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The Body: A Guide for Occupants

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  65 reviews
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'A directory of wonders.' – The Guardian

'Jaw-dropping.' – The Times

'Classic, wry, gleeful Bryson…an entertaining and absolutely fact-rammed book.' – The Sunday Times

'It is a feat of narrative skill to bake so many facts into an entertaining and nutritious book.' – The Daily Telegraph
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‘We spend our whole lives in one body and yet most of us have practically no idea how it works and what goes on inside it. The idea of the book is simply/>‘We/>
book./>Itbook.'/>'Classic,/>
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Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 3rd 2019 by Doubleday
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Popular Answered Questions
Avid The advanced readers edition contains the following general subjects. These are subject to change before publication, though.
How to build a human…more
The advanced readers edition contains the following general subjects. These are subject to change before publication, though.
How to build a human
skin and hair
Microbes
The brain
The head
the mouth and throat
The heart and blood
the skeleton
exercise
Equilibrium
The immune system
the lungs
Food
The guts
Sleep
Conception and birth
Nerves and pain
Diseases
Cancer
Medicine
Death(less)
Avid I would say yes, though guardedly. There’s very little inappropriate language or references, but it very frankly covers things that can and do go…moreI would say yes, though guardedly. There’s very little inappropriate language or references, but it very frankly covers things that can and do go wrong with a body - choking, diseases, dementia, birth defects, and many other ailments and conditions that i think could unnecessarily alarm a 7yo. There is also a lot of data that I would imagine a 7yo would find very dry and boring - like the number of people per 100,000 who develop a certain disease each year in each of several named countries, for example. Or the historical prevalence of a certain condition. There is also a chapter on conception and birth. I mean, it’s all factual, but I know my own kids weren’t ready for that at 7. Maybe yours is. I definitely think the intended audience is adults, though. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  244 ratings  ·  65 reviews


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Betsy
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Be a bar trivia champion!
Want to dominate any biology questions at bar trivia?

The Body: A Guide for Occupants has you covered! For those of us who haven't had a biology class since we fulfilled some course requirement ages ago, Bryson gives an excellent overview of what doctors and scientists know about all our different body parts and bodily functions.

This book does for biology what books like Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong or A People's History of the United States have done fo
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Theresa Alan
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned so much from this book. One of the things I learned was that continuing to learn and keeping my brain active will help me avoid dementia, so you should read this book, too. I flagged many, many pages, so I’ll just offer a few highlights here.

The most interesting thing was reading about our skin, the tiny tiny layer that we makes us white or black or brown. Bryson watched a surgeon incise and peel back a sliver of skin a millimeter thick from the arm of cadaver. It was so thin it was t
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Brandon Forsyth
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I either laughed, shook my head in wonder, or did both on every page. This is Bryson at his best, and it should be handed out at birth.
Snooty1
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even for someone with a science/ medical background this was PHENOMENAL!
What an absolutely interesting and eye opening adventure into our bodies; and told in such a entertaining way!!!
Recommend for ANYONE and EVERYONE

Thanks to netgalley and Doubleday books for providing me with a copy of this book for my honest review.
Toni
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-2019
This is an awesome book.
Readable and fascinating. I'll be back with a full review.
It's October 15th already!
Oh my.
Great book!
Nursebookie
"THE BODY" by Bill Bryson.

