Tons and tons of new diet books continuously hit the shelves, just about each one promising to have the weight loss solution that works. Here is why almost all fail to help you, because they won't tell you one crucial thing.
The Miracle Carb Diet book has the "F-Factor" to make you lose weight, the Virgin Diet tells you to "reset your metabolism", the pages of the Wheat Belly Diet suggest you "lose the wheat, lose the weight", while Eat to Live shouts at you to finally start, well, eating to live.
And those are just some of the current bestsellers in the diet book sector. All in all, online retailer Amazon at the moment claims to have about 14,000 paperback diet books available, flanked by cohorts of CDs, ebooks and MP3s.
I'm not Nostradamus, so I can make a prediction much less cryptic: by this time next year, a couple dozen will be added to the list.
If you were a lawyer, you could probably make a pretty good living out of suing authors and publishers of said diet books over their claims or at least have a diverting pastime that will last you the rest of your life. But then again these books somewhere have a pretty small, pretty hard to read "results may vary" disclaimer, hidden right under half a page of copyright notices, which, a cynic might argue, is pretty much contrary to the big, bold claims on the fronts and backs.
Win Habits And Influence Your Invisibility
The whole diet book business is closely related to the self-improvement niche, where equally fantastic promises are made, just not about your body, but your brain and personality. According to those, you just learn How to Find Your Real Self to harness Your Invisible Power which will let you understand the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and get you to Win Friends and Influence People.
The last, written in 1937 and remaining a bestseller to this day, is probably responsible like no other for the genuine fake smiles salesmen tell you with that the eight year old Ford Taurus you are looking at is still a really solid car, despite the oil puddle under it approaching the size of the Mediterranean. Because that, haha, was caused by that clumsy High School temp they had there last week and, ah, kids these days and, by the way, you can fit a child seat in there no problem and the surfaces are extra easy to clean and would you have a look at the extra large rearview mirror?
Taking all these books together, we should be living in a world full of people at their ideal weight, completely healthy, contend with life and having everything under control.
The Better You
Yet if you step out of your door and engage in what is colloquially called "real life" and scientifically "social interaction", you can either come to the conclusion that your eyes are devious and get a hell of a time out of painting the world much bleaker than it is, or that those tens of thousands of books pretty much did nothing for mankind's state in general.
And that is not because the theories and advice in those books are utter crap, although some do qualify for that distinction, but because they more often than not fail to tell you one important thing: it is freaking hard to change your life by reading a book.
Because the difficult part is not reading the book, but putting and keeping what you read into practice. If I had some say in it, every diet book would have to have a big piece of advice right on its first page: If this is diet book number x you are buying, then diet books don't work for you and you should get help elsewhere.
Picture courtesy of Walt Stoneburner.