Hunter Gatherer

Brimming with ideas and a fascinating read. STEVEN PINKER, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

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Thank you

A finished book is always the product of many people — and on pub day, I’d like to thank three people in particular.

Michael Malice


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.

Zoe Piel

painless parker

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).

Maggie Durant

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!


Is The Paleo Manifesto different than other paleo books?

So you’ve read books about the paleo diet before — how is The Paleo Manifesto different?

Turn back the clock to three years ago. Fresh on the heels of the NYT profilemy Colbert interview, and landing a book deal for looking like a caveman, I had an epiphany: I had to write a book.

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.

To now.

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.

So far, so good.

Time to reveal a few things.

  • My book actually downplays the Paleolithic

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.

  • It covers *way* more than food

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.

  • It is not a diet book or cookbook

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.

  • It is not a biology textbook

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.

  • It is not a holy book

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.

  •  It is a manifesto

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.

  • The paleosphere will read the book first, but is not the primary audience

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).

The Paleo Manifesto is now available wherever books are sold. Pick up a copy at Amazon. Or at Barnes & Noble. Or at iBookstore. Or at Indiebound.

Love from CrossFit for *The Paleo Manifesto*

Received a nice shout out from @CrossFit. They’re quoting from a section of The Paleo Manifesto explaining the rise and success of CrossFit.

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!”

Pick up your copy of The Paleo Manifesto at Amazon. Or at B&N. Or at iBookstore. Or at Indiebound.

Exclusive excerpt at Mark’s Daily Apple

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.

Book release party at Hu Kitchen (Sat., 9/21 @ 7pm)

I’d be honored if you joined me on Saturday, September 21st to celebrate the release of The Paleo Manifesto.

Hu Kitchen is throwing a private party, open bar, paleo hors d’eouvres, and music. I’ll give a book reading and sign copies too. (Copies will be available for purchase.)

Don’t miss it. Invite and details below.


Saturday, September 21st

Hosted by Hu Kitchen
78 5th Ave. (between 13th and 14th St.)

20$ for open bar and paleo hors d’oeuvres
book talk and signing at 8pm

Limited space. Tickets at

One paragraph overview of The Paleo Manifesto

ThePaleoManifesto (summary)

 Order your copy here:


Interviewed with Nassim Taleb on Bloomberg

I appeared with Nassim Taleb on Bloomberg to discuss The Paleo Manifesto. We focused on how you can benefit from inserting more variation into your life, such as fasting, temperature variability, and types and intensity of movement.

Our segment starts at 59:00 (4 min.).



The Paleo Manifesto is now available for pre-order

Well, folks, the book is finally done. Really happy with how it turned out — proud of it. I think you’re gonna like it.

The Paleo Manifesto is now available for pre-order. Order your copy today.


A lot more is in the works: updated website, book excerpts, events, and promo efforts. Stay tuned.

Ancestral health survey

Professor Hamilton Stapell is conducting a survey of the ancestral health movement. I filled it out — short (2-3 min.) and anonymous. Let’s help him get good data by participating.

The perfect gift: Perfect Health Diet

Bears don’t interrupt their hibernation unless there’s an important reason, and neither do I. I’m crawling out of my den to make one recommendation.

Buy Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet.

Here’s my review: This is the single best book on diet I’ve ever read.

Paul Jaminet is one of the most original, insightful voices in health today, and let’s support him when it counts.

Here’s how:

Follow Paul on twitter and find terrific free material at

Okay, time to hibernate again — dreaming about wild salmon, berries, and drizzling honey on sexy lady bears.