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addabook - The Story of the Human Body
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The Story of the Human Body
Evolution, Health, and Disease
Daniel Lieberman
read on June 1, 2014

Lieberman's main idea throughout this book is that we evolved over millions of years to excel under a specific set of conditions, and over the last few hundred (thousand) years have so quickly changed our own environment and lifestyle that many of our adaptations are actually working against us, so much so that they are the cause for the worst and most prevalent ailments/diseases in modern times.

\The book is interesting all the way through, but the whole time I felt like it was one big "no duh". It's hard to imagine someone either disagreeing with the claims in the book, or even finding any of the premises or conclusions surprising. I guess it's not quite common sense, but it definitely wasn't anything bold or new or exciting. For example, calories used to be very hard to come by, so we developed intense desire for fats and sweets (high caloric foods), which we rarely had access to. Fast forward to now, and you have instant access to hyper-processed, intense calorie bombs like ice cream or soda. Obviously, this has led to a worldwide (and particularly in developed nations) epidemic of obesity and diabetes. This isn't surprising or contestable, but it is interesting, and throughout the book I ended up learning about (and paying attention to) Lieberman's description of how these diseases and body systems work (as well as more detail on how we evolved), more so than on the arguments he was trying to make.

Author Bio:

Daniel E. Lieberman (born June 3, 1964) is a paleoanthropologist at Harvard University, where he is the Edwin M Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, and chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. He is best known for his research on the evolution of the human head and the evolution of the human body.