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The Secret Life of Germs: Observations and Lessons from a Microbe Hunter
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The Secret Life of Germs: Observations and Lessons from a Microbe Hunter

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  158 ratings  ·  23 reviews
They're everywhere. Silent and invisible to the naked eye, they're on everything we touch, eat, breathe -- on every single inch of our skin. And despite the remarkable advances of science, germs are challenging medicine in ways that were unimaginable just a decade ago. Due to an explosion of infections never before reported in modern history and a new germ horror story sur ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 16th 2002 by Atria Books (first published 2001)
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There were a few helpful nuggets in this book about hygiene and science behind it, but moreover I was turned off by his too simplistic approach (writing like we're not smart enough to understand scientific stuff) and offensive opinions (blaming poor hygiene in the US on recent waves of immigration).

Read Jessica Snyder Sach's book (Good Germs, Bad Germs) to avoid the conflicting information in this one (like not sterilizing everything in your house due to germ resistance, but then suggesting tric
We are walking meat sacks filled with germs. While we live, the germs keep us alive (mostly). When we die, they eat us. Another fun book for air travel. PUT THE TOILET SEAT COVER DOWN WHEN YOU FLUSH.
The way people panic over SARS and Swine Flu, this book ought to be a bestseller. Where else will you find step-by-step instructions for proper handwashing (in case you never bothered before)? Actually, the book is very good, an easy read, and filled with useful information, not only on various diseases and some great medical/scientific history, but also with little sidebar tips added here and there about ways to protect yourself from bad germs and to take advantage of good germs. The author is ...more
I'm someone who didn't take a book out of the library for about 18 years because -- OK, I'll admit it -- I was afraid of germs. Turns out I had every reason to be fearful! Now a budget-conscious mother, I make do with fanatical alcohol sterilization before I bring my kid's books into bed at night. The mantra: wash your hands! remains especially meaningful after this read. Appears that germs are smarter than we are, with great adaptive skills. There are good germs and bad germs, and everywhere, t ...more
Dec 02, 2010 Julia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
A perfect layperson's guide to understanding microbes, how we effect them, how they affect us, and basic microbiology concepts. The first couple of chapters focus on microbiology 101, which I still find interesting. However, it is the information after that is what I find fascinating. The author walks the reader through a day in the life of a family from when they wake up, and at each moment of interaction with germs, he provides insightful information and advice on how to protect oneself from d ...more
Jan 08, 2009 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in the wonderful world of germs.
Recommended to Jennifer by: my crazy knowledge thirsty self
What I learned from this book...and unthinkingly shared with my very conservative regards to germs--you are better off eating human feces than french kissing another person.
An enlightening read but a bit on the Mr. Clean side, meaning it could turn you into a germophobe, afraid of going anywhere or touching anything!
My advice; eat some dirt & you'll be fine. Oh yeah, and use hot water & soap to be squeaky clean.
I read this book some years ago, but remembered doing so only recently. It was an informative book, but it tends toward unnecessary alarmism. If everything in the book were to be taken to heart, the reader would be afraid to venture out in public or indeed to share living arrangements with family members.
The part about laundering your unmentionables separately in their own private batch, though? Probably a good idea!!
I didn't learn much from this book that I didn't already know, but I was interested in the fact that the author really espouses washing hands frequently...something we don't always hear about anymore. Overall, this is a good introduction to harmful bacteria and the diseases they cause. I also appreciated the fact that the author was not an alarmist.
Ben Zajdel
Really good exposition on microbiology and pathology. Even better, the author provides what he calls Protective Response Plans, which are essentially protocol to follow to avoid unhealthy bacterium in your home and workplace.

I've sprayed Lysol on everything I own, though. Not a good side effect for a book.
An enticing overview of the enormously complex world of microbiology, written in a very accessible way. It left me with more questions than answers, however, but I guess that is a good thing. I find myself wanting to read a newer treatment of this subject as the material seemed rather dated.
Sarah Benkovic
Dec 26, 2007 Sarah Benkovic rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with OCD
I loved this book, but as those who know me would tell you, I might be a little too obsessed with germs and cleaning. However, that aside, it really is a very interesting book on many levels, but if you are easily disturbed you might want to keep looking.
Dora Landaverde
It's such an amazing read! Very informative and things that we should all know to help us live a healthy, paranoid free life. Just some simple steps to protect ourselves from illnesses and becoming more hygienic!
Quite a fascinating book - in fact, I read it in a day. The only downside to reading this is that I became a bit hyper-aware of germs for awhile after reading the book.
"Olive"  Kristine Howe
Freaked out after I read this book. Not a germaphobe but could be now! Cleaning with Vinegar, baking soda, lemon on everything. Please remember to wash your hands.
If you have a background in studying germs/microbes it will seem a little dry. If not then it should be very interesting.
How germs are now a global issue. Many helpful hints about cleanliness. Do you do the 20 second hand wash?
This book comes highly recommended. Something to consider in the life of a teacher.
James D Smith
A Christmas gift years ago, it was a great and highly informative read.
Learn the truth about how dirty our lives are. Not for the faint of heart :)
Marian Yee
Separate fact from fiction, esp prepare for the flu season
Amy Bradley
a little on the dry side
Katrina marked it as to-read
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