Campbell's previous work, "The China Study", clearly contained a powerful message. Non-processed whole foods, especially nuts, fruits, and vegetables...moreCampbell's previous work, "The China Study", clearly contained a powerful message. Non-processed whole foods, especially nuts, fruits, and vegetables are the key to fighting chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, the tone of this book (it came across as notably bitter) somewhat dampens the power of that message. Campbell originally gained credibility because his message was continually backed by his comprehensive scientific research, but this book is really about attacking reductionist science and special interest lobbies that have prevented his message from becoming more influential. Lots of books have examined these same special interest groups so "Whole" doesn't really cover much new ground. I think "Whole" would have been more positively regarded if the book had been dedicated to a reasonable critique of reductionist approaches to complex scientific questions and giving advice as to how to carry out a "whole" diet in our current high-processed-food culture. Regardless, I admire Campbell's tenacity as a scientist and hope his message continues to find open minds willing to consider his arguments. (less)
Pilzer's main point throughout the book is that we are shifting from emphasizing the sickness industry to the we...more**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
Pilzer's main point throughout the book is that we are shifting from emphasizing the sickness industry to the wellness industry. He begins with the reasons he thinks the wellness industry is ready to take off. Investors look at 5 factors for a new sector to become successful: 1)affordability, 2) legs (it will continue to sell once people know about it), 3) continual consumption, 4) universal appeal, 5) low consumption time.
He then explains the current health situation of most Americans (e.g. food companies market their products to low-income people and design food so it will be consumed in unhealthy amounts, and how the medical industry is designed to only treat sickness and prolong it so as to keep making money). Explains that the medical industry is arrogant because they think if they don't understand things that they have no merit (e.g. age-old wellness products and treatments). The baby boom generation is going to finance the wellness revolution because of their desire to maintain their youth.
He also goes into sources for increasing wellness (e.g. water, food, vitamins, etc.). Describes the problem with having governmental policies based on an agrarian society when it is no longer necessary. Goes into problems with dairy consumption and how it is based on ADA marketing rather on sound nutritional information. Explains the multitude of benefits from using soy products (e.g. soy milk). Mentions the need for regulation of wellness products (e.g. consumerlab.com).
Gives lots of examples of successful wellness entrepreneurs. Then goes into health insurance and the merits of getting wellness insurance. Goes into detail about why corporation provided health care is subsidized by the government and leads to our inefficient health-care system. Suggests getting a High Deductible Health Insurance Policy (HDHP) in order to use extra money to invest into a wellness savings account (WSA) or a medical savings account that the government is trying on a trial basis. Ends by emphasizing the tremendous opportunity as well as the great need (and demand) for an increased number of wellness products and services in the future.(less)
I've been reading way too many books related to applications of social psychology lately, so this review might be somewhat biased, but I was somewhat...moreI've been reading way too many books related to applications of social psychology lately, so this review might be somewhat biased, but I was somewhat disappointed with the depth of analysis the authors provided. Specifically, much of the research they covered appeared highly similar to many other recent books on effective use of psychological principles to produce social change. Many of the judgmental biases they point out have been highlighted in several books published in the last three years. The primary distinction of this book really seems to be its political bent with specific recommendations for public policy on a number of issues. "Libertarian paternalism" is an interesting idea, and much more palatable with the empirical base the authors put forth compared to many of the unintended paternalistic consequences of current government policies. I would recommend this book to people interested in psychology, politics, and public policy, but who haven't read a broad swath of recent books on judgmental biases written by economists, psychologists, and journalists. Incidentally, one bias they forgot to cover was the tendency of "humans" to believe that they alone are actually an "econ" in a world of irrational people. (less)
**spoiler alert** My summary and notes from the book: Book about how important it is to manage energy levels instead of time. One of their principles...more**spoiler alert** My summary and notes from the book: Book about how important it is to manage energy levels instead of time. One of their principles is to develop highly specific positive energy rituals that help sustain full engagement. The steps you have to take to build a habit are to 1. define purpose, 2. face the truth, and 3. take action
One of the guiding principles behind the book is that rest and recuperation must be built into training/work. Specifically, most people have a problem with either overtraining or undertraining in relation to their level of rest. The analogy is to live life like it is a series of sprints rather than a marathon (and train accordingly). A major part of this training regimen is to expending energy beyond our regular capacity and then recovering (short-term discomfort for long-term reward).
