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This edition does not include illustrations.
‘A book that lives up to its title – Guy Brown handles an exciting topic with the energy and expertise it deserves. A first-rate read!’ Roy Porter
Everybody knows what it is like to be short of energy, or even full of energy, but what is this stuff that drives our bodies and our minds? Where does it come from, and where does it all go? How does it move our muscles and stir our imaginations? Above all, how can I get some more? This brilliant book follows the development of our ideas of biological energy, from their origins in the very concept of life itself to the latest research on body clocks and brain energy.
The Energy of Life answers questions like ‘How is it possible for me to lift my arm just by willing it?’; ‘Why can living things move and dead things not?’; ‘Is there a relationship between mental energy and physical energy?’; ‘Is plenty of orange juice the best prevention of cancer and heart disease?’; ‘Is one girl a fat slob and the next a slim livewire by the accident of metabolism, by having too much or too little thyroid hormone?’; ‘Why are there epidemics of obesity in the developed world and of starvation in the developing world?’; ‘Why don’t diets work?’; ‘Are we born shy or bold?’; ‘What are boredom and fatigue for?’; ‘Why is it that some people are more creative, productive or energetic than others?’ Brown explains our sexual energy too: what causes us to be aroused, and how sexual arousal is sustained; what drives our motivations and passions and why does biting your partner beforehand lead to better sex?
About the author
Guy Brown is a Royal Society Research Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on human bioenergetics. This is his first book.
On any given day, you may exhibit--or need, or want--"energy": the get-up-and-go that allows you to apply for a job, run down the street or just read this page. Your body also requires, and gets (by processing food and oxygen), "energy" in the sense that physicists use the word--what your brain needs in the form of glucose, and what microscopic bodies called mitochondria package as a chemical called ATP. Brown, a biochemist at Cambridge University, has written an accessible book about both kinds of energy and the links between them. He explains how energy circulates in the body at the molecular level and how it controls what goes on in organs and organisms. ATP, mitochondria and calcium ions go to work whenever you move a muscle. You and your cat and her fleas all have a "metabolic rate," the speed with which an organism uses energy: multiply metabolic rate by life span for an assortment of animals, and you'll discover that "the total amount of energy used in an average lifetime is roughly equal" among species--though human beings are an exception, living longer than we "should." The brain has its own systems by which energy and information circulate every minute and every day. After elucidating those systems' roles in sex and sleep, Brown concludes with a slightly platitudinous chapter on emotional energy and fatigue, recommending regular exercise and "attainable" mental goals. Some readers may object to Brown's rapid pace and detect a few oversimplifications; most, though, will welcome this knowledgeable introduction to "body energy and mind energy what it is, how we get it, and how we lose it again."