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Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System
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Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child's Developing Immune System

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  145 ratings  ·  25 reviews
From two of the world’s top scientists and one of the world’s top science writers (all parents), Dirt Is Good is a q&a-based guide to everything you need to know about kids & germs.

“Is it OK for my child to eat dirt?”

That’s just one of the many questions authors Jack Gilbert and Rob Knight are bombarded with every week from parents all over the world. They've heard everyth
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  145 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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The book piqued my interested when I saw it on my library's new release shelf so I grabbed it, even though my children are way past the infant stage. I'll admit I was shocked by the advice on page 55, "Additionally, if your wet nurse has infected and inflamed nipples or mastitis, the bacteria causing that infection can hurt your baby". Now, I'm not sure if the authors are only recommending this for those who can hire a wet nurse, where as the families I know cannot afford that luxury, but I know ...more
I had a lot more hope for this book, but it reaffirmed a lot of ideas I already knew and had. Hand sanitizing and obsessive washing=bad. (Though right now, it seems to be a necessary way, sigh.) Dirt=good.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a good book, written in a Q&A format, so you can skim it and only read the answers to questions that are of interest to you. Or I can summarize it in one word for you: "probiotics". I'd suggest listening to the NPR interview by the author.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Gebhardt
The first chapters seemed to be explaining what the microbiome is. This was too scientific for me (and I'm not going to be researching the veracity of all of their studies), but I can see how they need to establish the science ahead of time. The middle of the book has the some great advice. Then the end of the book seems to get a bit too much into detail in terms of scientific detail (whether and how to conduct a fecal matter transplant, etc.). In fact, the conclusion seems to target scientists ...more
Deborah Martinez
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
My friend Kat had this book on her to read list, and when I went to the library this week I saw it so grabbed it. I will say I did not read the book in entirely, as I do not have kids myself, but there were some chapters I was really interested in. The book is well written, and is a bit heavy on the biology terms, but that's good as it is not only a challenging read but informative too! I found the following to be interesting:

"Each person sheds 38 million microbes an hour, so every time you inte
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A quick aside: If one compared sessions at conferences to performances at music festivals, Dr. Gilbert would be The Rolling Stones (or whichever iconic band speaks to you). I'm telling you, if you ever find the opportunity to hear Dr. Gilbert speak, attend the thing!

Health & wellness information is easy to find, but the validity of claims can vary widely. Essentially, there is a TON of pseudoscience out there. This book is a wonderful and easily-digestible (gastro-pun!) resource for anyone inter
Nishat Tasnim
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am so thoroughly delighted with the number of times Knight and Gilbert say “great question, no data” in this book! The concluding chapter “A few words on hype” is probably my favourite because it cautions scientists, media and readers against spreading extrapolative, misinformed, and, ultimately, incorrect news about microbiome therapies. Always a delight to hear these honest and critical words from scientists, especially during the exponential growth phase of a research field. Anyway, if you ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Honestly, this book went right over my head. Maybe I was reading too quickly or am just scientifically dense, but this book is fairly technical and sometimes not well explained in laymen's terms, at least in my opinion, as someone who still isn't quite sure what "microbiome" is, let alone ever knew enough to ask any of the "common" questions that (along with the authors' answers) comprise the bulk of this book. Still, I appreciate the premise (never mind it's "a sign of the times") and don't dis ...more
Apr 15, 2021 rated it liked it
An interesting topic but I found it really hard to read - and not because of the scientific subject matter. The entire book is written in a FAQ format which was fine at first but got old really quickly. The information shared was either too detailed or too generic, and in the end I’m not sure I retained anything I couldn’t have gotten out of a quick Google search. A missed opportunity to write an interesting story about the microbiome and childhood.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The books shows that (contrary to what we were taught) exposure to dirt is good for the immune system. The author states that the best thing you can do for a young child is to get them out into nature, expose them to pets, and let them play in the sand. Written by a scientist, it is easy-to-read and informative.
Pinar Gungor Cankaya
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bagirsak florasi ile ilgili konular ve microbiomelar cok ilginc ve tip dunyasi icin cok buyuk yenilikler getirecege benziyor. Daha cok diyetler konusuluyor ama mesela depresyonun bile bagirsak florasi ile iliskili olmasi cok mumkun gozukuyor. Ne kadar cocuklarin sagligi icin yazilmis gibi gozuksede bu kitap 2 bilim adaminin bu konu uzerine calismlarini kapsiyor. Cok begendim.
May 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: healthy
Some interesting discussions, although the first half is all about pregnancy and babies which is no longer relevant, and might just make people anxious about things they shouldn’t be if they read it during that time. They raise interesting ideas but often say, “We don’t know the answer yet.”
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read it slowly, little bit at a time, as I often do nonfiction. But very well-written primer on the available evidence about the microbiome. Written by lead scientists in the field but in a very conversational style.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic arguments about the many many many things we don't really know about dirt and its relationship to our immune systems. Enjoyed it very much. A bit technical, but their explanations are clear and laymen. ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Not a lot of new information.
Laura C
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I found the title only related to a small part of the book. I found some parts helpful or interesting but most of the book wasn’t.
Jeff Grant
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cutting edge about how bacteria influence our health and well-being.
Lindsay Sawey
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid read. Would recommend to new / first time parents. I found I already knew most of the information , but finished nonetheless.
Karen Duke
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great information presented in a super practical tone. The tile is a very accurate summary of the book.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I can really get behind this premise (it's good not to keep your house too clean!) but this book was poorly written and ultimately underwhelming. ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I want to finish this- very enlightening connections among microbes and human body systems. It got requested before I could finish.
Tuyet Lan
Nếu bạn đọc cuốn sách này để tìm giải pháp chắc chắn thì sẽ thất vọng. Toàn bộ sách rất ít các kết luận hay lời khuyên nên hay không nên được đưa ra. Câu trả lời cho các thắc mắc thường là "Chúng tôi không biết", "chúng tôi không chắc", "có hiệu nghiệm lâm sàng với vài cá nhân, nhưng chưa được khẳng định qua nghiên cứu mẫu lớn". Điều này không làm giảm giá trị của sách, mà khiến mình cảm thấy sách đáng tin hơn các bí kíp nuôi con "chắc trăm phần trăm" tràn lan trên mạng. Sách thực sự được viết b ...more
William Lawrence
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Mar 17, 2019
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Oct 06, 2018
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Apr 28, 2021
rated it it was ok
Jul 12, 2017
Emma Nation
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Feb 20, 2018
Chelsea Lloyd
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Apr 12, 2018
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You’d never know it from reading the books listed here, but good science writing is incredibly difficult to pull off. There is both an art...
103 likes · 7 comments
“So yes, this means dirt is good. Mud pies rule.” 0 likes
“let your kids experience as much microbial diversity as you can find. Get them outside, let them interact with animals, allow them to play in the dirt, rivers, streams, ocean. Don’t sterilize everything they are going to touch or put into their mouth. A great example of this is the pacifier that falls on the ground. Parents who sterilize the binky run the risk of increasing the likelihood that their child will develop food sensitivities later in life.” 0 likes
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