• The Human Superorganism

  • How the Microbiome Is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life
  • By: Rodney Dietert PhD
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (401 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Eyeopening... Fascinating... may presage a paradigm shift in medicine.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"Teeming with information and big ideas... Outstanding.” (Booklist, starred review)

The origin of asthma, autism, Alzheimer's, allergies, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and even some kinds of depression is now clear. Award-winning researcher on the microbiome, professor Rodney Dietert presents a new paradigm in human biology that has emerged in the midst of the ongoing global epidemic of noncommunicable diseases.     

The Human Superorganism makes a sweeping, paradigm-shifting argument. It demolishes two fundamental beliefs that have blinkered all medical thinking until very recently: 1) Humans are better off as pure organisms free of foreign microbes; and 2) the human genome is the key to future medical advances. The microorganisms that we have sought to eliminate have been there for centuries supporting our ancestors. 

They comprise as much as 90 percent of the cells in and on our bodies - a staggering percentage! More than 1,000 species of them live inside us, on our skin, and on our very eyelashes. Yet we have now significantly reduced their power and in doing so have sparked an epidemic of noncommunicable diseases - which now account for 63 percent of all human deaths.       

Ultimately, this book is not just about microbes; it is about a different way to view humans. The story that Dietert tells of where the new biology comes from, how it works, and the ways in which it affects your life is fascinating, authoritative, and revolutionary. Dietert identifies foods that best serve you, the superorganism; not new fad foods but ancient foods that have made sense for millennia. He explains protective measures against unsafe chemicals and drugs. He offers an empowering self-care guide and the blueprint for a revolution in public health. We are not what we have been taught. Each of us is a superorganism. The best path to a healthy life is through recognizing that profound truth.

©2016 Rodney Dietert (P)2016 Pernguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Dietert makes the cogent and eye-opening argument that the microbiome - the collection of microbes that lives in our bodies and on our skin - is the arbiter of immune system homeostasis.... A book in which the author's fascinating, well-researched ideas regarding holistic health may presage a paradigm shift in medicine.” (Kirkus Reviews starred review)

"Teeming with information and big ideas about our tiny co-partner species, this is an outstanding introduction to the universe of little lives that dwell within us.” (Booklist starred review)

“Dietert makes a fascinating case for an exciting, emerging field that offers a new way of thinking about the human body and health.” (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Human Superorganism

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Super Fascinating!

This book confirmed my suspicion that the world of possibilities is, after all we have discovered, still wide open. Think you know yourself? Guess again. There is wonderfully so much to learn about how we move through life, what we are made of, how we can fine-tune our health, and maybe even who we are. The concepts in this book need to guide everything from medicine to grocery shopping to maybe even how we say "hello" to one another.

The writing is packed with science, story, humor, history--it's deep, and it's fun.

The performance was also the best I've heard. The reader is engaged, reads at a conversational tempo, and never stumbles even over what are some very challenging passages.

Honestly, the only thing that could make my experience with this book better would be if it was the first of a series. 🤓

8 people found this helpful

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Good info, a bit cryptic

It's a good listen, but there are times when I feel the author is out to impress the reader with his knowledge of bacteria / microbe names. I mean, ok so you know the names and maybe they're important for layman-me to know them too, but I'm feeling like the main story is the fact that we are Super organisms, what that means and how it all works. The names are pointless in my opinion, especially since there are really no specific recommendations and understandably that's because we are all unique.

And I personally really hate read lists in an audio book. Hate them.

In any case, regardless of these criticism, I enjoyed the book because it introduced new ideas in personal health that are nothing short of revolutionary.... Although in reality they are actually a core part of our natural evolution, disrupted by our modern life.

4 people found this helpful

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Another Reason to Love Microbiology

I work in a medical microbiology lab and have, in the past few years, become very interested in the process of determining what ails someone with a bacterial infection. Although I've known for some time that our microbiome affects our health, I didn't quite comprehend the extent. Having this new insight is particularly exciting if the future of medicine is, as the author puts it, going to focus on the "superorganism" and not just the mammalian portion. I can't recommend this book enough, but as always, encourage healthy skepticism.

4 people found this helpful

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A Critical Read for Holistic Health

Would you listen to The Human Superorganism again? Why?

Yes, to significantly book mark. Dietert clearly explains a critical but complex theory of human health and eating habits and provides well-reasoned recommendations I want to access easily.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Human Superorganism?

The fact that our personal biome is larger than our cellular mass and equally influential; that it is ancestrially endowed and/or corrupted at birth by handlers; modified, damaged, and cultivated by dietary choices and chemicals; and it exerts an unrealized influence over health and behavior, both psychological and physical—it is an unsuspected other half of the human organism, a recent discovery largely unrealized by medical practitioners and the general public.

What about Jonathan Todd Ross’s performance did you like?

He avoids the monotone characteristic of many science readers and uses tone and emphasis to convey Dietert’s argument that this research forewarns and forearms us against falling prey to destructive microbes and the NCD’s they perpetrate.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The microbiome can directly influence the brain’s process of decision making, and thus exert control over our behavior and create cravings for the foods particular microbes need to prosper; however, some of these are highly destructive to their host (you) when largely populated.

