymous with the study of chimpanzees and the conservation of their habitat. Inspirational throughout, The Story of Jane Goodall is a must read for any child whose parent wants to impress upon them the importance of a life long commitment and conservation.

Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE., formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, is world renowned for her study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees. Over 60 years of studying primates have established her as the worlds leading authority on chimpanzees. She also founded the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots programme. She was named a UN Messenger of Peace in April 2002.

As the title makes clear, The Story of Jane Goodall describes the life of Dame Jane Goodall. It takes us through the evolution of Jane. From her formative years as a young girl in England through her life experiences and the fortunate accident that ushered her to become a woman of letters. Katz’s relates the ups and the downs of Jane Goodall’s life and experiences. Through her skilled writing Katz relates Jane’s enthusiasm for her subject.

Katz does a great job describing Janes’s life. She goes into detail such as: the type of books that Jane loved to read as a child, her ambitions to travel to Africa and her love of animals. She describes how Jane got her job in Gombe, Kenya with Dr. Louis Leakey Ph.D., an archaeologist and paleontologist. Katz relates how working with the notable Leakey led Jane to earn her Ph.D., in ethology. She went to Newman College, Cambridge and became the eighth person to be allowed to read for her doctoral thesis before having been awarded either a graduate or post graduate degree.


The Story of Jane Goodall is a refreshing new take on an old genre; that of the biography. Katz’s years spent as a teacher are obvious from the outset. Her prose is written with children in mind, and yet speaking as an adult, I enjoyed the simplicity and the clarity of her writing style. It is fun and enjoyable throughout.

The illustrations contained within the pages are delightful. They are age appropriate, colorful and fun. Lindsay Dale-Scott did an excellent job telling the story through pictures. I especially liked the way she put faces with the names of Jane’s chimpanzees. I thoroughly enjoyed her art work.

The Story of Jane Goodall is a tiny gem; enlightening, informative, compelling and concise. Large enough to satisfy and short enough to read in an hour or two. The timeline is interspersed through the chapters and easy to follow. Included are many memory retention tools and quizzes. I loved this book, and you will too.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Lindsay Dale-Scott is an accomplished illustrator and designer. She studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Columbus College of Art and Design. An animal lover herself, she she earned an award for her advertising campaign for the sloth sanctuary of Costa Rica. She says, “I have always been an artist ever since I could hold a crayon, drawing on walls and just creating.” Her works are not just on books, she also creates greeting cards for American Greetings. If you would like to learn more about Lindsay Dale-Scott, her web site is here and you can follow her on Instagram here.


I would like to thank Susan B. Katz, NetGalley and Rockridge Press for affording me the opportunity to review The Story of Jane Goodall: A Biography Book for New Readers.


Q. Why isn’t a Koala bear a real bear?

A. Because he isn’t Koalafied.


These books are currently free to read on KindleUnlimited


Litercurious Book Review

TitleLost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
AuthorSabine Hossenfelder, PhD
PublisherBasic Books (June 12, 2018)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, CD, Paperback, Hardcover
ASIN #B0763L6YR7


Dr Sabine Hossenfelder, PhD, is a physicist and a scientific writer. Find out all about her and her works on her website here.


Students young and old, and all those who want to extend their knowledge of particle and astro physics will love Lost In Math. It is also a powerful tool for anyone wishing to increase their knowledge of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN).


Dr. Hossenfelder’s compelling discourse on the subject of physics is not the usual heavily analytical, numerically driven revelation that is difficult to comprehend. Its focus is on an a selection of interviews with varied illuminated physicists. Dr. Hossenfelder then discusses the interviews and provides her opinions and views. She believes totally in the a priori method of traditional science. Yet she understands the elegant math of nature is a beautiful thing. She cautions us to guard against believing without empirical based evidentiary support.

Dr. Hossenfelder posits that the tug-of-war between the empirical (hard facts) and the esthetics nature (soft elements) creates a stress for those struggling to find unity. It is these esthetic judgements that she credits as the driver of present day research.

Dr. Hossenfelder shares her acumen and her considerable familiarity with the subject in a clear and concise manner, and without recourse to seemingly bottomless equations. Her sense of humor, whist dry gives the book a certain lightness not normally evident from such an able scientist. Her informal method aids the demystification of the subject for non-mathematicians.