As with many similar books, they describe the 4 levels or areas in which we must oscillate our energy use and recovery: physical, emotional mental, and spiritual. They also argue that it is important to subject ourselves to build ourselves up in each of these areas just like we build up muscles. We must expose ourselves to stress beyond our normal limits and then recuperate in order to improve in our ability to cope.
For physical energy, they advise healthy eating, high levels of breathing, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. They also suggest 5 to 6 highly nutritious meals a day with lots of water. Energy breaks to recover every 90 to 120 minutes are important for productive and energetic days. Lastly, interval training (where you push yourself and then break quickly) are more effective than steady-state training (where you keep the same pace for long periods of time).
For emotional energy, they suggest learning to fuel our positive emotions with self confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness, and empathy. Summoning positive emotions during periods of intense stress is at the heart of effective leadership. Again, they suggest pushing ourselves in these domains and then spending sufficient time recovering doing activities that allow us to relax and recuperate.
For mental energy, they suggest training mental muscles through mental preparation, visualization, positive self talk, effective time management and creativity. Taking mental breaks during the day from tough tasks is just as important as taking physical breaks. Extending work periods causes mental stagnation and breakdown rather than "powering through" slow periods.
Spiritual energy is less precisely covered, but the basic idea is to incorporate and attach deeply held values and beliefs to daily tasks (beyond our self interest). Expanding spiritual capacity involves pushing past our comfort zone in the same way that expanding physical capacity does.
One of the most important techniques they discuss for building up energy levels is through the development of habits and rituals. These allow us to free up important resources for self control and goal attention by allowing us to center ourselves when our energy gets depleted or we get stressed. Habits don't require resources, so we can use them to build us up on a regular basis. A simple ritual that connects us to our purpose (professional, personal, etc.) each day allows us to see the forest instead of just the trees from day to day. (e.g., quiet reading time in the morning, book of Proverbs, journaling, praying, meditation, reading over personal mission statement, etc.).
Our intentions should be framed as "doing" statements instead of "not doing" statements. We should also work in incremental changes since it is difficult to change entrenched behaviors quickly. "Charting the course" every day helps us map our vision and reminds us to build the components of our day around maintaining that vision. Charting our progress is part of this vision that builds us up and helps us to stay motivated over the long run. (less)
**spoiler alert** My summary and notes from the book: ***The author goes through several examples of how water is treated in different parts of the wor...more**spoiler alert** My summary and notes from the book: ***The author goes through several examples of how water is treated in different parts of the world, different cities, and in difference situations. Overall, he argues that our water supply is in such danger in so many places because people take water for granted. They don’t even think about it despite it being one of our most basic needs. This leads us to waste it, mismanage it, and fail to put resources into maintaining our water supply for the future. Only once crisis hits to we finally start to pay attention to how we use water and where it comes from.
***Chapter topics: In “Dolphins in the Desert”, Fishman covers the evolution of water policy in Las Vegas. Despite being in the middle of the desert and full of water extravagance, it has developed some of the most sophisticated water reusing systems in the world. - In “Water Under Water”, Fishman explains the complexity of making water supplies disaster proof as he profiles Galveston, TX, after Hurricane Ike. - In “The Money in the Pipes” he profiles several large companies that are at the forefront of water conservation and reuse because they use it in such a large scale. – In “The Yuck Factor” he profiles how important changing attitudes toward water can be when trying to implement new water reuse methods. One city in Australia nearly ran out of water because its citizens couldn’t accept the idea of reusing treated sewer water. – In “Who Stopped the Rain” he talks about Australia, which has been going through a great drought in the last decade or so. This has precipitated several water crises from farming to urban supply. The primary problem is overuse of its rivers and planning based on high-water years instead of the contemporary average. – In “Where Water is Worshipped, but Gets no Respect” he talks about India and how atrocious their water situation is for nearly everyone, rich and poor. Very few cities have 24/7 water supplies, even for well-off people, and the majority of the country suffers from huge productivity and education losses because so much time is spent hand-carrying water for daily needs. He also goes into the major health problems that result from contaminated water and ink-black rivers. E.g., There is so much dangerous bacteria and pollution that one eye-dropper of water from the Yamuna or Ganges River put into six bathtubs full of water would be enough to make it unsafe to sit in. – In “It’s Water. Of Course It’s Free” he summarizes the problem with most attitudes toward water. Unless we start to recognize it as a real resource that requires respect and serious attention, we will continue to stumble into major shortages and conflicts over water. Water is not a global problem in the sense that you can influence water problems across the world, but it is the combination of a million different local problems regarding water that makes it a global concern.
