Book Review: “You, the Owner’s Manual: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger” by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.


When you have had a chronic illness for some time, particularly if specific parts of your body are affected, you tend to become an expert on that area. Some of us end up becoming so educated about our ailment that we practically qualify for our own medical degree. But how much do you know about the workings of your body that are NOT related to your illness? Do you know, for example, the true relationship of high cholesterol to heart function, what high fructose corn syrup does to the brain, or normal signs of aging?

“You, the Owner’s Manual” is the book that put Dr. Oz on the map. Oprah Winfrey extolled its virtues on her show before he got his own spinoff. Dr. Oz is a cardiac surgeon whose self-titled talk show features plenty of lifestyle tips and easy-to-understand explanations of how the body works and how to keep it as healthy as possible. Dr. Roizen, the co-author, is a professor of medicine and anesthesiology. He came up with the “RealAge” concept of factoring your lifestyle and heredity into calculating your biological age, which may differ from your calendar age (the number of years you have lived so far).

You may be wondering why, when you already have to focus so much on your health, would you want to read a book about it? Because this one is actually fun. It breaks down complex topics, like the workings of the human heart, and puts them in terms that the non-medical community can actually understand and remember. There are humorous analogies and amusing illustrations featuring elves that make even the driest or most embarrassing subject matter far more interesting. There are recipes, exercises and other healthy suggestions. Myth is separated from fact, and there are even quizzes (don’t worry, they give you the answers too). I had thought I was fairly well-educated, but I learned a lot here.

“The Owner’s Manual” takes you on a tour of the body, including: the heart and arteries; the brain and nervous system; bones, joints and muscles; lungs; the digestive system; sensory and sexual organs; the immune system; and hormones. And there is a chapter dedicated to cancer: how it happens, different types, and the best ways to prevent it. In fact, prevention is a big theme throughout this book. I found that knowing more specifically WHY certain lifestyle habits can improve your health and longevity is a big motivating factor in doing so.

This could be considered a “gateway” book. If something in the general health knowledge contained therein particularly intrigues you, it would be a good starting off point for more specialized material. Also, Drs. Roizen and Oz have since written an entire series of “You” books, including: “You: The Smart Patient”, “You: on a Diet”, “You: Staying Young”, “You: Being Beautiful”, “You: Breathing Easy”, and “You: Having a Baby”. And you can catch the Dr. Oz daily television talk show, currently in syndication.

After all, if you’re going to have to pay attention to your health anyway, you might as well become a well-rounded expert.

Title:    You, the Owner’s Manual: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Author: Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

IBSN: 0-06-076531-3


Article written by staff writer: Karen Brauer

Karen Brauer is a happily married woman in her forties living in a little house on the prairie. Her passions include: photography; classic and some modern literature; classic, foreign and some modern film; and music of all kinds. Her blog is called “browser life”:

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  • Jennifer Doyle

    I bought this book years ago for my husband! We actually like Dr Oz. He is a committed doctor to helping people as much as possible. I enjoy his show and as far as I have seen he has never claimed to have all the answers. I take information he has and add it to other info I have gathered and use it from there. He is obviously doing something right or he would not be in the position he is in. I highly recommend his book as a great resource. No one holds all the answers here in earth! So we all just have to do the best we can and be happy along the way!!! Blessings to all!! Jennifer from Tulsa

  • I understand how much we want hope for some useful treatment and how often we look to trained professionals for information. Unfortunately, not all of them are giving us good information, as Dr. Oz proves over and over again.

    With that in mind, I second the be careful about what you believe from Dr. Oz. He is a Harvard trained cardiologist, but he also happens to believe all sorts of non-scientific nonsense, even promoting treatments that have been proven useless or harmful by real science.

    He is by far the only trained physician doing this, but many treatments recommended by trained physicians are bullshit. Homeopathy is not going to make you feel better; the anti-vax movement puts people with depressed immune systems (like many of us) at real risk for life threatening diseases based on lies and faked data; etc.

    I’ve learned to never trust one source for anything, whether it be the doctor I love or a friend who has similar problems or a family member who read about this new treatment. Research is your friend, and with the internet you can double check almost anything.

  • There is so much I don’t know about things that aren’t in my symptom spectrum. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

  • Aeryn

    Yeah I’d take anything Mehmet Oz said with a pinch of salt. He’s known to talk rubbish and promote ineffective treatments, even receiving a Pigasus award from the James Randi Foundation:

    I know he is a doctor and probably a lot of what he says is reasonable (and may even be helpful)… I’d just be wary, is all :).