Book Club: Tempo and Mode in Evolution

Finally got this classic under my belt–Tempo and Mode in Evolution by George Gaylord Simpson. Now, I am not going to sit here and go through all the nitty-gritty things covered in here, as that would be a huge snoozefest for most of my viewers (the book is quite dense; yet, so not–sigh I just love science books so much). I just want to cover why it will remain near and dear to my heart.


Simpson presents the material in a way that you can see Simpson himself thinking through the points he is trying to make. It is almost as if he writes to try to convince himself of his own arguments, and he is absolutely brilliant at it. It’s as if you are placed in his own mind and you can feel the gears turning in his head. Quite charming actually. As are all the hand-drawn figures. Oh, the times when people took their time with their work!  I also find Simpson’s obsession with the horse adorable.

All-righty. So would I recommend it? I would insist it to anybody who is actually serious about evolutionary studies (especially macroevolution) because it forces you to put your thoughts in the right mindset to think of processes in a perspective that I don’t think can presented so matter-of-factly than in a way that Simpson does. If anything, it should be kept on your bookshelf for a reference or so that you can peruse through it every once in awhile if you need a reminder as to why this field is so awesome. The book is a piece of history, people. A piece of the New Synthesis! Oh, how far we have come!

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