Did you ever think you ever needed an owner's manual for our complex body? I think this was a brilliant idea!! We live in this body that we are so intimate with and yet could hardly speak of what goes on inside or tell us the functions of the organs we have, nor even name them, Bryson took a Biology Book, that is the last thing I ever want, and turned it to an amazing book that I cannot keep my hands away from. Converting a daunting and boring science book i
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Kate  TerHaar
I have been living in this body for 60 + years but it wasn't until I read this book did I learn about how many of it's system function and what doctors and scientists already know. Easy to read, entertaining, all the while being scientific make this a great informative book.
Betcei
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't big on the sciences in school, but Bill Bryson has written a book that keeps me turning pages and taking notes to talk about with everyone! Parts may make you squeamish, but 2 paragraphs later you will be laughing out loud! I see this as Christmas gifts this year! Enjoy!
Shawn
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, e, owned, giveaways
My first book by Bill Bryson was "A Short History of Nearly Everything." Since reading it, I have frequently included a Bryson book or two in my yearly reading and have suggested them to others. The Body is sure to be another book I will regularly recommend (and in fact already have).
The book itself winds through the system's of the body one after another. Bryson discusses what makes up the system, the important discoveries and discovers of parts in the system, always with an eye toward wh
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Liz Kirchhoff
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 600s
Funny, smart, entertaining, and thoughtful. A great read for people who like Mary Roach.
Kim McGee
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enter the wonderful world of Bill Bryson who has a master's touch for explaining things in a way that we all understand and are fascinated by. When he takes apart our body, system by system, piece by piece we not only understand more about our inner workings but we have been thoroughly entertained along the way. He is the master of anecdote, the king of clever tidbits of knowledge and easygoing writing style gives you a greater appreciation for the intricate machine we call our body. Here's to n ...more
Pam
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
WOW, I am amazed at how much I did NOT know about the human body! Mr Bryson made this interesting, informative and fun.

My thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for this advanced readers copy. This book is due to release in October 2019.
Robin
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great info along with Bryson’s dry wit.
Peter Tillman
Nature's mini-review:
"From skin to gut, the human body is a realm of wonder, and Bill Bryson’s tome explores it to its thrumming depths. The book bristles with data such as our allotment of cells (37.2 trillion) or daily faeces production (200 grams), but the star turns are Bryson’s wry forays into the histories of neuroscience, genetics, anatomy and immunology. Cue visceral gems such as diarist Samuel Pepys’s gruesome bladder-stone surgery, and US physician Chevalier Quixote Jackson’s ret
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Becky Diamond
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bill Bryson is a gifted writer, deftly melding facts with wit to expose humorous aspects of the human condition and the world around us. As a result, he can unpack any topic into the most fascinating thing you’ve ever read. The Body: A Guide for Occupants is no exception. Each chapter focuses on a body part or process, similar to the format of his book At Home focusing on the house and its functions. As with his other books, he has a knack for tracking down mind-boggling statistics and facts. So ...more
Marika
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What Bill Bryson did for the home, in his book "At Home: A Short History of Private Life", he now does for the human body in "The Body: A Guide for Occupants." This books is full of wonderful and sometimes quirky facts about the human body. Great as a fun read, and it's quite comprehensive in depth of the human body.

As Bill Gates said, "The human body is the most complex system ever created. The more we learn about it, the more appreciation we have about what a rich system it is."

*I
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Avid
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very informative and in-depth look at what the heck our bodies are/do. It explores disease and really cool capabilities and phenomena, in addition to just your regular functions. It’s not exactly bryson-humorous, but it does have a bit lighter tone for a science book. With bryson’s established quality/brand, this should be an easy handsell.
Brian Clegg
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of Bill Bryson's travel books - he is a superb storyteller, and in the best parts of his science writing, this ability to provide fascinating facts and intriguing tales shines through.

After taking on the whole of science in his first book, here he focuses in on the physiology, anatomy and diseases of the human body. Bryson does so with his usual light, approachable style, peppering the plethora of facts (and 'don't know's - it's amazing how much we still don't know ab
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Emily
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Advance copy provided by NetGalley.

At the beginning, I was a bit overwhelmed by the waterfall of facts descending upon me, but once I settled into his style, I really enjoyed this. Besides the abundance of facts about human anatomy, a subject I felt I needed to learn more about, there’s fascinating medical history and biographical information about pioneers in the field of medicine.

What struck me most in this book is that so many discoveries and theories that ar
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Marie Aitchison
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find the human body to be so fascinating. As a medical professional, I had to undergo many years of learning about anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry to earn my degree. I loved learning about the science that makes us human, and I still do! Thus, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, was a real winner with me. Bryson has a way of relating information that makes reading nonfiction feel fun and engaging. I recommend this read for anyone who enjoys learning about science and humans and what makes u ...more
Jenny
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction, arcs
*I was given an advanced copy of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

