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National Geographic Books Fall 2019

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Pleased to Meet Me
Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces That Make Us Who We Are
By (author): Bill Sullivan
9781426220555 Hardcover English General Trade SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics Aug 06, 2019
$35.00 CAD
Active 6.24 x 9.3 x 1.11 in 336 pages National Geographic
Why are you attracted to a certain “type?” Why are you a morning person? Why do you vote the way you do? From a witty new voice in popular science comes a clever, life-changing look at what makes you you.

“I can’t believe I just said that.” “What possessed me to do that?” “What’s wrong with me?” We’re constantly seeking answers to these fundamental human questions, and now, science has the answers. The foods we enjoy, the people we love, the emotions we feel, and the beliefs we hold can all be traced back to our DNA, germs, and environment. This witty, colloquial book is popular science at its best, describing in everyday language how genetics, epigenetics, microbiology, and psychology work together to influence our personality and actions. Mixing cutting-edge research and relatable humor, Pleased to Meet Me is filled with fascinating insights that shine a light on who we really are—and how we might become our best selves.

HOT TOPIC WITH BROAD COMMERCIAL APPEAL: Combining personality science with the ever-popular trend for DNA testing through sites like, this book answers our deepest questions about what makes us human.

APPEALING, ENGAGING AUTHOR: First-time author Bill Sullivan has a gift for making hard science concepts relatable. Like Neil Tyson, he uses the language of pop culture (particularly ’80s songs) to communicate the many vital ways that science affects our lives.

STRONG CROSS-PLATFORM POTENTIAL: With its easy accessibility, this book is perfect for cross-promotion in National Geographic magazine. And with “stunt journalism” facets like the Coke v. Pepsi challenge and who is a supertaster, there is potential for digital shorts and TV features as well.

CORE NG CONTENT: Brain science is a bread-and-butter category for National Geographic Books, and Sullivan’s smart narrative (which includes hot topic of microbiota) bolsters our expertise in this trendy field.

BUILDS NG POP-SCIENCE LINE: A successor to Suggestible You, Pandora’s Lab, and The Psychobiotic Revolution, this book combines hard-core science with a witty, relatable narrative that will appeal to a mass audience as well as peers in the field.

BILL SULLIVAN is a professor of pharmacology and microbiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, where he studies infectious disease and genetics. An award-winning researcher, teacher, and science communicator, Sullivan has been featured in a wide variety of outlets, including CNN, Scientific American, Cosmos magazines, PLOS SciComm, The Naked Scientists, and The Scientist.

Author Residence: Indianapolis, IN

Author Hometown: Baltimore, MD


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“I would have read this book on the information about coffee alone, but I’m going to really love explaining to people why it’s not my fault I don’t like bacon and my love of hot sauce is actually my way of thrill seeking. So, go grab this book if you want to learn some amazing things while being thoroughly amused.” –Amy’s Book-et List
“There are so many interesting tidbits that you could use as cocktail party conversation- the study of nursery schoolers personality traits that predicts political affiliation 20 years later, acetaminophen has been shown to decrease empathy, birds are better at multitasking than people…(Why do smokers drink a lot of coffee?)” –Bookchickdi
“Just know that the writing is top notch and the content will keep you interested long after you put the book down. Its funny, interesting, and unforgettable - what more could you want, right? I know I loved it.” –A Bookish Way of LIfe
“There is so much to unpack in this book.  First, I need to mention that it’s written with a lot of humor to make it more readable, especially the first half or so.  Second, any book that tells of the Kenny Rogers Seinfeld episode has already won me over. “ –Stacy’s Books
“Sullivan delivers the science behind these concepts with humor and approachability.” –JulzReads 
“I laughed out loud more than once as the author described gene therapy “as easy as a Matchbox Twenty guitar solo…” and comparing religion to duct tape “despite the monumental discoveries driven by science, some people still really love the duct tape.”
—Orange County Readers
“This is accessible genetics the way you wish your high school biology teacher would have taught things and is filled with pop-culture references and engaging language that will appeal to science buffs and curious minds alike.” –Stephanie’s Book Reviews 
Pleased to Meet Me…may very possibly give you a case of the goosebumps as you have one epiphany after another as Sullivan teaches us to take a long hard look at all the things that miraculously came together to make us truly unique.  Whether you’re interested in science or simply the human condition, this should be mandatory reading.” –Jathan & Heather
“Honestly, this book is sort of mind-blowing. I feel like I have a whole new grasp on a lot of concepts that I had never even thought of before. I’m really just hoping this helps me with a pub quiz soon.” –The Desert Bibliophile
“There are constant gems of information that are either fascinating all on their own or feel highly applicable to day-to-day life.” –Sara Ames-Foley
“It’s a quick read that I was able to step away from feeling quite a bit smarter than when I started.” –Paul’s Picks
“I’ve been thinking of this book often since finishing it, and I think I’ll be returning to it often as well, because there are so many times that the topics it covers arise — whether in the news, conversation, other reading — everywhere, really.” –What’s Nonfiction?

“In equal parts approachable and mind-blowing. Sullivan gives us a whistle-stop tour of the myriad factors that make you who you are”—David Eagleman, host of PBS’s The Brain with David Eagleman
“From microbes that make you intoxicated to the genetic demons hiding within your DNA, Pleased to Meet Me is a whirlwind journey through human biology. Deftly weaving cutting-edge science with popular culture, this accessible book will leave you wanting more.”
—Sharon Moalem, PhD, author of Survival of the Sickest
“A rare treat: A book that’s fun to read from cover to cover, while leaving you wiser and better-informed about who you really are.”
—Adam Alter, New York Times bestselling author of Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible
“Bill Sullivan is a sympathetic guide who understands your dislike of exercise and most things healthy. This wide-ranging tome puts a new light on human pursuits, including eating, drinking, thinking, sex, free will, even politics and religion, all presented with topical humor and wit.”
—Scott Anderson, co-author of The Psychobiotic Revolution
“Bill Sullivan artfully reports on how our genes interact with our surroundings to shape our unique personalities and the people we’ve become. A beautiful melding of science and the human experience.”
—Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, author of Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism
Pleased to Meet Me is as close to philosophy as science books get. Infused with Sullivan’s witty voice, the book exposes us as the biological machines we really are. You’ll be quoting it to your friends.”
—Dr. Alanna Collen, author of 10% Human
Pleased to Meet Me makes you see the world in a new way. We like to think we’re totally in control of how we think and act, but Sullivan makes a strong case that our beloved ‘agency’ is not what we think it is.”
—Matthew Simon, Wired science writer and author of Plight of the Living Dead
“Filled with surprising facts, witty anecdotes, and engaging explorations of the biological forces that make us who we are, Pleased to Meet Me is a must-read for anyone interested in an intelligent approach to self-discovery. Bill Sullivan translates cutting-edge science into practical insights about the ways that genes, germs, and environment shape our health, happiness, and relationships. This delightful book will change the way you see yourself—and will provide newfound empathy for others.”
—Ty Tashiro, author of Awkward and The Science of Happily Ever After
“A book for everyone with an interest in human behavior, Pleased to Meet Me achieves the rare feat of presenting of scientific information that is also fun to read. Not only will your knowledge be greatly enhanced, but you’re more likely  to become more compassionate as well.”
—James E. Alcock, PhD, author of Belief

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