Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Lab Girl

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged ...

Details Lab Girl

TitleLab Girl
Release DateApr 5th, 2016
GenreNonfiction, Science, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

Reviews Lab Girl

  • Will Byrnes
    Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life. While it may be a beautiful life in many ways, it has not been an easy one. Anne Hope Jahren is a geobiologist currently working at the University of Oslo. This represents a bit of homecoming, as her ancestors emigrated from Norway to Minnesota. Her father was a science teacher at...
  • Elyse Walters
    I love "Lab Girl", love, love, LOVE this book!!!!!! I have a new crush on 'both' Hope Jahren, ( Geochemist and author of "Lab Girl), and Hope's lab partner, Bill!!!I'm moved - inspired - speechless - breathless- ( teary-eyed throughout this entire reading experience). I'm grateful -- altered having read Hope Jahren's memoir!!!!5+++++ stars from me!!!!!!!Tidbits....( since I couldn't begin to say enough wonderful things found on EVERY PAG...
  • Debbie
    So yesterday, I had to take down a smaller tree in my yard. I knew what was happening as I pulled on the root, seeing the main taproot, the one my tree had grown straight down and spent it's lifetime trying to maintain. Then came the side roots, the ones put out for stability, called runners. My tree had suckers, green shoots coming from the runners, still living, still choosing life, even though its main source had died. Taking down that tree of...
  • Esil
    A high 4 stars. I can't possibly describe what Lab Girl is about or review it with any linearity, because this is a tangled web of strands of memoir, natural history, philosophical musings and random thoughts. Here are my own thoughts in no particular order:-This is an ode to trees and plants.-This is a love letter to friendship generally and to Jahren's friend and lab partner Bill in particular.-This is a reflection on the potency of motherhood....
  • Lola
    No 300-page book should have an audiobook lasting 12 hours. There was no need for the author to pause for two seconds after every sentence. That being said, this was a unique, meaningful and informative memoir. I didn’t care much for the scientific facts, but I sure enjoyed the passion in the author’s voice. I considered giving up on it multiple times, due to the length of the audiobook, but I listened to it while browsing the web and choosin...
  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 When I first started reading this I was more interested in the chapters, which alternated with her personal story, on the trees and plants. That changed though as I read on. Loved her story too, her beginning passion for the sciences, her childhood and going with her dad to his lab, her first jobs which I found eye opening, and her wonderful long term friendship with Bill. He would become her lab partner, the person she bounced ideas off of a...
  • Diane
    I am not a scientist, but I loved this memoir about science.Hope Jahren is a botanist who is passionate about her field. Lab Girl is a beautifully written book about her life — her childhood in Minnesota with taciturn parents; how she developed a love of trees and plants; her early experiences in laboratory work; the ongoing struggle to get research funding; her battle with anxiety and depression; the longtime friendship with her lab partner, B...
  • Iris P
    Lab Girl★★★★★ 5 Stars!! I think something really special happens when a scientist has the ability to use the written word to successfully communicate and explain to the rest of us what they do.It's like in Baseball when the pitcher also happens to be good at batting. It's not in their job description, we don't expect them to, but when it happens is extremely exhilarating! I don't know if Hope Jahren likes baseball, but I found her writi...
  • DeB MaRtEnS
    "For trees that live in the snow, winter is a journey. Plants do not travel through space as we do; as a rule they do not move from place to place. Instead they travel through time, enduring one event after the other, and in this sense, winter is a particularly long trip. Trees follow the standard advice given for any extended travel within a rustic setting: pack carefully."I came away, after reading Lab Girl, awed and delighted. How amazing to b...
  • Guy Austin
    I found this in an Independent Book store one day, not by actually seeing the book, there was a note on a card attached to an empty shelf. It said, “Lab Girl by Hope Jahren - THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN A LONG WHILE – Buy it!” So I asked where it was and the gal behind the stacks ran off, returned, and placed it in my hand, “You'll love it I promise.” Her enthusiasm caused me to not hesitate and pay full retail on the spot. This is not...
  • Rebecca
    “Because I am a female scientist, nobody knows what the hell I am, and it has given me the delicious freedom to make it up as I go along.” This memoir puts so many things together that it shouldn’t work, yet somehow – delightfully – does. With witty anecdotes and recreated dialogue, Jahren tells about her Minnesota upbringing, her long years in education, her ultimate specialization in geobiology/botany, crossing the country to take up ...
  • Michael
    A rare and emotionally engaging close-up look at the development and practice of science, its empowerment and challenges, and the ability of Hope Jahren to transform influences from her father and her questing personality into a successful career in fields that could be called eco-geology and paleoecology. From her time helping her father manage the physics lab where he taught at a community college in suburban Minnesota, she came to appreciate t...
  • Kim
    I really wish Dr. Jahren had confined herself to talking about her work, which was interesting and inspiring. The rest of the book, especially the personal aspects, was tedious and full of endless whining. In my experience (having worked in R&D for over 25 years) women are judged on their merits as scientists. If you’re good, you’re taken seriously. Finding funding for academic research is a separate problem that affects scientists of both se...
  • Snotchocheez
    4 starsDidn't expect to like this, despite the handful of glowing reviews from my friends. (For some reason I thought this was going to be a plant-centric H is For Hawk, which was okay, but not a book I'd care to revisit.) Hope Jahren's lovely affirmation to the scientific world, Lab Girl, is a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in plants and trees and flora of all types. How she took botanist vignettes (e.g. plants that sweat, h...
