A densely packed and richly empathetic revamping of the dieting world.




A debut guide strives to help women break out of the dieting trap.

How many women have only been on one diet? This is the question with which Clegg, an eating-disorder therapist, opens her fast-paced look at the short- and long-term damage the dieting mentality can inflict on women, whether they’re looking to revitalize their lives or simply lose a few pounds. “Are you ready to go out, change your mind, and change your life?” the author asks. To facilitate this, she identifies 10 “mindsets” that can make dieting a deeply personal pitfall rather than the healthy course of action most women intend it to be. These include “The Deprivation Mindset,” “The Mean Girl Mindset,” and “The Shame-Based Mindset,” all of which tap into potentially unhealthy personal traits as part of their base line motivations. Clegg deftly lays out descriptions of each of these mindsets and the thinking they typify. For instance, “The Bureaucrat Mindset,” which can appeal to rule followers, the author characterizes as “Even though I want to eat this, and it makes sense to eat this, I can’t—because it is not on my diet.” And then there’s the extremely common “ABC Mindset,” which thinks: “If I diet, I can lose weight, and then my life will be perfect.” The author trusts the instincts of her readers to tell them if they’re in the grip of one of these toxic mindsets (“If you have an unhealthy pattern,” she writes with affecting simplicity, “you will recognize it because it makes you feel bad”). As she’s clarifying the difficulties, she’s also offering useful, multifaceted solutions to help her readers “reclaim a peaceful, balanced relationship with food.” At the root of the problem, she writes, is society’s set of body image standards that are patriarchal, unrealistic, and ultimately harmful to women’s physiques, minds, and souls. Clegg’s valuable, lucid book is a call to dig beneath these manipulations, to understand the why of dieting before looking at the how. Every reader who’s ever struggled with dieting or weight issues should find the author’s outlook captivating.

A densely packed and richly empathetic revamping of the dieting world.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2018


Page Count: 144

Publisher: BookLogix

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.


Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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