BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Bea Reviews 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You by Brett Blumenthal

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Release Date: December 28th, 2011
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository * affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Whether as New Year’s resolutions, birthday wishes, or daily promises, most everyone vows at some point to make a major life change. But change is easier said than done, especially when it comes to better managing our wellness amidst the chaos of everyday living. Fortunately, wellness coach and award-winning writer Brett Blumenthal has devised a way to inspire and motivate her readers to live healthier and make positive changes in their lives. Although Blumenthal’s method is not a quick fix, it is a surprisingly simple one: make one small change per week, for fifty-two weeks, and at the end of a year, you’ll be happier and healthier. After all, it is the small changes that are the most realistic, instead of trying to overhaul your lifestyle all at once. 52 Small Changes addresses all areas of wellbeing, including nutrition, exercise, stress management, mental wellness, and even the health of one’s home environment. By guiding readers through these changes at an easy, manageable pace, Blumenthal provides an engaging roadmap to lasting results and “a happier, healthier you.”


My Thoughts:

I borrowed this from Kindle Unlimited back in January; new year, new resolutions, all that. I started out reading it  one chapter a week. As the book and plan are designed so you make one change per week, that seemed to make sense. Especially since KU doesn't limit how long you can borrow a book. After a few weeks, I put the book down for a couple of months.

For a start, the title and the blurb are a bit misleading. The changes themselves are a mix of small and major. The idea of implementing them incrementally is probably what inspired the title, and it's a good concept. But many of the actual changes are not small. Blumenthal advocates, among other things, for major dietary changes, and lifestyles changes. For some of the changes a week is not actually long enough but the set up of the book allows for tweaking. I put the book down because some of his suggestions were infuriating.

I strongly disagree with the author's suggestion of buying a dog for the purpose of taking daily walks. You buy a dog because you want one and you are prepared to invest time, emotions, and money in that animal. There's more to owning and caring for a dog than daily walks but he makes no acknowledgement of that, just blithely says "Get a dog". In fact, my main problem with this book is Blumenthal's attitude. He's entitled, judgemental, and pompous. His attitude is a mix of arrogant, pretentious, and helpful. This guy is writing from such a place of privilege and entitlement that chunks of his advice are useless.

For example, there's an entire chapter on the benefits of eating fish and seafood but no acknowledgement that some people are allergic. He does condescend to offer alternatives for people who find it "challenging" to add fish to their diet, but fails to acknowledge there could be medical reasons for not eating fish or other seafood. In fact, all throughout this book he fails, most of the time, to acknowledge little details such as medical issues, religious beliefs (though he does advocate in one chapter for having spirituality), or personal beliefs. His ideas are the right way to live so you should do it, according to him. He does back up the majority of his claims with research, which I did appreciate. It was his holier than thou attitude I had problems with.

To be fair, some of his suggestions are practical and easily done at home. The book offers nothing radical or even new but it's (mostly) useful information collected all in one place for your convenience. Blumenthal gives examples, cites sources, and offers, at times, practical suggestions for incorporating these changes into your life. There's an extensive bibliography and some chapters have charts or illustrations. In fact, I liked the section where he went into depth on stretches for your body before exercising. There were illustrations for each stretch and clear directions to make incorporating them into your routine easier. The weekly changes are laid in a sensible progression and each chapter has a basic goal and an extender goal. The writing is clear, occasionally dry, but easy to read.

The book's not a bad how-to for making some positive changes to life or your health. You just have to ignore his attitude, and pick out the wheat from the chaff. Also, the book is old enough now (nine years), that verifying any health recommendations against current health advice would be a good idea. 

18 comments:

  1. I agree that buying a dog just for walking is not the best idea. Great review!

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    1. Thanks Cindy! That comment of his made me so mad.

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  2. I think the author's attitude would make me not want to keep reading this one.

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    1. I came close to DNFing it several times.

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  3. Gosh that dog comment boils my blood. I like the concept of making changes gradually, but don't think the book grabs me much.

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    1. It did mine too. There are probably other books similarly themed but less obnoxious.

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  4. I think I'll pass on this one. I can kind of understand the dog comment as when our dog passed 2 years ago my husband has completely stopped taking walks and one of the benefits to getting a dog would be the motivation to get back to that. BUT the reason we haven't is because we travel all the time and honestly just don't have the time to really devote to a dog. I'm tempted by an older dog but the travel thing gets in the way because I'm assuming we will get back to that at some point. And yeah eating shrimp would at best make me horribly ill so not exactly something I can incorporate into my daily life. I think I'll stick with regular yoga!

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    1. Oh, going for walks is a perk to dog ownership but I don't think it should be the primary reason someone gets a dog. And it was his whole attitude that bothered me.

      Yoga is a good choice, and fairly easily incorporated. Enjoy!

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  5. I think that I would have had some issues with the same things you did in this book. I have 3 dogs and they require a whole lot more out of me than a daily walk. I love them dearly but they are a whole lot of work!

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    1. That part of my review is definitely hitting people's buttons. I love animals but they are work if you care for them properly.

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  6. I trust your judgment and appreciate your thoughts, Bea. It doesn't sound as though the author has the kind of engaging style necessary for readers to "buy in" and benefit.

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    1. Agreed! Although it has many 4 star reviews on Goodreads.

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  7. Sounded like such a good idea and when you said it was KU I was ready to pick it as my year long book for next year. But no, I don't think I could abide the attitude. The part about the dog is just awful! Great review Bea!

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    1. It did sound like a good idea and I still like the idea of doing the changes incrementally but his attitude was hard to take.

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  8. I so agree with you about the dog advice. That alone would make me not want to read this or take his advice about anything :)

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  9. Wow the concept is good but poor implementation. Reader's Digest had something like this a decade ago. Change One I think. I think it takes baby steps and obviously some changes won't work for everyone. You could be allergic to dogs too! Wonderful review!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. Thanks! Definitely poor execution of a good concept.

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