To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Review this product
Top reviews from Canada
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
1.0 out of 5 starsLots of filler
Reviewed in Canada on December 14, 2021
I did not think the book gave me what I wanted, a lot of nice stories and white supremacy philosophy and very little real science. I wanted to return it.
4.0 out of 5 starsIt's a long read but a rewarding one
Reviewed in Canada on March 30, 2021
My wife actually ordered this for herself but I snitched it off her nightstand when she wasn't looking.
Daniel E. Lieberman poses rather interesting questions for anyone, like me, who has exercised regularly or even for someone who simply wishes they could motivate themselves to do so. One of the many questions he poses is “If exercise is so good for us, why do many people dislike or avoid it?”
It has certainly been my experience, in over 40 years of practising and teaching Chinese martial arts, that many people including myself have very mixed feelings towards exercise. Whatever the format, you get used to doing your fitness thing as part of your routine and appreciate that it is good for the body and the soul; but most days you may well also wonder “why don’t I just have a beer and enjoy this beautiful sunset!” It’s not just an issue for martial artists; my wife has done aerobic fitness exercises on her own as well as in groups most of her adult life but also admits to feeling this conundrum when we compare notes. “Shouldn’t I be glad that I am doing this instead of thinking of it as another essential chore to do today.”
You may not get all the answers to these and other fitness questions by reading Mr. Lieberman’s book but any martial artist, yes, even any taijiquan practitioner, might benefit from reading a copy. For one thing, Lieberman writes better than most anthropologists and historians whose books I've read and his work is based in part on a comprehensive review of relevant scientific and anthropological research as well as his own experience living with hunter-gather societies in the 1980s. Assembling and analyzing this data, he makes what seems like very reasonable comparisons to our hunter-gatherer ancestors [remember that agriculture is still just a baby at about 10,000 years which means almost nothing in evolutionary/genetic adaptation terms].
Along the way, the author explodes a lot of myths, both about exercise and the lack thereof, and is especially especially good on the topic of "laziness." [A topic on which I am quite an expert myself!]
Sadly, it shouldn’t be surprising that our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, Lieberman argues that to become more active we need to do more than medicalize and commodify exercise. Though the pharmaceutical industry wouldn’t agree, there is no doubt in my mind that pills, diets and stomach-stapling surgery should only be seen as a small part of a sensible solution for our increasingly obese and unfit population.
Conversely, while drawing on insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, Lieberman tackles the question of whether you can exercise too much, even as he explains why exercise can be vital in reducing our vulnerability to some of the diseases likely to shorten our lives or affect the quality of those diminished years.
At the same time, if you are looking for a specific how-to path to a Western-style of fitness; this is probably not the book for you as it is very long and not always easy going for readers like me who see scientific charts as a mysterious challenge in a foreign tongue! However, I won’t spoil the potential satisfaction of reading his answers to the questions that he posed about exercise; though, in his epilogue at the end of the book he does sum everything up by writing [and I’ll “spoil” the ending by quoting him here]: “Make exercise necessary and fun. Do mostly cardio; but also some weights. Some is better than none. Keep it up as you age.’”
While those conclusions are hardly surprising, that being said, this is an excellent, sometimes humorous book that is well-worth reading if you want lots of details about our contradictory attitudes to exercise and fitness.
The book shows the evolution of physical activity from the hunter-gatherer to the modern human. It shows how exercise is so important and how it helps to prevent and fight illness. I recommend this book to everyone how wants to expand your own knowledge about physical activity.
4.0 out of 5 starsWell-written look at exercise from evolutionary and anthropological standpoints
Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2021
This book examines many myths or ideas about exercise from the viewpoints of evolution and anthropology. The author is at his best when he tells his stories of visiting the Hadza people or when whipping out a chart to make a point. His occasional attempts at humor are good.
At times however, his writing would benefit from increased succinctness and his identical format for each chapter, while adding clarity, also adds an overbearing sense of repetitiveness by the end.
His science is sound, which is sometimes rare in books about exercise these days. His conclusions, however, are nothing surprising and very general. The journey to get to them, however, is moderately entertaining and sufficiently logical and scientific that some will hopefully be inspired to make some lifestyle changes for the better.
I think someone qualified needs to do a companion book on diet because the diet fads these days have caused huge confusion about what it means to eat healthy.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, having read only the first half of the book, and give it a rave. Lieberman writes better than most anthropologists I've read (he even uses "myriad" correctly). His work is based on extensive primary research, on himself and others. He deals with the evolutionary history of exercise. He explodes a lot of myths, both about exercise and the lack thereof, and is especially good on "laziness." At the same time, if you don't exercise, or are looking for an easy path to fitness, this book is not for you. Mainly, if you do exercise, and if you really like to exercise, this book will go a long way toward explaining why. As someone who gets edgy, fidgety if he doesn't exercise an hour each day, I really appreciate that. But don't be fooled. The guy is a scientist, and, like the great S.J. Gould, he refuses to dumb down his work. Prepare to use your brain. Highly recommended.