Sapolsky's Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers: a charming tour of stress science
A fascinating, charming tour of stress science. Although it is detailed to a fault at times, Sapolsky’s attempt to make the topic palatable is downright heroic and relentless insightful and quotable. He is biology’s Richard Feynman.
The book’s main lesson is that stress is definitely a serious health issue. Humans have a unique capacity to react to imagined threats — psychological stress — but we differ dramatically in our vulnerability to them. To some extent that vulnerability can probably be managed, but “it’s complicated.” To the extent that we can reduce stress, “80 percent of the stress reduction is accomplished with the first 20 percent of effort.”
If the book has a significant flaw, it’s that Sapolsky only acknowledges that stress has been demonized for profit: “it would be utterly negligent to exaggerate the implications of this idea.” Unfortunately, he does not explore or condemn the tsunami of quackery, marketed with hyperbolic fear-mongering about stress (which, to be fair, was still relatively tame when he was writing). For contrast, Purser's much more recent book, McMindfulness, devotes a whole chapter to this topic.
Curiously, this book is cited or quoted more than any other single source on PainScience.com: Sapolsky is referenced almost 200 times in about three dozen articles!
~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher
When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress (book), by Gabor Maté. Amazon.com ❐
These fifteen articles on PainScience.com cite this item as a source:
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- Anxiety & Chronic Pain
- Pain Relief from Personal Growth
- The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain
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- The Tyranny of Yoga and Meditation
- Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment
- 35 Surprising Causes of Pain
- Tissue Provocation Therapies
- Sensitization in Chronic Pain
- Studying the Studies
- Chronic, Subtle, Systemic Inflammation
- A Rational Guide to Fibromyalgia
- Vulnerability to Chronic Pain