Monday, July 16, 2007

Why zebras don't get ulcers

This book by Robert M. Sapolsky is touted as being “The acclaimed guide to stress, stress-related diseases, and coping”. Overall the book is very informative and interesting but it tended to get bogged down in the medical lingo of the whole “stress causing problems” process. Sure, this maybe interesting to a medical student but generally it makes the book hard going for the casual reader.

The book has plenty of in depth research about the causes and results of stress on the human body. It show cases the fact that as humans we tend to stress for extended periods of time whereas animals ( read zebra being cased by a lion ) only get stressed for that short period when they either escape or become dinner. The result of humans continuing to stress over longer periods of times tends to cause all sorts of things inside our body to go haywire. This book provides great depth into the full range of afflictions that result from stress including : depression, ulcers, heart disease and more.

It was also disappointing that book spent more time detailing the issues that cause stress rather than the ways to combat then directly. However, the authors detail of stress afflictions certainly makes you stop and consider the damage that unnecessary stress is causing your body and you mind. There are many great insights and detailed analysis that certainly makes the book a worthwhile read but it is still rather heavy going.

Overall the book does accomplish what it sets out to. Our expectation may have been a little different after having the book recommended to us. If you really what an in depth analysis of the physical and mental problems that stress can wreak on your body then this is book for you. Our main criticism is that the in depth medical analysis can make the book tough to get through at times.

Rating = 6 out of 10