The interviews are interesting and informative, but it’s Dr. Hossenfelder’s opinions that take the work to the next level. Her eloquent elucidation on the status of theories and concepts are beautifully paced and completely engaging throughout. When she does feel that a concept requires a challenge, she does so in a compassionate manner.


Lost in Math is a solid read. It is tolerable even for those who avoid mathematics like the plague. Dr. Hossenfelder takes the time to verbally guide you through each topic, and you will almost never have to fear having to face down one of those pesky equations. You will have to endure a brief mention of leptons and quarks, but they quickly pass and are replaced with a discussion on dark matter and dark energy. I found myself falling in love with the totally engaging supersymmetry (loving SUSY). Forget your calculator, just jump in and enjoy this wonderful work. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Lost in Math was the very best read on the subject of theoretical physics that I have read in quite some time. Dr. Hossenfelder’s humor carried the day by diluting the technically advanced concepts and explanations. The interviews are generally unremarkable, however her criticism of each is a revelation.

I do wish that the book had included more and larger plates. I would also have liked footnotes. That said, I found the appendices to be extremely helpful. Although Dr. Hossenfelder attempts to explain the mathematical and scientific method relating to the subject, those unfamiliar with basic theoretical physics concepts may struggle to follow.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder, NetGalley, and Basic Books for affording me the opportunity to review Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray.

Strong Lensing with Superfluid Dark MatterPDF
A Covariant Version of Verlinde’s Emergent GravityPDF
Analogue Gravity Models From Conformal RescalingPDF
Static Scalar Field Solutions in Symmetric GravityPDF
A Relativistic Acoustic Metric for Planar Black HolesPDF
Analog Systems for Gravity DualsPDF


Litercurious Book Review

Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine by Mike K. S. Chan & Dmitry Klokol
Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine by Mike K. S. Chan & Dmitry Klokol

Comprehensive review coming soon.

Title Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine:
Carpe Diem – Carpe Vitam!
Author Mike K. S. Chan, Dmitry Klokol
Publisher Matador (July 31, 2019)
Format Kindle     
Page 551     
Language English     
ASIN # B07VVL2MS7     

Brief Synopsis

Quote: “The goal is to provide a once in a lifetime treatment to correct a specific medical deficit.”

Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine Carpe Diem-Carpe Vital! (July 31, 2019).

This is a seminal monograph on the subject of the therapeutic application and use of stem cells in “regenerative medicine.” The science described within the pages of this text may be leading edge, but Chan and Klokol have attempted to keep the information accessible to the average reader. However, in some parts the comprehension of the complex science may be challenging. Research scientists and students of medical research may gain the greatest benefits of this work.

The text guides you through the multiple applications of the utilization of Stem Cells and the medical illnesses that may be treated by the use of ‘Xenogeneic Cell Therapy.’ The authors posit the limitations and benefits of the scientific method as it relates explicitly to its use in human subjects. There is a brief description of xenotransplantation in the treatment of cells requiring regenerative assistance in a range of degenerative conditions through cross-species donated cells. Significant importance is placed in the use of cross-species hosts to be Scientific Pathogen Free Animals (SPF – Animals) through the use of ‘Closed Colony’ and proven clinical methods.

Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine describes the merits, the problemata, and the detailed methodologies of regenerative therapies. The book is replete with beautiful color illustrations that includes the Cell Cycle and the illustrations of the Noble Prize Winner, Günter Blobel, for Physiology or Medicine in 1999. His thesis is on how the distribution mechanism of biological active transport cells migrate, how proteins contain signals inside that direct their location in a destination cell, and how they are transported and where they may migrate to.

I found the Chronology of the development of stem cell research and application to be compelling reading.

Simply the most comprehensive book on the subject of Stem Cells as applied in ‘regenerative medicine,’ and most certainly the best illustrated. The illustrations combined with Chan and Klokol‘s vivid written communication provides you with an invaluable tool in comprehending the ground breaking subject of Stem Cell Therapy.

The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other
Curiosities from the History of Medicine
Author / Narrator Thomas Morris / Ruper Farley
Publisher Penguin Dutton; 1 edition (Nov 20, 2018)
Format Unabridged Audiobook, Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
Time9 hours and 7 minutes
Language English     
ASIN # B07K1FC2C1  


Thomas Morris was a successful radio producer for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) for many years. He is now a freelance writer and medical historian. His first book, The Matter of the Heart: A History of the Heart in Eleven Operations, wonthe Royal Society of Literature and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation award. The award is one of three annual awards, one of £10,000 and two of £5,000, offered to authors on their first works of non-fiction. Mr. Morris now lives in London.


