[Excerpt from a full review to appear in Skeptical Inquirer magazine]
Largely, the book is about (unintentionally, I'm sure) the incredible amount of narcissism characterizing most of the people involved in various aspects of the new quest for personal genomics, from scientific luminaries-become-embarrassments like James Watson to people (including Angrist himself) volunteering for the Harvard-sponsored Personal Genome Project. It's a tale of good science mixed with a dangerously careless attitude about personal privacy, to which of course you have to add quite a bit of private financial interests on behalf of a number of startup companies that stand to profit handsomely if they can convince us (and our doctors, who typically know little of genetics) that we really ought to be able to read our annotated genomes online (or maybe on an iPhone app). ... In the course of his quest, Angrist discovered many more largely useless, but highly scientific, facts about his health: his risk of colon cancer is 5%, probably not statistically different from the population average of 6%; he has almost twice the population's risk of Graves' disease, an autoimmune condition caused by an hyperactive thyroid. But there is nothing he can do about it, since the condition is currently incurable, and he shouldn't worry too much about it anyway, because his actual chances of getting it are only 0.93% (free advice: never trust two digit precision after the decimal point in this sort of data). But if he is a normal human being, he probably will fret about anything for which his genomic profile deviates from the average (which, I bet, is not likely to help is natural self-admitted propensity for depression), and his health insurance company will likely take advantage of even statistically insignificant deviations to save a buck at the cost of making his life more difficult. ... I am certainly not advocating hard core skepticism toward personal genomics, this isn't astrology or homeopathy. But it is precisely the sort of complex subject matter -- at the interface among basic science, applied science, technology, business, informatics and, last but certainly not least, ethics -- that should have inspired an equally complex and nuanced book. Alas, Here is a Human Being is not that book.