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The Body Summary – Bill Bryson

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
2 MINUTE READ
The Body (2019)
A Guide for Occupants
by Bill Bryson
The Body is a fantastically-written and awe-inspiring 23-chapter tour through the 30 trillion cells that (literally) make you who you are - by best-selling author, Bill Bryson. (450 pages)

Note: This The Body summary is part of an ongoing project to summarise the Best Health Books and Best Self Help Books of all time.

Note: This The Body summary is a stub. I'll write a full summary later. For now, you'll find enough meta-data here to help you decide if it's worth reading the book.

The Body Review

The Body is a wonderfully written, awe-inspiring book.

And I mean that literally. It will genuinely inspire the kind of awe in you, for every part of you, that your body deserves, and yet rarely receive.

Is it practical? Not really.

Will it change your life? Probably not.

But if you’re looking for a great audiobook, or something to refill you with the kind of wonder for everyday life that usually only belongs to young children, then The Body is a great book to read.

The Body Summary

This publisher’s blurb comes from the Penguin hard cover edition of The Body

“Bill Bryson takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body—with a new afterword for this edition.

Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body—how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Brysonesque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular.

As Bill Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner’s manual for every body.”

NOTE: This is basically an engagingly written, unillustrated biology textbook (and not the kind of book that gets summarised). Result: I won’t be coming back for it anytime soon. Check out the publisher’s blurb and the contents sections below to get a feel for the scope of the book.

The Body Contents

The Body has 23 main chapters…

  1. How to Build a Human
  2. The Outside: Skin and Hair
  3. Microbial You
  4. The Brain
  5. The Head
  6. Down the Hatch: The Mouth and Throat
  7. The Heart and Blood
  8. The Chemistry Department
  9. In the Dissecting Room: The Skeleton
  10. On the Move: Bipedalism and Exercise
  11. Equilibrium
  12. The Immune System
  13. Deep Breath: The Lungs and Breathing
  14. Food, Glorious Food
  15. The Guts
  16. Sleep
  17. Into the Nether Regions
  18. In the Beginning: Conception and Birth
  19. Nerves and Pain
  20. When Things Go Wrong: Diseases
  21. When Things Go Very Wrong: Cancer
  22. Medicine Good and Bad
  23. The End

Best The Body Quotes

These The Body quotes come from The Art of Living's ever-growing central library of thoughts, anecdotes, notes, and inspirational quotes.

Read More: 5 Books Like The Body

Enjoyed this The Body summary? You might enjoy the rest of the books on these lists of the Best Health Books and Best Self Help Books of all time.

And in the meantime...

Here are 5 top books like The Body...

Books Like the Body: Being Mortal
1. Being Mortal - Atul Gawande (FREE Summary)
Medicine and What Matters in the End
Being Mortal is an uncomfortable yet enlightening exploration of how treating terminal disease (especially linked to ageing) as a purely extend-life-at-all-costs medical problem is destroying the final moments of our lives - by surgeon and best selling author, Atul Gawande.
Published 2014 // 282 pages // Rated 4.4 over 155,700 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like the Body: Why We Sleep
2. Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker (FREE Summary)
Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Why We Sleep is a fascinating and accessible guide to what sleep is, why sleep matters and how to optimise your sleep habits to live longer, feel happier and set your life up for success - by sleep scientist and best-selling author, Matthew Walker.
Published 2017 // 368 pages // Rated 4.4 over 125,800 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like the Body: How Not to Die
3. How Not to Die - Michael Greger (FREE Summary)
Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
How Not to Die is a deeply researched and compelling primer on the promise and importance of whole food plant-based nutrition in preventing and reversing disease - by medical doctor and nutrition expert, Michael Greger.
Published 2015 // 576 pages // Rated 4.4 over 31,000 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like the Body: Born to Run
4. Born to Run - Christopher McDougall (FREE Summary)
A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Born to Run takes takes running back to its roots in this critically acclaimed analysis of evolution, injury and recovery that is filled with compelling insights, great story telling and practical tips - by best-selling author and journalist, Christopher McDougall.
Published 2009 // 287 pages // Rated 4.3 over 186,300 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like the Body: The Obesity Code
5. The Obesity Code - Jason Fung (FREE Summary)
Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss
The Obesity Code gives an amazing look at how the body uses food to create the perfect conditions for obesity and how to disrupt the cycle to create a healthier future - by kidney disease specialist, best-selling author and MD, Jason Fung.
Published 2016 // 328 pages // Rated 4.4 over 24,200 reviews on Goodreads

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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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