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The End of Illness

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  2,250 Ratings  ·  306 Reviews
Can we live robustly until our last breath?

Do we have to suffer from debilitating conditions and sickness? Is it possible to add more vibrant years to our lives? In the #1 New York Times bestselling The End of Illness, Dr. David Agus tackles these fundamental questions and dismantles misperceptions about what “health” really means. Presenting an eye-opening picture of the
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Free Press (first published January 17th 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Lisa Roney
I read this book with some eagerness, as I’m always glad to hear a whole-systems approach to medicine. However, I ended up being disappointed. I am sure that Dr. Agus is a highly intelligent man who has made strides in his field of oncology, but I am unimpressed with the job that his ghostwriter did. The book relies very heavily on standard health advice—get plenty of sleep and exercise, eat whole foods, try to be less sedentary, etc. And even what’s offered as “new”—take baby aspirin and a ...more
Anna L  Conti
Nov 22, 2012 Anna L Conti rated it it was ok
Shelves: health
Too many words for too little info. But the basic advice he offered was sound: #1 Question everything, especially health news that appears in the general media, including online. #2 Vitamin supplements are probably a waste of money for most people and might be harmful for some people. #3 Michael Pollan got it right about food - follow his advice. #4 Wear comfortable shoes. #5 Exercise daily and avoid sitting for prolonged periods. #6 Maintain a regular schedule for meals, sleep, exercise. #7 be ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Lia rated it it was ok
Shelves: health
Hm. Well, the paragraphs are very long and wordy, the examples are meandering and often not applicable, and he has a very hard time getting to the point. I don't know how many times he would say things like, "So, at this point, you're probably wondering what I would recommend," and then he would just blather on instead of saying what he recommended. So, basically, the writing is bad. In fact, the whole visual layout of the book makes it very clear that he is not trying to communicate a new ...more
Apr 30, 2012 Ann rated it did not like it
What an annoying book! Agus is a cancer doctor and named his book "The End of Illness," so I had great hopes for it. But he admitted that he couldn't really cure cancer or end illness. Even worse, he wrote a book that read like a textbook, rambled like a boring old professor and offered the same advice we all heard from our mothers. Obviously, we all feel better when we get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise. But, he actually said that high heels can lead to the kind of ...more
Jay Connor
Mar 17, 2012 Jay Connor rated it it was amazing
Here is one of those rare books that confirm your intuition while upsetting 50+ years of conventional wisdom. What is most daunting is that the naked Emperor revealed here is the medical/pharma/insurance complex. This apparently wayward field is consuming ever-increasing portions of our GDP while delivering diminishing outcomes. We’ve all heard of the disparities between US per capita spending on health and healthy outcomes compared to most of the rest of the developed world. In “End of ...more
Nov 28, 2013 Yitka rated it it was ok
Boy, do I have some strong opinions on this book.

What a disappointing read! With a title like this and an introduction that promises to turn everything you've ever read/known/heard about health upside down, I was expecting to be blown away by new, potentially controversial information about what causes illness. I found very little of the sort. I'll start with the good, though: Agus sets forth a few intriguing frontiers of modern medicine that I wasn't aware of--for example, he does a good job ou
Keith Swenson
Dec 09, 2012 Keith Swenson rated it it was amazing
I give five stars to books that are not only excellent, but ones that I feel that everyone should read. It is important.

In a world filled with books attempting to explain simple cause/effect relationships, Agus has the sanity to argue against reductionism -- that the human body is complex, and we should carefully assess all advice against your own experience. Everyone's body is unique, and what works for one will often not work for another. Far from dropping you into a sea of endless possibiliti
May 10, 2012 Lena rated it liked it
Shelves: medical
David Agus would like us to rethink our relationship to health. In this book, he presents what he believes is a radical new approach to taking care of ourselves.

The twentieth century was filled with powerful medical successes that were gained by drilling down and focusing on the tiniest pieces of our medical story - things like viruses and bacteria. But as we progress into a new millennium, Agus argues that our new advances will come not from looking at the pieces but looking at the whole.

