A Life Decoded: J. Craig Venter


When I picked up this book I wondered whether or not I should review it for this site. After all, how do you review an autobiography? If you say you hate the book, you’re saying you hate the man, but if you love it, does that mean you love the guy?

A Life Decoded is J. Craig Venter’s autobiography. It’s incredibly deep. He begins with his early days in California and how he and his friends helped shape airport security by riding their bikes about the runway. When they returned later, a fence had been erected.

He goes on to talk of certain “adventures” he’s been on with different women throughout the years, how he met his first wife, then his second wife (while she was still a student of his), how he went from being a doctor in the Vietnam War to finding his true calling in research.

All the while he loves boating, which is something I did not know when I first heard of Mr. Venter. I guess everyone has to have a hobby.

He goes on to write, or be otherwise involved in writing, nearly 200 scientific papers, sequence DNA, and eventually mapped the human genome. One of the five genomes his team mapped was his own.

The problem with autobiographies is they’re written while the subject is still alive. So the “story” is still going. He is still out there, somewhere, working in the J. Craig Venter Institute.



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