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The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health Paperback – May 20, 2014
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“In an age of material abundance and high technology, why are we failing to thrive? Why are so many of us fat, tired, achy, depressed? Starting with the insight that every species is well suited to its natural habitat, John Durant explores how we might alter our own habits and habitats in ways that allow us to flourish. Durant is original, open-minded, and the nicest and smartest caveman you’ll ever meet. The Paleo Manifesto is brimming with ideas and a fascinating read.”
–Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and New York Times bestselling author of How the Mind Works and The Better Angels of Our Nature
“Anyone who runs barefoot from Harlem to Brooklyn, argues with Harvard anthropologists, and rips the lid off Bambi’s lies in the name of science is a writer worth listening to. John Durant’s goal is simple--to make everyone as strong as Tarzan--and to achieve it, he’s ripping apart decades of dangerously misguided medical opinions in search of ancient human truths. He’s not taking us back in time; he’s using his own body as a testing ground in pursuit of a healthier future.”
–Christopher McDougall, New York Times bestselling author of Born to Run
“To paraphrase George Santayana, those who forget the past are doomed to be fat, sluggish, and sickly. John Durant is here to help us remember. In this fascinating and wide-ranging book, Durant gathers the best lessons from human history--and not just the Paleolithic. We also learn health tips from Moses, Victor Hugo, 19th century British undertakers, and lowland gorillas. Read this book as a hardcover, e-book, or stone tablet, but read it.”
–A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically and Drop Dead Healthy
“Amid the mass confusion of our diet-obsessed culture, The Paleo Manifesto stands out as fun, refreshing, and sensible. Durant has a knack for story-telling, weaving his exploits as a modern hunter-gatherer into lessons for healthy living--all based on solid evidence from evolution and biochemistry. The Paleo Manifesto is the new common sense.”
–Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint and publisher of MarksDailyApple.com
“Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, you’ll admire Durant’s passionate and highly personal advocacy for living a paleo lifestyle.”
–Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University
“Durant’s provocative manifesto is bound to inspire necessary discussion about the nature of our food and the role of evolution in determining a healthy diet.”
–Gary Taubes, New York Times bestselling author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat
"The Paleo Manifesto is likely the most important contribution to the concept of ancestral health since Boyd Eaton's original The Paleolithic Prescription."
–Robb Wolf, New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Solution
“In many respects we have become ‘zoo humans,’ living unnatural lives--and the cost of this disconnect from our wild origins is greater than we imagine. John Durant is a bright and original thinker, and here he makes a compelling case for the health benefits of a life rooted in evolutionary principles. Insightful and inspirational, The Paleo Manifesto is a masterpiece.”
–Erwan Le Corre, founder of MovNat
“The Paleo Manifesto explores a way of life that we’ve forgotten, and convincingly argues that we should re-think the way we live.”
–Will Dean, founder and CEO of Tough Mudder
“John Durant offers a guided tour of our evolutionary heritage, showing how an ancestral lifestyle can improve our health and happiness. (And it works for animals, too!) Entertaining yet profound, The Paleo Manifesto is a book you won’t want to stop reading--but you will, because you’ll be so eager to start living its advice!”
–Paul Jaminet, Ph.D., author of Perfect Health Diet
“John Durant has a gift for relating complex and seemingly disparate ideas in an engaging and accessible way. His habitat-based approach on how to eat, exercise, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle invokes the same concept we use to promote animal health and welfare in zoos: the natural history of the species is paramount. Those deeply committed to the survival of species--our own and others--will gain a unique and fresh perspective on the biological, cultural, and anthropological underpinnings of longevity by reading this book. It should not only be in the hands of human and animal health experts but be required reading for anyone who is--or takes care of--an omnivore, carnivore, or vegetarian.”
–Dr. Kristen E. Lukas, Curator of Conservation & Science, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
“The Paleo Manifesto is the most up-to-date user manual for the human animal. A splendid synthesis of ancient wisdom and modern science, this book is essential reading.”
–Barefoot Ted McDonald, ultrarunner, primal athlete, and founder of Luna Sandals
“A first glimpse of a new and better world.”
–Seth Roberts, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley, and New York Times bestselling author of The Shangri-La Diet
“Durant groks hackers of all kinds -- and he places biohackers in their rightful place at the cutting edge of the health movement, pioneering new and better ways of living. Biohackers will love The Paleo Manifesto.”
-Patrick Vlaskovits, founder of PaleoHacks.com and New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur
“Don’t let the stone tool on the cover fool you, John Durant is no caveman wannabe. On his thoroughly entertaining adventures, Durant discovers that all of our ancestors – from unicellular bacteria to present-day parents – have a little something to teach us about how to be healthy in the modern world.”
-Aaron Blaisdell, President, Ancestral Health Society, and Professor, UCLA Department of Psychology
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
JOHN DURANT is a leader of the growing ancestral health movement. Durant studied evolutionary psychology at Harvard prior to founding Paleo NYC and Barefoot Runners NYC, the largest paleo and barefoot running groups in the world. He has been featured in The New York Times and on The Colbert Report and NPR. He blogs at HunterGatherer.com
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Half the book is a somewhat negligible history lesson (no sources) more or less saying that human diet went wrong in the agricultural revolution, therefore, we should eat and behave like people did before they began farming. He even goes so far as to present the Bible as an allegory for the mistake we made in switching to a mostly grain based diet, which is, honestly, the first explanation of the Bible I've heard that actually makes sense... but he neglected to cite any scholarly research. Durant does not cite sources, studies, etc. to back up any of his statements, aside from commentary from a Harvard scholar specifically about early human skulls and that Bebac the Gorilla business I'm sick of hearing about. One of the big things I like about the Paleo movement is that everything is supported by hard science and the guidelines are subject to change whenever the science improves; so the kind of diet dogma that, say, veganism is built upon just doesn't fly. We like facts, and Durant's book is uncomfortably dogmatic and colored by his personal biases in several areas.
Durant heavily promotes the idea that we should try to emulate the lifestyles of our distant hunter-gatherer ancestors and get back to our caveman roots, with lengthy exposition about his personal experiences learning to hunt, swimming in ice water, and running around in the jungle. Sorry, but I don't need to disembowel my own dinner, sleep on the ground, or stop wearing shoes to be healthy in the modern era, and Durant is doing the paleo community a great disservice by presenting himself as a caveman caricature who ironically lives in NYC. It's also irritating that literally half the book is long winded personal anecdotes.
I'll give the guy credit for causing the paleo movement to gain traction, but I would fact check his claims before repeating them to your friends. Durant ends the book with a long rant defending GMO crops and industrial farming because, supposedly, it's impossible to feed today's population with traditional organic farming and husbandry practices. This is untrue, and his passionate support of a false statement calls all his other unsupported statements into question.
This is a fluff book, likely written to trend on a grassroots movement. Read it out of curiosity (the Bible parallel really is intriguing, if unsupported) but get your diet and lifestyle advice from people who can cite their sources.
I would recommend this for someone interested in jumping further into the Paleo lifestyle. Even if you are someone that is already very much into the lifestyle there are interesting sections in here. However, this might not be the best choice for those merely looking to find out about the diet aspect and aren't very interested in the rest. If you fall into this group you may find that this book actually sparks your interest in those other aspects of Paleo outside of diet.