What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength

Scott Carney. Rodale, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62336-690-2
As this engaging autoethnography relates, anthropologist and investigative journalist Carney was skeptical upon encountering a photo of a nearly naked Wim Hof sitting on a glacier in the Arctic Circle. Hof, a Dutch fitness guru who runs a training camp in Poland’s wilderness, claims he can control his body temperature and immune system solely with his mind; though Carney set out to prove Hof a charlatan, he was instead won over. Carney documents his interactions with Hof and the many others who have learned to control their bodies in seemingly impossible ways: he learned Hof’s breathing techniques for tricking the body into doing things it isn’t evolutionarily designed for, and underwent training to face extreme cold while barely clothed. It is this training that enables Hof and Carney to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in 28 hours while wearing shorts. This is part guide and part popular science book; readers will learn about how Neanderthals used the body’s “brown fat” to keep warm and how exposure nearly reverses the symptoms of diabetes. The accomplishments Carney documents are unbelievable and fascinating; this isn’t a how-to for those looking to perform extraordinary feats, but it is an entertaining account that will appeal to the adventurous. 16 pages of b&w photos. Agent: Laura Nolan, Kuhn Projects. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
Release date: 01/03/2017
Ebook - 978-1-62336-691-9
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