From a blog post by Bill Gates on

I’ve been perpetuating a misconception.

When I give talks about global health, I typically speak about microbes as threats we need to wipe off the map. And it’s certainly true that some microbes, like the ones that cause malaria and tuberculosis, are responsible for tremendous suffering and death around the world. But the view that microbes always equal disease and are essentially bad things is an oversimplification.

I’m seeing microbes with new eyes and talking about them in different terms thanks to British journalist Ed Yong. After reading his super-interesting book I Contain Multitudes, I had a chance to chat with him in person about his view that “microbes are mostly not to be feared or destroyed but to be cherished, admired, and studied.”

In I Contain Multitudes, Yong synthesizes literally hundreds and hundreds of papers, but he never overwhelms you with the science. He just keeps imparting one surprising, fascinating insight after the next. I Contain Multitudes is science journalism at its best.


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