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Publisher's Summary

In Slim by Design, leading behavioral economist, food psychologist, and bestselling author Brian Wansink introduces groundbreaking solutions for designing our most common spaces - schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and home kitchens, among others - in order to make positive changes in how we approach and manage our diets.

Anyone familiar with Wansink's Mindless Eating knows this is not a typical diet book. Wansink shares his scientific approach to eating, providing insight and information, so we can all make better choices when it comes to food.

The pioneer of the Small Plate Movement, Brian Wansink presents compelling research conducted at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University by way of cartoons, drawings, charts, graphs, floor plans, and more. Slim by Design offers innovative ways to make healthy eating mindlessly easy.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Brian Wansink (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 01-05-15

Another Weird Diet Book

This is basically a self-help book with most of the defects of the genre. The author ecstatically supports his premise, and presents lots of evidence to support his ideas, but never rigorously tests his ideas. There are quite a few very good common sense ideas and the ideas all seem plausible, particularly with the short term evidence presented.

There are a bunch of very short term experiments described (like moving chocolate milk to the back of the school milk case which results in lower chocolate milk sales). Perhaps, but my experience of teens is once they re-find the chocolate milk, they will quickly return to their previous behavior. I don’t recall any long term controlled studies of the ideas presented. After finishing the book I tried to find long term studies online, but found promo-videos and other descriptions of the same short term studies.

The author repeatedly discusses things that thin people do differently than fat people (like sitting far from the buffet and not facing the buffet), then strongly implies that people who do the things thin people do will become thin people. While there are some key areas where this is clearly true (like calorie intake and exercise) I am dubious sitting facing away from the buffet will really reduce weight in the long term.

After finishing the book, I began wondering if the ideas presented there would work for alcoholics as well as foodoholics. Would hiding your vodka in the hall closet, or sitting not facing the bar, or making sure all the alcohol is out of sight, or using a smaller basket when buying booze, or giving enticing names to non-alcoholic drinks, or using small glasses, or hiding the hard stuff in a drawer, really deal with a drinking issue? I have dealt with several alcoholics and they committed to just about every one of these ideas, and guess what, THEY WORKED! For a few days. In the long run they didn’t work. What did work? Either the tough personal decision to stop drinking or committing to getting help. I was quite dubious these kinds of changes without the tough personal decision part would be successful in weight loss.

There is a PDF associated with the book with some pictures illustrating some of the books points and several assessment test.

There are some good ideas like keep foods that are good for you prepped and convenient, but this actually takes a substantial commitment to buying the healthy food, prepping the healthy food, and eating the healthy food before it goes bad. That is basically was we used to call healthy eating.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Important, insightful, and a little repetitive

This sort of book isn't usually my cup of tea, but my wife told me to read it. I was very impressed by the substance of this book, and the fascinating research behind it.

I'm giving it a very high rating because, though the book has some flaws, it's contents should be read by everyone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Environment is everything

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This book could be summed up in a tweet: design your home/work environment in such a way that you don't cheat and stay healthy.

What could Brian Wansink have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Added more cases, more reflective thoughts on the struggles of people who cannot control their environment, tapping into the psychological blocks that impede people from thinking like the disciplined ones. A more how-to guide that is easy to implement and start using.

Was Slim by Design worth the listening time?

No.

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Good info poor delivery

I liked the idea of this book but it is so full of itself that the actual information is buried in 4 hours of stories. save your money and just go to slimbydesign.com.

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Good book, interesting research!

Any additional comments?

This book was good and the research he presents was interesting and definitely worth thinking about. The only thing that is slightly annoying is he is clearly selling the phrase "Slim by design" because he says it over and over, like a sales pitch. Other than that bit, it is a very good book.

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Great first half, but this is more of a reader

because you can select and choose your "type" of lifestyle and changes to go with it, there was a ton of redundancy and irrelevant info. still, amazing ideas and meticulous research. I learned a lot in the first half.

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Interesting research but not at all what I wanted

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think restaurant owners and grocery store owners might enjoy this, but not people looking for help with changing their food habits and way of looking at food.

Would you ever listen to anything by Brian Wansink again?

Probably not

How did the narrator detract from the book?

It's not awful, but it's not great. For the price, I'd like a professional reader.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The topic and the research is interesting, but not at all what I was hoping for. I was hoping for principles that are applicable to my life. I was looking for a how-to for changing my own habits and food storage to encourage me to make better food choices. For the three or four tips I gleaned from the book, I could have read a blog post. It would probably be an interesting read to someone who is just looking for eating habits research outcomes or for a restaurant or grocery store owner looking for good reasons to push the sale of real food and increase their profits.

Any additional comments?

Instead of a how-to for people looking to improve their eating habits, health and lives, this is a vague look at individuals habits and a how-to for grocery store and restaurant owners. I think it's valuable to the national conversation around health and encouraging better buying habits for society at large, but not for individuals looking for ways to make healthy eating more convenient. Additionally, the 100 item check list, which is the one actionable thing I can use, I don't get to have because I got the audiobook! That's exactly the stuff I wanted and I don't even get to have it. Pretty disappointing.

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Great concepts with very doable solutions.

Was very easy to listen to and offered realistic solutions that are easy and will make a big difference.

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The real reason diets are a myth.

This book does a great job of bunking the whole Myth of dieting. Nobody can live on them and the only way to achieve long-term results is to make choices in our environment. Brilliant material.