Final Review

The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease is an intriguing look at how human health and evolution are related.  The main points of the book are that humans are adapted to a specific environment, and that often our adaptations can work against us.  When this occurs, humans suffer from mismatch diseases, which occur when our genes do not match our environment.  The main takeaway of the entire book is that mismatch diseases can only be fully cured by addressing the root cause of the issue, instead of just treating symptoms.  Humans have successfully cured mismatch diseases from the Agricultural Revolution, but we have not cured those from the Industrial Revolution.  The main cause of current mismatch diseases seems to be lack of exercise and a non nutritious diet.  Lieberman suggests that if society takes steps to improve diet and exercise, the prevalence of mismatch diseases will significantly decrease.  Overall, this was a very interesting and informative read, and I learned a lot about how to change my lifestyle to prevent chronic mismatch diseases.  My favorite chapter was chapter 8, which explained why the Agricultural Revolution led to an enormous increase in infectious disease.  The book inspired me to learn about other possible mismatch diseases, and opened my eyes to the ways that evolution still shapes our lives.

Lieberman explains difficult physiological concepts very well in the book, and this can be both good and bad.  If you are looking for a detailed explanation of exactly how things work, this book is for you.  However, at some points, the detailed explanations became tedious and took away from the point.  But overall, I think that it is good that the detailed explanations are included, because they provide detail to those who want it, but are easy to skip if not.  Lieberman also is very effective at bringing separate ideas together to form a complete picture.  It’s a very holistic look at the evolutionary reasons for mismatch diseases, and I very much enjoyed this approach.  With this, Lieberman was able to touch on a wide variety of topics that made sense together, and kept the book constantly interesting.

I think that this book is perfect for any adult who is curious about the underlying causes of human disease.  Additionally, it is perfect for those curious about human evolution.  The book is very detailed and is full of information, so it is not exactly light reading.   However, I found it to be very interesting and enjoyable, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in evolution, human health, or disease.  I suppose the book is aptly titled.  I’d encourage you to give it a try!