Our fate lies not in our stars but in our feet, argues this self-help manifesto.
Nestoiter’s unpredictable treatise flutters off in many directions but returns to his unconventional theory that the neurological challenge of bipedal balancing drove human brain evolution, and that the environment surrounding the feet, our primary balancing appendages, decisively influences the psyche. Unfortunately, paved surfaces and comfortable shoes make our balancing faculties atrophy and sever our podiatric connection to reality, causing emotional and spiritual distress. (Stable, high-grip shoes “utterly obliterate the information your soles are relaying to your soul,” he warns, but tottering on high heels provides a balancing workout that helps women “stay sharp, witty, alert and perceptive.”) Nestoiter interrupts his off-the-wall analysis of the mind-foot problem with bizarre digressions on everything from mass extinctions to the link between flatulence and obesity (“do not hold gas for more than thirty minutes, or you will never be thin again”), while an appendix offers random tips on alleviating dandruff, estimating the diameter of your small intestine and warding off evil spirits with salt. Interspersed are unctuous sales pitches for his “Balance Professor,” a balance-pipe that provides a “true therapeutic, deep-tissue foot massage” along with a soothing brain tune-up. Nestoiter’s opus reads like a parody of an autodidact’s nutty theory of everything, though he seems to mean it seriously. His ideas are exhaustively though ineptly reasoned out in an earnest, conversational style that seems lucid until you stop to think about his arguments, but the book bogs down under slabs of amateur scholarship and mathematical calculations and grows repetitious as he circles back to his obsessions. He allows that the material is “a little tedious” but insists that readers “not skip pages” lest they misunderstand his unconventional conclusions. Nestoiter’s eccentric ideas actually get harder to follow the less of it one skips, but at times his Yogi Berra-esque pronouncements—“Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once”—attain an accidental profundity.
Nestoiter’s grab bag provides some unusual food for thought, though it can be a little hard to swallow.