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All Natural: A Skeptic's Quest For Health And Happiness In An Age Of Ecological Anxiety (2013)

by Nathanael Johnson(Favorite Author)
3.72 of 5 Votes: 4
1605290742 (ISBN13: 9781605290744)
Rodale Books
review 1: This book really frustrated me. I thought I would love it - no one loves a debate bout "natural" vs. man-made/chemical/processed more than me. But it didn't feel cohesive - which makes sense now that I find out that each chapter had been written and published elsewhere separately - and I felt like it didn't provide a convincing argument either way. I was especially interested in the chapter on vaccines and I felt that one was particularly disappointing, although I did learn that the use of vaccines apparently dates back to 8th century India! Some interesting points were made in the final chapter about western medicine, including the fact that the American medical system punishes doctors who attempt to prevent illness in their patients and rewards those who can find lots of... more things wrong with people and can force lots of tests and drugs on them. So basically, a doctor who tries to keep his patients healthy will go bankrupt, but a doctor who has a lot of sick patients will become rich. I've known this on some level for a long time, but seeing it spelled out so clearly makes me trust medicine and doctors even less (but please do rush me to the hospital if I have appendicitis!). I also liked how in the conclusion the author makes the argument that our tendency toward natural or man-made/chemical/processed is a function of right brain vs. left, which I think can also explain lots of differences such as whether someone is a republican or a democrat. For example, if you see things at separate and fragmented, believe all of existence can be divided up into classes, about which you can make predictions and assumptions (left-brained approach) you will vote for the every-man-for-himself republicans, and if you believe that all things are connected (right-brained approach) you vote democrat.
review 2: Please let Nathanael Johnson be just one of many of his generation to strive to take the best of what technological advancements and the kind, loving and responsible side of humanity (aka the right and left hemispheres of our brains) and come up with ways we can all participate in making this world a better place. I found the sections on cooperative forest management, industrial pig farming and medical care the most fascinating but the whole book is worth reading. Johnson has a gentle but carefully documented way of debunking a lot of alternative health assertions and treatments while noting the need to add back humane attention and patient involvement in medical care. His discussion of the placebo effect shows that there is much to learn about how our minds can work with our bodies to supplement and even do better than medicines and technology to heal us. If Johnson's views represent the future, then I feel somewhat optimistic. less
Reviews (see all)
Couldn't finish it. Bored me to tears. I'm very disappointed and thought this would be a great book.
I loved the perspective, and really enjoyed the beginning. It just got a little long.
Heavy on all the science details, but enlightening.
Will review later.
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