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Ed Young's 1-minute book review contains multiple books.

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life – by Ed Yong

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A little while back we reviewed a book (Planet of Viruses) about the role of viruses in our lives, beyond the obvious. Today’s book gives the same treatment to microbes in general—mostly bacteria.

We all know about pathogens, and we all know about gut microbiota and that some (hopefully the majority) there are good for our health. This book covers those things too, but also much more.

Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Ed Yong takes a big picture view (albeit, of some very small things) and looks at the many ways microbes keep us alive, directly or indirectly. From the microbes that convert certain proteins in breast milk into a form that babies can digest (yes, this means we produce nutrients in breast milk that have been evolved solely to feed that bacterium), to those without which agriculture would simply not work, we’re brought to realize how much our continued existence is contingent on our trillions of tiny friends.

The style throughout is easy-reading pop-science, very accessible. There’s also plenty in terms of practical take-away value, when it comes to adjusting our modern lives to better optimize the benefits we get from microbes—inside and out.

Bottom line: if you’d like to learn about the role of microbes in our life beyond “these ones are pathogens” and “these ones help our digestion”, this is the book for you.

Click here to check out I Contain Multitudes, and learn more about yours and those around you!

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