Book Review | The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman

The book, The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman, gives readers a fascinating look at human health and disease through the lens of evolution. For readers interested in our evolutionary past, Lieberman gives a thorough account of where we came from. What I found especially interesting about the book was the “mismatch” hypothesis, and how it relates to modern day health problems. I learned that some things we think of as normal, such as myopia, are really quite rare in hunter-gather societies. Humans were never meant to work at computers or spend hours reading 2D words on a page or screen.

Lieberman examines many such mismatch diseases, such as type II diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, flat feet, and shows how our current environment plays a role towards their exacerbation.

Towards the end of the book Lieberman offers solutions that might help nudge our behavior in the proper direction for better health. I cringed when Lieberman suggested that Government needs to be part of the solution towards nudging people in the right direction. 

For the past 40 years, Government has told us to eat 9-11 servings of grains a day; which is partially responsible for the obesity epidemic. What chance do we have that they will get it right the next time around? 

His other suggestions are sensible, however, such as getting more exercise, limiting high doses of fructose (sugary drinks), and using standing desks at work. 

Overall, Lieberman gives us an excellent read that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in evolutionary medicine or human evolution.

Also, Prof Lieberman has been on my podcast twice this year. You can listen to our conversations by clicking the links below:

Click here to listen to our talk about The Story of the Human Body

Click here to listen to our talk about how humans evolved as distance runners

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Paleo lifestyle enthusiast, Minimalist runner