Human Errors

A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes
Narrated by: L.J. Ganser
Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,605 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

We humans like to think of ourselves as highly evolved creatures. But if we are supposedly evolution's greatest creation, why do we have such bad knees? Why do we catch head colds so often - 200 times more often than a dog does? How come our wrists have so many useless bones? Why is the vast majority of our genetic code pointless? And are we really supposed to swallow and breathe through the same narrow tube? Surely there's been some kind of mistake.

As professor of biology Nathan H. Lents explains in Human Errors, our evolutionary history is nothing if not a litany of mistakes, each more entertaining and enlightening than the last. The human body is one big pile of compromises. But that is also a testament to our greatness: as Lents shows, humans have so many design flaws precisely because we are very, very good at getting around them.

A rollicking, deeply informative tour of humans' four billion year-long evolutionary saga, Human Errors both celebrates our imperfections and offers an unconventional accounting of the cost of our success.

©2018 Nathan H. Lents (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    870
  • 4 Stars
    486
  • 3 Stars
    189
  • 2 Stars
    40
  • 1 Stars
    20

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    943
  • 4 Stars
    359
  • 3 Stars
    124
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    12

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    782
  • 4 Stars
    426
  • 3 Stars
    195
  • 2 Stars
    36
  • 1 Stars
    16

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

From Pointless Bones to Broken Genes to...Aliens?

I felt the book started out strong, talking about unnecessary, breakable bones, how the way sinuses work is kind of screwed up, all the ways genes can go bad, how we're so inefficient in getting the most out of nutrients, the list is long and good, but towards the end I felt some topics were a little off trail...Suddenly, I'm listening about our existence in the universe...alienwise. This final part stemmed from Fermi's paradox, and although interesting, I don't know how it related to 'Human Errors'. But overall, I enjoyed the book and learned quite a few things!

102 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Cotton Candy Science

For something fun to start a conversation at a cocktail party, this book was fun & mildly entertaining. But it was quite short on rigorous science.

The current tendency to extrapolate behavior about prehistoric man based on assumptions or similarity to other primate behavior is disturbing. The author appeared to be a victim of his own assertions about why humans draw conclusions with nothing but anecdotal evidence.

But for a quick, light read, it was entertaining enough.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An interesting summary of how evolution didn’t quite adapt us for today’s life!

Bridging the gap between evolutionary psychology and human anatomy and physiology, this is a great intro to the many ways our bodies and minds are poorly suited for the era we live in and a thoughtful catalog of the many ways Nature has not gotten it right yet in terms of perfecting the nevertheless amazing bodies we have. Other recommended books that delve deeper into aspects of this include Dan Lieberman’s The Story of the Human Body
Evolution, Health, and Disease, Before You Know It
The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do by John Bargh, You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney and a favorite of mine, David Eagleman’s Incognito The Secret Lives of the Brain.

I am also interested in the more mind-based books about the psychological errors and paradoxes, mental errors and habits (heuristics) that we all suffer from such as Daniel Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow and The Self Illusion: Why There Is No "You" Inside Your Head by Bruce Hood among others.

Human Errors concentrates more on the physical imperfections in our bodies than on the psychological, but it is a great springingboard for the exploration of both.

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Most interesting, well narrated

I listen to the book while commuting. I wish my commute were longer. Most interesting book I have read or listen to in a long time. Narration is great also. Fascinating.

67 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

For devotees of science and medicine

As a biology major in college who never went on to medical school or for that matter, to pursue a career in biology, this was an excellent explanation of the technologies that exist today. Particularly, the sciences of nutrition, molecular biology, and causes and treatments of diseases were addressed in depth. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the biology that encompasses our lives.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Errors are Story of Being Human

A wonderful collection of what is known now about our too many flaws, told in a riveting story telling way. It also elucidates some of the same musings I have had. I recommend it highly.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking and informative

I enjoyed the detailed explanation of flaws in human anatomy and psychology. Well presented in a form that was not confusing, even for some of the more complex topics.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating!

I recommend this book to anyone studying biology, evolution, creationism, or simply has an interest in the anatomy and function of the human body. It is not written for doctors with vast medical knowledge... it’s written with normal everyday people in mind-each topic being very well explained! I LOVED this book! I want to listen to it again because I find myself trying to explain parts of it to any person that will listen!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Many human errors in this book

This book is marred by significant scientific and social errors.

I had to quit reading after the chapter that was insistent that human fertility, unlike the great apes, was not controlled by breast feeding. Duh, think it might be that women don't breast feed and those that do often don't do it for very long?

There were other inaccuracies and to me rather odd interpretations or conclusions.

I like the idea of the book, but the execution could have been much better.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Somewhat difficult to listen to

It felt like it was going in circles with not much focus and then began discussing aliens at the very last until I wasn't really sure what I was listening to. The narrator did as good a job as possible, it needed serious editing to keep it from diverging way off topic.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-12-19

insightful, intricate, interesting

Upon experiencing this tale of human shortcomings, i find myself struck with the Beauty of human existence. We are not perfect, we will never be perfect. Un-perfection is in our very blueprint as of now.
In our society where we always strive for perfection, it is encouraging that it can never be reached, and that we may just let loose of the Gas-Pedal from time to time!