2 out of 4 stars
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Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks: A Physician’s Advice by Morton E. Tavel, MD is a nonfiction book that breaks down several aspects of health and gives a physician’s opinion on them. The “tips” section had information about how to lose weight, but also about how to be healthy in general. This section included chapters that discussed topics such as the best ways to lose weight, whether coffee and chocolate are actually good for you, the risks of cigarettes, and back pain. The “myths” section is about medical conspiracy theories and tackles topics such as vaccines, GMOs, hard water versus soft water, and more. The “tricks” section gives overviews about how people who want to take people’s money trick them into using their products or services, such as chiropractic treatment, alkaline water, and body “detoxes”.
The book was quite informative. Certain chapters were definitely more interesting and relevant to my curiosities than others. For example, after reading the chapter about trans-fat, I ran to my pantry to see if any foods I had in there had trans-fat in them! I think that Tavel is talented at translating somewhat complicated science into something that laypeople can easily understand. I also enjoyed the tone of the book. Tavel has a sense of humor that shines through, and that made the book more fun to read.
The main thing I disliked about the book was the writing style of the author, and also the way he chose to organize the book. The author frequently uses long sentences with a lot of commas. Some chapters are very short (like only 1.5 pages) and there were too many of them. Some of the chapters were very similar to each other, and I feel they could have been combined to help readers take in the information. The subtitles throughout the book are inconsistent chapter-to-chapter (for example, he uses the subtitle “Conclusion” in some chapters but not in others). There were also quite a few typos throughout the book.
I also wish the author had acknowledged counterarguments more effectively throughout the book. His acknowledgements of counterarguments were either nonexistent or felt hasty and incomplete. In addition, I felt at some points of the book, the author used outdated, even offensive, language. For example, he compared “normal” versus “autistic” brains, when a more accepted way to discuss that would be “nuero-typical” or “allistic” versus “autistic”. There was also a point where he equated brain function with Western education, talking about them like they were synonymous. I think that using language like this can alienate readers, and I think that word choice is very important. Tavel missed the mark on some of that.
Overall, because of the confusing organization of the book and the very one-sidedness of his arguments, I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I think this book would appeal to people who have a specific interest in the topics covered in the book. It is not good for people who have general curiosity, like me. The information was very interesting, but the book felt incomplete, perhaps even rushed, as a work of nonfiction.
Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks
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