Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich

Natural Causes

Bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich explores how we are killing ourselves to live longer, not better.A razor-sharp polemic which offers an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe, Natural Causes describes how we over-prepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. One by one, Ehrenreich topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to live a long, healthy life — from t...

Details Natural Causes

TitleNatural Causes
Release DateApr 10th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Health, Science, Medical, Medicine

Reviews Natural Causes

  • Diane S ☔
    Informative and Illuminating. This author has a doctorate in cellular immunology, so one can expect quite a bit on the role of the different cells within our bodies. Some of this was quite dense but I believe I did understand most of what she was explaining. That our cells have different functions and can also turn on us. This section of the book, which was in the last half, was not my favorite. I loved her explanation and witticisms on the self ...
  • Leah Lucci
    (heads-up: this book is coming out April 10th. I read it early in exchange for an honest review.)If Natural Causes were an essay, it would open with a thesis statement like: "Health trends are faddish and often counterproductive to a long and pain-free life. Many 'healthy' things we do -- including things licensed medical doctors do -- are tradition-based and scientifically unfounded. We need to carefully figure out how to treat ourselves from an...
  • Krista
    We can, or think we can, understand the causes of disease in cellular and chemical terms, so we should be able to avoid it by following the rules laid down by medical science: avoiding tobacco, exercising, undergoing routine medical screening, and eating only foods currently considered healthy. Anyone who fails to do so is inviting an early death. Or to put it another way, every death can now be understood as suicide. I received an Advanced Readi...
  • Jeanette
    I pondered nearly an entire day deciding if I was going to give this book a 2 star or a 3 star. 2.5 stars rounded up for the core of the accuracy to her overall "outlook" upon aging and death in the USA. And also that we are highly "over-doctored". Most of the evidence is anecdotal in this book, but regardless- a great deal of it IS true. Especially in the nuance of how aging (both women AND men too) humans who are over 66 or maybe 70 years of ag...
  • Michael Perkins
    From other reading and research, I was already familiar with most of what was in chapters 1 through 7 and chapters 10-12. Ironically, it was the biology chapters 8-9 and the discussion of microphages that were my greatest takeaways. I say "ironically" because some reviews below describe those chapters as too "dense" and even recommend skipping them. Here's a quick excerpt from an article on macrophages....“There is persuasive clinical and exper...
  • Michelle
    Barbara Ehrenreich, a renowned investigative journalist, political and social critic, author of 23 books has written Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying and Killing Ourselves To Live Longer. Ehrenreich is extremely critical of the health, fitness and wellness craze that has filtered into nearly every aspect of life. Independent examination and questioning medical experts and advice was encouraged, along with the social...
  • Ivonne Rovira
    Author Barbara Ehrenreich has produced some fabulous, must-read books: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America and Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer begins with Ehrenreich (now 76) explaining why she doesn’t get mammograms or Pap smears or ann...
  • Melinda
    Barbara Ehrenreich turns commonplace medical and scientific assumptions on their head in this fascinating, far-reaching exploration of how we understand health. From the immune system's role in causing — not fighting — cancer to evidence of "cellular decision making," she breaks down recent scientific discoveries, exploring their philosophical and practical implications. With a dizzying scope, the book touches on the politics of medicalized b...
  • Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
    Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer starts out in fine Barbara Ehrenreich form, expanding on the lengthy title to skewer the longevity industry (eat yogurt/do brain games/join a gym), and the medical professions as well, as they become more and more focused on providing more services that can generate profits than on services that will actually do the patient any good. Then the boo...
  • Shelly
    What an illuminating and thought-provoking book! Author Barbara Ehrenreich poses a seminal question. How much time and effort should we devote to pursuits to extend our lives? The answer, it turns out, is less than we have been led to believe in recent years by the ever growing and exceeding profitable “wellness” industry. The book presents an antipodean view based on scientific evidence which depicts a more dystopian understanding of the bod...
  • David Wineberg
    The Reductionist is INWith too much time on our hands, we are obsessed with ourselves. Barbara Ehrenreich visits the catalog of diets, wellness, mindfulness, religion, movements, medicine and idiotic fads that preoccupy so many. Eternal youth, eternal life, and managed death are all symptoms. Taking the view from above, it is of course of no moment in the ongoing universe.We want to think we can beat the odds and maybe even death. Certainly deter...
  • Rob
    NATURAL CAUSES: AN EPIDEMIC OF WELLNESS, THE CERTAINTY OF DYING, AND OUR ILLUSION OF CONTROLBy Barbara Ehrenreich Grand Central Publishers, 257 pages★★There is a scene in the movie A Ghost Story in which an earnest young man expounds upon human vanity and the meaningless of humanity within the cosmos. Nothing will endure, he notes, not great art, individual achievement, reputation, or the solar system itself. We all die and at some point the ...
  • Peter Geyer
    Barbara Ehrenreich has been around for a while: it's instructive that this book identifies her as the author of Nickel and Dimed, as a kind of selling point, or point of recognition, depending on your perspective. Natural Causes continues a couple of themes evident in what I've read of her work: issues relating to the status and treatment of women; the nature of what might be called public health including related scientific and other research cl...
  • Grace
    I received an ARC from because I sometimes write shelf-talkers for them. This is my honest review that I am sending them.I'm a Barbara Ehrenreich fan, but I think that many readers would be better off if they skipped chapters 1-5. It's a repetitive polemic, especially for people who have already read her earlier book, Bright-Sided. Making fun of GOOP is like shooting fish in a barrel. If you keep up with the news...
