Following the blockbuster success of their earlier book ‘Super Brains’, Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi are back again and this time with an even more ambitious venture. Turning on its head one of the most frequently adages, “you are what your genes make you out to be”, this spiritualist-medical practitioner duo throw interesting insights on the revolutionary advances in the field of epigenetics which postulate that the genes within us may be altered to mirror our lifestyle pattern, dietary choices, fitness regimen and stress coping mechanism. In other words a potent combination of both nature and nurture will have a significant impact on the genetic behaviour within us and hence such a behaviour may be made more suitable and favorable for the radical well being of man by consciously inculcating healthy habits and practicing spiritual therapy.
The initial part of the book is quite dense with an in-depth analysis of the gene theory in general and the advances in the field of epigenetics in particular. The reader is faced with the unenviable task of ploughing through the marvelous workings of the chromosomes, the binding properties of proteins and the chemicals and hormones that are responsible for inducing pleasure and inciting pain. Even though some concepts such as the Fecal Microbiota Transplant (“FMT”) pique the curiosity of the unknowing even if the revolutionary process is to put it mildly, repulsive, most of this section is more of a medical practitioner’s delight rather than a layman’s guide to a better life.
The second part of the book is the most interesting and inspiring aspect of “Super Genes”. This Section provides broad guidelines on traversing the path to leading a radical life. Divided into five segments, each segment proposes three kinds of choices, namely easy; hard and experimental – in a key sphere of everyday life – to be practiced rigorously and diligently. The five key spheres identified are:
• Exercise; and
• Mind Stimulation
Super Genes concludes with yet another quasi-technical/spiritual section on mind stimulation and fulfillment. The book has typical shades of Deepak Chopra and his inimitable imprint may be easily discerned in the second half of the book. Although novel in its objective and outlook, “Super Genes” could have been much more enjoyable if the technical content and jargons were to have been kept down to a minimum and basic level. Nonetheless this book definitely serves a purpose that is altruistic and an objective that is holistic.