Tag Archives: brain

Better Than Before – Gretchen Rubin


I do not like the way the title of this book has been translated into Italian: it means “It is easy to change”. You just wait that the title goes on with “if you know how to do it”… but this is the way italian editors work.

Well, at first sight it seems that the author is obsessed with self-improvement, and this can give you the impression that she is rather perfectionist and fuss-pot, thas she is Always looking for a better way to spare time, read more books, write more, meet more people, be lean, be a good mother and wife and so on. I must admit that this first impression did not let her be very funny to me.

She often uses phases and episodes taken from the lives of her fans in internet or from chats with her friends, because she like to share her current passions with everybody to test if her opinions are true. Anyway, this method is rather subjective.

This is why I do not consider this book as a real self-help book. I rather consider it like a good chat with someone who is trying to improve herself. This is not little.

How many people do you know wich purpose is to become better than before? Maybe you know someone who tries to be the best in something, the best manager, the best mother, the best athlete and so on, but this is not the same thing. I would rather consider it like the opposite, in a certain way.

Gretchen Rubin does give you some nice tips on how to get good habits. The first tip is to work on yourself, to know yourself (although I think that her classification method is rather strict). One of her mantra is “be Gretchen“. We must learn to know ourselves and be ourselves.

What I do not agree on, is her diet habit.

I became vegan after having read a lot of books on diet and health, not only by vegan authors. I think I discovered the true secret to understand if a scientific research is good or not, and this secret is the time.

I bet that she has lost weight with a high protein diet. Of course she did, everybody does, it is physiological because our body normally works by carbs burning. And if you look at all high protein diet researches, you will see that they are tested on the short run (max one, one and a half year). On the long run, people either gain again their initial weight or they develop illnesses. At the end, I do not think that Rubin’s diet habit is better than before. Maybe better than the standard american diet, but in this case she is just leaner than before.

I hope that she can read some books of plant-based doctors (Esselstyn, Campbell, Barnard, McDougall, Fuhrmann and many Others). She is a book lover, I do not doubt that sooner or later she will put a question mark on her high protein diet habit.

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Raising boys: why boys are different and how to help them become happy and well-balanced men – Steve Biddulp


You could ask: why should I read a book about boys, after decades of female battles to avoid discrimination? Considering that women are still now far away from being on the same level of their counterparts?

Maybe, because by raising boys in the right way, we can help women and men to live together in a better way?
Actually, after all these feminist battles, boys are nowadays a little discriminated.Yes, this is not a premeditated discrimination, but we cannot deny that boys are different. Go and take a look at children in a classroom: on one side yo see girls chatting and laughing; on the other side you see boys running and screaming.

This is a brain issue, an hormon issue and a cultural issue.

Biddulph is a firm advocate of late entering of boys into school: they are slower than girls, at the beginning, because development happens in a different way. If they enter school together with same age girls, they see themselves as awkward and this has a negative influence on their future behavious and self-estime.

But the part where the author insists the most, is about the mentor.
Boy lives can be distinguished in several parts: first years (when they are strictly bound to their mothers), from 7 to 12-13 years (link with fathers) and after.

After the family, a mentor can be the solution to anticipate deviations. Mentor cannot be coeval to the boy, at the same development stage, but something older; he must be a person whom the boy trust in, maybe an uncle or a family friend, someone who doesn’t judge, but gives suggestions without let them appear like suggestions. Maybe during a fishing game or a race.

Useful book, of course.
The majority of examples refer to Australian or American lifestile. For instance, here in Italy the phenomenom of very Young mother is not so widespread.
Another thing that I do not like very much, are the short stories inside the essay. And, to be mean, I really do not appreciate all drawings… they are cute, but I do not find them so necessary. This book is not meant to be ready by teenagers, but by adult parents: I hope that a 30 or 40 y.o. parent can be able to read a book without too many blanks or cartoons.

Well, ok… I must admit: if such cartoons are useful to draw people who is not accustomed to reading… ok, cartoons are welcome.

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