Saturday, May 14, 2016

"Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel" by Carl Safina

Goodreads rating: 4.38
My verdict: Good

Pro: Interesting and emotional episodes
Con: Do not expect science


Having a rating of whopping 4.38 on is a feat, you know. For your information, Richard Dawkins's Selfish Gene has a rating of 4.10, Stephen Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell, 4.12, Keigo Higashino's Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki, 4.33. My brief search could find only one book that has a higher rating: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, at 4.59.

This is a very interesting book, coming at you often with riveting stories of emotional depth that leave big impacts on your mind. I was an elephant lover but I am an adorer now. Wolves deserve much more respectable traits for metaphors. Killer whales, (I sigh,) they are much better beings than us humans, in every aspects.

But, is this a science book? If you expect it to be one, you will be disappointed. Most stories are told like a gossip. When the author argues something, what he brings as the proof is, most of the time, a hearsay. Yes, the hearsay is in the format of some scientist's argument, but the scientist is quite often a like-minded fellow researcher who happened to live in the author's neighborhood and told him the episodes over a dinner table.

This book is like the famous animal stories by Ernest Thompson Seton. The book strikes you with a very powerful insights about the world and the position of us human beings in it, but you'd better not expect what is told is scientifically solid. I strongly suspect the author actually believes that he is delivering a set of scientific arguments backed by solid evidences, but I don't think the author's arguments will appear on The Nature as they do in this book.

But do not underestimate this book. It will make you think about the world, mankind, and other habitants of our planet, from a different perspective than before. And once more, it is a powerfully compelling read. Science or not, you will enjoy this book and love the animals in it. And yes, there are other beings living in this world that matter too.

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