What can I say about Bill Bryson that hasn't already been said? He's a wonderful author with an amazingly articulate and witty voice. This particular book is jam-packed with facts, to the point where I had to read it one chapter at a time or my brain would get overwhelmed. It's a dense book and might be a slow read, but Bryson's voice gives it life in a way that other authors would lose my inte
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Linda Bond
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since reading “Little Dribbling,” I have been watching for a new book from Bill Bryson. He’s known best for his science-related books, of course, so he is sure to please all of his fans with this latest offering. And what an offering it is! An homage to the great gift that is the human body, this narrative is filled with all of the facts – both fun and serious – you need to truly respect what The Body does for us. Between Bill Bryson and Malcom Gladwell, I am a happy literary-science camper ...more
Ang
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fairly good; pretty standard Bryson. There were plenty of chuckles, and lots of OH MY GOD SERIOUSLY? I don't think the bar is high for that, because the body is wow no matter what. But one of Bryson's serious talents is to distill big things down to understandable chunks, and he definitely succeeds in that here.

But also, there is a LOT LOT LOT of fatphobia in this book. Like so much I *almost* put it down. So I don't know, if you're triggered by that, definitely avoid this.
Sharon
In his Bill Bryson breezy prose, the author has chosen the human body as the subject for this tome and because that’s just the way he writes, it’s eminently readable - and enjoyable. I found myself saying Huh or outright laughing on many occasions. For instance, “Ollivere gently incised and peeled back a sliver of skin about a millimeter thick from the arm of a cadaver. It was so thin as to be translucent. ‘That,’ he said, ‘is where all your skin color is. That’s all that race is —a sliver of ep ...more
Kat
The Body
by Bill Bryson

Oh Bill Bryson, how I do love your writing! I have been a fan since reading "A Short History of Nearly Everything". My husband and I were so into this book and the discussions it inspired, that we read it together at the dining room table, only turning the page when the other was ready. I recommend reading Bryson's book this way, or you can drive others in the room crazy, through repeated interjections of, "Wow! Did you know....?!" This book is no exceptio
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Homerun2
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Bryson is always intelligent, quirky, and entertaining and The Body is all of that. He takes often dry factual material and enlivens it. The organization of the book, by body sections and systems, is clear. His interjection of strange stories about the personalities and lives of some significant medical researchers adds to the fun.

The very last chapters are somewhat different. Instead of describing physiological facts, he begins talking about the health care systems in different coun
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Bam cooks the books ;-)
"I didn't know that!"--the phrase most often used by me as I read this book.

Bill Bryson explores what makes up the human body from head to toe, from birth to death, with his trademark wit and wisdom. He delves into how a healthy body functions and what can go wrong, how medicines and treatments have evolved over the years, discussing which scientists and doctors made important discoveries that benefitted humanity and which crackpot theories were eventually debunked. Best advice for living a lon
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Nathan
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You'll laugh; you'll cry. You'll hurl."
Sue Fernandez
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review. You might look at the title and think this will be a dry non fiction study. It's not. The way the author puts in little anecdotes, brief stories about some physicians who discovered certain things, etc, and the way our various systems affect us almost reads like fiction. I truly came away from this book respecting my body more, being more aware of how I treat it, and with a new admiration. I wil ...more
Joanne
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read most all of Bill Bryson's books and often find them fun, informative and interesting. This one can definitely be added to that list. He found a way of discussing human biology in such a way that held my interest mostly because it didn't read like a textbook. I think that's saying something. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance readers copy.
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William McGuire "Bill" Bryson, OBE, FRS was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He settled in England in 1977, and worked in journalism until he became a full time writer. He lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He and his family then moved to New Hampshire in America for a few years, but they have now returned to live in the UK.

In The Lost Continent, B
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“Just sitting quietly, doing nothing at all, your brain churns through more information in thirty seconds than the Hubble Space Telescope has processed in thirty years. A morsel of cortex one cubic millimeter in size—about the size of a grain of sand—could hold two thousand terabytes of information, enough to store all the movies ever made, trailers included, or about 1.2 billion copies of this book.” 0 likes
“Similarly, no one has ever come close to explaining why our fingers wrinkle when we have long baths. The explanation most often given is that wrinkling helps them to drain water better and improves grip. But that doesn’t really make a great deal of sense. Surely the people who most urgently need a good grip are those who have just fallen in water, not those who have been in it for some time.” 0 likes
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