A self-help debut that aims to encourage healthy habits.
Hope, an emergency room doctor based in the Detroit area, offers an informative, conversational book that’s built around easy-to-adopt “small, sustained daily efforts” to improve one’s well-being. Although some readers may find her stated platform of “five minutes a day…to create a healthy habit” a bit simplistic, it effectively establishes an approachable tone. Part I lays groundwork with some basic psychological concepts, such as how to overcome obstacles, set goals, and become motivated to develop healthy routines. Hope employs an informal, direct style, combined with relevant examples, to help readers find their reason (or “real why”) for wanting to change. She emphasizes easy-to-accomplish “quick wins,” such as drinking more water, but she also recognizes that making lasting change is a long-term process. Along the way, Hope introduces four fictional patients: Sarah, Bill, Mary, and George. Each represents a different life stage—a mom in her 30s with elderly parents, an entrepreneur in his 40s, an empty nester in her 50s, and a retiree in his 60s, respectively—and these neatly define the book’s intended audience. The patients are useful in demonstrating how to apply “the four pillars of health”—“eat,” “sleep,” “burn” (via exercise), and “release” (of stress)—detailed in Part II. Hope has a knack for writing in everyday terms, whether she’s explaining portion size, the effects of sleep deprivation, practical approaches to exercise, or how to de-stress. To keep things flowing, she cleverly inserts a “Nerd Alert” when more technical detail is necessary. Her self-deprecation regarding the inclusion of these sidebars is charming: “I’m a huge nerd, and I couldn’t be happier about it,” she writes. “Sometimes I can’t help but throw down and geek out on some science.” The four pillars themselves are nothing new, but Hope doles out authoritative advice regarding each. The fictional patients nicely provide “top ten” lists of tips at the ends of their chapters, and the book’s conclusion is strongly positive and encouraging. There are also five helpful appendices, including one that lists “five-minute health-ups,” such as writing down one’s food goals.
A bright, perky, and artfully executed lifestyle guide.