The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
Penguin Random House: 10/15/19
eBook review copy; 464 pages
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson is a very highly recommended guide to the human body.
Sure we have bodies, but have you ever pondered how and why your body
functions the way it does. Bryson takes us on an entertaining,
compatible tour of our bodies and the modern understanding of why it
works the way it does and what all the various bits and parts do. He
talks to doctors and scientists, presenting facts, a scientific history,
and interesting tidbits about our various body parts. He manages to
present his information in an informative, fascinating, and interesting
The writing is terrific. Bryson, known for his conversational style
writing, along with his dry humor and wit, makes this narrative an
interesting, entertaining, and educational experience. Chapters start
out with the skin and hair, microbes, the brain, and then work their way
down and through the body the brain. This isn't a biology textbook so
you aren't going to find all the information about everything, but it is
a fascinating book full of extraordinary facts and also disproves
several falsehoods, like we only use 10% of our brains. (We don't. We
use more.) There are several experiments and studies presented with
amazing and engrossing results. The text contains chapter notes, a
bibliography, and index.
Two quick, but interesting facts: a teenager's brain is only about
80% developed and all the synapses aren't fully wired until a person is
in their mid to late twenties. This explains a whole lot. Another
interesting point was about MSG, which no scientists have ever found any
reason to condemn, but it has a bad reputation all based on a letter,
not a study or article, in the 1968 New England Journal of Medicine. And that is just a small taste of the interesting facts and stories you will discover in The Body: A Guide for Occupants.
My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.