Summary of Pulse

The Coming Age of Systems and Machines Inspired by Living Things

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Pulse book summary
Industrial-age thinking is out; biotech is in. The body, and indeed all of life, is not a machine but an ecosystem.


7 Overall

5 Applicability

8 Innovation

7 Style


This sprawling and fascinating book explores biology, technology, agriculture, neurology and economics, among other disciplines. It contends that systems and ways of thinking based on the machine age must and will change in light of new discoveries in biology. Robert Frenay provides prodigious research and some impressive reporting. One caveat: His discussion of economics and the monetary system seems to be based on somewhat arguable information about the workings of the Federal Reserve and the Eurodollar market. The author's passion for the subject of biology is clear, and getAbstract finds that much of what he says is interesting. The book is not so much a narrative as a catalogue of facts, experiments and initiatives in various fields, with an accompanying argument against today's corporations and monetary systems that will challenge executives and economists.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How biology is changing technology
  • How researchers are developing systems and machines that function like life itself
  • Why people must develop new, biologically based economic and monetary systems


Thinking Small
Richard Feynman, the great physicist, laid the foundations of nanotechnology when he suggested, in a 1959 speech, that some day humans might be able to construct objects by assembling atoms. In 1986, a book by K. Eric Drexler described machines operating at the molecular...
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About the Author

Robert Frenay is a freelance writer living in New York. A former contributing editor for Audubon magazine, he covered developments in the interface of nature and technology.

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