I wish there was a way to give a book more than five stars, because if there was, this book would get them! One of the most important trends in cell biology in recent years is the study of mechanics at a single molecule level. Since most of the really interesting processes in cell biology, such as division and motility, ultimately are carried out by molecules that convert energy into motion, the question of how these molecules actually move has very broad implications and impinged on everyone. However, in order to understand this, one has to understand some basic physics which of course involves some math. The biologist who is interested in this subject thus has two, and only two options. one is to bury one's head in the sand and say its just too hard to understand, and the other is to read Joe Howard's book. Although the mathematical content is readily apparent, only the basics are needed to get started. The author has thoughtfully compiled detailed derivations at the end in an appendix, so that one can see the details without becoming enmired in them on first reading. Considering the potential difficulties of taking a "hard science" approach to cell biology, the book is remarkably easy to read, which is a tribute to the thought the author has put into presenting the subject in the most logical possible way.
In addition to being an excellent entry point for biologists into this subject, this book would also be an excellent resource for engineers who become interested in cell biology (like myself) because it presents many of the current research frontiers in cell biology from an essentially engineering perspective and using quantitative reasoning. Again, the author has taken great pains to present the subject in a logical way that does not require much prior knowledge about biology on the part of the reader. Thus, either for biologists who want to learn about the quantitative/physical approach to cell biology, and for engineers or physicists who want to learn how they can apply their type of thinking to problems of cell biology, this book is highly recommended.