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Hormones: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 24 Jul 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (24 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199672873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199672875
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1 x 10.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


an informative and readable overview to the subject (Guardian)

About the Author

Based at the University of Nottingham as a Professor of Physiological Education , Martin Luck is the author of two previous books. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy in 2011.

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By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
In popular culture hormones are considered chemicals that cause a lot of disruptive or unwanted behaviors: from a teenager’s acting out, to rampant promiscuity, to drug abuse in professional sports. In this view hormones are thought as something of an “add on” to your normal bodily homeostasis. However, hormones are an essential part of our biological makeup, and without them we simply couldn’t function. They are the overarching “signaling” chemicals, generally secreted in one part of the body and carried by the bloodstream to the other parts.

This is a very well written and thorough book on hormones. It gives a short historical account of their discovery and the evolution of our understanding of these important substances. The book covers the biochemistry of hormones, and the physiology of their secretion and action. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the book deals with human hormones and the associated physiological conditions that accompany them.

The book gave me a new appreciation of the incredibly subtle and complex role that hormones play in our bodies. It also managed to dispel certain myths that I’ve had about hormones. (For instance, both testosterone and estrogen are present in both sexes. They are not THE sex hormones as conventionally understood.) I also learned how much interaction there is between different hormones, and that this is still an area that is not completely well understood, where a lot of current research is going on.

As an aside, just like with any other book written for the general audience that contains “medical” information, there is a danger that a fair number of readers of this book may be tempted to self-diagnose after reading it. Don’t. You will most likely misdiagnose yourself, and make yourself unnecessarily worried.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A concise introduction to hormones and the endocrine system. 21 Jun. 2016
By Bernie Gourley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Let’s face it; the word “hormone” is usually reserved for questions of why a male is so horny (e.g. “His hormones were raging.”) or why a female is so moody (e.g. “She’s hormonal.”) Yet, the endocrine system is about much more than horniness and moodiness. It’s the body’s lesser known communication system, transmitting signals more slowly than the nervous system, but over a broader area and with longer-lasting results. Yes, it’s instrumental in sex, but it’s also involved in regulation of almost everything else the body does. Though we associate hormones with sex, when it comes to mass appeal it’s clearly not the sexiest of systems.

Dr. Luck’s book allows one to rectify one’s ignorance of hormones without a major investment of time or money. This is one volume in a series put out by Oxford University Press that’s designed to convey the fundamentals of a subject in about 100 pages or so (in this case it’s more like 130pgs.) I’ve done several reviews of books in this series, and will likely do more. These “Very Short Introductions” are a good way to get the gist of a topic quickly and painlessly, and they are reasonably priced on Amazon Kindle and in hardcopy at my local discount bookseller. (FYI: Your results may vary. i.e. Hardcopies at some bookstores may be pricey for what these books are—i.e. subject summaries that are optimized for concision and not for entertaining reading.)

The book has nine chapters. The first is a history of the science related to hormones and the endocrine system. (It took a while to figure out that there even was a system because of the nature of hormonal action.) The second chapter hits the basics, such as what hormones are and how they work. Chapter three tells us about the role hormones play in reproduction. The next chapter is about how hormones regulate the body’s levels of water and salt (and the effects on blood pressure.) Next, there is a discussion of the calcium cycle and how calcium is banked in bone and borrowed for the purposes of other cells. There’s a chapter that educates one about diabetes and how hormones (notably insulin) regulate blood sugar. Chapter seven is devoted to the thyroid. Chapter eight describes the role of hormones in circadian rhythms and the cycles of the body. The final chapter is about where science is going with its knowledge of hormones and the advances that are being pursued.

There are few graphics in this book. Most of them are chemical diagrams in dialogue boxes that many readers will skip because of their ominous appearance. The lack of graphics isn’t a problem. Luck does use a narrative approach on occasion (such as his telling of the story of the giant William Rice of Sutton Bonington.) This enhances the book’s readability, and is noteworthy because it’s a rarity among books in this series, which—again—are written to shotgun information and not to be entertaining reads.

I’d recommend this book for those who want to learn (or brush up on) the basics of the endocrine system. It does what it’s supposed to do, and does it quickly.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 April 2016
By bruce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for an overview 30 Dec. 2014
By dingo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Concise and good for an overview of common Hormones. Obviously a full, in depth presentation can not be made in such a small book
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