What Doesn’t Kill Us by SCOTT CAR­NEY

Cosmos - - Spectrum - — DREW TURNEY

Scribe (2017) RRP $ 32.99 Hard­cover

JOUR­NAL­IST Scott Car­ney has a com­pelling pitch in What Doesn’t Kill Us: has tech­nol­ogy made us weak? Much of the world suf­fers from dis­eases of ex­cess rather than de­pri­va­tion. We’ve sur­rounded our­selves with com­fort and se­cu­rity. Car­ney sug­gests this has cut us off from re­serves of strength that are in-built but long for­got­ten.

The lynch­pin of his re­search is a pro­gram run by Dutch­man Wim Hof, where par­tic­i­pants are ex­posed to ex­treme cold in or­der to con­trol the body’s re­sponse to it.

In a moun­tain-man style re­treat, guys (rarely women) pay good money to stay in a Euro­pean cot­tage where they wake up and plunge into ei­ther freez­ing wa­ter or snow.

It sounds silly, but you can’t help but be a lit­tle bit taken in by Car­ney’s ex­pla­na­tion of the sci­ence be­hind the amaz­ing feats of tol­er­ance par­tic­i­pants train them­selves to achieve af­ter Hof’s “cold treat­ment”.

Af­ter the Dutch pro­gram the au­thor criss­crosses the world in a kind of trav­el­ogue of body-hack­ing rit­u­als – events de­signed to find what you’re re­ally made of. He looks at the pop­u­lar­ity of ob­sta­cle course races, where com­peti­tors put them­selves through such pun­ish­ing tri­als they sign a dis­claimer ac­knowl­edg­ing they might end up dead.

He also goes to Mal­ibu, to the Cal­i­for­nia com­pound of surf­ing leg­end Laird Hamilton, where he learns about ex­treme breath con­trol. It’s a pop­u­lar thing right now: Car­ney shares a les­son with ac­tor Or­lando Bloom.

What Doesn’t Kill Us makes an at­trac­tive ar­gu­ment for those of us liv­ing with tablets and air con­di­tioned cars who re­gret be­ing cut off from na­ture. This makes the book is an easy sell – you cer­tainly want to be­lieve it.

The sci­ence Car­ney in­cludes seems to con­firm what he’s telling you, but, in case you were in any doubt, he urges you to tread care­fully. This stuff is not com­pletely safe, and the in­tro­duc­tion of the book it­self comes with a large dis­claimer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.