Author: Michael Pollan (Click to read and watch interviews with this health-conscious author)
Who Should Read It: Anyone interested in the development of America’s unhealthy obsession with food, and one author’s proposed way to fix it
Best Part About the Book: Offers common sense advice about America’s favorite topic: losing weight
What’s Missing: Radically new information.
I did something a little unusual with this book. I read it backwards. Sometimes it helps me get through nonfiction books that aren’t about entertaining, but about getting important information out, which is how I would classify this book. The author has gotten a good discussion going on how eating and meals used to be, and although he comes across as slightly preachy at times, the advice he gives, such as eat smaller portions, have meals together as a group, and eat like the Mediterraneans do, all makes sense. Slightly harder to swallow is the idea that we should be spending more money on food. Higher quality food, he suggests, means more vitamins and ultimately a higher price. Whereas that frozen burrito that has zilch to recommend it besides its unusually low price of 10 in a package for a dollar. He says take the higher road, pay a higher price, and ultimately, live a longer life.
This book I believe is a bestseller because of its timeliness. I have long been fascinated and horrified by the frequent dieting and food obsession of my friends, who nevertheless are often overweight. Pollan’s right. It’s sad he has to spell this stuff out, but it’s true. We don’t enjoy eating anymore, yet we eat more than ever, and eat less healthy than ever, so more than ever, we need to fight the tide of Western food manufacturers. The book is organized into handy bullet points so skimming/quick reading to get important ideas is easy.