Dwight Garner wins the Lede of the Day Award for his scathing and accurate assessment of the New York Times Book Review’s self-help bestseller list:
The New York Times Book Review’s advice and miscellaneous best-seller list — the place where self-help books go to eyeball one another — is a boisterous rolling carnival of hustlers and hacks and optimists and jokers, with the occasional naked lady, tent preacher, dog trainer or television chef thrown in for good measure. Serious books do appear there, but they’re like guests who’ve wandered into the wrong party.
Bonus points for publishing this in the New York Times.
Triple point score for artfully panning Timothy Ferriss’s number one bestseller, “The 4-Hour Body,” in the review that follows:
Here’s a better analogy: “The 4-Hour Body” reads as if The New England Journal of Medicine had been hijacked by the editors of the SkyMall catalog. Some of this junk might actually work, but you’re going to be embarrassed doing it or admitting to your friends that you’re trying it. This is a man who, after all, weighs his own feces, likes bloodletting as a life-extension strategy and aims a Philips goLite at his body in place of ingesting caffeine.
As befits the former chief executive of a nutritional supplements company, Mr. Ferriss talks up a witches’ brew of juices, nuts, potions and drugs. Here’s a typical burp from an early chapter: “Overfat? Try timed protein and pre-meal lemon juice. Undermuscled? Try ginger and sauerkraut. Can’t sleep? Try upping your saturated fat or using cold exposure.”
Want to have “wolverine” sex? Who doesn’t? Eat 4 Brazil nuts, 20 raw almonds and 2 capsules of fermented cod-liver oil and butterfat four hours before intercourse. Mr. Ferriss used a hormone-slash-drug called human chorionic gonadotropin and more than tripled his semen volume. “Happy days,” he writes.
[Photo credit: Andwar, Creative Commons.]