  • Miri
    What an absolutely fascinating book. It’s difficult to sum up its argument (and the author struggles with this herself in the first chapter), but it’s essentially about the idea that we can control our bodies and health when we still have so much to learn about how our bodies themselves, from systems down to individual cells, can seemingly make their own decisions. The book essentially chronicles Ehrenreich’s intellectual journey as she pon...
  • Kent Winward
    An excellent reminder of not to trust the medical establishment as much as we do. Science is great. Just as long as it is science, not ritual and societal expectation.
  • Melanie
    A sharp examination of how we obsess on the concept of health, and try our best to outwit the laws of nature. You can count on Ehrenreich for a brilliant contrarian view of whatever she examines. Recommended!I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley.
  • Jane
    One thing is for certain (well, two if you count taxes): none of us get out of life alive. Period. Ehrenreich builds a case for wise, life-enriching choices regarding the medical, wellness, and fitness choices we make. After all, no matter how much iron you pump or kale you eat, you cannot control your amazing and not-always-on-your-side body. Cells go rogue. Diseases happen. This is a counter-narrative to the stay-young messages that drive peopl...
  • Rt
    This is a weird book. It’s half about our obsession with controlling our own bodies—and the resulting mind/body dualism, which makes our newer obsession with controlling our own “selves” a bit hard to parse; who’s doing the controlling? The other half is about our cells, like the macrophages that are important parts of the immune system but also help cancer spread and kill us. Rather than being a community of cells working in harmony, w...
  • Casey
    Barbara Ehrenreich brings the fire in her latest non-fiction takedown. In just over 250 pages she takes down the medical establishment and every health fad you've ever seen on someone's facebook feed. Others have said that the book is big on problems and short on solutions. I think that may be true but I think Ehrenreich is really just trying to persuade us to change our thinking. Her point here is that our bodies (our cells - lol), are chaotic a...
  • Warren Benton
    "In giving up on preventive care, I'm just taking this line of thinking a step further: Not only do I reject the torment of a medicalized death, I refuse to accept a medicalized life, and my determination only deepens with age."  This book is about dying, well sort of.  It is a lot about living in a way that doesn't really promote dying.  All throughout the book Ehrinriech discusses ways we try to live longer.  But her overarching theme is...
  • Sarah
    I so wanted to like this book, because it covers so many of my interests — and I did really like the first half of it, where Ehrenreich talks about our obsession with health & wellness, over-testing & over-diagnosing, and our quest for control over the body. The second half of the book is about cells, basically — to be something of a reductionist, the point was that we don't control our cells and therefore our control over aging and our bodie...
  • Ted Morgan
    My review cannot do justice to the complexity and density of this elegant but still playful work. I own a small library of book on funerals, dying, decomposition of our bodies, that include "The Oxford Book of Death" so that the most interesing works to me are about MY mortality and the certainty of me dying. Dr. Ehrenreich is a fine writer. She is both a journalist and a scientist but more importantly a fellow on the journey who take times to co...
  • Christine Deriso
    Not a page of this book was uninteresting, but it kinda felt like three or four books packed into one. I'd have loved an entire book on unnecessary and profit-driven "preventive" health care (and there's so much more to say!), but Ehrenreich took detours into cell biology, religion and other topics. Again, it was all interesting, but it felt a little ... cluttered. Still, good stuff, and a resounding affirmation of my thesis that the worst thing ...
  • Avid
    I was worried early on - it started off with a somewhat angry tone. But soon the author found her voice and provided valuable insights about the role of inflamation in our lives (and deaths), along with intelligent perspectives on exercise, nutrition, drugs, and faith, and thier roles in our living and dying experiences. I can recommend this to most readers, as it has universal (and non-partisan) themes.
  • emmilina
    Gimme Some Truth! I liked the book. It definitely tells it like it is. Medical tests to prevent this, to check for that, poke me prod me, like the piece of meat I am. I loved the Nacirema comparison in Chapter 2!! Healthy people do not pay the bills, so let’s make big bucks with “preventative care.” With microscopes so powerful they are bound to find some anomaly, we can treat him (her) for! As always, it comes down to the almighty dollar!!...
  • Carol Turner
    The thesis is intriguing, her first couple chapters kept me engaged enough to chug through the seemingly pointless mindfulness chapter, and she did return to her thesis in the cell chapter. Unfortunately, as with many nonfiction books that start off strong, she included a couple chapters whose main presence seemed to be to make the book long enough. The footnotes are terrific, as I'd expect from a PhD. I'll be using those.
  • Malobee Silvertongue
    **This review was originally posted on my website,**I was very excited to receive an ARC of this book because it sets itself up squarely within my interests—I finished Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America Natural Causes continues along in the same tone as Bright-Sided, setting up a scathing critique of generally accepted and often scientifically-unfounded practice as cultural dogma,...
  • Colleen
    1 StarARC provided by Twelve Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer is one of the biased books I have ever read. It’s a hostile rant lacking in facts throughout which the author blatantly ignores any information that does not fit her own opinion.Full review to come.RATING FACTORS:Ease of Reading: 1 StarWriting Style: 1 StarOrigina...
  • Linda
    Starting with a humorous cover illustration of the Grim Reaper on a treadmill, this book offers a fascinating look at the way people obsess about health and their desire for control, even as we march towards the inevitable end. As Ehrenreich says, “The truly sinister possibility is that for many of us all of the little measures we take to remain fit—all the deprivations and exertions—will only lead to a longer chance to live with crippling ...