Even when the floors are sparkling clean and the house seems silent, our domestic domain is wild beyond imagination. In Never Home Alone, biologist Rob Dunn introduces us to the nearly 200,000 species living with us in our own homes, from the Egyptian meal moths in our cupboards and camel crickets in our basements to the lactobacillus lounging on our kitchen counters. He draws on findings from his own research in the US and several European countries, and research efforts from other scientists around the world. You are not alone. Yet, as we obsess over sterilizing our homes and separating our spaces from nature, we are unwittingly cultivating an entirely new playground for evolution. These changes are reshaping the organisms that live with us – prompting some to become more dangerous, while undermining those species that benefit our bodies or help us keep more threatening organisms at bay. No one who reads this engrossing, revelatory book will look at their homes in the same way again.
Rob Dunn is a professor in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University and in the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen. He is also the author of five books. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"Of course we must chlorinate our water, wash our hands, get vaccinated, and so on, Dunn argues persuasively and entertainingly. But we also need to relax and cultivate biodiversity for the good of all life on Earth."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Delightfully entertaining and scientifically enlightening [...] [Dunn] makes a compelling case for the value of biodiversity, while also conveying the excitement of scientific investigation, demonstrating that important discoveries can be made very close to home."
– Publishers Weekly
"Never Home Alone is a superb guide to your own house – a place that is home to hundreds of thousands of species – a far richer habitat than even the largest backyard. This riveting and surprising book is one of those rare volumes that will make you gasp out loud on almost every page, and phone your friends to report stunning fact after stunning fact. Thank you, Rob Dunn: I love our house even more now I understand it shelters multitudes of fascinating (and mostly benevolent) living creatures."
– Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus
"If you're looking for a guide to the teeming, tiny, tenacious creatures that share our bodies, our homes – and may one day well inherit our planet – you could not do better than this fascinating book by Rob Dunn."
– Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook
"Rob Dunn is a brilliant explorer of the strange, mostly uncharted biology of our homes and bodies. This must-read book is full of astonishing stories, skillfully told."
– David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees and The Forest Unseen
"If you truly want to know yourself and be amazed, get to know your ecology. This charming book shows how important and fun it is to discover the astonishing world of marvelous and unseen creatures around us. You'll never take a shower again in the same way!"
– Daniel E. Lieberman, author of The Story of the Human Body
"In Never Home Alone, Rob Dunn reveals the unseen wilderness that surrounds us every day. This book will change the way you think about everything from dust to spiders to showerheads – a fascinating and highly recommended read!"
– Thor Hanson, author of Buzz, Feathers, and The Triumph of Seeds
"A Brooklyn couple visiting the West told me, 'We don't do nature'. Today, I'm sending them a copy of Rob Dunn's Never Home Alone, with this note: 'Nature made you, so roll in the dirt, open the windows, get a dog. Change your showerhead, but don't kill your spiders. And read this terrific book at once.'"
– Dan Flores, author of Coyote America