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Publisher's Summary

'We spend our whole lives in one body and yet most of us have practically no idea how it works and what goes on inside it. The idea of the book is simply to try to understand the extraordinary contraption that is us.’  

In the best-selling, prize-winning A Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson achieved the seemingly impossible by making the science of our world both understandable and entertaining to millions of people around the globe.  

Now he turns his attention inwards to explore the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself. Full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories, The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological makeup.

©2019 Bill Bryson (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Body

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Average, really needs a professional narrator,

It's great when certain authors narrate their own works, as you can really feel their enthusiasm for the subject, but boy is this not one of those cases. Bryson manages to sound monotone, unexcited and borderline out of breath throughout.

I've read many of Bryson's earlier books, this is the third one of his that I've read with a scientific theme read after "A Short History..." and "At Home". He's still not quite capturing what made "A Short History..." great. This book's a mixture of scientific fact, anecdotes and personal observations.

Sometimes there's a great mix of those, but more often than not the science suffers because too much time is taken on some personal observation or anecdote that that isn't all that interesting, or some other mixture of the three.

Finally, for a book that's partly trying to explain a technical subject it contains an infuriating mismatch of differing systems of units of measure. Sometimes Bryson will refer to length in feet, or meters, or weight in kilos, pounds or stones, he might provide conversions, or he might not. Unless you're comfortable in metric, imperial and the UK's various quaint units of measure you'll find yourself pausing to do the conversions yourself.

13 people found this helpful

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Sounds tired

Maybe it's me, maybe it's the fact that so much of the information was not new to me, but the book failed to engage me and surprise me like his "A short Story...". He sounded tired, less enthusiastic. It's a good book, nonetheless.

2 people found this helpful

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Bad Narration

I think Mr. Bryson should have a professional narrator to re-read this book. His narration is flat, monotone, the voice sounds untrained, it really killed the audiobook for me, like someone boring is discussing even more boring stuff. That Mid-Atlantic accent of Mr. Bryson (neither American nor British) is irritating…Regardless of how many times I tried to finish the book, I couldn't…all due to the bad narration.

1 person found this helpful

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It grows on you.

I have mixed feelings about this book - so much so that I actually returned it but now want to purchase it again. I found the first 1/4 very boring and kept falling asleep when I tried to listen to it at night. I then returned the book. Because I felt it wasn’t worth the credit. When I was having trouble sleeping a couple of weeks after I’d returned it, I thought I’d listen to it again (since it had worked so well as a sleep aid before..) but about 1/2 way in I was hooked. It’s a fascinating book and it gets better and better as it goes on. The last 1/4 is the best. My recommendation therefore is to buy this book and just be patient, it will grown on you. Enjoy!

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Very Thoroughly Researched and Entertaining

This book is entertaining and thoroughly researched. The explanations of the facts, however, were very biased towards Evolution Theory.

1 person found this helpful

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I certainly hope you do more Educational Books

I certainly hope you do more Educational Books Bill

My first Educational Audiobook was your Short History of Nearly Everything and I received it as a gift from my UK aunt and uncle and I would listen to it in my car over and over again. and I couldn't wait to listen to any other educational Audio Books you may have. When I found out that you wrote this new one called the Body I had to get it. I normally avoid subscription-based purchases as they lower my monthly income by a set amount but since audible was the only place I could verify had it in their collection I am more than happy to have paid their fee and I have greatly enjoyed this audiobook. I know that you said in one of your interviews that you were planning on slowing do and enjoying your retirement and I wish you all the best in this but if you ever decide to write another book and record it as an audiobook I will gladly buy it.

Kind regards
MR MSR Gannon

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Fascinating review of how your body functions

I enjoyed this very much. I learned a lot of basic biology, but also met many interesting characters who influenced medical science. It definitely improved my overall knowledge of how my body functions. Highly recommend.

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Awesome

Bill Bryson has a magic way to tell you about things that you might have thought were boring but they are absolutely not! Thank you for this book.

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A must read for every adult

More philosophical than scientific, like any good science book. Everyone should read this book and commit to contemplating after.

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enriching

this book is well read, mighty interesting and laid out logically. I found myself quoting it all the time.

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  • Mark D
  • 10-28-19

Great book, let down somewhat by the narration

This was my first time listening to a Bill Bryson book and whilst the story had all the ingrediants I enjoy about his work, the narration made it difficult to fully appreciate. The author has a very soft voice without huge range and as such, I often found myself having to rewind and turn the volume up high to hear what had just been said. It didn't stop me enjoying the material, but it definitely sent me back to the kindle version for large sections. I'll continue to invest in Bill's books - but I don't think i would choose another audio book where the author has narrated the work himself.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Roger Boyle
  • 10-16-19

Excellent starter in Anatomy, Physiology and Bioch

I've been a doctor for over 30 years and enjoyed the book immensely.
Loved the stories about the famous, ( and less famous) characters in medicine and the amazing complexity of our bodies and disease
An interesting overview of over investigation( particularly in USA) and Health Outcomes ( US & UK excellent examples)
I found the pronunciation of some words slightly jarring to UK ears, but perhaps I've said it wrong for nearly 4 decades!!!

47 people found this helpful

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  • Bammosan
  • 10-13-19

Bill Bryson at his best.

