After my raving posts about 10% Human, several people recommended this book by German scientist Gulia Enders, and (possibly bored to death hearing me bang on about microbes) one friend kindly lent me her copy. Thanks, Sarah!
Well, it’s awesome. All those recommendations were absolutely right, I loved this book – in fact, had I read Gut first, maybe it would have blown my mind in the same way as Collen’s book did!
The material is a lot the same. Enders and Collen refer to many of the same studies (not surprising, given the relative infancy of this particular branch of research), and both write in their own style, making complex scientific ideas accessible to the average reader. Gut is funny – there were definitely a few giggle-out-loud moments for me – and filled with cute cartoons instead of textbook-style diagrams. I guess most readers would not need to read both, unless like me you are newly obsessed with the human microbiome! Enders steers away from some of the more controversial suggestions which Collen explicitly makes, although she still alludes to them (I say again: BACTERIA that can AFFECT OUR SUBCONSCIOUS BEHAVIOUR!! I’m looking at you, toxoplasmosis), and this combined with her tongue in cheek writing style and funny little drawings possibly make Gut an easier first read than 10% Human.
Ultimately, I didn’t learn anything new from Gut that didn’t already explode my thinking in 10% Human. But it was a great read, I found it super encouraging to read the same ideas from two different sources, and would happily recommend it to anyone; especially since after reading both books, I now have some very pointed questions and a bunch of things to discuss with my doctors. I’m still a newly fledged microbiome evangelist (Bin the antibacterial soap! Restrict antibiotics! Eat more plants!) and in my opinion, the more funny, accessible and fun to read material there is out there, the better. I think Collen’s book will remain my first love, mostly because I made such a personal connection with the author’s story, but I’ve still got big love for Gut (and am trying to have more love for my own gut!).