This book is for everyone 16 or older. The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth is written for the masses and not just for those who want to learn about historic medicine. The book is full of individual cases hand-picked through time to provide the reader with a glimpse of common medical procedures, some uncommon medical procedures, and allot of very interesting cases.


The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine, is a sojourn into some of the most interesting medical cases and the procedures used in those cases. It is told through the eyes of the people who were actually there. This book is a conglomeration of notes, letters, personal views of the doctors, and sometimes the patients. The author does a great job of finding the most interesting cases in history. There are some interesting cases that include various items escaping the bodies from all different places, some not very good places. How about the surgeries where the patient is not anesthetized and is an active participant? There is a chapter of patients who survived extreme injuries, some lived normal lives after their injuries.


After reading this book, I listened to the audible version and the narrator added so much more to the enjoyment. He does a great job with the inflection of his voice and the bits that are in French. The little jokes he throws in are awesome. This tome, at times, had me laughing, cringing, crying, and always wondering about the historic doctors and their sometime weird practices. The cases offer a wide variety of injuries and maladies; the causes of some of these will haunt me. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend.


Dr. Mütter Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz  #Medicine History & Commentary #History of Medicine
#Trivia & Fun Facts

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels was established by Dr. Mütter who sadly died prematurely at the age of 48. He left behind an immense collection of medical oddities that form the basis of Philadelphia’s renowned Mütter Museum. Dr Mütter’s Marvel by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is an insight into the dedicated surgeon’s career as well as his life and times. Aptowicz presents her view on Dr. Mütter’s medical practices and the prejudices he witnessed. Aptowicz draws upon Mütter’s speeches and lectures which reveals his humanist based approach.

Mütter Museum Historical Medical Photographs #Medicine History & Commentary #History of Medicine
#Trivia & Fun Facts

Mütter Museum: Historical Medical Photographs Is a cornucopia of high quality photographs taken by professional photographers. Between the 1860s and the 1940s, photographers took pictures of these oddities as records for physicians to share among medical colleagues. They also functioned, at the time, to demonstrate various techniques used in medicine such as micrography and X-ray. During the earliest days, they utilized the method of photography known as the daguerreotype. This processing method required the photographer to polish a sheet of copper plate with silver halide coated to a mirror finish, and treat it with fumes that made its surface light sensitive. There is much more to the Mütter Museum however, and it is not for the squeamish.

Competing in the Age of AI – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Reviews

Competing in the age of AI by By Marco Iansiti & Karim R. Lakhani  
Competing in the age of AI by By Marco Iansiti & Karim R. Lakhani        
TitleCompeting in the age of AI                                     
AuthorMarco Iansiti & Karim R. Lakhani                    
PublisherHarvard Business Review Press (January 7, 2020)     
FormatKindle, Hardcover          

Author’s Bio

Marco Iansiti is a Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His special expertise revolves around Technology and Operations Management. He advises Blue Chip companies globally on operational transition, and technological transformation for the 21st Century. Iansiti and Lakhani posit workable solutions and invaluable insights into the infinite utility of AI.   

I studied Managerial Cybernetics, Systems Analysis, and Systems Development under the tutelage of Stafford Beer for both my B.Sc., and M.Sc. I am currently evaluating how the synthesis of a variety of recent technologies can be applied to extend the economic potential of large distributed networks and International organizations. Much of my work includes related issues raised in Competing in The Age of AI. My experience and my academic credentials, I believe afford me a unique perspective on this manuscript.

Iansiti is a prolific author of publications based on a particular area of expertise. Some of his works include: Digital Ubiquity, The Truth About Blockchain (Iansiti & Lakhani), The Keystone Advantage (Roy Levine), and Managing Our Hub Economy. Those looking for advice on establishing digital advantage or operational model transformation of a global organization need look no further than Competing in The Age of AI. 

Karim R. Lakhani is a Business Administration Professor at Harvard Business School. Lakhani is the co-director of the Laboratory of Innovation Science at Harvard’s Institute of Quantitative Social Science, as well as the Chair of the Harvard Business School’s Analytics Program. His area of expertise is innovation and technology management. He is the author of numerous articles and case studies on technology, digital commerce, and digital innovation. He has been published in a myriad of significant publications that include: The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and Business Week among many others.  

