high quality The discount Story of the Human 2021 Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease online

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In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years. He illuminates the major transformations that contributed to key adaptations to the body: the rise of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the advent of hunting and gathering; and how cultural changes like the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions have impacted us physically. He shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning a paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease. And finally—provocatively—he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment and pursue better lifestyles. 


[With charts and line drawings throughout.]

Review

“Monumental . . . an epic voyage that reveals how the past six million years shaped every part of us—our heads, limbs, and even our metabolism. . . . Through Lieberman’s eyes, evolutionary history not only comes alive, it becomes the means to understand, and ultimately influence, our body’s future.”
—Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish
 
“Fascinating. . . . A readable introduction to the whole field and great on the making of our physicality.”
Nature
 
“Sweeping. . . . Convincingly makes the case for a wholesale rethinking of how we live our modern lives.’”
CommonHealth, WBUR
 
“Riveting, enlightening, and more than a little frightening. . . . No one understands the human body like Daniel Lieberman or tells its story more eloquently.”
—Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run

“These are not debates to gloss over or reduce to simple statements of cause and effect—they are stories with scientific complexity and tremendous, sometimes contradictory accumulations of evidence and detail. The Story of the Human Body does full justice to those stories, to that evidence and to that detail, and brings them to bear on daily health and well-being, individual and collective.”
The Washington Post

“[Lieberman] is a true expert in a system where architecture and history intersect: the human foot. He ably describes how behavior and anatomy can lead to foot injuries in long-distance runners.”
The Wall Street Journal

“The ultimate science-based Paleo investigation. . . . Convincing. . . . A great read, and I recommend it highly for those of you who are interested in learning the facts about our biological roots, and how we can rationally apply ‘Paleo’ concepts to prevent and reverse modern ‘mismatch’ diseases.”
—Dr. Ronald Hoffman, The Hoffman Center/ Health Talk

“Eloquent and precise . . . Lieberman is the first to point out that modern living and technology have made our lives better in many ways. Still, a look back at where we came from can tell us a lot about where we’re headed, he says—and how we might alter that course for the better.”
Grist

“A doozy. . . . That humans are poorly adapted to our modern lifestyle of convenience foods, flat screens, and desk jobs isn’t very controversial. But how we best cope with this new reality often is. Lieberman takes on many popular notions, including barefoot running, the paleo diet, epigenetics, and a host of hot topics ranging from obesity and chronic disease to Nanny State politics.”
Outside

“[Lieberman’s] evolutionary approach produces some counterintuitive surprises. . . . The Story of the Human Body is a reliable guide to a problem that is going to get worse before it gets better.”
The Guardian

“In thoroughly enjoyable and edifying prose, Lieberman . . . leads a fascinating journey through human evolution. He comprehensively explains how evolutionary forces have shaped the human species as we know it. . . . He balances a historical perspective with a contemporary one . . . while asking how we might control the destiny of our species. He argues persuasively that ‘cultural evolution is now the dominant force of evolutionary change acting on the human body.’”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Lieberman gracefully combines paleontology, anatomy, physiology, and experimental biomechanics to clarify how the human body has evolved and how evolutionary design now clashes with the particularities of modern society. . . . An important book.”
Library Journal

“Lieberman holds nothing back. . . . He cleverly and comprehensively points out the perils of possessing Paleolithic anatomy and physiology in a modern world and bemoans ‘just how out of touch we have become with our bodies.’. . . If we want to continue our phenomenal run as a species, it is essential to understand (and embrace) our evolutionary legacy.”
Booklist

“A massive review of where we came from and what ails us now . . . Would that industry and governments take heed.”
—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Daniel E. Lieberman is professor of human evolutionary biology and the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences at Harvard. He has written more than one hundred articles, many appearing in the journals Nature and Science. Lieberman is especially well known for his research on the evolution of the human head and the evolution of running, including barefoot running (earning him the nickname the Barefoot Professor). His research and discoveries have been highlighted widely in newspapers, magazines, books, news programs, and documentaries.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Preface
 
Like most people, I am fascinated by the human body, but unlike most folks, who sensibly relegate their interest in people’s bodies to evenings and weekends, I have made the human body the focus of my career. In fact, I am extremely lucky to be a professor at Harvard University, where I teach and study how and why the human body is the way it is. My job and my interests allow me to be a jack-of-all trades. In addition to working with students, I study fossils, I travel to interesting corners of the earth to see how people use their bodies, and I do experiments in the lab on how human and animal bodies work.
 
