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

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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: 9.1 x 7.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

More About the Author

I'm a fun behavioral scientist who changes the way people eat in a painless, scalable, meet-people-where-they-are way without using the word "can't." "Can't" doesn't work very well for 90% of us -- that's the 90% I want to help. 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 easier -- in our lives.

I'm a born and raised Midwesterner, but I've spent much of my life on either the West Coast or on the East Coast as a Professor in 3 Ivy League schools. Although I spend my free time playing with 3 silly daughters, playing bad tenor sax in a rock band, and performing semi-bad stand-up comedy, my obsessive mission is to transform eating behaviors in homes, restaurants, grocery stores, neighborhoods, and countries so that we eat less and we eat better. Now here's the version of my bio they asked me to post . . .

"Brian Wansink is a behavioral economist and food psychologist, perhaps the foremost expert in changing what and how much people eat. After helping introduce the 100-calorie pack and launching the Smarter Lunchroom Movement, he published the transforming book, Mindless Eating, showing people how to eat less and eat better without thinking about it.

He has now launched the Slim by Design Movement - to help us eat better while also asking the restaurants, grocery stores, and our companies and schools to help.

Wansink (PhD Stanford) 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, but he is also a former amateur stand-up comic and plays tenor saxophone in a rock band and jazz saxophone in one of those fern-bar, Ella Fitzgerald jazz quartets. He has three young daughters and lives in Ithaca, New York where he enjoys both French food and French fries."

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 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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20 of 24 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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Format: Hardcover
Slim by Design is a most useful volume by the world expert on straight forward ways to make healthy nutrition simple. Brian Wansink offers cutting edge research fresh out of his lab at Cornell University and solutions that do not require willpower but small changes that make big differences - maybe even a life where it is fundamentally easier to make the slimmer, healthier choice!
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Format: Hardcover
Brian Wansink is well known for his great work documenting automatic (or as he calls it "mindless") eating. Although we think we eat because we are hungry, much of the time it is in response to other factors, such as the type of food available, how it is served and the company that we are in. We do have automatic behaviour that can be brought under voluntary (concious) control, such as smiling, laughing or copying other person's mannerisms, but this control is temporary and needs a lot of effort. We can decide not to eat tempting available food, but experimentally this has been shown to be tiring and difficult.

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 refers to studies of diners done in restaurants, school cafeterias, work place canteens and in their homes. There is also a section on supermarkets, and how to use them to promote healthy eating.

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. The section on school cafeterias is essential reading for anyone involved in their provision.
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By jeffsdate on October 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is all about institutional changes, like how restaurants, school cafeterias and office break-rooms can change their offerings and layouts to make everyone healthier and slimmer. (And, OK, he also talks about home kitchen layouts, too.) But there is almost nothing in the way of dietary and behavioral changes than an individual can make. I guess he said everything he had to say on the latter subject in his previous book. For me, there was absolutely NOTHING useful in this book. Is McDonald's really going to change their menu because we all ask them to, via Twitter and Facebook?
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Format: Hardcover
What's trending in food, nutrition and weight management? Thankfully fun and games. Foodies, parents, teachers, weight watchers, health care providers and employee wellness leaders will find this book useful.

I bought Slim by Design to help me prepare a talk on 'what's new in nutrition and weight managment?' I found here evidenced based strategies, graphics, quotables and assessment tools that people can use to make it easier to eat right. I learned how kitchen set up, sitting in the healthiest seat in a restaurant and asking kids "what would Batman eat?" can improve eating habits. By guiding us on how to work with human nature instead of against it, Wansink teaches us how good eating habits can become more second nature. Thank you Brian Wansink.
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