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The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force That Undermines Health and Happiness
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The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force That Undermines Health and Happiness

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,561 ratings  ·  141 reviews
The authors offer unique insights into the factors that make us susceptible to dietary and lifestyle excesses, and present ways to restore the biological processes designed by nature to keep us running at maximum efficiency and vitality. A wake-up call to even the most health conscious people, The Pleasure Trap boldly challenges conventional wisdom about sickness and unhap ...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Healthy Living Publications
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Elyse  Walters
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I know this book 'well' -[I saw DebbieCat reading this now]- I read it when it first came out -- I know both doctors. I've a lot of history with 'the history' of this clinic -- the fasting/healing program --- (I went to a similar fasting clinic for 30 days in Dessert Hot Springs --ate 'no' food --the first year of my marriage -- another time when I was sick -- long story --but it 'did' work -- I was well for about another 10 years until all the problems started to return --

Interesting that this
May 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a little disappointed by this book. The idea behind it was very compelling to me - how pleasure (in-the-moment gratification, triggering dopamine release) differs from happiness (longer-lasting sense of well-being and progress toward positive goals, triggering serotonin release). I'm fascinated by humans' common propensity toward self-destructive and addictive behavior, and the analogies that can be drawn between addiction to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, etc. and addiction to sugar and proc ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book after watching Forks Over Knives and reading The China Study, so did not read it to be persuaded to adopt a plant-strong lifestyle. What I took away from this book is the psychology behind the poor choices most Americans today make concerning food and exercise, and how to avoid those pleasure traps on the road toward health and wellness. Lisle argues that the motivational triad that suited our ancestors so well does not work at all in today's society, and we must force ourselves ...more
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've been on and off a vegan diet for 20 years. This book got remotivated and back on track ...more
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm about 1/3 into this. It's shallow and very disappointing. I'll update when done, but already I can confidently say I don't recommend this unless you get it from a library and are *completely* new to basic concepts of survival of the fittest, reward mechanisms, etc.

Edit: I've finished it and my review is unchanged. Not a good book.
Robin Tierney
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Makes important biological processes clear. Examples of points made:
* Nature designed pleasure circuitry and biochemicals to help us survive, thrive and reproduce. Corporations and legitimized drug dealers have used science to hijack the brain's pleasure pathways.
* The controlled exploitation of animals in agriculture had a high price: The major killers of humanity since 8500 BC have not been starvation, warfare, accidents or large predators. The major threats to human life since 8500 BC -- mic
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Plant-Based Eaters ...
Recommended to Pragati by: Lindsay Nixon
.. I liked it but I thought it was incredibly dry! The way the book is written made me want to skip over sections ... maybe its because of my chosen profession, maybe its because I'd already read some of the books discussed in detail within the text of this one. I wish it was a little more captivating ... I'd recommend it to someone new to a plant-based diet, but will probably not go back to it for reference as I do with most other books I've read on the subject!! Only 2 stars in my opinion!! ...more
ضحى الحداد
I heard so many things about this book, and it is forworded by my ultimate hero Dr. John Mcdougall so I had to read the heck out of this book
So the premise basically is that we live in an artificial world that it is fooling out pleasure seeking mechanism which makes us fall prey to the "Pleasure Trap ", so basically what we have to do is to adopt a natural food diet so that we can have the ultimate health and not depend so much on modern medicine as the body is able to heal itself just fine
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is fascinating. Well . . . I found that it was anyways. He discusses the human motivational triangle and why we do some of the things we do that damage our bodies. He talks about how in caveman times it was okay to follow our instincts because it was a matter of survival. Now, we live in an artificial world (food, drugs etc.) That trick us and we fall in to "pleasure traps." He talks about the cycle of addiction and recovery and how most of our society is addicted to food from a young ...more
Ryan Vrana
Jul 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
The author's central thesis is a useful one: 'pleasure;- in-the-moment gratification differs from 'happiness'- a sense of well being and progressing toward goals. Focusing on pleasure can come to the detriment of happiness. The author gets way off base in specific advice and reasoning though. It is apparently assumed the reader is not a drug/ sex/ gambling addict, so the focus is on bad diets. Nutrition science is far from having a definitive answer as to what the perfect diet is, but I was pret ...more
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I concur with most previous reviewers. I also was introduced to the author Doug Lisle by watching "Forks Over Knives." It helped me understand why so many of us (including me) have so much difficulty restraining our self-destructive appetites, and gave me some helpful ideas about how to restructure my environment and retrain my palate. I have become a convert to following a plant-based diet, but this book did not persuade me to follow the extreme dietary prohibitions Lisle recommends (i.e., givi ...more
lalala Vegan
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read book over again when ever I need inspiration. A important book to read if your starting a plant based diet.
Brittanni Jackson
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
First, I enjoyed this book overall. I think they did a good job describing all the elements of “The Pleasure Trap.” If you want more of an insight into human nature, our wiring, and why we are victims of an industrialized society, this is a good starter book. That being said I had an issue with Chapter 14- The Myths of Moderation. The authors explain that there are two “myth’s of moderation”: the myth of moderate consumption and the myth of moderate change. They basically state that one shouldn’ ...more
Rich Szabo
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good perspective and interesting reading. Looking at impulse (the book would say pleasure seeking, pain avoidance and energy conservation) from an evolutionary perspective does, at least in the short term, help me speak to my cravings. As always seems to be the case with these healthy living books, there is about 80 pages of material spread out over 200 pages, but a lot of these concepts were well worth repeating, to help lay these ideas deep in memory. Was intrigued by the concept of the water ...more
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Much of this book is material that your average college-educated newspaper-reading/podcast-listening person is already well aware of.

