I really enjoyed this book and found it incredibly interesting all the way through. I appreciated the thoughtful and scientific approach to understand...moreI really enjoyed this book and found it incredibly interesting all the way through. I appreciated the thoughtful and scientific approach to understanding people and ideas in the context of our moral structure. The author is very good at laying the story so that it's compelling, interesting, and understandable.
An English teacher receives an essay from one of his English class students about plastic ducks lost at sea when a contai...moreI absolutely love this book.
An English teacher receives an essay from one of his English class students about plastic ducks lost at sea when a container ship loses containers filled with plastic toys from China, and becomes obsessed.
He embarks on an adventure to find some of the toys, and in the process learns about oceanography, ocean currents, plastic, climate change, and all that these discoveries imply. But its not just an environmentalist manifesto; while he does, through truth in reporting, get across the devastation wrought by over half a century of plastic pollution on the oceans of the world, he looks at the issues with an unbiased reporters eye, getting the perspectives of many different people involved in these issues. From Charles Moore, the champion of the North Pacific Garbage Patch, to Curtis Ebbesmeyer, the oceanographer and famed beachcomber, to Hawaiian surfers and plastics manufacturers, he builds a well rounded story, one that's beautifully written, about oceans and our relationship with them. (less)
Ultraprevention is one of the best overall health books I’ve read. The focus of the book is to understand basic health, and when facing common health...moreUltraprevention is one of the best overall health books I’ve read. The focus of the book is to understand basic health, and when facing common health ailments, how to fix the root causes rather than treating symptoms with drugs.
In order to help us lay people understand all the science behind our bodies, how they work, and how the food we eat affects our health, the authors have broken up the material into five sections, the “five forces of illness”. Each is explained in detail, and then comprehensive plans to deal with each of the five are outlined. Much of the plans are food related - after all, we are what we eat (and drink) - but there are also lifestyle changes that are recommended, including, of course, the old standby, exercise.
What I like about this book is that it’s easy to read and understand despite being chock full of a lot of great science information. It’s written so that someone without a chemistry or medical degree can understand, but not so “dumbed down” that the reader feels that “the doctor is talking to me like I’m stupid” feeling you sometimes get with other books of this ilk. In addition, the material is well researched and referenced, and, really nothing new. If you’ve been paying attention to health news over the past decade, much of this material will seem familiar. But it’s laid out and explained in a way here that is easy to follow and implement - if you’ve got the motivation to change.
The plans are by no means easy for someone who is unhealthy or following a traditional Western diet of mostly processed and packaged food. Hopefully, if you’re interested in the book, you are motivated to change or have a basic interest in health anyway. And if you are interested in health, you’ll probably find that you’re already doing some of the things they recommend.
While I found that I’m already doing about 75% of what they recommend, the book was still incredibly valuable for me, giving me a good structure to think about my health and to organize and plan my approach to staying healthy.
There is an excellent quote in the book:
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself; art cannot become manifest; strength cannot be exerted; wealth is useless, and reason is powerless.” — Heterophiles, the father of anatomy, 300 B.C.
A good reminder of why it’s worth spending time on your health. Here’s to your good health in 2011!(less)
I love all of Mary Oliver's writing, but every once in a while I run across a poem that blows me away. "The Journey" has long been my favorite of her...moreI love all of Mary Oliver's writing, but every once in a while I run across a poem that blows me away. "The Journey" has long been my favorite of her poems, but "Straight Talk from Fox" in Red Bird simply took my breath away, and may be my new favorite. The whole book is wonderful, but worth reading for this one poem alone.(less)
Excellent book that discusses the physical impacts of the various surgery and treatments that breast cancer patients experience and lays out plans for...moreExcellent book that discusses the physical impacts of the various surgery and treatments that breast cancer patients experience and lays out plans for stretching and strengthening. The descriptions of the exercises are good, with clear pictures and instructions. Multiple plans customized for different people (ie, those who had lumpectomies, those who had mastectomies, etc.) are described. (less)
I already knew we (the human race, the planet and every other living thing on it) are pretty screwed, but this book lays out just how screwed we reall...moreI already knew we (the human race, the planet and every other living thing on it) are pretty screwed, but this book lays out just how screwed we really are. While the author doesn't promise some wind, solar, carbon capture or geo-engineering solution nicely packaged and ready for us, he does end a slightly positive note - even though we're screwed, we are human beings and we don't give up easily and after we despair for and then accept our lost future, we will act and in the process discover another, different future instead (although surely one with significantly fewer numbers of us in it).
I have already gone through the despair phase myself (most of the previous decade), and am well into the acceptance phase, so this book didn't depress me like it might others. But if you're at all interested in climate change and planning for our very different future (which is coming shortly, within the next couple of decades), then I highly recommend this well written, thoroughly researched book.
The focus of this book is more on the psychology of climate change rather than the mechanics or the causes, although the latter are discussed.
This is a great book for anyone with cancer or who wants to prevent cancer. It describes the most current thinking about how cancer forms, and then go...moreThis is a great book for anyone with cancer or who wants to prevent cancer. It describes the most current thinking about how cancer forms, and then goes into detail about how to augment conventional treatment with support of the "terrain" - the body and the mind - through diet, exercise, and mindfulness.
Throughout, the author describes his own experience with cancer, and how he transitioned from thinking that his only options were to tackle cancer with surgery and chemotherapy to understanding that healing is not necessarily being cured, but rather improving one's outlook and quality of life for whatever time we have on this earth.
The author provides detailed references for all the studies he draws from and sticks mostly to methods that have evidence to back them up. It is an informative and, at times, moving book. I highly recommend it.(less)
Excellent book for anyone who has cancer. It has 50 short chapters on everything from treatment plans (encouraging everyone to become involved and an...moreExcellent book for anyone who has cancer. It has 50 short chapters on everything from treatment plans (encouraging everyone to become involved and an advocate for themselves with their medical team) to diet and exercise to mediation and visualization. Highly recommended.(less)