This month’s Men’s Journal contains a quick shout out on page 72: add reading The Paleo Manifesto to your “To-Do List.”
Chris Kresser wrote a nice review of the book.
Here’s one part on my critique of vegetarianism:
John…explains how vegetarianism, though often noble in thought, does not adequately tackle the many environmental and ethical issues in our current industrial food system. It’s the most controversial section of the book, but John does a great job respecting vegetarians’ philosophical viewpoints while still pointing out the flaws in their logic. As a former vegetarian, I think it’s important to respect others’ lifestyle choices while still shedding light on the myths promoted by organizations with an anti-meat agenda, and John does this tactfully.
I saved the provocative and controversial material on vegetarianism for the last chapter.
The best part about John’s book is that it is written in an engaging, narrative style. John shares his own perspective and experience while still using scientifically sound arguments for why the lifestyle he promotes will help us move closer to holistic, habitat-based human health as modeled by nature. It’s a great book to inspire you or a loved one to make changes in the way you live, whether that be hunting or growing your own food, investing in a stand-up desk, or finding a style of movement that truly satisfies your need for both physical challenge and playfulness.
Check out the full review.
I went on a barefoot run in Central Park for a profile in the New Yorker:
“On a recent sunny Sunday morning, a modern caveman, sitting on a bench by a south entrance to Central Park, finished a single espresso, took off his shoes, threw them in his backpack, and prepared for his weekly barefoot run.”
I like that they included this:
His book’s dedication reads, “To my ancestors, for my descendants.”
Pick up a copy of the New Yorker or read it online here.
BOOK SIGNING @ BARNES & NOBLE
Barnes & Noble (Pointe Plaza), 19221 Mack Ave, Grosse Pointe, MI 48236
I’ll be giving a book talk and signing at CrossFit NYC at noon on Saturday. It’s open to non-members (just please RSVP). Books will be available for purchase. Note that it’s at CrossFit NYC’s secondary location on 26th street.
BOOK TALK AND SIGNING @ CROSSFIT NYC
12-1pm book talk and Q&A w/ signing to follow
CrossFit NYC, 25 W. 26th Street, 3rd Floor (note: *not* the main location on 28th)
open to non-members | free w/ RSVP to email@example.com
Here’s one excerpt concerning Marlene Zuk’s Paleofantasy:
“Dr. Zuk’s example of imperfect evolution is the location of the optic nerve in the eye, which emerges from the front of the retina, not the back—thus causing a blind spot. But isn’t it vastly more amazing that most people never even realize that the eye contains a blind spot? Isn’t it far more impressive that our cognitive software is so sophisticated that it fills in the gaps in our visual field?
It’s disappointing to hear a professional evolutionary biologist talk about evolution by natural selection—the most brilliant design process in the world—as if it were a design committee at General Motors.
Here’s another part on a few of the factors that may explain paleo’s appeal to libertarians:
Many libertarians are high-IQ optimizers, so are willing to go to great lengths to understand and achieve optimal health. We also understand spontaneous order—whether an economy or the human body—and are open to the influence of evolution on human nature.
Sex seems to play a role, too. Men do like to eat meat—hunting has always been a masculine domain—whereas vegetarianism skews feminine. Surveys have shown that paleo is evenly split between men and women—eating real food isn’t a male or female thing—but an even sex ratio is still heavily male relative to most other dietary approaches, which tend to skew female.
Read the full interview.
A finished book is always the product of many people — and on pub day, I’d like to thank three people in particular.
It’s hard to find a word or role that encompasses everything Michael Malice did for this book: editing each line (on a short timeline); contributing his considerable knowledge of alga; teaching me how to write. I would have been grateful for his help as a craftsman; I got a consigliere.
Look for Malice’s forthcoming unauthorized autobiograpy of Kim Jong Il. If his touching feature in Reason magazine is any indication, Malice will use the mesmerizing and absurd propaganda surrounding the life of North Korea’s “Dear Leader” to explore the tragedy that is the Hermit Kingdom.
The most valuable advice is often the advice we don’t want to hear—and by that measure, my research assistant, Zoe Piel, was invaluable. She was relentlessly skeptical, and in addition to her exceptional work, I’m grateful that she frequently disagreed with me.
In addition to working on a masters in science education, Zoe is an accomplished artist and graphic designer (see here). She is the author and illustrator of a web comic called The Adventures of Painless Parker: The *Almost* True Story of America’s Most Eccentric Dentist, which is about to be released in print. Think Tin Tin meets Steampunk (good for kids too).
