I wouldn’t pick up the book just because of the title. “200 Good Reasons to Rethink Your Habits” sounds a lot like self-improvement. And my habits are good this way. In fact, there is no evidence of a “healthier, happier life,” as the subtitle promises, behind the book’s cover. Instead, science writer and physician Stuart Farmond answers more than 200 questions you may have asked yourself before: Why am I tired even though I sleep late? What if I have a word on the tip of my tongue? Why do I feel younger than me? Is the new sitting is smoking? Do my dreams have meaning? How is my memory improving? And why the hell do they all drive much worse cars than I do?
Many graphics help understanding
The author devotes one or two pages to each question. His answers are short, concise, and interesting at the same time – and the graphics are so lovingly prepared that it’s really fun to read the book. The acknowledgment at the end of the book shows that Stuart Farimond has been very helpful in answering these questions. The list of used publications and professors consulted is long.
With over 200 questions, there are of course some that seem to be wanted or to which there is no clear answer yet. The division into classes “morning”, “noon”, “evening” and “night” seems artificial. It made sense to organize the book according to topics such as sleep, exercise, memory, and diet.
Curiosity rather than self-improvement
Incidentally, the title of the English original is more appropriate: “Life Science”. Rather than self-improvement, the book focuses on curiosity about the big and small phenomena of everyday life. You learn a lot: for example, food that causes itching is irresistible because it contains an “unholy triad” of nutrients that the body desires most (sugar, fat and salt), or that young people like to take risks because the front part of their brains, which are responsible for Work control, not yet fully developed. Farimond likes to use comparisons for his explanations, for example that once you learn the sequence of movements, they are imprinted in the brain “like the shape of your body in a memory foam mattress.” Time and time again, it also gives specific advice on what you can draw for yourself from the results, such as how to design your office in order to be particularly productive, how to avoid a lunchtime dip or how to confront fears and fears.
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