walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_How Not to Die_, Jan Garavaglia, M.D.

Subtitled: Surprising Lessons on Living Longer, Safer and Healthier from America's Favorite Medical Examiner Dr. G

Apparently there's a TV show on Discovery Health.

I picked this up off a display table at some chain bookstore a couple months ago. I've really enjoyed books about dying and examining dead bodies in the past (_Dead Men Do Tell Tales_ was particularly excellent for bodies, and both _Death in Yellowstone_ and _Over the Edge_ were really good books about dying). Unfortunately, this is not an excellent book. It's okay. It's readable. It's plausible and the stories are interesting. The problem is there aren't enough stories, and there's a lot too much moralizing. _Over the Edge_ has dozens of stories for each dumb way to die in the Grand Canyon; Dr. G. presents one or maybe two examples for each of her sample causes of deaths (actually, sometimes not even one or two). The last chapter of the book is a sort of Smile! It'll Make You Feel Better paean to positive thinking, something that's pretty much always guaranteed to annoy me.

Her sum-up at the end also irritates me. As is all to often the case, the doc is focused on "knowing your numbers" (BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, lipids, blood sugar, blah, blah, bleeping blah) and maybe taking some pills for them (statins) and much less focused on the importance of eating better and being more active. Don't get me wrong -- in the text, she's all about the eat better and exercise and has some nice little stories of what works for her. It's the summary at the end I'm complaining about.

I don't think reading this book will hurt anyone, and there's a chance it would be a wake-up call to someone. Also, there's a lot of fun to be had in thinking how much smarter one is than those poor fools that let X or Y do them in. YMMV, of course. I'll be passing this along to the local library.
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