I owe a huge debt to my sister, Maggie Durant, for her tireless and selfless work on the New York City Barefoot Run and countless other projects, which allowed me to focus on writing. Couldn’t have done it without her.
There are a gazillion more people, many of whom I thank in the Acknowledgements.
To everyone, thank you!
So you’ve read books about the paleo diet before — how is The Paleo Manifesto different?
So I spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of book it should be.
I knew I couldn’t just do a re-tread of Loren, Mark, or Robb’s books. They know their expertise better than I do, and candidly, I had just witnessed the lukewarm response to Art De Vany’s book — which, in all likelihood, would have been received enthusiastically just a few years prior.
Timing is everything. It had to be fresh.
But traditional publishing is slow.
Really, really, really slow.
So I had to think ahead to where the paleosphere would be in a few years.
Back then, it was abundantly clear that paleo would continue to grow in popularity. Inevitably, it would start to draw criticism — and that criticism would probably argue that the paleosphere over-emphasized the importance of the Paleolithic. I also figured that the initial backlash would probably be based on a caricature of paleo — the “cartoon caveman” — because that’s how the media portrayed it. And it was just too easy.
Time to reveal a few things.
I elevate what we can learn from other ancestors, both prior to the Paleolithic (Animal Age) and after it (Agricultural, Industrial, and Information Ages). 80% of Part One has nothing to do with the Paleolithic. Putting “paleo” in the title was the most effective way to convey the thrust of the book, but the book is about far more than the Paleolithic.
There are chapters on fasting, movement, bipedalism (standing, walking, running), thermoregulation, sun, and sleep — as well as ethics and the environment. The two chapters on food comprise about 15% of the book.
In my very first pitch to publishers, I insisted that the world “diet” not appear on the cover. Plus, I’m a crummy cook. So there are no recipes or no meal plans.
Many people know far more than about molecular biology than I do. If you like to geek out on interaction effects between ghrehlin, a zinc deficiency, and glucose intake (or whatever), then you’re going to be disappointed.
There is no single list of foods that you are or are not “allowed” to eat. Do I offer general guidelines on which classes of food and preparation methods I believe to be healthier than others? Yes, I do.
A manifesto is intended to clearly and forcefully present a worldview — and to motivate people to action. The order is important: before you can motivate people to action, you have to find sources of meaning with the power to motivate. So a lot of the book is about finding meaning in your life: not just which foods you eat but how you eat them (traditional recipes), not just exercising more but rediscovering a reason to move (functional fitness).
And how our actions influence other people, other species, and the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the vast majority of folks who eat paleo are gonna like it. (Hopefully love it.)
But I’m a big tent kind of guy, and I wanted to write a book that appealed to and included more people than those who use the words “paleo” or “primal” — and not just for the fuzzy feelings or moving a lot of copies (though that would nice).
I want to change the food system. I want to change government policy. I want to change the conventional wisdom. And I want to help the hundreds of millions of people suffering from chronic health conditions.
But you can’t do any of that if you don’t reach people.
So I was constantly trying to strike the right balance between introductory material (for the mainstream) and advanced material (for the paleosphere and academics); readability (for the mainstream) and geek out stuff (for health fanatics).
And yes, I wanted to entertain, provoke, and inspire. Because that’s how to motivate people, individually and collectively, to change and improve their lives and the world.
I hope you like it (and think you will).
Received a nice shout out from @CrossFit. They’re quoting from a section of The Paleo Manifesto explaining the rise and success of CrossFit.
"Every gym in America should be banging down the door trying to understand how CrossFit motivated people to exercise" http://t.co/7HiXbbNu0J
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) September 13, 2013
I had the opportunity to visit CrossFit HQ a few weeks ago. I was a guest on their new web show, Offline, along with Tony Blauer, Web Smith, and host Russell Berger.
Got a chance to hit the box at HQ.
Also, here’s what Joshua Newman, founder of CrossFit NYC, had to say:
“The Paleo Manifesto is now the definitive guide to going paleo. Smart, compelling, entertaining and accessible, it’s the book I’ll be recommending to our members at CrossFit NYC, and to anyone interested in looking, feeling and performing their best!”
You can read it here.
It describes a private tour of Harvard’s fossil archive with Dr. Daniel Lieberman, chair of Human Evolutionary Biology.
And an 80,000 year old hunter-gatherer skull.