Author Lulu Miller takes you on a fascinating journey that is mainly themed around taxonomist David Starr Jordan, who is credited with discovering nearly 1/5 of the fish known to man during his time. But, it’s much more than that and the book chases mysteries, scandals, and shines light on evolving views in the scientific community that will make you more than a little uncomfortable at times.

Jordan had a deep religious perspective and this guided him on his quest to put meaning into his prolific discoveries. Lulu examines this path that Jordan put himself on, what it meant, and investigates carefully the historical perspectives of such thought. The story leads to Stanford University in California and to other key figures of the time associated with Jordan.

(you can click the image below to purchase the book from Amazon)

Why Fish Don't Exist book cover

Between the Lines

The title of the book, by the way, is not click bait. Allow me to tempt you into reading the book as this statement that fish do not exist is central to much of the storyline around the scientist Jordan. As Lulu undertakes an examination of Jordan and his accomplishments and struggles, the book also steers readers around Lulu’s own struggles and how her investigation of Jordan and this topic begins to wrap into her own life. The book, in these times, becomes a candid view of some of her most private life moments.

This was an interesting book to read because it’s part investigative journalism, part scientific writing, part biography of Jordan, and then also a private look into Lulu’s own life as it’s transforming. She puts together an honest and compelling overall package of one area of science and a man that contributed so much and yet who was haunted in many ways. Ultimately, you will judge for yourself the results of Jordan’s work and decide if fish truly exist.