***The 300,000 gallons of water used during a space shuttle launch is not for cooling, but for sound dampening. Otherwise the sound shock waves would tear the shuttle apart.
***The biggest use of water in the home is toilet flushing. We flush on average around 5 times a day which is about 18.5 gallons
***The fundamental problem with water is that it cannot be used up, but it is not equally available in all locations. How and where it is available in usable form varies dramatically and can be very unpredictable. So what this means is that all water problems are local in the sense that saving water in your home isn't going to directly help water-started villages in India. This is very different from many other environmental issues, like carbon footprints or gasoline use.
***Patricia Mulroy (the Las Vegas water czar) suggested to Obama a huge public works program to create a series of canals to capture and divert Mississippi floodwaters so it would both reduce natural disasters and send excess water to places that need it.
***At IBM Burlington, they create what is known as "ultra-pure water" which is hundreds of times cleaner than distilled or purified water. They use complex filtration systems to remove every molecule from water so that the pure water can pull microscopic particles from microchips. The smaller the chip, the more pure the water must be. It is very expensive to create, and in fact, would be dangerous to drink in large quantities. Water is such a good solvent, its molecules are filled with all kinds of minerals, etc. If you remove the minerals, etc. it will try to pull molecules out of anything it comes in contact with, including the nutrients in our body.
***Celebrity Cruise ships have a huge ice expense to create enough ice to cool all of the food/beverages on a typical cruise. One way they have reduced the cost is to no longer use ice, but to cool rocks that retain temperature well enough to cool the food.
***The author details an economic model for water designed by Mike Young to better allocate water resources. In the shape of a water glass, each layer of water is designated for a particular purpose. The first layer is “maintenance water” that is just enough necessary to maintain the environmental system. This is already a problem in many rivers where dams have to be built to keep ocean water from heading back up dry river beds. The second layer of water is “critical human needs” such as drinking, bathing, and basic water services. These two layers are guaranteed, but the next two layers are determined by economics. The first is the high security layer, which demands a high premium cost, and the second is low security, which costs less. Then it becomes a risk calculation process about how much you want to invest in water and whether you want to take the risk that your water layer might run out. If water runs low, the low security customers lose it first, then high security. (less)
I would say this is an interesting (and possibly life-changing) book, but as with many books with a strong message, it is highly divisive. While the m...moreI would say this is an interesting (and possibly life-changing) book, but as with many books with a strong message, it is highly divisive. While the majority of people who have read it seem to respond favorably, it is far from the definitive work proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that veganism is the only path to good health. I think that the most important (and entirely accurate) message the average American could get from this book is to eat less animal protein and move towards more of a plant-based, whole foods diet. I really don't know how people can reasonably argue against that.
The more difficult questions to answer, however, are: 1. How little animal protein should we eat? and 2. Is the level of animal protein in one's diet really the most important nutritional predictor of whether cancer or heart disease will develop? Although the author offers a reasonable amount of scientific evidence to support his answers (which are 0% and 'yes'), I think the data are still incomplete. The human body is far too complex to pin a staunch theoretical position on primarily correlational research (on humans). Further (non-partisan) research is certainly needed. In the meantime, however, I will certainly do my best to move towards the plant-based, whole foods diet, but there are no guarantees that you'll be seeing an enthusiastic vegan by this time next year. (less)
As a social psychologist, the content of this book is not really my area of expertise, but I would still say that this is a great book on Cognitive Be...moreAs a social psychologist, the content of this book is not really my area of expertise, but I would still say that this is a great book on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (perhaps THE book on CBT). What makes it so great is that it is written for the user, not for the instructor. That means any person dealing with dysfunction in his or her life can use this as a powerful tool for changing irrational thoughts. Specifically, the book addresses everything from depression to procrastination to perfectionism with a whole section thrown in to cover prescription medication for mental health problems. I would definitely recommend this book to nearly everyone I know, and found many useful sections that apply to my own life.(less)