Sunday, July 12, 2015

Healthy Joints for Life, by Richard Diana

With arthritis in the family, having been a runner through my mid-40s, (OK, a jogger), and having not too long ago passed the halfway mark (i.e., my 50th birthday) this book offered me a wealth of information about staying in good shape for a long time. Author Richard Diana was a professional football player who experienced significant trauma to his knees and body. As an orthopedic surgeon, he regularly treats people with severe arthritis. He wrote this book to share what he's learned about the best way to treat arthritis to maintain healthy joints.

Written in terms that a layman can understand, Dr. Diana describes the root causes of arthritis, particularly the role of inflammation. He outlines the basics of inflammation, how joints work and what can go wrong with them, the foods that help or hinder inflammation, the role of supplements, and how exercise helps. He follows this with an eight-week plan to reduce inflammation and reduce pain, providing different approaches for people with mild, moderate, or severe arthritis. The appendix provides more in-depth information about the cell science behind inflammation and pain.

I found Dr. Diana's recommendations to be helpful, but not all that surprising. Suggestions about diet and exercise are consistent with many other resources on health. What I found particularly useful were the discussions about the types of food that either cause or reduce inflammation (hint: carbohydrates are not so great). I was surprised by the lengthy list of supplements that Dr. Diana recommends, many but not all of which have strong evidence to support them.

This book would be useful to not only people who already have arthritis, but also to anyone who wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even folks who already eat a healthy diet and exercise could glean more tips from this book about what foods to add to their diet and which ones to cut back on. I'm not a big fan of supplements, so I'll withhold judgment on that chapter.

Richard Diana, M.D. Healthy Joints for Life: An Orthopedic Surgeon's Proven Plan to Reduce Pain and Inflammation, Avoid Surgery, and Get Moving Again. New York: Harlequin, 2013.336 pages. ISBN 9780373892709.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rejection Proof, by Jia Jiang

In 2012 author Jia Jiang quit his job to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Four months into his first project, he suffered a crushing rejection when his proposal was not funded. Realizing that fear of rejection was preventing him from achieving the success he desired, he decided to embark on a project to immunize himself from the feelings of despair and unworthiness that he experienced when rejected. His new project was called "100 Days of Rejection" and was documented through video and essay in a blog that rapidly became popular.

During the 100 Days of Rejection project, Mr. Jiang tried to come up with creative and amusing proposals or requests that would be guaranteed to garner a "no" response. Early requests included asking a stranger if he could borrow $100, asking for a burger "refill" at a restaurant that only offered soda refills, and asking if he could deliver pizzas as a volunteer deliveryman. One of his early requests, asking if Krispy Kreme could make him a customized donut in the shape of the Olympic rings symbol, actually received a positive response. This video was reposted to reddit and catapulted him to fame. All of a sudden his project began to get media attention and Mr. Jiang was interviewed on national television.

Having recently experienced a rejection that left me feeling sad and disappointed, I appreciated Mr. Jiang's thoughts about the meaning of rejection and how we can recover from it. In many cases a rejection says more about the person doing the rejection than the person being rejected. Often, to be successful, you have to experience many rejections before being accepted. Many famous authors, for example, were rejected dozens or hundreds of times before getting a book accepted for publication. Using humor or explaining why you're requesting something can also help encourage a positive response. Mr. Jiang also offers advice to those who have to say "no," encouraging them to be direct and offer alternatives.

Rejection Proof is a fun and quick read, but it is also a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of rejection and how it should be perceived and addressed. I can't think of anyone who would not benefit from reading it.

Jia Jiang. Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible through 100 Days of Rejection. New York: Harmony, 2015. 226 pages. ISBN 9780804141383.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.