Book Summaries: Health & Other Science

Health and other science books, summarised in one paragraph. Follow the links to see more detailed book notes and related articles from the blog.

The Bilingual Brain - By Albert Costa

Paper | eBook Book Summary

Albert Costa was one of the leading researchers in the field of neurolinguistics, specialising in research on the cognitive and neurological implications of bilingualism. The book explores how two (or more) languages can coexist in the brain and the implications of that coexistence. In a comprehensive guide through the latest research, Costa reveals how bilingualism may alter the structure of our brains, affect our attention system, and even potentially enhance our decision making.

Breath - By James Nestor

Paper | Book Summary

The modern world has lost its ability to breathe correctly, with far-reaching consequences for our health. In Breath, James Nestor reveals the long-forgotten ancient art of breathing, and how it might help us back. Nestor shows how slight adjustments in our breathing have the potential to reverse the damage we are doing, as well as bringing other health benefits. From the importance of nose breathing to the benefits of slow breathing, Nestor reveals that conscious breathing changes can help transform our bodies and minds.

Count Down - By Shanna Swan

Paper | eBook Book Summary

In 2017, Shanna Swan and a team of fellow researchers published a study that shocked the world. The results suggested that in just forty years, the western world had experienced a drop in sperm count of more than 50 percent. In Count Down, Swan explores exactly how our reproductive health has changed and why, pointing to a range of lifestyle and environmental factors, notably including the role of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in our everyday lives.

Cracked - By James Davies

Paper Book Summary

In Cracked, James Davies sets out to investigate why psychiatry has become the fastest-growing medical specialism but still has the poorest curative success, why psychiatric drugs are the most prescribed in history despite dubious efficacy, and why psychiatry is expanding the number of mental disorders it believes to exist. His research reveals that modern psychiatry rests on a foundational myth about its links to physical pathology. This is compounded by perverse financial incentives that underpin overdiagnosis and over-prescription, as well as poor clinical trial governance by the pharmaceutical industry and its regulators.

Endure - By Alex Hutchinson

Paper | eBook Book Summary

Endure explores the long-running endurance debate, which has taken us from a physiological understanding towards a new frontier of psychological and neurological research. Hutchinson presents a detailed account of the research, putting forward the view that we can train our brains as well as our bodies to improve endurance levels.

How to Change Your Mind - By Michael Pollan

Paper | eBook Book Summary

In How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan explores the history of the science of psychedelics. The book unearths the early findings on the role of psychedelics in treating anxiety, depression, and addiction, as well exploring the cutting-edge research at the forefront of the psychedelic resurgence of the 21st century. In a compelling read, Pollan also documents his first-hand experience with psilocybin, LSD, and other psychedelics.

Lifespan - By David Sinclair

Paper | eBook Book Summary

David Sinclair explores the idea that we should be treating aging as a disease. Through a comprehensive look at the latest research on aging, Sinclair explains where medicine is heading and the science-backed steps we can take right now to improve our longevity.

Moonwalking with Einstein - By Joshua Foer

Paper | eBook Book Summary

Joshua Foer went from regular journalist to US Memory Champion in a single year. In this superb tour through the science and history of memory, Foer documents his journey. The result is a work that reveals a welcome truth: through techniques like the memory palace, anyone can develop seemingly freakish memorisation abilities without any innate biological advantages.

The Nature Fix - By Florence Williams

Paper | eBook Book Summary

In a lively read, Williams explains the latest cutting-edge research on how nature influences our well-being. Research has shown that the mere smell, sound or sight of nature can change our brains and potentially improve health and educational outcomes. If embraced by policymakers, the implications could be far-reaching.

Sleep - By Nick Littlehales

Paper | eBook Book Summary

Nick Littlehales is an elite sports sleep coach and has worked with high-profile athletes from across the sporting spectrum. In this illuminating read, Littlehales provides actionable practices for better sleep. From thinking in cycles instead of hours to the power of napping, the ideas in this book will leave you thinking differently about our most important tool for physical and mental recovery.

Related Article: The 24-Minute Rule: How Napping Improves Performance

Together - By Vivek Murthy

Paper | eBook Book Summary

As the Nineteenth Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy found that one of the most common underlying themes of ill health was loneliness, without exemption by wealth, education or accomplishments. The book seeks to explain why building a more connected world holds the key to solving many medical and societal issues. And as Murthy argues throughout, we are already equipped with the antidote: our universal condition for human connection.