I finished Up From Dragons by John Skoyles and Dorian Sagan, on Wednesday night, but haven’t had time to say a few words about it. It was one of those books that really surprised me. I had started to read it five years ago, but only got through a dozen pages or so before I moved onto other things. Even so, I recall those first dozen pages as being interesting.
I turns out that this is one of the better science books that I have read. My memory of The Dragons of Eden is just fuzzy enough to prevent me from making a fair comparison between the two of them. However, I remember loving The Dragons of Eden and I loved Up From Dragons as well.
Up From Dragons was a more technically difficult read than Eden. Without being mathematical, the book discusses the most complex object in the universe–the human brain–and I found myself at times at the limit of my comprehension, reading and re-reading passages. Nevertheless, I came away with a good understanding of what the book was trying to say, and a better understanding of the human brain, consciousness, and the evolution thereof than I have ever had before.
The book was well written, and moved in a logic order. In fact, it presented its arguments in such a way, that a chapter would conclude with a seemingly logical conundrum that would be resolved in the next chapter. I haven’t seen this kind of science writing since Isaac Asimov and I appreciate it. It makes the reading more fun. You feel like you are unraveling these mysteries along the way.
For anyone interested in human intelligence, and the evolution of the human brain, I definitely recommend this book. It’s a winner.