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The Secret Life of Germs: What They Are, Why We Need Them, and How We Can Protect Ourselves Against Them Paperback – Bargain Price, December 30, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria (December 30, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 0743421884
  • ASIN: B001PO68K6
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,764,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly Field samplings from...pay phones, taxicabs, public restrooms...will startle readers, but the author is not an alarmist: His aim is disease prevention, and his method is education. -- Review

Booklist

A fascinating, informative book on the good as well as the bad features of germs.



Publishers Weekly

Field samplings from...pay phones, taxicabs, public restrooms...will startle readers, but the author is not an alarmist: His aim is disease prevention, and his method is education.

About the Author

Philip M. Tierno, Jr., Ph.D., helped solve the mystery behind toxic shock syndrome. He is Director of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at New York University Medical Center and is a member of the faculty at NYU School of Medicine. He has appeared on such shows as 20/20, Oprah, Dateline, and PrimeTime. Dr. Tierno lives in a suburb of New York.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By E. Wood on December 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is good if you want to be warned over and over to wash your hands! If you are looking for the difference between viruses and bacteria, actual scientific references or interesting facts about how germs and bacteria live, reproduce and colonize us - look elsewhere. This book was too preachy and didn't have enough information for anyone with a genuine interest in biology, human physiology, or health.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. L. Gauntlett on June 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm a stay-at-home mom who hangs out with two other moms who are extremes of each other - one who is a self-described germ-phobe and the other who doesn't do anything at all. I knew there was a middle ground, but what was it? This book told me exactly what I needed to know, plus I learned some interesting history & science along the way. Warning - I believe the author intends this book for mass consumption, but often he wanders into somewhat technical descriptions. Which is fine if you enjoy reading science (ask yourself, would I read National Geographic, Scientific American, Popular Science, or the like?). And interestingly, this book is scary AND reassuring at the same time. Definitely helpful for arming yourself with facts against all the germ myths out there. Required reading for all moms, I would say.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dalya on November 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is just irritating. The author is too phobic about microbial life. And you can tell that by his descriptions on how to wash your hands and just clean, clean, clean. He instructs you to use anti-bacterial soaps and even obtain a cutting board coated with anti-microbial substance... Anti-bacterial soaps protect you against 99.9% of some bacteria. That other little percent is what can kill you. Furthermore, every time you use anti-bacterial soap or hand sanitizers, you are getting rid of the normal friendly bacteria that is naturally on your skin.. Getting rid of that leads to annoying infections which would have been easily prevented if one didn't use such products.. And also, chemicals in anti-bacterial soaps have recently been linked to mess with hormone function in humans. If you work in a hospital or such, then definitely you need to use these products.. But the average person who works an office job shouldn't be so cautious and ignorant.
I guess the mission of the book is to instruct people on how to combat microbes and live life with the constant fear and phobia of getting sick.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K Culbertson on February 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Not at all a dry, scientific read. You'll never look at New York city the same after reading this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marjorie W. Dole on March 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
As a microbiologist, I found the history of germs and the descriptions of various diseases and their etiologic agents well done. However, Tierno's disease preventive advice is, in many cases, way over the top. Although he understands well the ubiquity of microorganisms, he panics at the thought of their presence on the skin of a healthy person and in food.. How many of us think it is necessary, in all cases, to use a handkerchief on a door knob, or excessively clean the anal area after going to the toilet? After finishing this book the reader may not know which advice is excellent (wash your hands well and frequently) or is excessive (always discard food that has dropped on the floor.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By luxmaler on March 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
I thumbed through this book looking for accessable writing for my non science majors in my biology class. The first story that I came across was the scenario about the hot dog vendor with a cold. The author went through the scenario about the "germs " being spread by his handling of the packages of food and everything he touched but then went on about the hot dog water becoming an incubator for more cold "germs" and spreading through the dissemination of the sold and cooked hot dogs pointed to his naivete. Colds are spread by viruses not bacteria . Viruses need living cells to replicate not a hot dog trough. By law the products have to kept on at a high enough temperature thwart microbial growth , hence the steam tables at buffet settings. That one story told me that this may not be a very trustworthy writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wm001 on January 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This used-very good book is beyond what I expected. It's like a new one. It comes at the right time. I will order from this seller again next time. Thanks very much!
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