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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream - A Day in the Life of Your Body

Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream is Jennifer Ackerman's science book about your body over a 24 hour period. Amongst the many topics, it discusses the circadian rhythm, how brains, stomach, muscles, and sleep works, all in a very general but literate way (you can tell Ackerman was an English major).

The unfortunate side effect of all that literacy is that Ackerman frequently digresses into personal details, so much of the book talks about her family, her memories, and everything else.

As far as the scientific details are concerned, this book reminds me very much of I am Joe's Body, an extremely high level introduction to the biology of the human body, though clearly Ackerman writes for a much higher level of reading skill than Reader's Digest.

Unfortunately, the result of such broad coverage is shallow-ness. You certainly don't get the in-depth study of sleep seen in The Promise of Sleep, and the section on multi-tasking is no better than what I read in Traffic. This is very unfortunate, since every new fact she came up with I feel like I'd read already in some New York Times article (like the one about exercise actually improving your ability to think) or some other book.

I guess if you're not a science junkie like me, this book might give you something new. Otherwise, give it a pass.

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