Apr 20, 2012 Allison rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. First heard about it on the daily show, and the author cited two of my other all-time favorite authors: leavitt/dubner and micheal pollan. Those 3 endorsements and I was sold. It was also good to read a book like this since it was recently published, and the studies were current. I thought Agus had a unique and convincing perspective as an experienced oncologist and his challenge of popular medical myths (juicing, multivitamins, timing of meals/sleep, etc.) was really somewhat ...more
Jun 18, 2012 Kathy rated it liked it
Dr. Agus is an oncologist, but this book is not a treatise on cancer, and does not come close to Mukherjee's book "The Emperor of all Maladies". But Agus makes some fascinating claims that challenge my thoughts about things. He is slightly contradicting, for instance, he discourages the use of multivitamins and denounces the concept of "antioxidants" that is so prevalent today. He claims that everything we pop in our mouths, including multivitamins, can have a profound effect on our bodies, and ...more
Mike Smith
Mar 21, 2012 Mike Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not sure what to make of this book. The author, David Agus, who is unquestionably qualified in his field of oncology, argues somewhat persuasively for a new approach to health care. Rather than the current method of "diagnose and treat," he suggests we need to be more proactive, taking regular measurements of our personal health parameters and taking action to correct any deviations as soon as they are noticed, even if we exhibit no obvious symptoms of illness yet. He supports what I've read ...more
Jun 30, 2012 Jerry rated it liked it
Shelves: science
I found a few interesting things in this book. There are some chapters that cover new developments in medicine such as personalized medicine, genomics, proteomics, effectiveness of supplements, microbiome enterotypes and cancer.

Then there are some practical guidelines that you could act on. “Keep a strict, predictable schedule 365 days a year that has you eating, sleeping, and exercising at about the same times day in and day out. Avoid napping unless you nap every day at the same time.” People
May 02, 2012 Natalie rated it really liked it
Agus contends that we shouldn't call it "cancer" but instead say that a person is in the process of "cancering." The premise of this book is that the body must be taken together as an entire system in order to understand and affect health. Cancer is not a noun here, but a verb, "cancering." Agus believes that we are not curing cancer because medical research is fixated on the idea that there is a single antidote (like penicillin) that will eradicate this disease when, instead, the disease is a ...more
Donald Crane
Mar 08, 2012 Donald Crane rated it it was amazing
If you're interested in tangible, practical steps you can take to control your own health destiny, read this book. It's a fascinating glimpse into what the future may hold in terms of technologies to really understand your own personal health profile - what your genetic predilections are, for example. The book also talks about the fundamentals of good health: a healthy diet, regular exercise, and also weighs in on vitamins and supplements and statins.

Agus is a fairly famous oncologist who has al
Jun 10, 2013 BookSweetie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Health books and articles can be a bit frustrating to read. How long will their findings and imparted wisdom hold out under scrutiny? Who knows? Well, what about this one THE END OF ILLNESS? Well, if we could fast forward five, ten or twenty years, perhaps we'd know better how to evaluate this one. Certainly, the author has some impressive credentials, so let's start there.

Dr. David B. Agus is a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medi
Sam Sattler
Apr 11, 2012 Sam Sattler rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
If David Agus’s book, The End of Illness, achieves nothing more, it has certainly stirred conversation regarding a few of the more commonly accepted health assumptions of the Western world. Dr. Agus has explained and defended his beliefs in this 336-page book clearly enough that most readers will come down hard on one side or the other of his theories. Others, like me, will find themselves straddling the fence a bit.

The doctor’s critics will proclaim that he is merely a shill for the big pharma
Mar 11, 2012 Cate rated it liked it
Recommended to Cate by: Jon Stewart
The title and back-jacket reviews of this book had me expecting some mind-blowing revelations about health. So, I'm a little disappointed to walk away with nothing more profound than the notion that I should ditch my multivitamin, pay attention to what I eat (which, frankly, I already got from Michael Pollan two years ago), and attempt to get my eating/sleeping/exercising done on a regular schedule. Oh, and also I should probably discourage football playing for my boys...!

That said, Agus does a
Kelly O'Dowd
This is a book that is on my short list of "OMG YOU NEED TO READ THIS I DON'T CARE WHO YOU ARE YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW." (the other book on this list is "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan)

