Dont Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock: Lightweight But Convincing Expose of the Fast Food Industry
For those of you who've been on another planet for the past year or so, Morgan Spurlock is a filmaker who spent an entire month eating nothing but McDonald's food and filming the decline in his health, expanding waistline and other alarming consequences of this damaging diet.
The result was the gripping documentary, Super Size Me, which earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination.
Don't Eat This Book, although an obvious offshoot of the film, is a worthy project in its own right, with plenty to offer Spurlock fans and newbies alike.
If you've seen the movie, you'll appreciate the behind the scenes perspectives revealed in Don't Eat This Book. But the main thrust of the book should appeal to anyone with an interest in the fast food industry and its role in modern society. Certainly, if you're a parent or teacher who cares what children eat, you should own this book.
The title - Don't Eat This Book - is a spoof on the warning labels emblazoned on virtually every US product.
The warnings are aimed at warding off court cases from the kinds of people people not only stupid enough to put their hands into a whirring grass cutter or to mistake silcone gel sneaker inserts for mints, but also shameless enough to blame the manufacturer for their ensuing, and well-deserved, misfortune.
Spurlock has no time for such frivilous litigation. But he convincingly argues that such cases are very different from the kinds of class actions being pursued against giant tobacco and food companies.
It should be obvious to anyone but the most brain dead that putting your hand into a power mower's blades is bad for you. But until recently it was not so obvious that cigarettes and fast food were bad for you.
For decades tobacco companies hid evidence that their product was a health hazard, cunningly designed to be addictive. At the same time they spent staggering amounts of money on marketing to create the image that cigarettes were "cool".
With the success of the initial tobacco class actions, attitudes began to change.
As Spurlock points out, "Suddenly it was apparent that sticking a cigarette in your mouth was not quite the same thing as sticking those sneaker mints in your mouth. No one spent billlions and billions of dollars in marketing, advertising and promotions telling that guy those sneaker mints would make him cool, hip and sexy. Big Tobacco did exactly that to smokers."
He spends much of the rest of Don't Eat This Book building a similarly damning case against the fast food industry.
The parallels are inescapable. Fast food chains like McDonalds spend billions on convincing kids that eating their unhealthy, fattening products will make you popular and cool.
Their "Super Size" policy, cynically designed to prey on the natural human instinct to get value for money, is roundly criticised, with the author's own experience in filming Super Size Me serving as chief witness for the prosecution.
And if it wasn't hard enough to keep your kids from eating junk food outside of school, there's the growing trend of fast food chains to offer funds to cash-strapped schools in exchange for branding and advertising opportunities. In several cases, fast food chains have even set up shop inside school cafeterias.
Thankfully, all is not doom and gloom. Spurlock heaps praise on schools that provide healthy, local food in their cafeterias. He also provides advice and a list of resources for parents and teachers seeking to turn the tide in their own communities.
This, combined with Spurlock's casual, humorous writing style make for a quick, breezy and ultimately optimistic read. Its accessibility makes Don't Eat This Book an ideal educational tool, especially when combined with Spurlock's Super Size Me documentary.
If you prefer a more measured, investigative style of journalism, Don't Eat This Book may be a little lightweight for your liking - Eric Schlosser's brilliant Fast Food Nation will probably be more to your taste.
I'll end with one word of caution. If you do print out this review, please don't eat it. It may give you indigestion and I can't afford the lawsuit!
For more reviews of the best obesity books, visit www.obesitycures.com/obesity-books.html">http://www.obesitycures.com/obesity-books.html
Alan Cooper is a journalist with 20 year's experience and the publisher of www.ObesityCures.com">ObesityCures.com, a site with the ambitious aim of being a "one-stop-shop" for impartial information on obesity and weight loss solutions - including fad diets, prescription weightloss pills and natural weightloss aids.
Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence and other books including a series of crime novels, died on Thursday at a hospital near his home in Southern France.
Henry Holt's efforts to rush more copies of Fire and Fury to stores appears to have partly met demand for the book. According to NPD BookScan, which tracks 80% to 85% of print sales, Michael Wolff's tell-all book about the Trump White House sold 191,838 copies in its first full week on sale - the week ended January 14. This made it the biggest selling title of the week by a wide margin.
Despite this, Holt still has a long way to go to meet demand for the book which received 1.4 million orders last week.
Margaret Atwood, Junot Díaz, Lauren Graham John Irving, Bill T. Jones, Devon Kennard, Gayle King, Diane Lane, George R. R. Martin, Lesley Stahl and Many more will lend their voices to PBS' "The Great American Read."
The Great American Read, a new eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign created in partnership with the production company Nutopia, aims to explore the power of books and the joy of reading through the lens of America's 100 best-loved novels, as voted on by the public. PBS will also partner with top literary organizations and its nearly 350 member stations nationwide to extend the reach of The Great American Read to every community.
The Show will launch with a two-hour special event on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 8 p.m. on PBS stations.
PEN America is honoring Stephen King with its Literary Service Award at its annual literary gala in New York City on May 22. The award is given to "a critically-acclaimed writer whose body of work helps us understand and interpret the human condition, engendering empathy and imagination in even the darkest hours."
PEN America has also named as its annual Publisher Honoree Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster. The organization said that "under her leadership, Simon & Schuster has published many acclaimed and award-winning works of lasting cultural significance, has greatly expanded its publishing activities in international territories, and has been an industry leader in finding new audiences through digital capabilities.
Canadian author Margaret Atwood is facing a social media backlash after voicing concerns about the #MeToo movement and calling for due process in the case of a former university professor accused of sexual misconduct.
J.D. Vance, who gained national recognition for his 2016 book, "Hillbilly Elegy," is seriously considering running in Ohio's key senate race, an adviser to Vance told CNN on Wednesday. This comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke with Vance about his run, according to sources with knowledge of the call, offering the author advice on what he could expect from a potential bid.
While many have lamented the lost art of reading in our social media-driven world, few have actually tried to do anything about it. Short Édition is the exception. In 2011, the Grenoble, France-based startup began installing short story-dispensing vending machines in some of the country's most popular public spaces, beginning with Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport. And now they've made their way to America.
The New York Times offers inspiration to many authors, with a short article pointing out that crime novelist Sue Grafton (who died in late December) did not break into the bestseller lists until her sixth book, "F is For Fugitive" cracked the paperback bestseller list in 1990. After that she went from strength to strength with 10 of the books, starting with "L is For Lawless" debuting at No. 1.
Intense demand for Fire & Fury has caught its publisher, Henry Holt, off guard as the Macmillan imprint scrambles to get copies into the marketplace.
Gauging a book's traction in the marketplace and setting its print run is, arguably, one of the trickiest aspects of the publishing process. And Holt, in this instance, underestimated demand significantly.
Although Holt is reordering as fast as it can the worry is that it may lose sales because of the current unavailability of the book. Competition is also coming. Two other books are due to publish next week--David Cay Johnston's It's Even Worse Than You Think (Simon & Schuster) and David Frum's Trumpocracy (HarperCollins)--are set to hit stores on January 16.
The new year has already proven unpleasant for President Trump, who has been shaken by a forthcoming tell-all about his White House. Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the White House", which is slated to be released by Holt next week, has shot up the charts on Amazon and driven the President to take to Twitter with angry pronouncements about former members of his inner circle.