Understanding Life

Tap Into An Ancient Cellular Survival Program to Optimize Health and Longevity

Don Brown

Tap into an ancient cellular survival program to optimize health and longevity. Understanding Life will help curious people understand how life might have originated, how metabolism evolved, and what the implications are for health, aging, and disease.

Every cell in your body is a descendant of free-living organisms that developed on our planet billions of years ago. Even with the passage of that much time, your cells harbor powerful survival programs inherited from the first primitive unicellular creatures. Learn what this program is, how it evolved, and how you can use it to be healthier and live longer.

We now know that our cells tend to overreact to mild stresses, and that activating these response programs increases our ability to handle whatever the universe throws at us. Humans were made to move, change, and adapt. We are the species that walked out of Africa and spread to every corner of the globe. Our ancestors survived blazing deserts and long periods of hunger on great journeys full of uncertainty. Over the millennia, our cells, tissues, and bodies have learned to interpret these discomforts as purpose. To nature, a lack of challenges is a powerful signal that we are no longer needed.

The key takeaway is this: make yourself uncomfortable. Hike in the snow. Run in the rain. Laugh at the comedy of life and cry during times of sorrow. Climb a mountain, bathe in a hot spring, shiver in an icy river. Explore your world to its fullest and embrace change and uncertainty. We are the kin of mighty explorers who sacrificed the comforts of hearth and home for the thrill of discovery. We settle into our rocking chairs at our peril. You were meant for greater things.


“The smartest guy I know has written the most illuminating book of the year. Now if I can just summon the discipline to follow his advice!”

“Don Brown has taken an incredibly diverse range of topics—origins of the universe and life, evolution, biology, chemistry, disease progression, and how to live better lives—and connected them together in a purposeful way. He has a true gift of making the complex understandable through stories, pictures, and analogies. It was amazing to see how he links the activities of 4.5 billion years of evolution together in a way that relates to each of us as
individuals and our own health. I know this will change the way I think and live.”

“Dr. Brown masterfully makes an impossibly complex topic accessible.
Beautifully written!”


“I found Understanding Life an interesting and fun read, as it presented a foundational explanation of the underpinnings of the science that allowed life to evolve in a manner that anyone can understand. One does not have to have a background in science or medicine to ‘get it.’ I recommend Understanding Life to anyone who wants to understand how and why we are here.”

“Don Brown strikes again, this time addressing the beautiful complexities
of life itself. As someone who’s devoted himself to both improving the present and challenging the status quo, in less than three hundred pages, Don provides an answer key to improving the quality of our personal and professional lives. Fortunately, this one book does the research for you and peels back multiple layers of history, conveniences, and personal decisions that lead to the condition of our health and wealth no matter what your age, stage, or place you call home. Now comes the hard part—applying the research to the daily decisions we make. This page-turner, Understanding Life, has the power to change your life for the better. It’s been a gift to obtain, and I intend to pass it on.”


After earning an undergraduate degree in physics, Don Brown enrolled in a combined degree program at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Under that program, he was awarded a master’s degree in computer science in 1983 and an MD in 1985. Three decades later, he went back to school and earned a master’s degree in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins in 2017.

Don is one of the most successful serial entrepreneurs in the Midwest. While finishing medical school, he started his first company, which was acquired by Electronic Data Systems in 1986. He then founded Software Artistry, which became the first software company ever to go public in the state of Indiana, and which was later acquired by IBM for $200 million. Don then founded Interactive Intelligence, which went public in 1999 and was acquired by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories in 2016 for $1.4 billion.

Shortly after the Genesys acquisition, Don founded LifeOmic to bridge his passion for the life sciences with his experience in cloud technologies and artificial intelligence. LifeOmic built a precision health software platform to help researchers and clinicians leverage the power of big data to identify the mutations driving cancer and provide personalized treatment. LifeOmic has also developed two award-winning mobile wellness applications used by millions of people around the world, along with a next-generation corporate wellness solution.

Don is an active technology investor and philanthropist. In 2016, he donated $30 million for the establishment of the Brown Immunotherapy Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Don is an avid outdoorsman who loves hiking, rock climbing, and skiing with his eight children in and around Park City, Utah. He was named Sagamore of the Wabash by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels in 2012.

ISBN 978-1-77458-156-8
$24.95 CAD $19.95 USD
Published January 11, 2022
6 × 9 314 Pages
Paperback, ebook