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, Medicine, Medical

Reviews Natural Causes

  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • Roxane
    Eh. Feels rushed and not well thought out. The overall subject is interesting but not the approach here.
  • Trevor
    One of my favourite jokes involves a person saying that they want to die like their grandfather, peacefully and in his sleep, not screaming and terrified like the passengers in the car he was driving. I read a few years ago that doctors aren’t allowed to write that you died of natural causes on your death certificate any more, even if you are 120 years old. You always have to die of ‘something’. And since you will have died of cancer or dem...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Rebecca
    (2.5) A decade ago, Barbara Ehrenreich discovered a startling paradox through a Scientific American article: the immune system assists the growth and spread of tumors, including in breast cancer, which she had in 2000. It was an epiphany for her, confirming that no matter how hard we try with diet, exercise and early diagnosis, there’s only so much we can do to preserve our health; “not everything is potentially within our control, not even o...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    Barbara Ehrenreich, who has bravely taken on minimum wage in her classic book, Nickel and Dimed, now takes on all the buzz-worries of my Baby Boomer generation in her book, Natural Causes. I was fascinated with her take on screenings and annual exams: unnecessary, all. This is not just her opinion, mind you; this is what science is telling us. Fascinating. And why haven't I read this before now?Probably just me, but I loved this sentence: "Once I...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Kirsti
    Splendid, precise, no-bullshit assessment of which age-prolonging techniques are worthwhile. Ehrenreich has no tolerance for victim blaming. Her Ph.D. in cell biology serves her well.In short: eat more vegetables, exercise, expect some pain as you age, and don't assume that health professionals always know what's best. Keep an open mind, do research, and think carefully before committing to an operation or other procedure (or even the latest diet...
  • Laurie
    Disappointed. I really liked two other books that this author wrote but found this one to be somewhat of a rant against our culture (not that I disagree). She gives us lots of information but somehow it didn’t seem to all tie together into anything, so I found myself skimming faster and faster until I just had to put it down, which I regret because I’m thinking there might have been something interesting hidden in there...somewhere.
  • 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 ...
  • Katie
    Natural Causes was a book I needed right now. I had recently read an article excerpted from the book arguing that the cons of preventive screenings can outweigh the pros and that we should concentrate more on enjoying living than trying to live longer. Even if you do everything right like eat well and exercise, that doesn’t guarantee good health to an advanced age. The book goes more into detail on the science behind how our cells age and how o...
  • Stacey Camp
    **4.5 Goodreads Stars** "In the health-conscious mindset that has prevailed among the world's affluent people for about four decades now, health is indistinguishable from virtue, tasty foods are 'sinfully delicious,' while healthful foods may taste good enough to be advertised as 'guilt-free.' Those seeking to compensate for a lapse undertake punitive measures like fasts, purges, or diets composed of different juices carefully sequenced throughou...
  • 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...
  • Hank Stuever
    An enjoyable -- if prolonged -- tract from one of our last, true, highly regarded crabs. And just the thing for a certain reader facing 50.I've been reading Barbara so long I feel like I'm on a first-name basis with her. I almost always agree with her clear line of thought and her mistrust of all the B.S. directed our way from all directions. She'll be forever known for "Nickel and Dimed," but I think she's fought the longer game against a more p...
  • 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...
  • Carrie Poppy
  • 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...
  • Noël
    1.5. This book is all over the place. If I could sum up - we all die regardless and she's mad about it, so she's blaming medicine and science. Side trip into her anger at the immune system for not fitting the pattern of "good" she wishes to assign and pearl clutching over what is essentially chaos theory as seen in biological systems. The part on macrophages was interesting and garnered the 1.5 stars here. Basically, Barbara sounds like Grandpa S...
  • Erin
    I thought the subject of this book was really fascinating, however, it turned out to be a very different spin on the topic than I was expecting. Although I don't necessarily agree with Ehrenreich's views regarding the medical world, I was intrigued by the first half of the book. But after her initial views on why some medical treatments can actually harm our health, I became bored. There's a lot more scientific jargon than I was expecting, so I f...
  • Colleen
    1 Star**My #1 worst read of 2018**ARC provided by Twelve Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. And honest it shall be.My expectations for this book were of an insightful, well-researched look at how society handles aging and death. Ehrenreich is a well-known author, successful, and educated. But Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer is one of the biased books I have e...
  • Griseo
    Barbara Ehrenreich tiene 77 años y ya ha asumido que va a morir. De ahí este libro que trata sobre la muerte y el cual probablemente sea el último libro suyo que veamos.Causas naturales es un libro que trata científica, psicológica, social, histórica y filosóficamente sobre la muerte y que podríamos dividir en tres partes: una primera parte que recuerda a su libro Por su propio bien: 150 años de consejos de expertos a las mujeres, una se...
  • Tracy
    Three and a half stars. Interesting and snarky. Ehrenreich‘s hypothesis seems to be that no matter what we do to hold mortality at bay, we all die. Not cheerful but it is true.