Monday, February 9, 2009

An On-Going Blogging Project

I'm going to start blogging about my use of Martha Beck's book: The Four Day Win: End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace. Now, first I have to confess that I am highly skeptical of self-help books in general, but Martha Beck is a Ph.D. in psychology and the science she talks about is peer reviewed. Regardless, a couple of things irk me about this book:

1. She tries to be very joke(y) in order to lighten the tone when talking about some very deep/scary stuff. It probably appeals to some people, but for me it dilutes the impact.
2. She does the whole self-help over-selling in the first chapter or so, with quotes like: "The astonishing fact that we can change our brains by using our minds and by behaving in new ways (some as simple as breathing differently) is the key to changing this programming...To learn these skills, you could go the very long scenic route that I took: read hundreds of thousands of pages in subjects from nutrition to psychology to physics to animal behavior to philosophy to linguistic epistemology, then spend thousands of hours counseling and observing dieters. But the strategies in this book are designed to take you to Thinland quickly" (Bolding my emphasis). I'm really glad that I read beyond the introductory chapter due to a recommendation from the now defunct blog, The Elastic Waist, or else I might have just been way too turned off by the hard-sell of "This book will fix all your problems and you'll live in Thinland forevermore." Now, its totally a possibility that it was the editors that made her insert a hard-sell intro chapter (and as someone who teaches composition at a University, I know that one often re-writes the intro based on outside influences or feedback), so Dr. Beck could be innocent and just followed the orders of her publishing house which probably has a successful formula for the self-help genre. But I must say, the actual content of the book is much better than much of the self-help fare I've read in the past.

So, stay tuned readers--it'll be interesting.

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