A debut book offers a comprehensive approach to living an “environmentally conscious” life.
In the realm of self-improvement books, focusing on a single area, such as diet or happiness, is a very common construct. Much rarer (and typically less successful) is a volume that attempts to take a holistic approach to virtually every aspect of life. Chayne, a recent college graduate, not only manages to cover a great deal of territory, but she does it with authority. Her concise book is divided into six parts, smartly labeled with a single word. “Nourish,” for example, explores eating well, whether “detox” is healthy, how to “master your body’s language,” food waste, the role farmers play in the food supply, and maintaining the planet’s biodiversity. Other parts pinpoint such areas as finding happiness (“Smile”), body health (“Revitalize”), and even responsible consumer buying (“Style”). Most of the content leans strongly toward being eco-friendly; in “Beautify,” for instance, the author offers a detailed list of cosmetic product ingredients to be wary of. Each part of the book is a tightly constructed section made up of chapters that are notable for their clarity and brevity. Every chapter provides a summary at the end (almost unnecessary given the minimal chapter length), and each part ends with a substantial list of references (in the case of “Nourish,” there are 86 articles, books, lectures, websites, and a documentary). The volume is remarkable in its ability to condense material of substance into bite-size segments. The benefit of such an approach is significant: Chayne paints with a very broad brush, offering a taste of many issues both large and small in just enough detail to get one’s mind working; if the reader wants to dig deeper, a wealth of additional resources are provided for further exploration. In this respect, the book delivers an impressive format: an encyclopedic work in scope that has been adapted to a contemporary environment for people who have neither the inclination nor the time to read a lot of specifics.
An elegantly written, passionately presented, cleverly organized guide to pursuing a healthy and responsible life.