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Book Review: An Illustrated Guide to Personal Health

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

A company wanting to replace the advice given on health risk assessments with actual good advice need look no further than An Illustrated Guide to Personal Health, by Tom Emerick and Robert Woods.

illustrated guide

It’s very entertaining, laced with clever illustrations and apropos quotes, but most importantly contains some of the best common-sense health advice you’ll ever read.  Not coincidentally, virtually none of this advice shows up in wellness programs.  The true determinants of health aren’t how much broccoli you consume or those other tired cliches spouted by wellness vendors, but rather things like your social network, your ability to avoid medical care except when needed, whether you like your job, enjoy your hobbies etc. Forced wellness programs, designed to make employees happy whether they like it or not, just get in the way of true well-being.

In addition to reinforcing good common sense, the book provides a few good tidbits that I myself didn’t know…and that are immediately going into the Quizzify quiz database.  Like not using antibacterial soaps.  (Who knew?  I mean, I don’t use them, but I had no idea of the hazards of those antibacterial chemicals.)  Indeed, one of the messages of the Illustrated Guide is that most bacteria are our friends.  Or, as our parents used to say, they are much more scared of us than we are of them.  One chapter is called: “Let Kids Play in the Dirt.” Really, if dirt were bad for kids none of them would reach adulthood.  Common sense, and yet we all know of kids with all sorts of allergies, many of whom were raised almost aseptically.

A great deal of the advice mirrors that of Quizzify closely enough that one idea for a wellness program would be to let employees take the quiz (giving them $1 for every correct answer) after they read the book.  Example of the separated-at-birth advice common to both:  regardless of what Keas says, don’t routinely swallow multivitamins or vitamin pills of any type.  With the possible exception in certain circumstances of Vitamin D and Niacin (and folic acid for pregnant women), they are more likely to harm you than benefit you.  And do you even know anyone who has a vitamin deficiency?

Most importantly, An Illustrated Guide is easily digestible, fun to read and in terms of health, the perfect antidote for the stress caused by pry-poke-and-prod wellness programs.

1 Comment

  1. Sam says:

    This is a very helpful review. it does sound like it fills a niche. Most wellness books are about as you say eating more broccoli rather than good tips


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