Like most professors, I also love to talk, and I enjoy people’s questions. But of all the questions I am commonly asked, the one I used to dread the most was “What will human beings look like in the future?” I hated this question! I am a professor of human evolutionary biology, which means I study the past, not what lies ahead. I am not a soothsayer, and the question made me think of tawdry science fiction movies that depict humans of the distant future as having enormous brains, pale and tiny bodies, and shiny clothing. My reflexive answer was always something along the lines of: “Human beings aren’t evolving very much because of culture.” This response is a variant of the standard answer that many of my colleagues give when asked the same question.
 
I have since changed my mind about this question and now consider the human body’s future to be one of the most important issues we can think about. We live in paradoxical times for our bodies. On the one hand, this era is probably the healthiest in human history. If you live in a developed country, you can reasonably expect all your offspring to survive childhood, to live to their dotage, and to become parents and grandparents. We have conquered or quelled many diseases that used to kill people in droves: smallpox, measles, polio, and the plague. People are taller, and formerly life-threatening conditions like appendicitis, dysentery, a broken leg, or anemia are easily remedied. To be sure, there is still too much malnutrition and disease in some countries, but these evils are often the result of bad government and social inequality, not a lack of food or medical know-how.
 
On the other hand, we could be doing better, much better. A wave of obesity and chronic, preventable illnesses and disabilities is sweeping across the globe. These preventable diseases include certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, some allergies, dementia, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other illnesses. Billions of people are also suffering from ailments like lower back pain, fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, myopia, arthritis, constipation, acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome. Some of these troubles are ancient, but many are novel or have recently exploded in prevalence and intensity. To some extent, these diseases are on the rise because people are living longer, but most of them are showing up in middle-aged people. This epidemiological transition is causing not just misery but also economic woe. As baby boomers retire, their chronic illnesses are straining health-care systems and stifling economies. Moreover, the image in the crystal ball looks bad because these diseases are also growing in prevalence as development spreads across the planet.
 
The health challenges we face are causing an intense worldwide conversation among parents, doctors, patients, politicians, journalists, researchers, and others. Much of the focus has been on obesity. Why are people getting fatter? How do we lose weight and change our diets? How do we prevent our children from becoming overweight? How can we encourage them to exercise? Because of the urgent necessity to help people who are sick, there is also an intense focus on devising new cures for increasingly common noninfectious diseases. How do we treat and cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and the other illnesses most likely to kill us and the people we love?
 
As doctors, patients, researchers, and parents debate and investigate these questions, I suspect that few of them cast their thoughts back to the ancient forests of Africa, where our ancestors diverged from the apes and stood upright. They rarely think about Lucy or Neanderthals, and if they do consider evolution it is usually to acknowledge the obvious fact that we used to be cavemen (whatever that means), which perhaps implies that our bodies are not well adapted to modern lifestyles. A patient with a heart attack needs immediate medical care, not a lesson in human evolution.
 
If I ever suffer a heart attack, I too want my doctor to focus on the exigencies of my care rather than on human evolution. This book, however, argues that our society’s general failure to think about human evolution is a major reason we fail to prevent preventable diseases. Our bodies have a story—an evolutionary story—that matters intensely. For one, evolution explains why our bodies are the way they are, and thus yields clues on how to avoid getting sick. Why are we so liable to become fat? Why do we sometimes choke on our food? Why do we have arches in our feet that flatten? Why do we have backs that ache? A related reason to consider the human body’s evolutionary story is to help understand what our bodies are and are not adapted for. The answers to this question are tricky and unintuitive but have profound implications for making sense of what promotes health and disease and for comprehending why our bodies sometimes naturally make us sick. Finally, I think the most pressing reason to study the human body’s story is that it isn’t over. We are still evolving. Right now, however, the most potent form of evolution is not biological evolution of the sort described by Darwin, but cultural evolution, in which we develop and pass on new ideas and behaviors to our children, friends, and others. Some of these novel behaviors, especially the foods we eat and the activities we do (or don’t do), make us sick.
 
Human evolution is fun, interesting, and illuminating, and much of this book explores the amazing journey that created our bodies. I also try to highlight the progress achieved by farming, industrialization, medical science, and other professions that have made this era the best of all times so far to be a human. But I am no Pangloss, and since our challenge is to do better, the last few chapters focus on how and why we get sick. If Tolstoy were writing this book, perhaps he might write that “all healthy bodies are alike; each unhealthy body is unhealthy in its own way.”
 
