Heart: the inside story of our bodys most important organ

Johannes Hinrich Von Borstel, David Shaw

Heart: the inside story of our bodys most important organ
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Heart: the inside story of our bodys most important organ

Johannes Hinrich Von Borstel, David Shaw

The heart - we all have one, pumping away reliably in our chest, never stopping till the day we die. But few of us think much about this heroic organ until it starts to go wrong.

In this lively and informative exploration of all aspects of the heart, Johannes Hinrich von Borstel offers a perfect mix of medical fact and amusing anecdote. A doctor, prospective cardiologist, and former paramedic - as well as one of Germany’s most successful science-slammers - von Borstel’s own experiences provide a personal insight into the human side of heart medicine, while clearly explaining the science behind cardiac disease and healthcare for the heart. His many tips on how to give your ticker the best chance of enduring for as long as possible include one that will certainly be close to many people’s hearts: have more sex! Oh, and eat more vegetables…

Translated by David Shaw.


First published in German in late 2015, Johannes Hinrich von Borstel’s Heart: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Important Organ is Scribe Publications’ follow up to Giulia Enders’ extremely popular Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ. While Enders’ title is about the widely unknown and misunderstood organ the gut, Hinrich von Borstel’s work is about an organ that has been scientifically understood since the early 17th century. The heart is an organ about which we all have a basic understanding: it beats, pumps blood around our body and is essential for life. Johannes Hinrich von Borstel describes the physiology behind the normal function of the heart with gusto and humour, although some of his jokes seem to become a little lost in translation.

The real triumph of this book is that it clearly and entertainingly explains the ins and outs of heart disease, something that all Australians should attempt to understand. According to the Australian Heart Foundation, heart and vessel diseases kill an Australian every 12 minutes. In Hinrich von Borstel’s book each of the various prevalent heart and vessel diseases are explained with detail and simple pictures to aid in gaining a complete understanding. He combines anecdotes from his experience as a paramedic and from his current medical study. These make this book both well informed and accessible.

The last part of Heart is focused on what we can do to improve our heart health and some of Hinrich von Borstel’s answers might be surprising, but for those you will need to read his book. Heart is a necessary book; it fills a gap among the likes of Oliver Sacks and Atul Gawande, both of whom are great storytellers but neither manage to convey the public health message that Heart does so accessibly.

Megan Lawson Jakob works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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