  • David
    Hope Jahren is a paleo-botanist. She studies growing plants as well as ancient ones. She has been working as a scientist her entire life, and her dedication to the profession shines through every single page of this book.Chapters about her own life alternate with chapters about botany. At first, this is a bit disconcerting, as the alternating chapters have little to do with each other. It is like reading two books at once, with their chapters int...
  • J.L. Sutton
    I enjoyed Hope Jahren's Lab Girl. Still, I wanted to like it more than I did. Jahren's memoir follows her pursuits of science along with all the achievements and disappointments. Another engaging aspect of the book is the complex relationship Jahren forms with a fellow student (now her lab manager), Bill. That said, I really wanted to hear more about the science, about her actual discoveries rather than how she happened to move from this to that ...
  • Olive (abookolive)
    My god am I a sucker for an emotionally resonant and movingly written literary memoir.
  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    Clue 1. Happy, exuberant state.Clue 2. Read 290 pages in one sitting.Clue 3. Desire to tell everyone about book.Clue 4. No interest in picking up another book until euphoria subsides.Analysis? Yes, I read a fabulous book today. Hope Jahren combines the stories of her life with alternating and connected stories of the plant world to create a brilliant book. Five stars.
  • Mara
    This is less a review than it is a caveat: My experience of “reading” the book was really more of a two star affair— however, I listened to it, and feel pretty confident that I would have enjoyed it more in the written word. The author reads the book herself, and during the parts that are supposed to be sad, she's reading in one of those choked-up/half-crying voices which is beyond annoying. But, what with lady scientist solidarity and such...
  • Connie
    Hope Jahren's love of science comes through loud and clear in her memoir. She grew up in a rural Minnesota home where there was not much family interaction. The highlight of her day as a child was spending the afternoon in her father's science lab at the local community college. Jahren is presently a professor of geobiology at the University of Hawaii. Her memoir chronicles her personal history and the challenges of running her own laboratory. It...
  • Joseph
    Full disclosure: I knew Hope in high school, lost touch after graduation and reconnected 20+ years later (see? it's possible for good to come of Facebook!), so I'm not going to even pretend to be objective.But if were to pretend, I might point out that this book is about trees and science and love and sheer bloodymindedness and may or may not have made me cry.
  • Caroline
    This book is both wonderful and idiosyncratic; I found it full of surprises. It's a mixture of various aspects of Hope Jahren's life. In different parts it is the author's life story, a description of a deep and unusual friendship, the trials of being an academic and researcher, and a monument of her devotion to ecology and botany. Hope Jahren is an unusual person, overflowing with warmth, wit and originality. Her story makes for a fascinating an...
  • Chrissie
    The book is not bad, it is OK. It spreads itself thin. It is an autobiography of one specific woman, a woman both ordinary and exceptional. The book depicts the life of a female botanical research scientist at the turn of the 21st century, a central issue being the difficulty in attaining adequate research grants to survive on. It is about friendship. It is about choosing where one's main interests lie - family or job. What I think it does best i...
  • Carolyn
    Hope Jahren's memoir is a fascinating insight into what it takes to be a successful research scientist in America today. She writes of the struggle to establish herself in a male-dominated world and the constant fight for recognition of ideas that don't fit in with the conventional view. She also touches on her struggle with bipolar disease and it's effect on her work, her life and motherhood. She describes the constant fight for funding and maki...
  • Petra
    A strange book, for sure. There's mention of Hope's schooling, her family, her friendship with Bill over 20+ years, her husband, her son, some interesting details of plants and trees, her labs.....but nothing about her work, research, lectures, scientific presentations, etc. Although this is a memoir of her working life, there's very little of her work included. For example, we're told in detail of a multi-day car trip to a conference....but not ...
  • L.A. Starks
    What a shame this utterly amazing book has such a lame title. My advice is to forget the title and read the book. Jahren, a three-time Fulbright winner, has written a reader-friendly, relationship-centered sequence of stories about her experience as a paleobotany researcher. There is much to learn and Jahren doesn't shrink from explaining it. However, the terms and structure are highly accessible. The book is one of those rare fusions of science ...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    I waited for a long time to read this book even though it came highly recommended from several scientists. I was skeptical about the title. And while I am not a scientist by profession, I did train as an undergrad and earn a BS. The thing about scientists is we are very territorial. I am a Chemist. My Physicist friends say, "But Chemistry is all Physics!" and they are not entirely wrong. I often scoff at Biology, Botany, Zoology, etc. and say, "B...
  • JanB
    I finished this memoir a few days ago and in trying to get my thoughts together for a review, I read what my GR friends said about the book, and I realized it's all been said and said so much better and eloquently than I could.So I'll just say I loved it. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author , and she does an excellent job. I loved hearing about her life and passion as a scientist, her illness (bipolar), her quirky friend Bill, her mar...
  • Nisa
    Firstly i want to thank Elyse for recommending this book and letting me have a chance to read it :)Hope firstly began with her childhood and then suddenly make a jumb to her recent life (to introduce herself but kept it short) in lab with Bill (of course they can't be thought apart :)) It was nice in the beginning but after she met with Bill and they began to work together in her lab it's like everything fell into place and real story began. When...