The Body

A Guide for Occupants
Narrated by: Bill Bryson
Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,029 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times best seller

Named a best book of the year by The Washington Post 

Longlisted for the Pen E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

"Glorious...You will marvel at the brilliance and vast weirdness of your design." (The Washington Post)

Bill Bryson, best-selling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-listen owner's manual for everybody.

Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body - how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. 

As Bill Bryson writes, "We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted." The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively listenable facts and information. 

©2019 Bill Bryson (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Bill Bryson is not so much a discoverer of new lands as a charismatic cartographer of existing ones, smartly mapping points of entry into territory that might otherwise remain impenetrable to curious travelers. With light footed prose, The Body winds its way through the dense terrain of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry....The result is an absorbing catalog of the human body in all its firmness and fatality....The colossal roster of facts on display is dazzling.... Bryson's distinctive voice will likely delight readers eager to go sightseeing around the world they embody." (The American Scholar)

"A delightful tour guide...Bryson's stroll through human anatomy, physiology, evolution, and illness (diabetes, cancer, infections) is instructive, accessible, and entertaining." (Booklist starred review)

 Amusingly informative." (Forbes)

What listeners say about The Body

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Must Read for the Sheer Fun of It

The Body, A Guide for Occupants, written and narrated by Bill Bryson. If you are a Bill Bryson reader, you know his style and quippy manner of writing. Always a joy, no matter what his subject matter. For you, Bryson fans, just stop reading now, buy the book and add a joyful undertaking to your life. You will not be disappointed; this is a full circuit informational source of data about the body, done by analyzing each system of its makeup, organ by organ, function by function, bacterium by a bacterium and done with typical Bryson élan.

For those of you who do not know Bill Bryson; its time to learn. His writing comes with energy, style, and enthusiasm, and a smack of ironic and flip intelligence. Yet, he is always easy to understand. No high flaunting words, just good British syntax. (He is an American ex-pat to Britain.) More important is the fact that when he covers a subject, he gets you all you need to know, and I do mean all the information you may need. As to the science of our bodies, he gives you in a manner that lets the layman know what a chief physician needs to know.

Two last points. If you are a person committed to exercising, dieting, or just an ordinary hypochondriac this is a sourcebook for truly understanding your ailment. Bill Bryson is a pretty good reader, as well.

44 people found this helpful

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Very well done

I learned a lot. Detailed, but not boring. Bryson did his research, but kept it interesting.

18 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

A very interesting review. I learned a lot I didn’t know. Glad he’s reading his own book. I’ve found other narrators annoying, and his words in his own voice are preferable to this listener.

16 people found this helpful

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Great information

This is an outstanding listen if you want information on how the body works. I don't understand how Bill Bryson is able to gather so much information for his books. Like a couple of his prior works, I will listen to this book over and over because I learn something new with each listen. I have listened to his books At Home and A Short History of Nearly Everything numerous times. I would like to thank him for writing them.

11 people found this helpful

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Nicely detailed yet Fascinating

As a physician I am gratified to hear such a clear depiction of the history of the human body.

22 people found this helpful

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Bill Bryson is the best!

Lovely informative book, narrated by the author (so it has his wry sense of humor included in speech).

10 people found this helpful

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Treat your body well

"You are gone, but it was good while you lasted, isn't it?"
- Last words of the book

9 people found this helpful

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Dear Bill Bryson,

Please PLEASE stop reading your own books. Your enunciation is terrible, cringeworthy! I have to keep rewinding to understand what you’re saying. For the love of god, set your ego aside and let a pro do the reading for you. Do it for your readers. Or soon-to-be-ex-readers, if these narrations don’t improve.

5 people found this helpful

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Wow! Could you make it sound more doomsday.

Don’t expect to feel good after listening to this book. We’re all doomed ! Makes it sound like being a human is the worst thing you can be. How more bout info on other stuff other than cancer. And heart disease, and diabetes. I would of liked more about how the body works, other than how we’re gonna die.

14 people found this helpful

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Informative, but not really the best Bryson

I love Bill Bryson, but this book just doesn't have the charm or appeal of most of his other works. In my opinion, he's best in the language and travel books, where he can express his dry wit in a more personal way, speaking from experience. There is no question that he is an engaging storyteller and makes his subjects very accessible to the audience. But unlike with books by, say, Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan or Sam Harris, for example, who have presented access into specific subjects of their expertise, I was never quite able to shake the idea that Bryson is merely a conduit of recently (though very thoroughly) researched information about the body. There are some clever moments, and a few intriguing stories, but the book mostly consists of lectures on anatomy, pathology, endocrinology, etc., albeit by an amiable professor.

25 people found this helpful