Lab Girl

Lab Girl Summary

National Bestseller

“A beautifully written memoir about the life of a woman in science, a brilliant friendship, and the profundity of trees. Terrific.” —Barack Obama, via Facebook

 Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography

New York Times Notable Book

Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil.Lab Girlis her revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist. In these pages, Hope takes us back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father’s college laboratory. She tells us how she found a sanctuary in science, learning to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands.” She introduces us to Bill, her brilliant, eccentric lab manager. And she extends the mantle of scientistto each one of her readers, inviting us to join her in observing and protecting our environment. Warm, luminous, compulsively readable, Lab Girl vividly demonstrates the mountains that we can move when love and work come together. 

Winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Science Books & Film Prize for Excellence in Science Books 

Finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award 

One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post,, NPR, SlateEntertainment WeeklyNewsdayMinneapolis Star Tribune, Kirkus Reviews

Book Reviews


Lovely poetic writing5 star

This is a beautiful book with gorgeous descriptions of trees that I read extra slowly to savor.55


Great Book4 star

It was nice to read about being a scientist from a woman’s perspective. My favorite part was Bill and his monkey doppelgänger.45


Lab Girl2 star

Started out well.....then became pedantic and rather boring. I thought the author just wasn’t personal.25


Fascinating5 star

An unusual but fascinating memoir by an enthusiastic scientist who is keenly aware of being a woman in science and the headwinds that come with it. I loved reading about her one-of-a-kind relationship with Bill, her passionate bonding with plants and her labs, and the vagaries of succeeding in academia. Would loved to know more about Bill's place in her family circle and wish she would have told us. But all in all, a page-turner by a gifted writer. Highly recommended.55


Heartfelt, passionate love affair!5 star

This joyful, heartfelt, passionate love affair- a story filled with life, curiosity, compassion and incredible scientific inquiry- will lift your soul. Hope Jahren, clearly is an amazing woman and accomplished scientist, but mostly she's a wonderous gift to us all. Thankfully, she's an author too. You'll laugh; you'll cry. Brilliant!55


Couldn't put it down!5 star

Hope Jahren's fascinating career in paleobotany is crystallized in this addictive memoir. Part adventure, part cautionary tale for women in a male-dominated field, her story is deftly woven with snippets of literary classics. I'll never look at a tree in the same way again. In fact, I'm going to plant one in her honor in our back yard!55

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