A little popular psychology coupled with hype-free nutrition advice and useful fitness tips make this a worthwhile read.


This credible self-help book outlines a sustainable weight-loss program organized around three core areas to ensure lifelong success: mindset, motivation and metabolism.

Co-authors Cullip and Richards (Pocket Guide to Weight Loss, 2012) share their personal dieting struggles and ultimate success in a succinct guide to weight loss. Their expertise includes a combined 30 years of experience helping others, primarily women, achieve their “confident weight.” Cullip and Richards encourage readers to find a weight that makes them “feel good in their own skin” instead of striving for the ultrathin model look. Cullip, a qualified counselor and health coach, overcame anorexia nervosa; Richards, now a facilitator and coach, ended her pattern of cyclical dieting and weight gain/loss brought on during her career as a corporate trainer. In straightforward language, their insights are woven throughout the book, as are personal stories from clients who have achieved their ideal weights and life goals. Much of the advice is undoubtedly familiar: Take care of yourself; eat regular meals of whole, fresh foods; and exercise regularly. Yet, Cullip and Richards have gathered impressive research on chronic dieting and fitness plans as well as the psychology of dieting. They present their practical weight-loss plan in 11 well-organized chapters that conclude with useful summaries of key points. While the material is occasionally redundant, the PowerPoint presentation style and summary outlines make for a flexible read. Like most self-help books, there are frequent opportunities for readers to identify and set goals, devise meal and exercise plans, etc. Their ideas seem practical and include support strategies to bolster the weary. The authors consistently advocate a wholesome approach to dieting that encompasses physical and mental health. The guide helps readers determine why they want to lose weight. Truly understanding one’s own motivation to shed pounds, say Cullip and Richards, brings greater success than relying on willpower and packaged diet plans.

A little popular psychology coupled with hype-free nutrition advice and useful fitness tips make this a worthwhile read.

Pub Date: May 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1452572932

Page Count: 210

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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