This book was great at bringing new biology, molecular biology and microbiology concepts together. As a food scientist I know a little about each of these topics but not how the details fit together. Now having read Microcosm I have a much better understanding of the details. Life is very impressive and Carl makes it even more so while addressing many topical issues including evolution and biotechnology. He manages to address these strongly but without bias so the reader is left to make up their own minds (or not) on the issues.
The section about biofilms was the most interesting as this was new science for me. A biofilm occurs when bacteria, such as E. coli, grow together in a huge mass. This enables them to survive more demanding conditions that when freely floating single cellular organisms.
There are lots of reviews online. Probably the best place to start is Carl’s website for Microcosm, followed by various reviews (1, 2, 3, etc.) and Scienceblogs’ bookclub discussed Microcosm, which concentrated on the New Science of Life aspect of the book.
There is even a YouTube video: