Last month I wrote a short first-impressions review of The First 20 Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds. Today I wanted to write a follow-up review on my overall thoughts of the book.
I think if I were to have to apply one word to the book overall, it would be informative. Reynolds injects quite a lot of scientific-study data to either back up scientific facts or to refute them as myths. I mean, who knew pickle juice is an actual, legitimate cramp killer, while ibuprofen actually reduces the benefits of a workout?
I hit a bit of a wall, to be honest, while reading this book. I struggled to stay interested in the particular chapter subjects. At approximately twenty-five pages each, it often got a little tedious slogging through some of the research information that just kept on coming. What I found more difficult, too, was the lack of narrative throughout the book to unify its separate parts. There was no underlying story and very sparse personal anecdotes to keep the readers engaged. The theme of the book is clear: any exercise is better than none, and there are a lot of popular myths (like running is bad for your knees) that are unsubstantiated through scientific evidence. But beyond that theme, there is nothing that connects the chapters.
Overall I think it has very interesting content, and it is a very well-researched and well-thought book. It just lacked a driving story to keep me wanting more. I found myself going back to read another chapter every couple of days and then putting it down after I finished that chapter, slowly chipping away. I’d say it is worth a read if you are truly interested in scientific research, but I want to make sure to put emphasis on the word truly.
Next Book Review by 2FNs: Eat and Run by Scott Jurek