• Immune

  • A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive
  • By: Philipp Dettmer
  • Narrated by: Steve Taylor
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (742 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A deep dive into the immune system that will forever change how you think about your body, from the creator of the popular science YouTube channel Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell.

“Through wonderful analogies and a genius for clarifying complex ideas, Immune is a truly brilliant introduction to the human body’s vast system for fighting infections and other threats.” (John Green, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Fault in Our Stars)

You wake up and feel a tickle in your throat. Your head hurts. You’re mildly annoyed as you get the kids ready for school and dress for work yourself. Meanwhile, an epic war is being fought, just below your skin. Millions are fighting and dying for you to be able to complain as you head out the door.

So what, exactly, is your immune system?

Second only to the human brain in its complexity, it is one of the oldest and most critical facets of life on Earth. Without it, you would die within days. In Immune, Philipp Dettmer, the brains behind the most popular science channel on YouTube, takes listeners on a journey through the fortress of the human body and its defenses. There is a constant battle of staggering scale raging within us, full of stories of invasion, strategy, defeat, and noble self-sacrifice. In fact, in the time you’ve been reading this, your immune system has probably identified and eradicated a cancer cell that started to grow in your body.

Each chapter delves into an element of the immune system, including defenses like antibodies and inflammation as well as threats like bacteria, allergies, and cancer, as Dettmer reveals why boosting your immune system is actually nonsense, how parasites sneak their way past your body’s defenses, how viruses work, and what goes on in your wounds when you cut yourself.

Enlivened by immersive descriptions, Immune turns one of the most intricate, interconnected, and confusing subjects - immunology - into a gripping adventure through an astonishing alien landscape. Immune is a vital and remarkably fun crash course in what is arguably, and increasingly, the most important system in the body.

©2021 Philipp Dettmer (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Immune is science communication at its most lucid and exhilarating, a tour de force of demystification. Dettmer maintains an intimate relationship with the reader while revealing the Homeric dramas that routinely unfold within us. It has a vivid clarity that never comes at the expense of the science — or the wonder, as if an entire scientific field had been translated into human.” (Ann Druyan, author of Cosmos: Possible Worlds)

“Philipp Dettmer has a unique skill to show us the beauty and complexity of our world as it is revealed through a scientific understanding of it. In Immune he takes us on a tour through our own body and allows us to see and understand how our immune system actually works. A beautiful book about a complex system that our life depends on.” (Max Roser, founder of Our World in Data)

Immune reads like it’s a riveting sci-fi novel, as Philipp Dettmer takes you on a journey into the body for an up-close look at the armies of expert warriors, rogue gladiators, and stealthy detectives that protect you in the daily war against trillions of ruthless microbe enemies. By the end of the book, I understood my entire body far better than I ever had before. Immune is a delightful treat for the curious.” (Tim Urban, creator of Wait But Why)

“Bringing both insight and humor to an important and relevant topic, Dettmer’s book is essential reading, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Library Journal)

What listeners say about Immune

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Steve Taylor for the win

Let me just assure you, fellow Audible fans, on what your real question is… yes, it’s the same voice talent as the videos. Highly recommend.

Great work Philip and Steve.

Dr. Patrick Riley, Ph.D.

21 people found this helpful

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Masterpiece

it is written beautifully, completely worth the wait and delay. the narrator is engaging and very articulate. 10/10 if you haven't heard of their youtube channel, check it out! (Kurzgesagt- in a nutshell)

12 people found this helpful

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This is a thing I would listen to over and over

His voice is nice the book is great could wast a week end listening to this and not even care I am 14 but I already have a love for this because of there Channel but also because of the foundation it has given me to learn on I definitely learn in school but whenever I see a new video has come out I always get excited and happy because I know even though it’s on in 10 minutes I can be alone with it and be happy because they are just great writers in this book is really showing that those 10 minutes is not enough and that’s now 10 hours but it still can feel like that those 10 minutes

8 people found this helpful

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  • CB
  • 11-04-21

I have no medical background and I enjoyed it

Easily understandable, entertaining to listen to, and works as reference material.
I love it.

4 people found this helpful

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I've thoroughly enjoyed this.

I just wanna say, thank you for teaching me, it was easy to understand and it was exquisitely well written. thank you, and have a good day.

3 people found this helpful

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A fantastic, fun book

There are numerous great videos for the book, and a great sample to listen to. Try those out!

I've been able to hear and read the whole book now, and this is truly the best audiobook on a complex subject that I've listened to. I learned a lot about the immune system along the way. Highest recommendations. Their videos are great, too.

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Great book!!

I have watched m the YouTube videos prior to the release of this book and they got me very interested in the immune system. In the videos, the narrator goes pretty in depth but they cant go as in depth as they wanted to. This book allows them too and I couldn't wait for its release. i haven't finished the book as of the writing of this review but from the 1hr I have listened to so far, my expectations are greatly surpassed and I actually plan on buying an actual hard cover copy of the book. I recommended this book to my wife and I plan on reading it to my daughter when I get the book.

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Great book and very imformitive

I absolutely loved this book and thought it was very informative and gave me a great view on how complex my body really is and made me feel like I was more than just some skin blood and tissue floating around in a large universe. It helped me realize that the smallest things are the most complex. Love this book
-Jeremiah Reitman

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Makes the immune system seem more understandable

More understandable than immunology probably is. I originally got the book as a physical copy, which has amazing illustrations, but I ended up listening on my walks, and looking at the illustrations when I got home.

The related videos on the Kurzgesagt YouTube channel give a decent summary of the things discussed in this book, often using similar stories, but I still feel like I understand the topics better after reading the book, thanks to the extra background information and context.

I also love that it's narrated by the same person who narrates the Kurzgesagt videos.

I used to always be scared about biology in general. But learning more about the immune system trying to defend me, as well as familiarity because of how much it now feels like my main field of parallel programming, made me feel a little less helpless. Even though I learned about a bunch of different ways in which I probably am.

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Disorganized chaotic mess

The first 20% of the book is incessantly telling us what he’s going to talk about later - why? It also felt scattered and disorganized, and written at about a 7th grade reading level.

1 person found this helpful