The core subjects of this book—human evolution, health, and disease—are enormous and complex. I have done my best to try to keep the facts, explanations, and arguments simple and clear without dumbing them down or avoiding essential issues, especially for serious diseases such as breast cancer and diabetes. I have also included many references, including websites, where you can investigate further. Another struggle was to find the right balance between breadth and depth. Why our bodies are the way they are is simply too large a topic to cover because bodies are so complex. I have therefore focused on just a few aspects of our bodies’ evolution that relate to diet and physical activity, and for every topic I cover, there are at least ten I don’t. The same caveat applies to the final chapters, which focus on just a few diseases that I chose as exemplars of larger problems. Moreover, research in these fields is changing fast. Inevitably some of what I include will become out of date. I apologize.
 
Finally, I have rashly concluded the book with my thoughts about how to apply the lessons of the human body’s past story to its future. I’ll spill the beans right now and summarize the core of my argument. We didn’t evolve to be healthy, but instead we were selected to have as many offspring as possible under diverse, challenging conditions. As a consequence, we never evolved to make rational choices about what to eat or how to exercise in conditions of abundance and comfort. What’s more, interactions between the bodies we inherited, the environments we create, and the decisions we sometimes make have set in motion an insidious feedback loop. We get sick from chronic diseases by doing what we evolved to do but under conditions for which our bodies are poorly adapted, and we then pass on those same conditions to our children, who also then get sick. If we wish to halt this vicious circle then we need to figure out how to respectfully and sensibly nudge, push, and sometimes oblige ourselves to eat foods that promote health and to be more physically active. That, too, is what we evolved to do.

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Top reviews from the United States

Kate Travis
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Understanding the body you live in
Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2016
I got a lot out of this book in terms of better understanding the reasons I''ve had so much trouble controlling my weight over my adult lifetime. In the last few years I''ve read over a dozen books citing modern research on the dangers of sugar, fat & salt. By understanding... See more
I got a lot out of this book in terms of better understanding the reasons I''ve had so much trouble controlling my weight over my adult lifetime. In the last few years I''ve read over a dozen books citing modern research on the dangers of sugar, fat & salt. By understanding how these addictions (especially sugar in my case) affect my body, it''s been possible for me - finally - to get myself following a healthy path. This book is a terrific addition to that course of self-study.

This book delves into the evolutionary component of why we are like we are today. Truly understanding that goes a long way to helping me make better decisions on the kinds of foods I want to eat, how much and what kind of physical activity really helps me be healthy, and the importance of also getting enough good sleep. Much more than that is covered on what the modern human body has adapted to over the last 600 generations -- and more importantly, how much we''ve changed due to cultural evolution since man invented farming and the agricultural revolution changed everything. The lifestyle choices we have today were unknown tens of thousands of years ago and our bodies are paying the price for many of our choices… obesity, diabetes, heart disease & cancer to name just a few. All of these were virtually unknown to our long ago ancestors. How we''ve changed the world we live in, in terms of modern food choices, conveniences and lifestyles is at the root of why these diseases are currently at epidemic levels.

So much of what I was taught as a young person was simply… wrong. I just wish I would have started educating myself on this stuff decades ago. I''m now in my 60''s and the books I''ve read over the last couple of years are helping me feel better on a daily basis and have improved my health overall. I''m on no meds, finally at a normal weight, and expect to be active and healthy for another couple of decades. (I couldn''t say that 5 years ago.)

For further reading on how to help yourself feel better and become healthier start with any of the book by David Gillespie (such as Sweet Poison) or a movie on DVD called That Sugar Film - all available on Amazon.
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Bernie GourleyTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
What humans evolved to be, what culture turned us into, and the problem caused by the mismatch between the two
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2016
The story that this book tells is of a human body adapted and optimized for hunting and gathering that has been thrust by agricultural and industrial revolutions into conditions for which it is ill-suited. The central idea is that of the “mismatch disease.” The mismatch in... See more
The story that this book tells is of a human body adapted and optimized for hunting and gathering that has been thrust by agricultural and industrial revolutions into conditions for which it is ill-suited. The central idea is that of the “mismatch disease.” The mismatch in question is a mismatch between the lives humans were evolved to lead and the ones that we have developed through cultural and technological progress. The human body is governed by what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls “anti-fragility” or what biologists call “phenotypic plasticity.” Both terms say that our bodies get stronger when exposed to physical stressors and weaker in the absence of such stressors. We’ve now used culture and technology to reduce exposure to such stressors, while—at the same time—food is more available than ever and is in calorically dense / nutritionally sparse forms. This mismatch accounts for many problems. Of course, technology has also allowed us to reduce our exposure to dirt and germs, and this, after being once a boon, has begun to swing us into dangerous territory.

