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Your Body: The Missing Manual--New from O'Reilly: The Book You Should Have Been Born With

August 4, 2009

Sebastopol, CA—Do you know you shed skin more frequently than a snake? Or that no matter how much you diet or exercise, the number of fat cells you have rarely changes? Do you know how your immune system works? Or what your pancreas does? Or the myriad--and often simple--ways you can improve the way your body functions? Get an entertaining, informative, and highly practical tour of the human body in this visually rich, full-color guide from O'Reilly Media: Your Body: The Missing Manual ($24.99 USD).

Following on the heels of his immensely popular Your Brain: The Missing Manual, author Matthew MacDonald conducts an entertaining, informative, and highly practical tour of the human body in this new book. Perfect for anyone interested in the human machine, Your Body: The Missing Manual features neither dumbed-down self-help nor dense medical text. Instead, by using the same clear, engaging writing that has made bestsellers of so many Missing Manuals, MacDonald provides readers with clear explanations of how our bodies work, with practical, realistic steps you can take to fine-tune your own vessel.

MacDonald says, "In this book you will learn how your body works, and how you can keep it in tip-top shape. You'll discover how to spot potential problems, and you'll learn to love--or at least live with--its charming and not-so-charming oddities. You'll see why we use the same hardware to talk, eat, and kiss. You'll learn why at least one study suggests that you'd be better off preparing dinner on a toilet seat rather than on an average kitchen counter cutting board (page 215). We think you'll enjoy the tour. After all, you'll be spending a lot of time in your body. Why not get better acquainted?"

The tour combines a look at the fascinating quirks, curiosities, and shortcomings we've all learned to live with (shivering and dizziness, to name just two) with just enough biology to improve and exploit the oddities of your body. Coverage includes what to do about hair loss as well as unwanted hair, breathing techniques to improve voice projection, advice on fasting and digestive "cleansing" strategies, and more.

Indeed, Your Body: The Missing Manual walks you through all of the important stuff that you need to know, including:

  • Skin. See why your body's first line of defense is a set of dead cells. Also find out what causes everything from moles to wrinkles, and discover how antiperspirants tame body odor.
  • Fat. Learn why your body needs fat, how it's stored, and why fad diets fail.
  • Your Heart. Witness a virtual heart attack to help avoid the real thing. Create the perfect cardio workout by monitoring your heart rate.
  • Your Digestive System. Tour your digestive tract's 30 feet, from tongue to toilet. Along the way, make friends with fiber, and learn what your waste reveals about you.
  • Your Immune System. Explore the battleground between your body and its enemies. Meet bacteria that colonize your digestive system, greet viruses that hijack your body, and discover what turns ordinary cells into cancer.
  • Sex and Reproduction. Take a close-up look at male and female sex organs, and find out what sex-ed class didn't teach you about fertility, female pleasure, and the male obsession with size.
  • Your Final Exit: Aging and Death. Get as close as you (consciously) can to the end of your life. Learn why we age, how we die, and what's likely to do you in.

Your Body: The Missing Manual is entertaining and packed with information you can use. It's a book that may well change your life.

Reviews for Your Brain: The Missing Manual, also by author Matthew MacDonald:

"...a unique guide that should be sought after by any who want to maximize what they can accomplish with their mental abilities and resources."
-- James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review - Wisconsin Bookwatch

"If you can't figure out how to use your brain after reading this guide, you may want to return your brain for another."
-- The Sacramento Book Review

"It's rare to find a book on any technical subject that is as well written and readable as Your Brain: The Missing Manual. The book covers pretty much anything you may want to know about your brain, from what makes it up, through how it develops to how to mitigate the affects of aging."
-- Neil Davis, Amazon.co.uk

"MacDonald's writing style is perfect for this kind of guide. It remains educational without becoming overly technical or using unexplained jargon. And even though the book covers a broad scope of topics, MacDonald keeps it well organized and easy to follow."
-- Janica Unruh, Blogcritics Magazine

For a review copy or more information please email peyton@oreilly.com Please include your delivery address and contact information.

Matthew MacDonald is a science and technology writer with well over a dozen books to his name. He's also the author of Your Brain: The Missing Manual, a quirky exploration into the odd and wondrous world of your squishy gray matter. In a dimly remembered past life, he studied English literature and theoretical physics.

Additional Resources:
For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and cover graphic, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596801748

Your Body: The Missing Manual
Matthew MacDonald
ISBN: 9780596801748, 303 pages,
Book Price: $24.99 USD, £18.99 GBP

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