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Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference

by Tom Rath

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-939714-00-8
Publisher: Missionday

Well written and scrupulously researched, this breezy guide lobbies for an all-encompassing approach to improving one’s lifestyle.

Rath, author of business and personal productivity books (Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, 2010, etc.), turns his attention to personal health. The author’s approach is holistic: He weaves together the importance of eating well, exercising regularly and getting quality sleep, promoting this combination as the foundation for a healthier life. Rath covers each area, but the emphasis is on making smarter food choices. Rath doles out blunt advice: “It turns out, the belief that you can eat anything in moderation is dead wrong. The quality of what you eat matters far more than the overall quantity.” He suggests that readers drastically reduce their intake of carbohydrates: “Set a goal of eating foods that have a ratio of one gram of carbs for every one gram of proteins.” He sternly warns against sugar: “Sugar is a toxin.…It is now clear that if you lower your sugar intake, you reduce the odds of cancer.” To his credit, Rath meticulously documents statements that might otherwise appear to be unsubstantiated opinions; in fact, the text includes 370 annotations. In place of the traditional exercise plan, Rath offers a more psychological approach, exhorting the reader to make movement a daily habit. Likewise, when it comes to sleep, he doesn’t deliver a specific step-by-step improvement formula as much as general yet helpful advice. One potential drawback of the author’s approach: The author integrates all three elements (“Eat Move Sleep”) into almost every chapter instead of devoting a separate section to each. This blended structure occasionally causes needless repetition. Some readers may also have trouble navigating the melded messages. But Rath’s “30-Day Guide” at the end of the book—a plan that summarizes the content—is clear and actionable.

Consumer friendly, pertinent, up-to-date and, for the most part, delivered in an easy-to-digest format.