I did, however appreciate being reminded how most of society is slowly killing themselves with their knives and forks. One analogy was that it's as if we're in a society full of heroin addicts who think their addictions are completely normal and healthy.

I also liked the idea of compiling a weekly menu and shopping from the corresponding grocery list consistently
Anna Cordova
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal-growth
In a nutshell, The primary sources of pleasure are food and sexual activity. These activities are biologically expensive and designed to only last a few minutes, not several hours. Modern society has made it easy for us to make these pleasurable activities a trap. We can achieve health by eating a diet ideal for human consumption, emphasizing adequate rest, exercise, and also occasionally fasting. This book has a unique way of using scientific and historical evidence to arrive at these conclusio ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book--relating early man's "needs" to our current "desires" and how the food culture has helped us all fall into the "pleasure trap". Interesting references and easy reading--not written like a science manual, but as information for the general public to understand and utilize in our daily living. ...more
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Good stuff, but somehow the flow of the book was all over the place. This book wouldn't have converted me to whole food plant based diet. I don't think it was even clear in that meassage. But as i am a convert already I had fun with bits and pieces of it and esp. the chapter on benefits of prolonged only water fasting. I may try that some day. ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My hat is off to T. Colin Campbell for having introduced me to this potentially life-changing work. I need to make an appointment with my doctor, or a doctor with knowledge of the practical implications of fasting at any rate, and contemplate whether I might, for example, lower my blood pressure through a judicious regimen that might include fasting. This is a "wow" work. ...more
Margaret Longstreet
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this because of the Forks over Knives movie. It takes the Whole foods diet a step further in understanding. I was especially interested in the Fasting chapter. I liked the fact that it was written from a psychology perspective.
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good insight into human behavior from a scientific and evolutionary standpoint as it related to food, hunger, and health. The e-book version unfortunately cuts-off a few words here and there which is sometimes annoying but not enogh so to detract from the overall message.
Jessie Berlin
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I haven't decided how I feel about the last couple chapters yet.

Otherwise, I would very much recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about why we eat the way we do, and how to successfully break out of the pleasure trap / fountain of guilt that is food in America.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is a bit alarmist in parts. The middle chapters were the most helpful in their information and presentation. If a person has no background in eating healthy, this might be a good read. Much for me was repetitive.
Patience Allergy
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Everyone knows fun food = fat, sick, dead. Despite this, everyone has difficulty quitting fun food. Using evolutionary biology & psychology this book explains why and offers some strategies. The struggle is real. Good luck!
Jeanette (Now on StoryGraph)
There are some really interesting concepts to be explored in this book, even if you don't agree with everything they say. I enjoyed the unique perspectives. ...more
Feb 19, 2008 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book; eye opening; study on the pleasure traps in our society; I enjoyed it a lot!
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shows us why we can't resist some foods, and the biological mechanism behind
present the dangerous aspect of social pressure
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I ended up skimming through parts of this book but I don't regret reading it. It has information that I haven't read before about health and wellness. ...more
Delilah Olicker
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Discusses the psychological aspects and the core reasons for our addictions to food and chemicals. It helps us understand why it's hard for some of us to change our eating habits. ...more
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“The march of history is that of the human race obeying the mantra of the motivational triad—attempting to attain more pleasure, for less pain, with ever-greater efficiency.” 2 likes
“Our desire for sleep, like our desire for food, obeys a law of satiation. The attempt to circumvent this law will cause impaired mental and physical performance.” 1 likes
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