A physician explores the key elements of a healthier life in this debut self-help book.
At first glance, the table of contents of Nair’s compact guide seems simplistic. It includes “ten essential factors,” such as “Think,” “Eat,” “Move,” and “Sleep,” which the author says “will help guide your time and energy when trying to be well.” These seemingly obvious words take on more powerful meanings, though, as Nair explores them in detailed but uncomplicated chapters. The first, “Think,” presents a four-step critical thinking approach that one may use to analyze health claims regarding specific behaviors and therapies; Nair points out that “Science-based health advice should be our standard beyond simple ‘evidence.’ ” Other chapters are similarly lucid, insightful, and meaningful. “Eat,” for instance, describes “Five Dietary Principles” that are encouraging, if not all eye-opening; however, “Your Best Weight is Good Enough” addresses the fact that it’s easier for a person to set a goal of being “healthier” or “thinner” rather than “healthy” or “thin.” The significant difference, advises Nair, is the “-er” suffix, which makes a goal seem more achievable. Other refreshing principles in this chapter include “Suffering Is to Be Avoided” and “There Are No Forbidden Foods”; it also includes seven specific actions one may take to eat healthier. Overall, the author’s approach is to be reassuringly positive and empathetic rather than scolding. Other chapters unfold in much the same way, with thoughtful discussion, recommended actions, and a helpful summary at the end. One of the book’s strengths is that it features many options, rather than a single method, for reaching a particular goal; in “Move,” for instance, Nair has a simple answer to the question about which exercise is best; it is “the one you will actually do.” In addition to such sensible counsel, the author includes extensive references in every chapter.
A smart, authoritative, and elegantly written healthy living manual.