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WHY WE FAIL AT FITNESS & WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

Down-to-earth, hopeful, and inventive health and fitness advice.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A psychology-driven text offers advice for how to avoid pitfalls in fitness programs.

From the start, this book highlights how it’s different from overly positive and excessively enthusiastic fitness manuals by leading with a powerful introduction: “I am you….I am someone who found themselves on a roller-coaster of getting fit, getting fat, dieting, binge eating to celebrate the successful diet, going to the gym a month before summer and on the second of January.” The book’s basic concept—that the average person will set and achieve fitness goals but probably won’t enjoy getting fit—isn’t a revolutionary one. However, debut author Soukkary conveys it in clear prose with a common-sense tone, and many readers will likely find it to be a valuable wake-up call. The book addresses how one creates habits and sets goals, and then identifies the mental blocks that hold one back from fitness and health success; the latter include problems with delayed gratification and a tendency to move goal posts regarding success. The author then outlines a versatile plan that encourages readers to set a goal, make it “SMART” (“Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely”), and “sidestep” mental obstacles on the path to achieving it. Simple examples along the way showcase helpful strategies. For example, the author outlines an “Exception” chart that shows when one can justifiably skip a workout, based on various circumstances; this avoids letting one’s “tired” brain make the choice, as it will usually choose not to work out. Overall, this text does a remarkable job of acknowledging failures while also noting that a commitment to fitness can be difficult to maintain. Readers who’ve halfheartedly pursued health or fitness regimens in the past will be renewed by this book’s reminders without feeling judged.

Down-to-earth, hopeful, and inventive health and fitness advice. (author bio)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-72833-341-0

Page Count: 100

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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