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Always Follow the Elephants: More Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths about Our Health and the World We Live In Paperback – September 29, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; 1 Original edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805090002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805090000
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Amuses and enlightens … Wondering about the possible health risks of nose-blowing?  Whether diving into a pool of water will save you from a bee attack? ... O’Connor has answers.”—Booklist

About the Author

Anahad O’Connor is a reporter for The New York Times covering breaking national news and contributes the weekly column “Really?”—named for his favorite word in journalism—to the paper’s Science Times section. The author of Never Shower in a Thunderstorm (ISBN: 978-0-8050-8312-5), he lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
New York Times science and health reporter Anahad O'Connor receives emails from curous readers who are eager to test the veracity of certain old wives' tales and popular beliefs. Do they have any basis in reality or are they myths? O'Connor consults medical journals and databases, looks for reliable studies, and speaks to experts in order to "nail down the best, scientifically endorsed answers to these pesky curiosities." Some of the more provocative questions and answers appear in "Always Follow the Elephants." This compendium is divided into ten categories, in which the author addresses such subjects as "Kitchen First Aid: Do-It-Yourself Doctoring," "Calories Count: The Battle of the Bulge," and "Drink to Your Health: Of Cocktails and Cures."

O'Connor's breezy and lighthearted style, coupled with his concise and jargon-free prose, make this book easy to digest. Some of the issues addressed here have already been covered many times in magazines and newspapers (most of us know better than to smear butter on a burn), but others, such as "Do Computer Keyboards Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?" and "Do Animals Have a Sixth Sense" that warns them when a natural disaster is about to strike (think tsunami), are timely and informative. Readers can leaf through the articles or read them in order. "Always Follow the Elephants" is fast-paced, mildly amusing (O'Connor's jokes tend to be painfully corny), and filled with trivia and fun facts that, if nothing else, will give you something to talk about with your family, friends, and colleagues during conversational lulls. O'Connor includes extensive footnotes and a useful index that will be a boon to browsers. The author teaches us to be skeptical about "facts" that are unsupported by hard evidence.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
How many folks do you see walking around with a bottle of water dutifully drinking their quota for the day? Is it really beneficial for us to drink 8 glasses of water per day as many claim? Not at all says Anahad O'Connor, writer of the NY Times "Really?" column in his fact fulled collection of information about us and our world.

Re the water, "Much of the water we need comes in the form of food and various liquids, like tea, milk, and juice, so there's no need to squeeze a minimum of eight glasses of water into your day if you're already consuming other fluids and eating properly."

No telling how many believe what our mothers told us, which is perhaps information our mothers learned from their mothers. Whether accurate or not information that has been passed around from generation to generation has a tendency to develop a factuality about it, sometimes even when it is absurd to contemporary minds. On the other hand, sometimes those old wives' tales are correct. My Mom was a firm believer in dosing a cough with honey. Turns out it can help.

O'Connor does an excellent job of debunking some myths and giving others scientific credibility. He divides his myths into 18 chapters, everything from "Kitchen First Aid" to "World Health." Some will especially enjoy "Love Medicine: And Other Bedroom Matters."

The title of his book "Always Follow The Elephants"? Remember the dreadful tsunami in 2004 that sprang from the Indian Ocean and killed over 200,000 people? It was a disaster of epic proportions. Yet, there no dead animals. Seems that animals do have a sixth sense when it comes to impending disasters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I. Isabel on March 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book remind me of the series of "Tell me Why" I grew up with. Always follow the elephants covers useful health facts that you could apply to daily life. Some of my favorites are "Is it dangerous to swallow gums?", "can eating green potatoes kill you?" "can some mixers make you more drunk?", "is drinking hot water from the tap bad for you?" and "do some people dream in black and white?". I like the fact that All the answers are based on scientific research or reliable sources.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
How many folks do you see walking around with a bottle of water dutifully drinking their quota for the day? Is it really beneficial for us to drink 8 glasses of water per day as many claim? Not at all says Anahad O'Connor, writer of the NY Times "Really?" column in his fact fulled collection of information about us and our world.

Re the water, "Much of the water we need comes in the form of food and various liquids, like tea, milk, and juice, so there's no need to squeeze a minimum of eight glasses of water into your day if you're already consuming other fluids and eating properly."

No telling how many believe what our mothers told us, which is perhaps information our mothers learned from their mothers. Whether accurate or not information that has been passed around from generation to generation has a tendency to develop a factuality about it, sometimes even when it is absurd to contemporary minds. On the other hand, sometimes those old wives' tales are correct. My Mom was a firm believer in dosing a cough with honey. Turns out it can help.

O'Connor does an excellent job of debunking some myths and giving others scientific credibility. He divides his myths into 18 chapters, everything from "Kitchen First Aid" to "World Health." Some will especially enjoy "Love Medicine: And Other Bedroom Matters."

The title of his book "Always Follow The Elephants"? Remember the dreadful tsunami in 2004 that sprang from the Indian Ocean and killed over 200,000 people? It was a disaster of epic proportions. Yet, there no dead animals. Seems that animals do have a sixth sense when it comes to impending disasters. Elephants "are known to use their trunks and feet - which are highly sensitive - to detect and interpret low frequency seismic signals from other elephants.
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More About the Author

Anahad O'Connor is a reporter for the New York Times, with a weekly column in the Science Times section called "Really?" He has appeared on National Public Radio, Good Morning America, and The Martha Stewart Show. He is also the author of the bestselling health book Never Shower in a Thunderstorm: Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths About Our Health and the World We Live In. He lives in New York City.

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Always Follow the Elephants: More Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths about Our Health and the World We Live In
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