The Serengeti Rules:

The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters

How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions, and shows how their discoveries matter for our health and the health of the planet we depend upon.

One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated—there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar—there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet.


Reviews of The Serengeti Rules

"A master storyteller, Carroll explores the unity of biology from the molecular level to the Serengeti, the rules that regulate life, and the consequences when regulation breaks down. A fascinating journey from beginning to end, this book will educate and entertain readers at all levels and leave them with a better understanding of how the biosphere works." —Simon Levin, Princeton University, author of Fragile Dominion: Complexity and the Commons

"As one of our leading biologists and communicators, Sean Carroll has merged a passion for scientific discovery with a flair for telling great stories of exploration. In The Serengeti Rules, Carroll has crafted a work of epic sweep that travels the globe in search of the logical rules that govern all of life, from tiny molecules to entire ecosystems. The Serengeti Rules both delights and enlightens--I was left marveling at the human achievement behind scientific breakthroughs and the sheer beauty of the working of living systems." —Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body

"This is a rattling good read by one of the leading scientists of our time. The Serengeti Rules made me think differently about what we biologists do. This is a book that needs to be shouted from the rooftops." —Andrew F. Read, Pennsylvania State University

"Masterful and compelling. The Serengeti Rules is a significant contribution, one that will be welcomed by professional biologists and a wide range of lay readers." —Harry W. Greene, author of Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art

"In this remarkably engaging book, Carroll . . . persuasively argues that life at all levels of complexity is self-regulated, from the inner workings of cells to the larger relationships governing the Serengeti ecosystem. . . . Carroll superbly animates biological principles while providing important insights."Publishers Weekly