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This is typical Bill Bryson. If you are the type to read a book full of facts then you are sure to like this. Each chapter focuses on a different section or system of the body and Bryson gives you more factual and fun tidbits than you will ever remember. It was really interesting and very readable and I would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy this type of thing.
A compelling look at the human body and how it works (and sometimes doesn't). Bryson fills each page with eye-opening revelations, approaching his subject with reverent curiosity. Yet a light-heartedness sparks up, here and there. Frequent asides into the lives of scientists and key figures shed light on history's unsung heroes and curiosities.
Lovely book, informative and funny. For me, was a fast read as I loved biology and anatomy in college. But anyone can benefit from diving into it. You'll love your skin, your thymus, and even your feet even more than you do now.
Informative and super readable. There is a lot of content about diseases, which makes now a fascinating time to be reading it!
A broad and quite basic overview. Easy and quick read, slightly entertaining and well researched - but not mind blowing. Those who are more than a little interested in health or general biology are unlikely to learn anything new here. It barely touches the surface on most topics. A few things are taken out of context... which I suppose is to be expected when the approach is so basic and mostly based on trivia. A good primer for adults who may have never taken biology and/or are new to health awareness.
Somewhere between "At Home" and "A Short History of Nearly Everything" this book dives deeply and effortlessly when warranted. Other time it moves along quickly. Bryson does not come across as a curmudgeon like he did in his last book (Little Dibbling). I have requested the audio for The Body from the library and look forward to listening to it on long runs this spring and summer.
Here is a narrative about how our bodies work, how we got to know what we know, and how much we don't know. The essence of Bill Bryson's writing is to make his topics entertaining and interesting and, by the end of a book, to leave the reader both a bit more knowledgeable and a lot more curious to learn more. The Body is a success on all counts.
If you’re a germophobe, go no further but if you’re the curious type – forge ahead! This is fun fact filled in the extreme body biology nerd version. The author has unique turns of phrase like when he refers to the body as “a warm wobble of flesh”. He also blows your mind relating that DNA will be recoverable 1000 years from now – what!?! This book is chock a block with the backstory on so many scientific discoveries. He shares how roadblocks to discoveries were overcome by seemingly random chance substitutions and twists of fate or how discoveries weren’t monetized because the scientist involved wasn’t interested in pursuing further research.
Ever wonder why babies sleep all the time? Why is it that only humans have a chin? Is there really suicide by lifestyle? How do the muscles in your eyeball make your iris expand or contract? There is so much yet to be discovered in this the vast unexplored region known as the body. Get your hands on this book and do some exploring!
The reader and author, Bill Bryson, is just the right person to share this book. His vocal presentation of this material is calm yet intriguing and authoritative adding to the listeners pleasure, drawing you in to hear every word.
This book has a bit of the “ewww” factor for the non-scientist but is fascinating none the less. The deeper I got into this book the more blown away I was at the information presented. It was a reminder of Biology class facts I’ve learned in school but subsequently forgotten. You will want to linger longer listening to this riveting audio book.
I love Bill Bryson's easy way of teaching people about different subjects. His humor and lightheartedness can make you laugh while reading about faulty immune systems or bacterial infections! Not a lot of authors can make the same claim.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is written in the same style as all of Bill Bryson’s books: It is funny, entertaining, and full of stories and interesting information to delight the reader. In this book, many of the stories are about scientists and doctors who discovered all sorts of fascinating things about the body (and being Bill Bryson, he also mentions the human foibles of these scientists and doctors).
Mr. Bryson is clearly impressed with the human body and all the things it does so well. He marvels at the fact that is it so difficult (and often impossible) for manmade inventions to do things as well as our human bodies. Even the smartest people in the world cannot duplicate systems that every one of us has and takes for granted.
For example, scientists have been trying for a long time to create “artificial blood” to use in transfusions, but they have not come close to succeeding. When we give blood and it is stored and refrigerated, it degrades in storage very quickly. Legally, blood can be kept in storage up to 42 days in the US, but it is probably only good for about two and a half weeks. When someone needs a transfusion, the medical facilities use the oldest blood first, which is logical, but means the patient is getting degraded blood. Studies show that many patients would do better NOT getting transfusions, and just waiting for their own blood to regenerate. So the moral of the story is: Do not get a blood transfusion unless it is the only option to avoid death.
One of the other topics Mr. Bryson discusses is the development of antibiotics, and the fact that they are losing their effectiveness because they are so overused today (especially in food animals), while no one is developing new ones. Big Pharma prefers to develop drugs that people take long term because that is where the money is. People take antibiotics for only a week or two. (He does not say this, but developing new antibiotics seems like an obvious project for large government funding; we cannot rely on Big Pharma to do anything without huge profits.) This is not a future crisis; it is a current crisis. He ends that chapter by saying, “The day when people die once again from the scratch of a rose thorn may not be that far away.”
There is a lot to like about this book! This biggest reason I am not giving it a flat 5 stars is that it is hard to remember all the nuggets of information that impressed or amused me when I read them. Mr. Bryson’s style of writing is entertaining, but he does tend to wander around a topic. It is challenging to go back and find the interesting points that were mentioned in passing. Some things (like the item about blood transfusions) stuck in my mind, but too many things went in one ear and out the other. There is a detailed index, so if you can remember what you want to look for, you may be able to find it in there. But if you don’t remember something that struck you upon first reading, it is hard to find it again.
I think this is Bryson's best book yet (&I've read pretty well all them). It's full of fascinating information without being boring or reaming off a pile of dry facts.
Highly recommended read - in fact I bought a copy myself.
I was sort of half and half on this one, and I think that was only because I know a lot about the body already BUT it's a Bill Bryson, and it is delightful and informative as usual. So, it's worth picking up if you know little about the body you reside within, and touches upon a lot of elements. Then you can go out and read further, like some Mary Roach, and other tomes.
A captivating read from beginning to end. There are some eye-opening facts about drug-resistant bacteria that are scary and true! So wash your hands when you come in from playing outside!
Bill Bryson is the best at taking any topic and make it accessible for any reader. If you have a body, and I'm assuming you do, you need this book. Looking for a gift idea - this works for any adult in your life!
This took me a long time to read, not because it was boring but because there was so much information, it was slow reading. I’m sure I have forgotten more than I have remembered, but I know a lot more than I did before. Bryson is able to take a very technical subject and write for the layman.
So I'm a huge Bill Bryson fan. I've read all his books. This one was great and informative as usual. It just freaked me out. I don't need to know all these scary things about my body. Sometimes ignorance is bliss and the weird but cool details about this book freaked me out. Great but freaky!
Loanstars: Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner’s manual for everybody.