This is Bill at his best, full of wonder and the ability to put across scientific information in a sometimes humorous but concerned and hopeful way,
His audiobooks are always enhanced when he reads them himself, this is no exception. You can listen to an abridged version on BBC Sounds radio 4, but I encourage you to get the full version it will become a go to textbook for healthcare personnel and members of the public and educational establishments.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Richard Carpenter
  • 11-22-19

The Body

Having read or listened to all of Bill’s books, I’m sorry you say this is a great disappointment!
It should be called - the science or biology world.
There are occasional dips into the body, but Mr Bryson drifts off to where he is comfortable far too often. The research and references world.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Rupert Maddison-Roberts
  • 10-12-19

Hard listening

Shame he didn’t pay William Roberts to read it as with his other books. Bought it on the strength of his previous work but he’s narrated it himself and he’s no professional narrator- disappointing

39 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen M.
  • 12-24-19

Disappointing

I love Bill Bryson books.I've read or listened to all of them. His normally witty storyline interspersed with funny anecdotes and facts around the timeline are missing here. This feels like a review of a medical textbook, lacking in an sense of enthusiasm by the author. He is not a narrator and doesn't have a voice for audible. I actually found him hard to listen to in the first few chapters and by the time I'd got used to his tone and pace the book was finished. I'd skip this one

6 people found this helpful

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  • M. Woods
  • 10-09-19

Sending me to sleep

I love Bill Bryson's books - but he should have got a professional actor/reader to narrate this. Bill's soft monotone keeps sending me to sleep. Given it three goes of the first two chapters, but just can't listen anymore. I'm going to have to return this audio and maybe get a print copy.

54 people found this helpful

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  • Avril
  • 10-09-19

An early review.Do not start this book at bedtime!

I always fall upon Bill Bryson books as soon as they are published. This one is utterly enthralling from the first word. Read by Bill Bryson himself (what a lovely voice) the narrative kept me awake and thoroughly engaged until I was forced by tiredness to pause it at 4am. If I wasn’t so busy I’d be listening again now., my head is bursting with very interesting facts about the mysterious and wondrous human body,and I’m sure I will reread many times in future.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Greg H
  • 11-11-19

Is this really you Bill?

I love Bill Bryson but The Body was largely very dull and lacked the usual humour were used to.

5 people found this helpful

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  • texaspetey
  • 10-10-19

Sends me into a sleep slumber whilst educating

Don’t know what it is but there is something very soothing about Bill Bryson’s voice that is just perfect to listen to before sleep. I set my timer for 30 mins and more often then not I’m asleep by 20 minutes. I repeat the books to make sure I listen to the whole book and cover the bits I drifted off to!

23 people found this helpful

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  • scott
  • 10-23-19

Another masterpiece.

I have not enjoyed a book as much as this since I first listened to ’a short history of nearly everything’ another Bryson classic.

The level of detail and Brysons easy to absorb style of written lead to me arriving home several times, only to reverse out of driveway and drive aimlessly so I could continue listening.

A must listen for anyone with a curious mind.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Chelsea
  • 10-08-19

Not Bryson’s best

This book’s content is fairly average for a Bryson book. A lot of what he talks about is just high school biology. But the worst part is the narration. It’s awful! Bryson should not narrate his own books. He is monotone and slurs his words. Please please get William Roberts to narrate Bryson books - he ‘gets’ Bryson’s writing.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Sam
  • 09-07-20

narrator too soft spoken at points

the book is a solid read and if you love the author's other works you'll love this too.

unfortunately the soft-spoken narrator made it impossible to listen to for me while commuting as I literally couldn't get my devices loud enough which is not usually a problem with other books.

also there was a 40 minute preview of another book at the end but I did not appreciate going straight from one read into a 40 minute ad.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-06-19

An informative read ruined by awful narration

Bill Bryson is an amazingly talented writer and this book proves it. That’s where the compliments end. Who on earth convinced him he could narrate this book? He’s got such a boring monotone soft voice that it’s impossible to listen to in a car. Please get someone else to narrate this book and let us download it again as this is just painful.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Rodney Wetherell
  • 09-26-20

Fine reading of a magnificent book

First I would like to congratulate Bill Bryson on his engaging way of reading his book. He has a droll, understated style which matches the material and keeps me well entertained. I am gobsmacked by the amount of stuff he has discovered, or already knew - and he has said he is no scientist. I only wish I could remember one tenth of it, but I intend to go back and listen to certain sections again. I loved the stories of doctors and scientists who have made important discoveries - or have pinched them from others, in some cases.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-22-20

Maybe this book should be entitled: The Doctors

I was excited to discover Bill Bryson's new book. Unfortunately, mid-way through listening to this book, I found myself counting how many chapters were left before the ending. I cannot say it was uninteresting, I rather enjoyed it, but I learned more about doctors, medicine protocols and Nobel price recipients than the body itself. I would still recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ian
  • 11-13-19

Great book worth buying

I am an unabashed Bryson fan and this book delivered. Informative, enjoyable and well delivered. Excellent entertainment.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M. R. Kaspar
  • 08-29-20

Engaging and informative with quirky details

The amount of historical and factual detail Bill Bryson manages to weave together seemingly effortlessly in this book is astounding. What sets his style apart and makes it noteworthy is that in an endearing and chatming manner he intersperses 'dry' facts with the human foibles and twists of fate that brought them to our knowledge. By offering the information this way I become aware that I, the reader/listener, too, am on this historical continuum and we are all in this together. I also enjoyed the clear unpretentious reading by the author himself, which was as engaging as the material.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-04-20

Interesting material

I learned a few things from this book but most for me was common knowledge.

1 person found this helpful

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  • G. Harvey
  • 12-01-19

As usual, great fun.

And as usual, so much I didn't know.
Bryson shows again, and so simply, all that we take for granted. On this occasion it's not what is around us but within us. This book is another of his that is on my re-read list.

1 person found this helpful