I really enjoyed this book. I’m going to listen to it again so that I can soak up the points better. Don’t be fooled by the title into thinking this book is negative in theme—it really is about happiness. It brings together philosophies we are (probably) already familiar with like Buddhism and Stoicism in ways that are easier to understand and apply to everyday life and that refute the nauseating mantras of the ‘cult of optimism’ and reveals it as the hunt for fool’s gold that it is.
I’ve listened to many ‘self-improvement’ books. This book has already done more to ‘improve’ my ‘self’ than all the others combined. A truly helpful book.
I only got half way into the first chapter after the introduction— and I have to stop. The author is quoting dubious science I know to be false, such as “meat rots in the intestines” so now I can’t trust any of her other claims. She says we weren't “meant” to eat meat; look at our teeth; look at our intestines—taking on the whole Paleo clan in one statement? What does “meant” mean anyway? She didn't use the word “evolved” once in her argument which is what the word “meant” would imply….(unless she’s an evolution denier, never thought of that….)
She trashed the Atkins diet saying that its preliminary success is only due to water loss and an overall calorie reduction (what??) when you cut carbs out of your diet and eat only protein and fat. Then, in the same breath, she makes the same claim for a vegan diet – that overall calories are reduced so you'll lose weight without even trying.
Also, the tone is far more preachy than I can tolerate; I’m here to learn, not join a cult.
I eat a mostly plant-based diet and I appreciate (what I’m learning) are its benefits. But I don’t feel that the benefits Freston is touting are actually inherent in the diet. For example, she says that “all your cravings will go away” and that you’ll just never crave another doughnut. Some of us know it’s not quite that cut-and-dry. My cravings are reduced, for sure, but I’m not cured of my tendency to overeat – my cravings are a dopamine/acetylcholine brain imbalance (i.e. addiction) AS WELL AS nutritional deficiency.
I just finished listening to Fat Chance, by Robert H. Lusting, and it was chalk-full of nutritional facts I could trust – I could trust them because I’ve read probably hundreds of books on nutrition and I’m starting to be able to tell the facts from the myths. And his book even cleared up some issues I’ve been confused about: Like why are Gary Taubes and Dean Ornish are on such opposite ends of the spectrum, yet both right?? So this book was really good; and going from that to this one from Kathy Freston was a big step backwards.
And also the narration was annoying. I’m quite picky about narration so I wouldn't have mentioned it; it’s probably fine for most people. But since I’m unhappy with the book I’ll include this pet peeve: Why do narrators read non-fiction like they’re selling an insurance package? The pauses, the subtle sarcasm, the subtle patronizing tones – it’s trying to sell me something! But I don’t need to be “sold”; I already bought the book! I just want to learn some stuff. I call it the “sensational” voice; I’m so tired of it.
I can't recommend this book, even to the novice-nutritionist, because the claims are at least partly false (didn't listen to the whole book) and you don't want that as a foundation to your nutritional knowledge base. There are tons of great reasons to go vegan, vegetarian, raw-vegan -- but Freston isn't giving them to you straight up.
This book was very interesting and had some funny bits. I certainly learned some things about the body and digestion. It was entertaining and informative. I found some of the anecdotes just a touch on the insensitive/judgmental side...a little compassion for the unfortunate people who made the record books with their unusual stories would have felt better to me, as a listener. If we must be voyeurs we can be compassionate voyeurs, no? Still an excellent listen; it kept my attention, gave me some laughs, and made me a little bit more informed. The narration was good (read: not annoying).
I kept waiting for this to get interesting...I gave up and didn't finish it. I found the author ego-centric and shallow.
This is a fun little story and would make a great movie: the characters are well developed, interesting and multi-faceted, the story has twists and turns and it all ends happily ever after. It’s funny too. Maybe I’ll try my hand at screenplay-writing…. “and the Oscar for best adaptation of a novel goes to….”
I think Charlotte would roll over in her grave. I assume the facts are based in truth, but the story suggests Charlotte, reluctant to marry beneath her station, finds herself justified in her choice by the surprise that her lowly curate is, in fact, rich. That makes everything alright.
Her devoted curate, showing constant love for eight years, then gives her a five day “silent treatment” right after they’re married because he eavesdrops on a partial conversation and doesn’t like what he hears. There is no real love, devotion or compassion shown by these characters and I feel certain (having read all of Charlotte’s novels) that this imagined biography would make her sad and humiliated.
This is my first and only review of a Trollope novel. It is not my favourite of his novels, but I think it’s in the top five. I love ALL of Trollope’s novels and have listened to almost all of them available on Audible.
I’m a fan of classic fiction and I appreciate good classical writing. My favourite another’s are Dostoevsky, Jane Austen, Willkie Collins… and now Trollope. I went through an Audible Trollope marathon and started to find the books all resembled one another so much I was losing track of which characters stared in which books. So I went on to some modern fiction (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and some other classics like the Count of Monte Cristo and Madame Bovary. Then I went back to Trollope and am now convinced that he is one of the best writers I’ve come across. His characters make you love them AND hate them, sympathize with them AND censure them. I’m very sad that I’ve almost listened to them all.
My favourite is The Way We Live Now, but they are all really good. I recommend listening to the chronicled books in their proper sequence, so you don’t get confused (there are websites that can help) and I recommend the recordings narrated by Timothy West; his voice is perfect for these novels.
I’ve listened to the first five chapters of this book and I can’t finish it. My chief objection is the continual references to god, such as “in his infinite wisdom, god made our brains so that etc. etc.” and in reference to our brain’s capacity for spiritualism he says “most of us believe in a higher power...” (really, ya sure about that?) I just don’t want hear god stuff in a scientific book; the credibility is lost as far as I’m concerned. I was really surprised to see that no one else commented on it. I listen to scientific books all the time, and no doubt some of the authors are religious, as is Blaylock, but must we hear god talk mixed in with scientific references? (Don’t most scientific writers know to keep it to themselves?) I tried to set aside my discomfiture and absorb the information, but by the fifth reference or so I just couldn’t trust the author’s integrity any more. I’m an atheist—when someone talks to me as though god were a real thing, they may as well be talking about puff the magic dragon. They seem loonie to me, and everything else they say could be all make-believe too, for all I know.
But not just that, I found the author didn’t explain the WHY behind the facts—that’s how we learn and remember things, but understanding why they are so. So instead of reflecting to myself “cool, that’s interesting” as I often do listening to science based books, I found myself trying to memorize the facts so that I might be able to apply the stuff to my life in some meaningful way. But all I can remember is “mercury is bad, note to self: stay away from mercury” and “magnesium is good, take some of that”. It just got really boring. There’s got to be a better nutrition book out there.
This is a really interesting and applicable book. It provides really clear strategies for steering your thinking and avoiding behavioural mishaps at work. Thing is, the narration is terrible. I mean terrible, distracting and annoying. This is particularly frustrating when you’re trying really hard to pay attention to the valuable lessons. One of the other reviewers described it perfectly: the odd inflections on the wrong syllables—he sounds like Agent Smith, from The Matrix movies. I recommend you buy the book and read it – great content, not a good audio version.
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