Any additional comments?

This research explains a lot of discrepancies in current theories of dietary function by providing a more complete and comprehensive theory that explains failures to modify eating behaviors and resist cravings, the triggers of NCD’s, and why we should improve our personal microbiome. From this theory, Dietert extrapolates principles and practices we can use to significantly improve our microbiome, and thus our health and well-being, without encuring unintended consequences. I will be buying and annotating hard copies for all my loved ones!

3 people found this helpful

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A fresh perspective

A wonderful book as an introduction into nutrition, health, diet, evolutionary biology, and the gut biome. I loved how the author constantly reflected history and modern life. His metaphors make understanding the content do-able for the ignorant. Beautiful listen.

6 people found this helpful

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Intelligent and insightful

This book is a must read. This information is crucial for every human to know and understand in order to navigate life as a human super organism in the healthiest way possible. The title says it all—fantastic read.

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good research review, lack of tangible steps

the author stays in the safe relm of literature review, insufficient how to apply advice

8 people found this helpful

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Essentiall health info.

There was a lot to take in but this was a great start on a journey to understanding our current health crisis. A must read in my opinion.

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Microbially Magnificent

Another wonderful testimonial to the vital importance of our microbiome. An empowering and inspiring book about understanding our microbial warriors and how we can heal with their help. Here's to more research towards a renewal of wellness on our planet.

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such a dynamic and wonderfully presented book!

I loved this book! it got easier to follow as the book went on but even just the last hand full of chapters is worth its weight in gold!

if you are going to start a family and want to set your child up for a healthy future you MUST read this. if you can't get a handle on your health, weight loss or otherwise you MUST read this book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 08-20-16

Excellent stuff, this!

I have read up a bit on the gut recently and this book is the latest one to teach me more about it and how my body works in general: in brief, an excellently accessible read to the point that I look forward to a follow - up in a few years time when the 'new biology' has had the opportunity to become more mainstream and people take on the logic of it all.
They should be teaching this in school from age eleven to give each generation the opportunity to make informed life decisions.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Natalie
  • 12-05-16

Brilliant!

This is the third book I have listened to on the gut microbiome, it is such exciting and life changing information, an absolute must read. I loved 'gut' and 'the diet myth' and this is definitely as good.
Some chapters are quite intense, but make an effort to listen through to the end, you won't regret it.

8 people found this helpful

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  • J
  • 04-24-18

Thorough book on the microbiome.

As previous rater said, i have read a few books on the microbiome and this one has new information. Would recomend this book if you want to know about your microbiome...this one is the best!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Hj
  • 09-24-17

Wishful Thinking

Would you try another book written by Rodney Dietert, PhD or narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross?

Narration Yes - Writting NO

Has The Human Superorganism put you off other books in this genre?

No

How could the performance have been better?

A logical storyline and some more supporting data

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Human Superorganism?

Repetition and hype

Any additional comments?

There might be some good information in the book but presented so badly to be hidden.

2 people found this helpful

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  • C. H. Beresford-webb
  • 01-06-17

Cutting edge stuff. The content is excellent.<br />

The microbiome is introduced as the most important and neglected part of our body. The author uses his knowledge to draw the reader in so that they can start to change their own lives for the better!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs J Ritchie
  • 05-24-17

Fascinating.

We all need to know about this. Fascinating, shocking yet empowering. Prepare to be amazed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • danny s.
  • 05-11-22

Quite a good book

Good overall, but it would be better if it went into more specifics on fixing, rather than blanket coverage

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  • Peter S.
  • 02-22-22

Microbiome Analysis Anyone?

Informative and shocking, this book shows the need for fermented foods and a rethink of the food manufacturing industry.

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  • pudo
  • 09-17-21

Pseudoscientific undertones

Pseudoscientific statements masked as contrarian. Worth checking out the author’s Twitter account before purchase to verify his credibility.

Human microbe is fascinating but this book is terrible.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-06-21

Very informative and palatable 😊

Very informative and listenable , I devoured it with intent.
Get through the beginning to the chunky stuff.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-31-19

Microbiome is who you are

Fascinating listen, great information surrounding the ideas and studies of microphone and how it affects are life and wellbeing. Super knowledgeable and well researched by Rodney Dietert, will be sure to look out for more material encompassing all things microbiome and health related

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  • Blaine Holt
  • 07-05-17

Amazing

Broadened my understanding if myself and how important it is to nurture your microbial partners

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  • Paul
  • 09-22-16

Interesting

My intellectual base is not up to par with this book -alot of big words. Nevertheless, lots of interesting information that will revolutionise the way medicine is intodays society, and has given me something to apply in everyday life. Great audio read and well worth it!

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  • Rachael
  • 08-16-16

Amazing read

Everyone should read this thought provoking, revolutionary, paradigm shifting book. Loved it. Telling everyone I know!