The 13 chapters (including the introduction) are divided into three parts in a logical manner to address the book’s objective. After an introduction that lays groundwork for understanding human evolution in a broad sense, the first part describes human evolution up to the point where culture became dominant force for our species. It clarifies how we became bipedal, how our diets developed, how we got smart, and the ways in which the aforementioned characteristics are interconnected. The second part shifts from Darwinian evolution to cultural evolution, and—in particular—elucidates the effects that the agricultural and industrial revolutions had on the human body. These cultural forces act much faster than evolution. While some argue that humans aren’t really subject to evolutionary forces anymore, owing to cultural and technological advances, Lieberman points out that Darwinian evolution does still effect humanity, but its effect is muted by comparison to fast-acting cultural developments. The final part looks at humanity in the present and projects out into the future. It considers what effect an over-abundance of energy and a declining need for physical activity have had on our species, and what can be done about it.

This book is thought-provoking, well-organized, and uses narrative evidence and humor to enhance readability. (A discussion of the absurdity of products in the Skymall catalog—e.g. luxury items for pet—is a case in point.) It certainly gives on a good education about human evolution. Furthermore, while there are many books out there that deal with mismatch as a cause of diseases like obesity and diabetes, Lieberman also addresses under-explored issues like postural problems from chairs, the influence of shoes on running gait, and the development of nearsightedness because of our close-focusing ways.

I’d say the book’s greatest flaw comes in its discussions of solutions at the end. The author puts all his eggs in the basket of wholesale solutions aimed to make society as a whole improve, while he could do more to share the details of what individuals can do to solve their own problems. Lieberman considers why natural selection won’t solve problems of mismatch and dysevolution. Then he considers how research and development and educational campaigns can only provide partial solutions. His ultimate solution is suggesting regulatory paternalism—e.g. what economists call Pigovian taxes--taxes designed to change behavior by making bad behavior (in this case sedentary lifestyles and over-eating / malnutrition) more expensive. Perhaps such solutions (which will remain political untenable for the foreseeable future in the US, at least) may be necessary, but one shouldn’t conclude that readers with better information and ways of approaching the problem can’t make a difference. I say this based upon the fact that a substantial (if minority) portion of the population is already doing the right thing—eating right, exercising, and not succumbing to modernity’s creature comforts. I, furthermore, say it as a one trained as an economist who has seen easier attempts at paternalism fail over and over again.

I’d recommend this book. I think it gives the reader insight into the problems caused by being evolved to be one thing while being groomed by culture to be another.
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jim bene
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Really Outdated and Shallow
Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2018
I rarely write a one or two star review because a read other reviews before I buy. This book is shallow and unfocused as well as outdated in its perspective. The author seems unaware that most Americans don''t get enough salt, as one minor example. He seems unaware of the... See more
I rarely write a one or two star review because a read other reviews before I buy. This book is shallow and unfocused as well as outdated in its perspective. The author seems unaware that most Americans don''t get enough salt, as one minor example. He seems unaware of the depletion of our soil as a major source of illness and did not show an awareness of vitamin K2 and the deficiency of K2 due to corn feeding of dairy and beef cows. Rambling and a waste of time to read.
Jimbene
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Mary Child
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well researched, clearly presented, relevant information
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2019
Overall take-away is that human bodies have not evolved to be inactive, nor to ingest massive quantities of processed food for years on end. Viewing our bodies through the lens of evolution gives us the tools we need maximize the natural machines we humans are, and to give... See more
Overall take-away is that human bodies have not evolved to be inactive, nor to ingest massive quantities of processed food for years on end. Viewing our bodies through the lens of evolution gives us the tools we need maximize the natural machines we humans are, and to give us the best shot at living a healthier, higher-quality life. Move more, eat food that is minimally processed, and get adequate sleep.

The only thing I wish the author had discussed in more depth is the need for community. We evolved as a social species, and it seems intuitive that social connection is important for an overall sense of well-being.

I tell my kids there are four aspects of life to prioritize: exercise, nutrition; sleep, and connection.

