The Joy Diet – Martha Beck

10 steps to a happier life

The title sounds like one of those annoying books that prophesizes Heaven if you just change completely, follows their enlightened way, and book an expensive retreat, but “The Joy Diet” doesn’t promise any of that. “The Joy Diet” is in fact a self-help book – a happiness DIY handbook that I have now read and worked with a couple of times.

And I love it!

Those are mighty big words, but I mean them. “The Joy Diet” is a compilation of those tricks of the trade (the trade being life) that we have a tendency to forget. There is no revolutionary Monday morning where you begin the diet, but instead a slow evolution, where you become more and more yourself.

Whether you have read a truck full of self-help books or have scorned them thus far, I highly recommend “The Joy Diet”. Martha Beck has a quirky sense of humor that camouflages knowledge into easy-digestible titbits.

For an amazing example of Martha Beck’s narrative style and smarts, watch the video below from the TEDx San Diego 2011.

Additionally, the exercises at the end of each chapter are actually overcomeable and fun. As an example, I have copied one of the answers to a creativity exercise below, where the task is to come up with a goal and at least 10 ways of reaching that goal.


My answers to the creativity exercise:

How could I find a guy for a romantic relationship?

1. Date whomever I can my virtual hands on using an online dating service.

2. Publish an ad in the local newspaper.

3. Have a gigolo on speed dial.

4. I wonder if you can buy a husband in Russia or from the Far East?

5. Kidnap a likely candidate.

6. Hang out at a gas station and ask random men for help checking my tire pressure.

7. Go to town – perhaps a widower’s ball would be appropriate.

8. Move somewhere where women are few – an oilrig in the Bering Sea.

9. Pounce on the mailman.

10. Start a correspondence with an inmate.

How could I achieve a rocking body?

1. Revolutionize my life and diet Monday morning on one of the many diets out there.

2. Seek advice with The Merchant of Venice.

3. Don’t eat in bed.

4. Stay on the treadmill and never get off – ever.

5. Photoshop any and all photos of myself and introduce strict legal clauses to friends and family.

6. Hire a personal trainer for a personal boot camp.

7. Apply to the Navy Seals (maybe even dating potential).

8. Run a marathon.

9. Participate in a weight-loss reality show.

10. Substitute chocolate and cookie addiction for a more acceptable addiction. Shoes? Shopping? Antiques Roadshow?

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