Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer

By Barbara Ehrenreich
Read by Joyce Bean

6.90 Hours 04/10/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781549171932

New York Times bestselling author Barbara Ehrenreich explores how we are killing ourselves to live longer, not better. A razor-sharp polemic which offers an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe, Natural Causes describes how we overprepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. One by one, Ehrenreich topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to live a long, healthy life—from the importance of preventive medical screenings to the concepts of wellness and mindfulness, from dietary fads to fitness culture. But Natural Causes goes deeper—into the fundamental unreliability of our bodies and even our “mind-bodies,” to use the fashionable term. Starting with the mysterious and seldom-acknowledged tendency of our own immune cells to promote deadly cancers, Ehrenreich looks into the cellular basis of aging and shows how little control we actually have over it. We tend to believe we have agency over our bodies, our minds, and even over the manner of our deaths. But the latest science shows that the microscopic subunits of our bodies make their own “decisions” and not always in our favor. We may buy expensive anti-aging products or cosmetic surgery, get preventive screenings, and eat more kale or throw ourselves into meditation and spirituality. But all these things offer only the illusion of control. How to live well, even joyously, while accepting our mortality—that is the vitally important philosophical challenge of this book. Drawing on varied sources, from personal experience and sociological trends to pop culture and current scientific literature, Natural Causes examines the ways in which we obsess over death, our bodies, and our health. Both funny and caustic, Ehrenreich then tackles the seemingly unsolvable problem of how we might better prepare ourselves for the end—while still reveling in the lives that remain to us.

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times bestseller

New York Times bestselling author Barbara Ehrenreich explores how we are killing ourselves to live longer, not better.

A razor-sharp polemic which offers an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe, Natural Causes describes how we overprepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. One by one, Ehrenreich topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to live a long, healthy life—from the importance of preventive medical screenings to the concepts of wellness and mindfulness, from dietary fads to fitness culture.

But Natural Causes goes deeper—into the fundamental unreliability of our bodies and even our “mind-bodies,” to use the fashionable term. Starting with the mysterious and seldom-acknowledged tendency of our own immune cells to promote deadly cancers, Ehrenreich looks into the cellular basis of aging and shows how little control we actually have over it. We tend to believe we have agency over our bodies, our minds, and even over the manner of our deaths. But the latest science shows that the microscopic subunits of our bodies make their own “decisions” and not always in our favor.

We may buy expensive anti-aging products or cosmetic surgery, get preventive screenings, and eat more kale or throw ourselves into meditation and spirituality. But all these things offer only the illusion of control. How to live well, even joyously, while accepting our mortality—that is the vitally important philosophical challenge of this book.

Drawing on varied sources, from personal experience and sociological trends to pop culture and current scientific literature, Natural Causes examines the ways in which we obsess over death, our bodies, and our health. Both funny and caustic, Ehrenreich then tackles the seemingly unsolvable problem of how we might better prepare ourselves for the end—while still reveling in the lives that remain to us.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Ehrenreich’s sharp and fearless take on mortality…An incisive, clear-eyed polemic.” Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author
“The book is peevish, tender, and deeply, distinctively odd…She sits in contemplation of death itself in the book’s concluding, very beautiful passages, bringing to it her characteristic curiosity and awe at the natural world.” New York Times
“Takes an important, albeit uncomfortable, look at the health-seeking practices of our era…Nevertheless, although this is not a line of inquiry Ehrenreich pursues, maybe immortality isn’t our only objective. Perhaps in collectively visiting the third spaces provided by gyms or yoga studios, we partake in rituals that point to another goal: the creation of community.” Washington Post
Natural Causes explains why Ehrenreich, now 76, decided to forgo preventive medical care treatments, like cancer screenings, annual exams and Pap smears, after determining that she was, in her words, ‘old enough to die.’” Huffington Post
“Provides a contemplative vision of an active, engaged health care that goes far beyond the physical restraints of the body and into the realm of metaphysical possibilities.” Booklist
“Research and rumination on the complexity of our human bodies and the misconceptions of our minds…A powerful text that floods the mind with illumination.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Richly layered with evidence, stories, and quotations…and sprinkled with barbed humor. Ehrenreich lets nobody off the hook, skewering Silicon Valley meditators and misogynist obstetricians with equal vigor.” BookPage

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of several books, including three New York Times bestsellers, Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, and Living with a Wild God. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Progressive, Harper’s, and Time magazine.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Nonfiction/Social Science
Runtime: 6.90
Audience: Adult
Language: English