Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review: Survival of the Sickest by Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince

Stand Alone
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
Was diabetes evolution's response to the last Ice Age? Did a deadly genetic disease help our ancestors survive the bubonic plagues of Europe? Will a visit to the tanning salon help lower your cholesterol? Why do we age? Why are some people immune to HIV? Can your genes be turned on -- or off?

Joining the ranks of modern myth busters, Dr. Sharon Moalem turns our current understanding of illness on its head and challenges us to fundamentally change the way we think about our bodies, our health, and our relationship to just about every other living thing on earth, from plants and animals to insects and bacteria.

Through a fresh and engaging examination of our evolutionary history, Dr. Moalem reveals how many of the conditions that are diseases today actually gave our ancestors a leg up in the survival sweepstakes. When the option is a long life with a disease or a short one without it, evolution opts for disease almost every time.

Everything from the climate our ancestors lived in to the crops they planted and ate to their beverage of choice can be seen in our genetic inheritance. But Survival of the Sickest doesn't stop there. It goes on to demonstrate just how little modern medicine really understands about human health, and offers a new way of thinking that can help all of us live longer, healthier lives.

Survival of the Sickest is filled with fascinating insights and cutting-edge research, presented in a way that is both accessible and utterly absorbing. This is a book about the interconnectedness of all life on earth -- and, especially, what that means for us.


During the first chapter about iron I was hooked. Unfortunately, the rest was weak. In the end, this feels like a lot of conjecture. Now, I am aware enough not to just believe everything I read.

But I thought it was going to be more specific and scientific. There were also parts where the author went off on tangents. I did not need a 45 minute lecture on global warming in a book about illness.

I will say that this did make me think about things I haven't considered before. Hopefully, I will be able to further educate myself on some of them. Or read scientific articles at least.

Thanks for reading!

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