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Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Third Edition Paperback – August 26, 2004
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"Robert M. Sapolsky is one of the best science writers of our time."―Oliver Sacks
For the first edition of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers:
Sapolsky succeeds in interpreting technical material in a way that leaves readers with an understanding of how the same physiological responses, so well suited for dealing with short-term physical emergencies, can turn into potential disasters when chronically provoked for psychological or other reasons....The author has a way with words and images....you'll find plenty to intrigue you. ―The Washington Post
Robert Sapolsky wittily dissects the anatomy of human stress-response. ―The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Robert M. Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museum of Kenya. He is the author of A Primate's Memoir and The Trouble with Testosterone, which was a Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist. A regular contributor to Discover and The Sciences, and a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, he lives in San Francisco.
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I found this book to be a great read. I learned a lot about the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and the immune system. Anyone with "firstworldproblems" should read this book.
This book contains a significant amount of technical discussion. For example, the author goes into detail about the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine. That being said the writing is still clear and easy to follow, even if you do not have a background in medicine or physiology.
In addition to considering the physiological aspects of stress, the author also talks considerably about the psychological aspects of stress. He writes for example about studies of attachment style, and what kinds of childhood environments lead to stress later in life.
Surprisingly, another treat about this book is the footnotes. The author shares humorous and informative anecdotes here such as why JFK had a bad back, the inner working of toilet bowls, and why hormones have their names.
I've tremendously enjoyed reading this book, and also Sapolsky's other book 'A Primates Memoir'. He makes science fun to read, and is world-class in his field. Granted the book is long, and the fact that the topic is stress all the way through did make it go slowly in some places. Nevertheless, if you have an interest in science, are not thrown off by technical discussions, and are looking for an eye-opening read then I'd recommend you give this book a go.