Book Details

Harper Collins Logo

10% Human

How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness

About the Book

You are just 10% human. For every one of the cells that make up the vessel that you call your body, there are nine impostor cells hitching a ride. You are not just flesh and blood, muscle and bone, brain and skin, but also bacteria and fungi. Over your lifetime, you will carry the equivalent weight of five African elephants in microbes. You are not an individual but a colony.

Until recently, we had thought our microbes hardly mattered, but science is revealing a different story, one in which microbes run our bodies and becoming a healthy human is impossible without them.

In this riveting, shocking, and beautifully written book, biologist Alanna Collen draws on the latest scientific research to show how our personal colony of microbes influences our weight, our immune system, our mental health, and even our choice of partner. She argues that so many of our modern diseases—obesity, autism, mental illness, digestive disorders, allergies, autoimmunity afflictions, and even cancer—have their root in our failure to cherish our most fundamental and enduring relationship: that with our personal colony of microbes.

Many of the questions about modern diseases left unanswered by the Human Genome Project are illuminated by this new science. And the good news is that unlike our human cells, we can change our microbes for the better. Collen’s book is a revelatory and indispensable guide. It is science writing at its most relevant: life—and your body—will never seem the same again.

There’s more to being human than you think.

Have you ever wondered why so many people are overweight? Or why nearly half of youngsters have allergies? Has it ever seemed strange that depression is so common? Or that more and more children are being diagnosed with autism?

Using the latest scientific research, Alanna Collen reveals the link between ill health and the body’s community of microbes. Many of the modern illnesses we accept as part of life are instead newly emerging conditions brought on by our failure to cherish the extension of our human cells: our microbes.

In 10% Human, Collen explains how messing with your microbes can affect your metabolism, your mind, and your immune system; why antibiotics, C-sections, and infant formula can cause collateral damage; and how diet can restore a beneficial community of microbes. 10% Human is an alarm call on behalf of our most faithful companions.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“A fascinating look into the world of the microbiological hitchhikers that travel with us throughout our lives…Recommended for all readers, particularly those contending with the diseases listed and parents making health choices for their children that may have far-reaching consequences.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Exciting and novel…A fascinating study of the intertwined lives of microbes and humans…a manual for the new, healthy way of being dirty…Read it, and you will learn to love your microbiota.” —Newsweek

“A fascinating subject to consider…A beginner’s guide to microbiota…There’s value in Collen’s point about reconsidering what is truly healthy at a time when healthy living is so in vogue.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“Collen’s evidence for how each person’s microbiota, or personal community of microbes, impacts his or her health is undeniably powerful. She creates compelling connections between microbes and the “twenty-first-century illnesses” that affect all of us in some way…” —Bustle

“A welcome antidote to the simplistic ‘boost your health with probiotics’ books and articles posing as science…fascinating…Collen always brings the story back to the human level…Everything you wanted to know about microbes but were afraid to ask.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Collen argues convincingly that our enthusiasm for killing human bacteria is playing a leading role in ailments ranging from immune problems and obesity to autism.” —The Listener, the 100 Best Books of the 2015

“Compelling…Packed with extensive research and interviews, with insights hidden like gems in the text… Adept at explaining complex topics like the workings of immune system cells, Collen is strong on biological and historical context for each point.” —Gut Microbiota Worldwatch

“Collen’s book satisfies on every level… 10% Human is a page-turner that will leave science-loving readers wishing for more.” —The ASCO Post

“This book was a mind-changer for me, but it has a moderate tone that will appeal to skeptics and believers alike. Please, please read this book. It will make you smarter about your own health, your children’s health and the sociology of human illness.” —Leeannesowel.com

“Fascinating… I like 10% Human because while talking to an incredibly specific topic, it highlights the wholeness of the whole. It reminds me that no matter how specific we get with anything-it’s always part of a bigger picture.” —Actionable Books

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062345981
  • ISBN 10: 0062345982
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 05/05/2015
  • Pages: 336
  • List Price: 33.50 CAD
  • BISAC1: SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
  • BISAC2: SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology
  • BISAC3: HEALTH & FITNESS / General

10% Human by Alanna Collen

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the web site's home page.

Other Booksellers

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the Web site's home page.

SELECT:

International Customers

If you are located outside Canada, the best way to order online is to choose from the following bookstores listed by region and country.

HarperCollins Reader

We created the HC Reader App to be a simple way to read our e-books. Our App is available for download on iOS and Android devices.

We strongly encourage using the HarperCollins reader application since it supports the type of file we are using. You may experience some technical difficulties using a different reader application.

Instructions

  1. You need a HarperCollins Account. If you purchase/have purchased an e-book from HarperCollins, this is your account login and password. If not, please click here to register.
  2. Download the HC Reader App on iOS or Android. Enter your HarperCollins account username and password. Please note that your username is an e-mail address.
  3. Download your e-book and enjoy!