Hormones: A Very Short Introduction – Book Review

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 12.55.11 PMIn popular culture hormones are considered chemicals that cause a lot of disruptive or unwanted behaviors: from a teenager’s acting out, to rampant promiscuity, to drug abuse in professional sports. In this view hormones are thought as something of an “add on” to your normal bodily homeostasis. However, hormones are an essential part of our biological makeup, and without them we simply couldn’t function. They are the overarching “signaling” chemicals, generally secreted in one part of the body and carried by the bloodstream to the other parts.

This is a very well written and thorough book on hormones. It gives a short historical account of their discovery and the evolution of our understanding of these important substances. The book covers the biochemistry of hormones, and the physiology of their secretion and action. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the book deals with human hormones and the associated physiological conditions that accompany them.

The book gave me a new appreciation of the incredibly subtle and complex role that hormones play in our bodies. It also managed to dispel certain myths that I’ve had about hormones. (For instance, both testosterone and estrogen are present in both sexes. They are not THE sex hormones as conventionally understood.) I also learned how much interaction there is between different hormones, and that this is still an area that is not completely well understood, where a lot of current research is going on.

As an aside, just like with any other book written for the general audience that contains “medical” information, there is a danger that a fair number of readers of this book may be tempted to self-diagnose after reading it. Don’t. You will most likely misdiagnose yourself, and make yourself unnecessarily worried. If you suspect that you might have a medical condition that could possibly be related to hormonal imbalances, you should consult your doctor.

Overall, this is a pretty good book that taught me a lot of new things about hormones and human physiology in general. Highly recommended.


Bojan Tunguz

Bojan Tunguz was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he and his family fled during the civil war for the neighboring Croatia. Over the past two decades he has studied, lived and worked in the United States. He is a theoretical physicist with degrees from Stanford and University of Illinois. Tunguz has taught physics at several prominent liberal arts colleges and has been writing about physics, science and technology for more than a decade. He also has a wide spectrum of interests, and reads and writes about current events, society, culture, religion and politics. Over the years he has reviewed many of the books that he has read, and posted his reviews on various online outlets. In 2011 he had become a top 10 reviewer on Amazon.com, where he continues to be very active. Aside from reading and writing, Tunguz enjoys traveling, digital photography, hiking, and fitness. He resides with his wife in Indiana. You can follow my review updates on the following pages as well: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tunguzreview Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tunguzreviews Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104312842297641697463/posts

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