Some Assembly Required

Pages: 288
Subject: Popular Science, Science
Imprint: Oneworld
Illustrations: 40 integrated greyscale images

Some Assembly Required

Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA

Neil Shubin

Is life on earth an accident, or was it inevitable?
9781786078018 (19 Mar 2020)
RRP £18.99

The Book

Some Assembly Required is a lively and accessible guide to the most momentous transformations in the history of life - the evolution of fish into land-dwelling creatures, the origins of birds, how life took the first step from single-celled organisms towards complex beings with bodies. It is also a story that is full of surprises. If you think that feathers arose to help animals fly, or lungs to help animals walk on land, you'd be in good company. You'd also be entirely wrong.

Neil Shubin delves deep into the mystery of life, describing how discoveries of the past fifty years have revolutionised our understanding of how we got here, and brought us closer to answering one of the great questions of science - was life on earth inevitable or is it an accident that we are here at all?

Additional Information

Subject Popular Science, Science
Pages 288
Imprint Oneworld
Illustrations 40 integrated greyscale images


About the Author

Neil Shubin is the author of Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within. He is the Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago, and the provost of The Field Museum of Natural History. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011. He lives in Chicago.


‘Shubin's … exhilarating excursion into the ways of evolution… Shubin isn't the most prolific popular-science writer, but he is one of the best.' 

- Booklist

'Making complex scientific ideas both accessible to and enjoyable for the general public is a rare skill, but one that Shubin (Your Inner Fish) ... has mastered in his eloquent survey.' 


'This superb primer brings the intellectual excitement of the scientific endeavor to life in a way that both educates and entertains.'

- Publishers Weekly

‘Shubin is not only a distinguished scientist, but a wonderfully lucid and elegant writer; he is an irrepressibly enthusiastic teacher…a science writer of the first rank.'

- Oliver Sacks

‘A magical storyteller.'

- Richard Hamblyn