Who is the target audience?

This is probably the most important book on business application of digital innovations this decade. This thesis is suitable for those who want or need to understand the potential for the increased span, scope, and scale afforded by the appropriate utilization of digital innovations, particularly artificial intelligence as applied to business models. Iansiti and Lakhani’s concept provides a most important tool for Captains of industry, investors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and students of business and technology. Iansiti and Lakhani’s publication is a must read for all those who want to improve their understanding of the application of AI in organizations. Competing in the Age of AI should be compulsory reading for all those involved in leveraging competitive advantage in the new business world underpinned by artificial intelligence.


The discussions herein include the question of ethics in application and distribution of technology. Iansiti and Lakhani’s have provided a map for the exploitation of the technical advances provided by new technology. The authors have given practical advice on the strengths, limitations, and challenges of employing artificial intelligence to support and augment a company’s strategy.


Competing in The Age of AI is a seminal work, containing all the key ingredients for global companies to explore in order to improve competitive advantage.  Iansiti and Lakhani have provided sensible, practical jargon-free explanations for the application of advanced technology strategies and advice on the potential effects on span, scope, and scale across the organization. 


My sincere thanks go to: NetGalley, and Harvard Business Review Press for affording me the opportunity to review of Competing in the Age of AI.

Hot Carbon – REVIEW

A Litercurious Book Review

Hot Carbon By John F. Marra
Hot Carbon By John F. Marra
Title Hot Carbon
Author James W Bancroft
Publisher Radius Book Group (April 18, 2019)
Format Hardcover
Pages 604
Language English
ISBN # 1526718014 (ISBN-13: 978-1526718013)

The Author

John F. Marra is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and after a non-traditional route became involved in oceanographic based research. He has been studying the oceans and the effects of carbon 14 for over 30 years.

Even though he was a Chicago boy, he had a strong desire to sail the seas, eventually becoming a Naval Officer. The sea wasn’t his only calling however, and being the possessor of a sharp mind, he developed a keen interest in nature and the natural world in general. Marra eventually resigned his commission to study in a graduate program as a research assistant. His CV is resplendent with many long years of oceanographic research. He moved to a more academic track and has enjoyed success in his field. He is currently a Professor and Director of AREAC Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College.

Find out more about John Marra here: http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/academics/faculty/faculty_profile.jsp?faculty=662

Who would enjoy this book?

This volume would appeal most to those with a scientific focus. Students of the Environmental Sciences would be the best candidates to enjoy the offering in Hot Carbon. I studied a different scientific profession, and yet, I still found this first outing by Marra to be entertaining and enlightening, although replete with factual errors. If you have an interest in learning new things, this book will be an exciting read. Almost, anyone over 16 years old will find this a useful addition to their bookshelf.

What is the story about?

The bulk of the book revolves around Carbon 14 and its universal ubiquity. Marra explains, in lucid and concise terms, the importance of the isotope and its unique importance to life on earth as it corresponds to the process of photosynthesis and its interaction with microscopic phytoplankton. The book is beautifully illustrated with a plethora of images, maps, charts, and tables.

From the inception, I found the book particularly delightful and entertaining; two responses I don’t usually get from what I thought was a hardcore science thesis. In the first few pages you are left in no doubt of Marra’s dedication to his work as he describes the privations on one of his many research trips. He effectively depicts the myriad of dangers and the deadly nature of the job. For a brief moment, I believed that I was reading an adventure book, rather than what could have been a stultifying stuffy re-telling of some mediocre scientific research. I was hooked on the book and couldn’t wait to finish.

I was particularly struck by the understated delivery of the prose. His descriptions, explanations, and familiarity with the subject really sold the story and highlighted his abilities as a professor. It was an easier read than expected and that added to its allure. I was disappointed when the book ended; it left me wanting more. I understand that this is Marra’s first book and I hope it won’t be his last. I will certainly be pre-ordering his next publication. So please John, don’t keep us waiting.


There are areas where those who didn’t pay attention in organic chemistry may get a little lost in the translation of detailed processes, but it’s not a deal breaker in any way.

Overall, I found this volume to be a pleasure to read, easily accessible, and well written. You don’t have to be a scientist to enjoy this book. Put simply, you don’t want to be the one person in class not to have read this; don’t be that guy!


I wish to extend my kindest regards to The Author, The Publisher, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this wonderful book.