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Extended Audio Sample The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease, by Daniel E. Lieberman, Daniel Lieberman Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel E. Lieberman, Daniel Lieberman Narrator: Sean Runnette Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In a book that illuminates, as never before, the evolutionary story of the human body, Daniel Lieberman deftly examines the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the advent of bipedalism, the shift to a nonfruit-based diet, the rise of hunting and gathering, our superlative endurance athletic abilities, the development of a very large brain, and the incipience of modern cultural abilities. He elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution and how it further transformed our bodies during the agricultural andiIndustrial revolutions.

Lieberman illuminates how these ongoing changes have brought many benefits but also have created novel conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, resulting in a growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, including type 2 diabetes. He proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of “dysevolution,” a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally, provocatively, he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes oblige us to create a more health-giving environment.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “No one understands the human body like Daniel Lieberman or tells its story more eloquently. He’s found a tale inside our skin that’s riveting, enlightening, and more than a little frightening.”

    Christopher McDougall, New York Times bestselling author of Born to Run

  • “Friedrich Nietzsche called the human body ‘a big sagacity; a plurality with one sense; a war and a peace; a flock and a shepherd.’ All those functions and battles come alive in this popular science book that traces the evolution of humankind in functions, health, and disease. Contemporary readers will be especially intrigued by Lieberman's account of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease as instances of ‘dysfunction’ in action. Harvard professor Lieberman is a graceful writer whose insights and remedies carry persuasive force.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “These are not debates to gloss over or reduce to simple statements of cause and effect—they are stories with scientific complexity and tremendous, sometimes contradictory accumulations of evidence and detail. The Story of the Human Body does full justice to those stories, to that evidence and to that detail, and brings them to bear on daily health and well-being, individual and collective.”

    Washington Post

  • “[Lieberman] is a true expert in a system where architecture and history intersect: the human foot.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “In thoroughly enjoyable and edifying prose, Lieberman…leads a fascinating journey through human evolution. He comprehensively explains how evolutionary forces have shaped the human species as we know it…He balances a historical perspective with a contemporary one…while asking how we might control the destiny of our species. He argues persuasively that ‘cultural evolution is now the dominant force of evolutionary change acting on the human body.’”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Lieberman holds nothing back…He cleverly and comprehensively points out the perils of possessing Paleolithic anatomy and physiology in a modern world and bemoans ‘just how out of touch we have become with our bodies’…If we want to continue our phenomenal run as a species, it is essential to understand (and embrace) our evolutionary legacy.”


  • “Lieberman gracefully combines paleontology, anatomy, physiology, and experimental biomechanics to clarify how the human body has evolved, from the emergence of bipedalism to the growth of modern cultural abilities. Now, he shows, we are troubled by dysevolution as our long-evolved bodies fail to fit the contemporary world and respond by developing diseases like diabetes.”

    Library Journal

  • “A massive review of where we came from and what ails us now…Would that industry and governments take heed.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Monumental…Takes us on an epic voyage that reveals how the past six million years shaped every part of us—our heads, limbs, and even our metabolism. Through Lieberman’s eyes, evolutionary history not only comes alive, it becomes the means to understand, and ultimately influence, our body’s future.” 

    Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish

  • “Seasoned narrator Sean Runnette gives a solid and engaging performance.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • “Sean Runnette reads with a low-key, clear voice that conveys the information well, leaving room for the occasional wry observation to hit its mark. Much of the book details how evolution worked, but the latter chapters offer practical thoughts on its effects…This is an interesting look at how the body works.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013
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