The Body - A Guide For Occupants

2 minute read

I am currently reading The Body: A Guide For Occupants by Bill Bryson.

This is my first Bryson book, and although I am only about half of the way through, it is proving to be one of the most readable books that I’ve come across in a long time. I knew very little of Bryson before picking up this book, but from what I have learned so far, all of his work is of this quality.

As you would expect, the subject matter is the human body.

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.

  • What is your body composed of?
  • How much would it cost to rebuild you from scratch?
  • What is your amygdala used for?

After a couple of chapters, you’ll know the answer to these questions.
SPOILER ALERT: It would cost £96,546.79 ex VAT and labour to build yourself from scratch, and your amgydala is primarily responsible for managing aggression, fear and anxiety.

An important point however, is that it is written and explained with us mere mortals in mind. As much as I enjoy reading within this space, I often find that the books are too intense, or difficult to focus on for more than a few pages at a time. Truth be told, I’m still working my way through Robert Sapolsky’s Behave. The Biology of Humans at our best and worst and it’s been a few months of dipping in and out during my commute.
Interestingly, most of the tidbits of information that I have managed to retain about the human brain from Sapolsky is also covered by Bryson, in slightly more comprehendable terminology. Mind you, it is aimed at a different audience completely.

Nonetheless, I am half way into this and figure I’ll have it completed in another couple of hours. Assuming the rest of the content is as enjoyable, I think I will be picking up some more of the author’s books. No surprise that it was number one Sunday Times Bestseller for 2019.

Update: Finished reading the book last week, and it was enjoyable all the way. I would highly recommend this one, and I’ll definitely be picking up some more Bryson books.

Next ones up on the reading list are The Uninhabitable Earth : A Story of the Future and Invisible Women : Exosing Data Bias in a World Designed For Men, the latter of which seems to be a bit more readable, from leafing through the first couple of chapters.