Scenes From the Life of a Best-Selling Author

I think of it as the bestseller no one has heard of. The Shangri-La Diet is on a NY Times bestseller list. And now is #11 at Really. I am not making this up. Nevertheless . . .

A few days ago I was scheduled for a radio interview by phone from my apartment but at the appointed time no one called. I reached the host. “You’ve written a book?” he asked. Yes, it’s called The Shangri-La Diet, I said. He hadn’t heard of it.

Yesterday I ran into two of my former students. They asked how I was doing. “A book I wrote has just been published,” I said. They were surprised. I told them the title. They hadn’t heard of it. They did remember I was interested in weight control.

Yesterday I went to the bookstore closest to where I live, a very nice independent bookstore. I offered to sign any copies of my book they might have. The woman behind the counter hadn’t heard of it. She looked it up on the computer, found that they didn’t have any copies. You might want to carry it, it’s on the New York Times best-seller list, I said. “Can you come in tomorrow?” the woman asked. “Talk to Nick, he’ll be here tomorrow.”

Berkeley Public Library Watch:The Shangri-La Diet, 4 holds on 5 copies. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, 110 holds on 7 copies. Website Watch: Distinct hosts served at, latest 24-hour period: 4667. One week ago: 874. Distinct hosts served is close to the number of different visitors.

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