Lieberman seems to agree on the first three, if not all four.
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Chris Hansen
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Why? Lieberman answers. Human culture and human beings
Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2020
I really enjoyed this book. While it was information that I already new as parts, Lieberman assembles it in such a flowing, cogent story that it gained meaning for me, converting it from factual knowledge. In brief... Human beings evolved for an environment that we don’t... See more
I really enjoyed this book. While it was information that I already new as parts, Lieberman assembles it in such a flowing, cogent story that it gained meaning for me, converting it from factual knowledge. In brief... Human beings evolved for an environment that we don’t live in any more. It’s almost as if we went to another very similar, but not the same, planet. As a result disease and discomfort followed. There are rational, conscious decisions we must make as a person and as a global culture to lessen the impacts, and tremendous costs of not doing so.
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The Last Cavalier
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating and Unique
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2019
Dr. Lieberman has taken an exceptionally unique approach to both the study of health and human evolutionary biology in this book. His almost narrative style makes the book incredibly readable as he takes the reader down the long and winding path of human evolution. Unlike... See more
Dr. Lieberman has taken an exceptionally unique approach to both the study of health and human evolutionary biology in this book. His almost narrative style makes the book incredibly readable as he takes the reader down the long and winding path of human evolution. Unlike other evolutionary tales, Dr. Lieberman stops along that long and winding path to point out interesting adaptations and tie them into modern human health and physiology. His insistence that human evolution did not cease with the invention of culture is not controversial amongst evolutionary biologists but it is nice to see a firm refutation of the popularly held belief put forth by science journalists such as Richard Dawkins.
Admittedly, I find this subject absolutely fascinating and I am somewhat familiar with evolutionary biology and human evolution. If human evolution is completely foreign to you and you''re not already fascinated by the subject, this may not be the book to win you over; Nicholas Wade''s more conversational and less technical writings may be a better introduction. But if you have an interest in the subject and even the most rudimentary understanding of evolution, don''t hesitate: this book will not disappoint.
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Roy McCullough
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"Has civilization led the human body astray?"
Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2020
A fascinating book that examines several key moments in human physical and cultural evolution, how these transformative changes have shaped human lifespans and life experience, and how in this time of plenty that we humans currently find ourselves (relative to the hard and... See more
A fascinating book that examines several key moments in human physical and cultural evolution, how these transformative changes have shaped human lifespans and life experience, and how in this time of plenty that we humans currently find ourselves (relative to the hard and fraught lives of our ancestors), there has developed a "mismatch" between our bodies'' hardwired evolutionary traits and our current lifestyles. This mismatch has produced a whole host of new diseases and pathogens that were largely absent from the experience of our ancestors. In essence, the author is recounting the experience of paleolithic bodies in a post-paleolithic world and asks the intriguing question "Has civilization led the human body astray?" The author is a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and the study is deeply researched and well documented. A valuable and informative read.
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Luca Bucchini
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Two books in one: an amazing, 5-star history of the human body, and a reasonable, 4-star, public/personal health programme
Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2014
Ever tried to explain to your kids what sets humans apart from chimps, except writing poetry & using iPhones? Curious myself, I have and have struggled to find sources. The first half of the book provides a convincing tale of what makes us - physically - humans, and likely... See more
Ever tried to explain to your kids what sets humans apart from chimps, except writing poetry & using iPhones? Curious myself, I have and have struggled to find sources. The first half of the book provides a convincing tale of what makes us - physically - humans, and likely reasons for becoming what we are, from the African savannah to the adverse consequences of farming. Great explanations that should be taught in schools (though some questions remain: for example, why baboons in the same environment did not evolve to be like us?). If you have any interest in evolution and humans, you need the first part of the book.

The second part presents an interesting and credible paradigm, interesting facts and sound proposals for personal and public health. However, perhaps because I am more familiar with the science and though the author is careful to insert caveats, I would say currently available evidence is sometimes stretched to fit a paradigm, and I had to say a couple of times: oh, no, not Rousseau again. I am aware that pygmies - among other partial hunter-gatherers - have lifestyles which is difficult not to admire. But, not being an anthropologist, the author made me wonder if disturbing facts about the lives of hunter-gatherers have been omitted. As for the prescriptions, in fact, I agree with the author and enthusiastically endorse some of his ideas; yet, my wife''s comment that the second part could easily turn into a more sensible "China study", with a cadre of adept followers, is not off the mark. There is this bit of a crusading tone in this second part which convinced me to give it 4 stars only. Also worth reading but with one or two grains of salt.
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Top reviews from other countries

