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The Book of Better: Life with Diabetes Can't Be Perfect. Make It Better. Paperback – November 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307720683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307720689
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

CHUCK EICHTEN is a design director at Nike Inc. He has spoken to a range of audiences about diabetes, including at the Diabetes Association national conferences in the U.S. and Canada.

More About the Author

Chuck Eichten was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 13, while on a family vacation in beautiful San Diego, California. His mother suspected that her son's constant peeing and drinking, drinking and peeing that summer was peculiar. But the Eichtens didn't get a lot of vacations, and some one of the then five kids was almost always sick with something, so she figured Chuck would be fine, or at least survive, until they got home.

That vacation ended in the hospital, and so began a lifelong jousting with diabetes.

Chuck was born in Rochester, Minnesota, the second of six kids. Those Midwestern roots embedded some life maxims that although not always accurate, sometimes proved helpful, namely, "Nothing is so bad that you can't live with it." And related, "Hard work is the answer."

Not long after, the family moved to California, a dream-like state for Midwesterners, but by the 1970s, a land trending rapidly towards over-indulgence.

Chuck graduated from the University of Santa Clara with a degree in business, clearly a triumph of practicality over truth. He wasn't a businessman. With business job prospects limited by his talent and interest, he went back, happily, to get a BA in Design and Illustration at San Jose State University.

In the years after college, journalism was still a refuge for designers and drawers attracted to storytelling, if not terrific future employment opportunities. Chuck partnered with reporters at The San Jose Mercury News and The Seattle Times.

Meanwhile, through hard work and lots of idiot mistakes, Chuck was constantly learning about diabetes. The combination paid off. Even after 30+ years of Type I, Chuck has never had an A1c (the blood test that looks at long-term blood sugar averages) over 6.5, with zero eye, kidney, cardiac or any of the other typical long-term diabetes health issues.

In 1996, Chuck moved to Portland, Oregon, to take a design job at Nike. Then, as now, the company was revered in the visual communications world for the premium it placed on connecting with people through innovative design. While at Nike Chuck collaborated with a multitude of supremely talented athletes, marketers, writers, thinkers, architects, and designers of all backgrounds. Among varied responsibilities, he designed apparel for Olympic athletes, created product packaging and retail environments, partnered to help launch the Nike Foundation, and helped gather and tell the Nike Archives stories.

Designing for Nike has taught Chuck a lot about communicating. It taught him that all of us want to be inspired. That we want to have an honest conversation. And we want to be able to laugh. Even at ourselves. That we want the truth. And we want to make it BETTER. He thinks all of that applies to our diabetes too.

"The Book of Better" is Chuck's description, in words and pictures, of all the idiot things, and the occasional smart thing, that he did along the way to making his diabetes Better.

Chuck is currently the Creative Director of DNA, the Department of Nike Archives. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Michelle and three kids, Matthew, Eiley and Violet, all of whom are smarter than their dad.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Recommend this book for newly diagnosed diabetes.
N. Grady
The book is written in a manner that makes it fun and easy to understand some important ideas about what it's like to live with diabetes.
Alfredo Muccino
If you are living with diabetes, you know what I am talking about and you can imagine what BETTER can feel like.
Manny Hernandez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sysy Carolina Morales on November 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Chuck Eichten has had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. He has written a book called, The Book of Better targeted at anyone with diabetes. The book's all encompassing message to you: that perfect isn't possible but improvement always is so why not strive for that?. Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

The book is written in an extremely straight forward style, suitable to those who respond to that and perhaps, most any man. It's a really witty book, includes fun visual art and a lot of aesthetic appeal (with exception of some white font on yellow background-well at least it's large white font). This comes as no surprise since Chuck Eichten is Nike's creative director. In fact, Nike's timeless "Just Do It" slogan totally relates to this book, which admittedly delighted me to no end.

I have to say, I felt like boxing with the author a couple times. He says insulin pumps are "the Best Available Treatment". I agree on the condition that it is actually what works best for someone. And someone isn't equivalent to everyone. I haven't had an A1c over 6.0% in over 5 years and I've never had a seizure or passed out from a low and I don't use a pump. I did for seven years and it did not work for me. In Eichten's opinion, you're crazy if you have access to a pump but don't have one. He talks about how pumps allow a person the flexibility to sleep in late, to skip meals or snack in between them, and to be more sexy on dates because it's probably more of a turn on to be on a first date and hit some buttons on a gadget that's mysteriously connected to you by tubing than to inject a needle at the table. I use Lantus and Humalog insulin and between the two I can sleep in and skip meals and frankly, I feel sexier when I'm not connected to the pump.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Farrell VINE VOICE on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
As soon as I flipped through the pages in this book, I knew I'd enjoy it. Chuck Eichten's design sense glows from the pages. My only minor complaint is that some pages are yellow with white text, or white with yellow text. The contrast is a little low for me to read it easily without good lighting.

If you've not already guessed from the title, the idea behind the book is that you can NEVER be in perfect control of your diabetes. So why not take every opportunity to make living with diabetes a bit better.

I laughed through chapter 6, People with Diabetes and the People Who Love Them. If you've already experienced relatives who are diabetes police, you know exactly why.

"You can eat that?"
"Yup. I have to be careful about when and how much I eat."
"My favorite time of year is the time between family get-togethers."

Been there way too many times.

Chapter 8 is all about using insulin pumps. It's very high level overview packed with reasons why you should seriously consider one. If you're interested in the pump encyclopedia check out Pumping Insulin which gives you everything you need to know about pumping effectively.

I read half this book at my first sitting and alternately chuckled and nodded my head in agreement.

If you're starting to learn about diabetes, The Book of Better will give you some extra information about doing this effectively. But I see it primarily as a book to get you out of a rut where you may not notice opportunities to make your life with diabetes easier, safer and more fun.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H on November 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fantastic book, beautifully written in a voice that is touching, smart, funny as hell, informative, educational and extraordinarily wise in a self-depreciating way. This is a unique piece of work and should be considered a must read for those with or without diabetes (I know, I know: that's a broad recommendation...).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on April 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I had a chance to meet Chuck recently during a presentation he gave to a group of diabetes advocates. Until after I met him, I hadn't gotten a chance to sit down and read his book of BETTER. But after I heard him speak, I know I had BETTER read it: he was passionate, fun, and few times I had met someone who had such a creative delivery to talk about something like life with diabetes... sure enough! He is a creative director over at Nike, so he knows a thing or two about creativity! And he's lived with type 1 diabetes for 30+ years... so he also knows a thing or two... or three about diabetes.

In the book, the same passion comes across, with a brilliance and humor that make it next to impossible for you to put the book down once you pick it up. From the opening thoughts to the closing sentences, Chuck is non-judgmental, yet he makes you think. He respects your perspective on things, but he presents his own mistakes in his attempt to seek perfection in diabetes management, for you to consider BETTER (instead of perfection) as an alternative to a healthy life with diabetes. If you are living with diabetes, you know what I am talking about and you can imagine what BETTER can feel like.

In my 10 years of living with LADA diabetes and in my 15 years writing reviews on Amazon.com, I haven't had this much fun reading ABOUT diabetes. This a MUST-read for all people touched by diabetes!
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