Physiology: All You Need to Know About How Your Body Works

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2009 paperback reprint.

Physiology: All You Need to Know About How Your Body Works is a nonfiction popular physiology book edited by Peter Abrahams and published in 2007. The reference book gives a brief overview of over 100 different aspects of physiology.


I bought this book on a clearance shelf. The heavy use of illustrations and diagrams convinced me to buy it. I started reading it in 2019 on my lunch breaks before the COVID-19 pandemic, then shelved it when I couldn't eat in restaurants anymore, and finally started reading it again after getting vaccinated. I completed the book on 2021-06-09.


I own a 2009 reprint paperback and have read it.



  • An amateur-level description of scores of the body's organs and systems are describe.
  • The book is full color and fully illustrated with hundreds of diagrams and photos.
  • The book uses a magazine style layout which allows you to easily flip to any page and read about any topic without any prerequisite knowledge.


  • The read-from-anywhere structure often backfires by using terms or principles the reader won't know unless they've read from several other sections first. Also, the authors frequently use specific medical jargon without explaining it first which makes several of the sections too complex for beginners.
  • The book is completely lacking citations. For well-established information, this is expected, but the book makes several esoteric claims that I would expect at least a basic description of the study, but everything is simply presented as fact.
  • The paragraph descriptions often describe organelles or systems that are not displayed on the accompanying diagrams. This makes it difficult to picture where they fit.
  • Though the diagrams are helpful, most of the photos are just stock photos; they're related to the topic, but they don't convey any useful information. Also, the vast majority of the models in the photos are white.
  • I spotted the rare spelling error, missing punctuation, and typo. For example, in the section on lungs, the book says the average lung capacity is not 5, but 55 liters!
  • It's minor, but the cover is a terrible clip-art mess.


  • The section "How we smell" has dubious claims about pheromones, menstrual synchrony, and the evolution of human smell without citing any references. The section on smoking says that acupuncture and hypnosis are "reputed" to alleviate cravings, but, again, no evidence is given. Also, in the section on allergies, though it doesn't endorse it, the book says homeopathy is a used as a treatment without any mention that it is a discredited anti-scientific scam.