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From birth, genetic females are better at fighting viruses, infections and cancer. They do better at surviving epidemics and famines. They live longer, and even see the world in a wider variety of colours. These are the facts; they are simply stronger than men at every stage of life. Why? And why are we taught the opposite?
Drawing on his wide-ranging experience and cutting-edge research as a medic, geneticist and specialist in rare diseases, Dr Sharon Moalem set out to understand why women are consistently more likely than men to thrive. The answer, he reveals, lies in our genetics: the female's double XX chromosomes offer a powerful survival advantage.
Moalem explains why genetic females outperform males when it comes to immunity, resilience, stamina and much more. And he calls for a long-overdue reconsideration of our male-centric, one-size-fits-all view of the body and of how we prescribe medications – a view that still frames women through the lens of men. Revolutionary, captivating and utterly persuasive, The Better Half will make you see women, men and the survival of our species anew.
Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD, is an award-winning genetics researcher, physician and bestselling author. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Survival of the Sickest and Inheritance, an Amazon Best Science Book of the Year, among other books. His work brings together evolution, genetics, and medicine to revolutionize how we understand and treat disease, and his clinical research led to the discovery of two new rare genetic conditions, and to his discovery of a first-in-class antibiotic which targets 'superbug' infections. His books have been translated into more than 35 languages.
"Let's hear it for the X-chromosome! After decades, if not centuries, of bad press for women and their vulnerable biology, The Better Half gives chapter and verse to show that 'almost everything that is biologically difficult to do in life is done better by females'. An eye- and mind-opening celebration of the reserve genetic horsepower that having two X-chromosomes can bestow, The Better Half is a powerful antidote to the myth of a 'weaker sex'.
– Gina Rippon, author of The Gendered Brain and Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Neuroimaging at Aston University, Birmingham
"Moalem's essential thesis is valid and important, and deserves attention both within the scientific community and beyond. This is a readable and lively book, making an argument long overdue"
– The Irish Independent
"Although Dr. Moalem had me at the subtitle, I tore through this fascinating, eye-opening book in one sitting. Provocative, crackling with wit and insight, The Better Half argues that science has shortchanged women in all levels of research and convincingly reveals that the true differences between men and women come down to longevity, intellect, resilience, and immunity to disease. Now it all makes sense why 95 percent of people who have reached the age of 110 are women."
– Jancee Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
"A mind-opening celebration of women"
– Kate Garraway, broadcaster and journalist
"Moalem brings deep, yet highly-readable, scientific analysis to the perennial question of what makes men and women different. Ideally, this book will re-set that conversation in research labs, doctors' offices, classrooms, and dinner tables around the world."
– E. Kinney Zalesne, New York Times bestselling collaborator on Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes