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Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life Hardcover – September 23, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


“Backed by 25 years of research and buoyed by its simplicity and no-cost implementation, Wansink’s book may well be the healthy lifestyle Holy Grail for which many are searching.” (Publishers Weekly)

“This book is a revelation! Based on proven psychology, it outlines the simple, easy, low-cost things that can be done to fat-proof your home, company break room, grocery store, favorite restaurants, and school cafeteria…Every plant or office manager, school lunch supervisor, restaurateur, and parent should have this book.” (Library Journal (starred review) on Slim by Design)

“[Slim by Design] is crammed with ideas to make it easy to eat healthier-without even noticing that you’re making changes. The book is fascinating, and surprisingly lively and funny-this isn’t a dry review of the literature. It’s a fun read.” (Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project)

“Wansink’s hotly anticipated new book, Slim By Design, is packed with research that shows how we can change the way we interact with our environments to make eating healthy a no-brainer.” (

“Slim By Design provides tons of practical and useful tips to help you and your family seamlessly improve your eating habits and make better food choices.” (

“[Slim by Design] outlines concrete strategies for designing homes, restaurants, grocery stores, workplaces, and schools in ways that surreptitiously encourage healthy eating habits.” (Slate)

“In his new book, Slim by Design, eating-behavior expert Brian Wansink shows us how to get our kitchens working better.” (

“Professor Wansink’s Slim By Design theory is about changing your eating environment to lose weight.” (

From the Back Cover

The Future Is Slim by Design!

In this paradigm-shattering book, leading behavioral economist and food psychologist Brian Wansink—dubbed the "Sherlock Holmes of food" and the "wizard of why"—offers a radical new philosophy for weight loss. The answer isn't to tell people what to do; it's to set up their living environments so that they will naturally lose weight. Using cutting-edge, never-before-seen research from his acclaimed Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, Wansink reveals how innovative and inexpensive design changes—from home kitchens to restaurants, from grocery stores to schools and workplaces—can make it mindlessly easy for people to eat healthier and make it more profitable for the companies who sell the food).

In Slim by Design, Wansink argues that the easiest, quickest, and most natural way to reverse weight gain is to work with human nature, not against it. He demonstrates how schools can nudge kids to take an apple instead of a cookie, how restaurants can increase profits by selling half-size portions, how supermarkets can double the amount of fruits and vegetables they sell, and how anyone can cut plate refills at home by more than a third. Interweaving drawings, charts, floor plans, and scorecards with new scientific studies and compelling insights that will make you view your surroundings in an entirely fresh way, this entertaining, eye-opening book offers practical solutions for changing your everyday environment to make you, your family, and even your community slim by design.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (September 23, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062136526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062136527
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Although I'm a born and raised Midwesterner, I've spent much of my life on both coasts and as a Professor in 3 Ivy League schools. I enjoy goofing around with my 3 silly daughters, playing bad tenor sax in a rock band, and performing semi-bad stand-up comedy.

But as a convicted behavioral scientist, I am obsessed with helping empower people to slim down, eat better, and to do the same for their entire family. I create simple tools to help people eat better effortlessly at home, at work, when eating out, and at the grocery store. My approach is a painless, scalable, meet-people-where-they-are way to lose weight without using the word "can't." I love French food and French fries, and I love Cabernet and Diet Coke. We just need to help our favorite foods fit better -- and mindlessly -- in our lives.

My earlier best seller, Mindless Eating, changed the way dieters ate. Slim by Design is the next step. Based on 25 years of our research, it gives easy tools each of us can use to lose weight. Better yet, the same ideas can help our families lose weight, and can even help our communities. Slim by Design is my most important work, and I hope it can inspire and empower you to improve your health and your life.


Now here's the formal version of my bio I was supposed to post.

"Brian Wansink is a behavioral economist and food psychologist, perhaps the foremost expert in changing what and how much people eat. He helped introduce the 100-calorie pack and he launched the Smarter Lunchroom Movement. He published his ideas in the groundbreaking book Mindless Eating. In it, he shows people how to eat less and eat better without conscious thought.

He has now launched the Slim by Design Movement to help us eat better. The movement connects us to our companies, restaurants, grocery stores, and schools to help.

Wansink is Director of the famed Cornell Food and Brand Lab and is the former White House-appointed Director in charge of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is also a former amateur stand-up comic and he plays saxophone in a rock band and a jazz quartet. He has three young daughters and lives in Ithaca, New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I read Brian Wansink's last book "Mindless Eating" and learned a lot about the startling ways we underestimate how much we eat (while at the same time overestimating how much we are SUPPOSED to eat), and how eating for many of us has become something that we have lost awareness of. For example, I work from home, which means I usually eat while I'm working and I am not focused on what or how much I'm consuming. Overeating is par for the course! I really enjoyed this book and have tried to keep it on my reread pile on my nightstand as I can always find something interesting to consider or a gentle reminder of what I should be doing. When I saw this book yesterday, I grabbed it. I'm reminded yet again how much information comes at us from so many directions about what/when/how and why to eat. There are so many cues around us that we're just not aware of, and as the saying goes - awareness is the first step! Loved the ideas about sharing high/low points during family dinners, and remembering to take a step back and be grateful. It's like forcing your mind to change gears. At this point, having read two of his books, I would read anything Wansink writes, because I think what he explores is so fascinating. As someone who struggles with eating the right things, or at least not too much of the wrong things, there's a lot of food for thought in this book. (And I'm sorry about the pun.)
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Wansink is a very clever researcher that has uncovered some amazing weight loss “life hacks” that have helped me to lose and MAINTAIN a 200 pound weight loss.
After over a decade of working with people to help them lose weight, I have come to the conclusion that almost no one wants to lose weight. That said, it is also true that almost everyone wants to weigh less but, I’ve never met anyone who is excited about what they need to do in order to get there.
While on the surface, the problem seems simple. If you could just eat less and exercise more, you would be skinny. Most people already know that and yet they remain overweight and frustrated. The real problem is that the human mind, programmed by habits and driven by emotion does not always respond the way we want and this is particularly true for food.
Dr. Wansink is the only person to consider the question, “Is there a way to lose weight without even thinking about it?” Amazingly, he discovered, there is and it’s literally all around you. While it makes sense that our environment has an effect on what and how much we eat nobody ever took the time to discover how to use that bit of common sense to actually help people weigh less Dr. Wansink has.
Slim by design expands on the “weight loss life hacks” uncovered in Mindless Eating by organizing your food environment in five separate areas: 1. Your Kitchen, 2. Your Workplace, 3. Your Grocery Store, 4. Your Favorite Restaurant and 5. Your Kids School.
In the book, Dr. Wansink provides real tools for you to begin re-engineering each of these areas for maximum weight loss and health. By dividing the book up in this way, he gives the reader permission to focus on just one are which avoids overwhelm.
I noticed that some of the reviews in this book were not that positive.
Read more ›
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72 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Terry Parrett on October 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been waiting for this book for a long time, and I'm pretty disappointed. I loved "Mindless Eating", easily one of the best books on the topic of diet and eating I've ever read. Unfortunately, "Slim By Design" doesn't come close. Far too many pages devoted to telling you to try to convince your local fast food chains and restaurants to add healthy options to their menu; less of the terrific insightful ideas from his first book. There were too many repeat suggestions and ideas from the first book, and the writing style was annoyingly informal. I REALLY wanted to like this book, and I will buy his next one, but this one was a real letdown.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nick's Mom on October 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I ordered this book based on an article that said it would give information about how to design a kitchen with slimming principles. That topic was covered in one brief chapter. The majority of the book was focussed on restaurants, grocery stores, and advocacy which was really not of interest to me.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dr A E Oates on October 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The basis of this book is that it is easier to become "slim by design", that is by changing your environment, rather than relying on your willpower. Much of the book is full of fascinating facts about our eating. For instance, slim diners at a Chinese buffet are more likely to face away from the buffet, to use a smaller plate, to use chopsticks, and to sit in a booth. This compares to overweight diners, who sit closer to the buffet, are more likely to use a large plate, and are more likely to sit at a table than a booth.
The book's argument is that promoting healthy food is best done by stealth. Don't remove the chocolate milk from the school canteen, but make it more difficult for the children to reach than the plain milk, and they will then drink more plain milk and less chocolate. Have a bowl of fresh fruit by the til and asking each child, "Would you like an apple or an orange with that?".
While this book is not a complete self help book for anyone wanting to lose weight (it does not discuss aspects such as genetic predisposition to weight gain, effect on health, how exercise can help/hinder weight loss, the stigma associated with weight, or steps to avoid weight regain), it does provide a really interesting read for anyone with a weight problem. Most people could find tips in this book that could make a valuable contribution to promoting their own weight management. In particular, anyone that runs a cafeteria, owns a restaurant, manages a supermarket or wants their own family to lose weight without them being aware that they are on a "diet", should definitely read this book. Further evidence based information about weight loss can be found in The Weight Issue: -It's your genes plus modern living. How to make an individual weight loss plan based on medical evidence
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