Even if you are suspect of the intentions, what this book comes down to is "Know Thyself." Figure out (with your doctor) what exactly works for you. Learn to listen to your body. How much sleep do you really need to function? etc. And then do what makes you feel good. Really really simple, but so ofte
Adam Jacobson
Apr 01, 2012 Adam Jacobson rated it liked it
Shelves: science
There are doctor’s books that move me to great fits of jealousy. How can someone like Siddhartha Mukhergee writing the Emperor of All Maladies create such a work while being a top end physician? Thankfully for my ego, if not for the book, the End of Illness prompted no such feelings.
Agus starts out with an interesting premise. The germ model of disease which worked so well to eliminate typhus and cholera just doesn’t apply to conditions like cancer and heart disease. These illnesses are systemat
Liz Murray
Feb 10, 2012 Liz Murray rated it really liked it
Ok I haven't read all of this book, in fact I've only read a couple of chapters but I think it's the type of book that's good to have on hand and in any case not all the chapters are relevant to me, thankfully. I appreciate the common sense approach here and have already rethought my approach to supplements. Cynically it had me thinking "I wonder if the supplement companies have tried to ban the book?" If you take Dr Agus' advice and read about why so many supplements are unnecessary you won't ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Clayton rated it liked it
Too many words for too little info. But the basic advice he offered was sound: #1 Question everything, especially health news that appears in the general media, including online. #2 Vitamin supplements are probably a waste of money for most people and might be harmful for some people. #3 Michael Pollan got it right about food - follow his advice. #4 Wear comfortable shoes. #5 Exercise daily and avoid sitting for prolonged periods. #6 Maintain a regular schedule for meals, sleep, exercise. #7 be ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Gloria rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I find David Agus to be very enthusiastic about his subject, but there were few take-aways. Sort of like going through a bunch of medical tests only for the doctor to tell you to go home and get some rest and drink lots of fluids. The advice is sensible: lose the extra weight, protect your sleep, eat plant food (veggies), and other familiar advice. In between all that, he cites many, many studies which bog down the chapters. Perhaps his most controversial stance is that he advises you to NOT ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
The writing wasn't my favorite. I am not able to say exactly why, but the best way I can describe it was I felt like the author was talking in my ear the whole time I was trying to read the book. It was slightly distracting - I was too aware of his presence and not able to more fully immerse myself in the ideas. I like to get lost in books. This one had GREAT info - very thought provoking. I really want some people I know to read it - medical field working types - because I want to hear their ...more
May 15, 2012 Nicole rated it it was ok
I first saw this book and the author on the Daily Show and thought it might be an interesting read. Unfortunately, I wish that I had not read it.
First, he interjects opinion throughout the book and then states that he can since it is his book.
It was extrememly difficult to figure out if the statements in the book were fact or his opinion.
Second, he does not cure illness. It's the same thing of eat right and exercise. He does recommend taking statins for everyone, which I whole-heartedly disag
Nov 27, 2012 Howard rated it really liked it
Recommended to Howard by: Fortune Magazine
Terrific insights into a culture that in which health cures are suspect and 'science' is created by the marketing departments of drug and vitamin companies. The author states conclusively that certain vitamin supplements, simultaneous with having no practical value are proven to promote illness rather than health. If true this says volumes about a current mindset that suggests the solution for challenging issues is to throw money at them. (As in 'did you know that certain vitamins suspect as ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Heep rated it did not like it
Got barely through the beginning and found it painful. There should be an algorithm for this by now - the cover endorsements by assorted popular culture bigwigs and politicians trying to show that they are thinking outside the box etc etc. This book will be forgotten in no time. I would strongly recommend "The Emperor of All Maladies" for those wanting to read a profound book about medicine, the human condition and health care research. Thank god that people are purchasing digital books so that ...more
Barbara Wright-avlitis
Feb 11, 2012 Barbara Wright-avlitis rated it really liked it
I saw this author on the Daily Show and was impressed. He's a cancer specialist who writes about a practical approach to staying healthy. Instead of focusing on the cure, he talks about the prevention. He makes some brilliant points which have impacted me to make some changes. Really valuable book!
Feb 28, 2012 Russell rated it did not like it
288 pages and the only advice given is take statins, baby aspirin, dont wear high-heeled shoes dont take vitamins and maintain a regular schedule. there you dont have to read it now.
Feb 04, 2012 David marked it as to-read
I hope he prescribes martinis.
Stanislav Malchev
Nov 04, 2016 Stanislav Malchev rated it it was amazing
At first I failed to finish this book and had to start over after a month or two. This repeated for several times. The book failed to amuse me as did the other recent titles I've picked up recently. After the first few chapters I failed to get the point or if there is a point to be get at all. It lost my attention over and over again.

I often complain about books throwing "facts" and then never getting to defend those "facts". When I finally got what I asked for it turned out to be very boring.

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Dr. David B. Agus is one of the world’s leading cancer doctors and pioneering biomedical researchers. Over the past twenty years he’s received acclaim for his innovations in medicine and contributions to new technologies that will change how all of us maintain our health. He’s also built a reputation for having a unique way of looking at the relationship of the body to health and disease. He ...more
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“The term vitamin was derived from vitamine, a word invented by Polish scientist Casimir Funk, who combined vital and amine to create “amine of life.” 1 likes
“one must first know the rules to break them,” 1 likes
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