Craig Inskip
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Life Changing...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 24, 2017
I think the headline says it all really. This book is probably up there with the best I''ve ever read. My major passions include evolutionary biology, health and wellbeing and fitness - this book combines them all. The first part of this book is very similar to Sapiens: A...See more
I think the headline says it all really. This book is probably up there with the best I''ve ever read. My major passions include evolutionary biology, health and wellbeing and fitness - this book combines them all. The first part of this book is very similar to Sapiens: A look back at our ancestors including how they used to live and their evolutionary past. The second part of the book focuses more on where we are now and describes how the environment we live in and the power of cultural evolution has created a mis-match for our bodies. The book is absolutely packed full of information and if you''re anything like me, you will finish it examining your own lifestyle and how you can make small or major changes to improve your health and longevity. I really cannot praise this book enough. It''s the type of book which should be read not just by individuals, but governments around the Western world in order to improve our societal approach to health and disease. As the book illustrates - we''ve created an environment which has done some wonderful but also damaging things which is making us sick. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have not prepared us for a life of inactivity and an abundance of fatty, sugary, salty foods. There are changes that need to be made before healthcare systems in the Western world are crippled and collapse.
15 people found this helpful
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F. J. Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the problems we have today
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 24, 2016
I believe this is a very important book. Daniel Lieberman takes a methodical, clear-eyed approach as he draws upon the evidence we have to hand to show that human beings evolved to be hunter-gatherers and that our bodies are the bodies of hunter-gatherers. While he does not...See more
I believe this is a very important book. Daniel Lieberman takes a methodical, clear-eyed approach as he draws upon the evidence we have to hand to show that human beings evolved to be hunter-gatherers and that our bodies are the bodies of hunter-gatherers. While he does not present this era as a paradise, he shows that for 200,000 years we did not suffer from the diseases and problems that we have now in modern society: there were no epidemics (there were too few of us and we were not crowded together), there was not diabetes, cancer etc. on the scale we have today. We did not harm the environment like we do now. Lieberman shows, more incisively than most similar books, that two massively important cultural changes -- the introduction of farming roughly at 7000 BC in the Middle East, and the mass industrialisation at the end of the 18th century -- have created huge problems for the human body on many levels. This book really nails many of our problems today.
7 people found this helpful
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Oscar87ni
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great insight and very educational
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2016
In this book Daniel goes through the evolution of the human body, followed by talking about mismatch diseases and effects of sugar, fat, salt and low activity on human body, which I found quite educating read. You will find out such things for example such as how body...See more
In this book Daniel goes through the evolution of the human body, followed by talking about mismatch diseases and effects of sugar, fat, salt and low activity on human body, which I found quite educating read. You will find out such things for example such as how body converts sugar into energy, energy consumption by hunter gatherers versus modern human, brain size relative to primates and what being not active does to our body. These are only few snippets from the book, there is much more. The book covers quite a lot of stuff. In human evolution part he talks about Apes and Humans and our common ancestors, on how we became bipedals, following by culture and rise of farming which caused our population to explode which exposed us to all sorts of diseases and then ending book with looking at whats causing certain mismatch diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and how our body responds to them. By reading this book you will learn more about human evolution, on how environment and history made us who we are today. You will also learn more about the way your body works, health, diet and what can cause certain mismatch diseases. The book is eye opener and I would highly recommend it to read it through.
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Fumbletrumpet
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
First part of the book establishes Mr Lieberman''s credentials - ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 15, 2018
First part of the book establishes Mr Lieberman''s credentials - discoveries and research on the evolution of early humans as learned through remains and skeletons discovered across the world. The later parts of the book are absolutely fascinating, reminding us that we...See more
First part of the book establishes Mr Lieberman''s credentials - discoveries and research on the evolution of early humans as learned through remains and skeletons discovered across the world. The later parts of the book are absolutely fascinating, reminding us that we evolved to live in a stone-age environment, but since then humans have adopted - too rapidly for evolution to keep up with - diets and lifestyles which are quite different from that time, and we suffer many things as a result. There is a detailed, knowledgeable explanation of how parts of the body work and how these systems struggle with the demands of modern life. It''s very, very interesting.
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Bob
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Outstanding
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 6, 2020
A book to truly help make clear how humans got to here and now. Very thought provoking and unlike too many other good books, this one at a substantial 480 pages isn''t padded at all. A definite one of five desert island books.
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