Naming Nature: Book summary and reviews of Naming Nature by Carol K. Yoon

Naming Nature

The Clash Between Instinct and Science

by Carol K. Yoon

Naming Nature by Carol K. Yoon X
Naming Nature by Carol K. Yoon
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Book Summary

Biologist and journalist Carol Kaesuk Yoon takes us beyond genus and species to deep cognition, revealing our drive to name life. She tells the strange story of scientists leading people away from the impulse to name the living world, even as they are driven by it.

Naming Nature, sure to delight readers who love words and nature, is a rich journey of naming from Linnaeus, whose system turned classification from a hobby to a science, and Darwin, who ended the idea of rigid species definitions, to today’s dream of naming all of earth’s species and listing them online.

Readers will see science's limitations and will feel the urgency of staying connected to the natural world by using familiar, rather than scientific, names. Naming Nature illuminates the reasons why we might care less whether a whale is a fish or a mammal as long as we know its importance in our world.

27 illustrations.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[E]ntertaining and insightful book...optimistic, exhilarating and revolutionary.." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Yoon is an outstanding science writer who takes a seemingly dull topic and rivets unsuspecting readers to the page. Superb." - Kirkus Reviews

"Given the specialty of the topic, Yoon's work may attract educated lay readers interested in cognitive science, the origin of words, and natural history." - Library Journal

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More Information

Carol Kaesuk Yoon received her Ph.D. from Cornell University and has been writing about biology for The New York Times since 1992. Recent stories covered the sensory capabilities of plants and the field of "evodevo," or evolution and development. Her articles have also appeared in Science, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Yoon has taught writing as a Visiting Scholar at Cornell University's John S. Knight Writing Program, working with professors to help teach critical thinking in biology classes. She has also served as a science education consultant to Microsoft.

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