Score: 96/100 (9.6 out of 10)
"The 21st Century Man" is quite literally THE encyclopedia on men's health! And although it has a focus on males, it can also be very useful to women or anyone who is interested in theirs or a loved one's overall health and well-being. It could also be a great gift for a father, grandfather, brother, or husband.
This is going to be a serious consideration for a “Non-Fiction Book of the Year” award along with the works of Jim Lichtman, Aaron S. Bayley, and a few others.
Along with being thorough, well-researched, well-structured, and professionally edited, this book can actually be quite enjoyable and even fun to read. It's really tough to figure out why exactly that is. Maybe we just find statistics and trivia fascinating? Dr. Brandeis and his contributors don't rely on individual case studies, anecdotal evidence, or fun stories to get their points across, they're almost always fact-focused. The studies they do refer to tend to be larger or looking at a census of a population/demographic. Maybe it is the trivia element that makes this book funner to read than you might otherwise think. There's a “Did you know?!” element of shock, surprise, and wonder with almost every page. And there are A LOT of pages. You don't have to read them all (although we were obligated to) as the author makes it clear that this book is more like a “buffet” as in you get to choose what foods (topics) to partake in the most. Maybe you're someone who is more concerned with mental health than on heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. There are whole sections dedicated to that. Maybe your concern is for caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or kidney disease. There are sections for that too. This is a fantastic reference book in that regard—thorough, informative, and easy to navigate. And it has legitimacy and expertise behind it.
Maybe the reason we found this book so enjoyable is because almost all of this information is applicable to real-life (your life) in some way. So, it's therefore engaging by default. It's also engaging in that it calls the reader out on things like eating fresh fruits/vegetables, sleeping, and exercising. If you ever needed a reminder about why those things are important, then here's a book full of discussions about diseases that occur when you neglect these things.
Now, is this book perfect? Actually, no. But we'd have to be rather nitpicky to find fault. We were already on guard for quackery with some of us having read numerous mainstream diet, exercise, health, pseudo-health book under the sun from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. It's like doctors just can't avoid pushing their products/brand. We were already prepared to be sold supplements or magical milkshakes/candy bars (sold by the author or their associates) and fed a lot of dogma. However, that was not the case for the most part. Yes, there a handful of supplements recommended, but they were just that: recommendations. And, from what we recall, most of them weren't specific to a brand. Something that seemed a little problematic was that earlier in the book, we are told that multivitamins haven't been proven to have a significant positive effect and that a well-rounded diet renders them unnecessary. This is “true” to our knowledge, at least as far as the research we've seen, even though we still take multivitamins for peace of mind. Later in the book, we are told that there is research showing that multivitamins can be helpful and that we should choose a quality one. So which is it? There are also statements about why it's important to get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day with walking usually listed alongside other activities, but then at least one statement later on that 30 minutes of walking can't be considered real exercise because we've been walking since we were babies and so it's nothing new to challenge our bodies. So, again, which is it? We know that these statements may have been made by different contributors, but they're contained in the same book.
Something else that's quite special is that Dr. Brandeis, while initially coming across as someone who seems to have all the answers and everything together, actually ends the book in a very personable way by discussing his personal struggles including having business partners turn on him and make it difficult to get clients earlier in his career.
Another thing that's special is the de-emphasis on medication, drugs, and surgery in favor of alternatives like chiropractic work, diet, and exercise.
This book is incredibly significant when you consider that men are more likely to successfully commit suicide, die violent deaths, die from avoidable causes like accidents, and die from things like diabetes and heart disease. Men are far more likely to win the “Darwin Award.” The statistics are quite staggering. So, the topics in this book should be on the minds of much of human population: we are or know someone who is at risk.
So, this book joins the best of the best as far as we're concerned!
Check it out on Amazon!