• If Our Bodies Could Talk

  • A Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Human Body
  • By: James Hamblin
  • Narrated by: James Hamblin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (154 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

"If you want to understand the strange workings of the human body, and the future of medicine, you must read this illuminating, engaging book." (Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Gene)

In 2014, James Hamblin launched a series of videos for The Atlantic called "If Our Bodies Could Talk". With it, the doctor-turned-journalist established himself as a seriously entertaining authority in the field of health. Now, in illuminating and genuinely funny prose, Hamblin explores the human stories behind health questions that never seem to go away - and which tend to be mischaracterized and oversimplified by marketing and news media. He covers topics such as sleep, aging, diet, and much more: 

  • Can I "boost" my immune system? 
  • Does caffeine make me live longer? 
  • Do we still not know if cell phones cause cancer? 
  • How much sleep do I actually need? 
  • Is there any harm in taking a multivitamin? 
  • Is life long enough? 

In considering these questions, Hamblin draws from his own medical training as well from hundreds of interviews with distinguished scientists and medical practitioners. He translates the (traditionally boring) textbook of human anatomy and physiology into accessible, engaging, socially contextualized, up-to-the-moment answers. They offer clarity, examine the limits of our certainty, and ultimately help listeners worry less about things that don't really matter. 

If Our Bodies Could Talk is a comprehensive guide that entertains and educates in equal doses. 

©2016 James Hamblin (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This book answers all the questions you ever had about your health - plus a whole lot of questions that never occurred to you but should have. Even if you don't care about your health you should read it, because Hamblin is such a delightfully amusing writer." (Walter Isaacson, New York Times best-selling author of The Innovators and Steve Jobs)

"Reading James Hamblin's book is like taking a journey through the vast and uncharted landscape of 'health science.' Fad Diets. The science of vaccines. The truth (and lies) behind coffee. The rumblings of the stomach. If you want to understand the strange workings of the human body, and the future of medicine, you must read this illuminating, engaging book." (Siddhartha Mukherjee, New York Times best-selling author of The Gene and The Emperor of All Maladies)

"[Hamblin] writes with sarcasm, humor, and a sense of astonishment.... He does a stellar job with nutrition, covering supplements, multivitamins, energy drinks, and gluten. He calls out medical misinformation and marketing myths.... Educational, entertaining, and a bit eccentric." (Booklist)

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What listeners say about If Our Bodies Could Talk

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    5 out of 5 stars

already planning on listening to it again

loved it. pleased I picked it out of all the audiobooks available, what luck! it is a great read, I highly recommend it. it can be picked up, and put down easily, no matter where you pick back up on it, it is easy to follow because he is covering so many subjects in such an easy and amusing way and constantly changing the topic. I could see this as a bathroom reader. or as the book you listen to when you know you have a short drive and don't want to be pained by putting down a long engrossing fiction. but it is still really interesting and amusing and captivating. I'd consider all the information useful. and have already recommended this book to several people. I listened to this at work between clients. listened to it while I cleaned. and listened to it in the car while driving to work. and listened while my kids were in the car too. a perfect read that didn't leave me grouchy when I had to put it down, but thoughtfully considering what I'd just heard. it covers a lot more than what I expected to hear. I expected a nutrition book. and although it started that way, it covered every body related topic, from burial procedures to diseases to nutrition to vaccinations to medical controversies and silly random questions

5 people found this helpful

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funny and insightful.

answers those nagging questions that you didn't know you had. enjoyed the author's sense of humor.

4 people found this helpful

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Not laid out in an organized fashion

This book bounces all over and is poorly organized. I found it disconcerting when he went from eye color to social warier justice saying Michael Brown was shot in the back by a police officer. This should not be in the book and I did not buy the book to listen to his social warrior opinion.

3 people found this helpful

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Great balancing book on what we are as humans

Just a tremendously well done book on understanding what and more interestingly who we are as humans. I loved the organization of the book around seemingly silly medical questions that turned into fascinating moral, ethical, funny and heart felt topics. A great listen with friends as they can pick up at any point and find it interesting.

3 people found this helpful

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love books like this!

I have listened to both this book and the authors new book " Clean " and wished there were more. I loved the In sight into things that we may have thought about but really never knew why they happened. can t wait for another book by Dr. Hamblin!!!

2 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyable

The author breaks down a lot of complicated medical concepts into digestible chunks for a non medical audience. He uses humour and empathy to review many ethical issues.
He also helps to put medical issues into a broader context of the world around us. Fascinating and highly recommended.

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Amazing. Funny. Helpful.

Useful. Funny and honest. Keep up the excellent work and updates. Well thought out and delivered.

1 person found this helpful

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Outstanding!!!

Eye opener for anybody that lives in a body. Exciting and relevant information delivered in a simple and easy way we can all understand! I will give this book to all my friends and family.

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wonderfully entertaining knowledge

I love the author and his irreverent tone while keeping the knowledge factual and based in multiple studies.

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A shame

The book was good until the author added his politics into the story instead of facts. If you misrepresent the shooting of Michael Brown and the events that lead to it, then I can no longer trust the rest of your writing. Keep your false liberal politics out of historical fact or at the very least discuss the entire truth without convenient omission.