The Shangri-La Diet was given a big hard push into the world by blogs. My friend Andrew Gelman blogged about my long self-experimentation paper, which brought it to the attention of Marginal Revolution. Thereby the authors of Freakonomics learned of it. They wrote a column about it in the New York Times, which led to a book deal with a short deadline. After the column, I guest-blogged at freakonomics.com. The comments this generated led Ann Hendricks to set up a blog devoted to the diet, where several people steadily reported progress. Whether or not this deserves a new name (word of blog?) it is a new type of word of mouth. The book contains a mini-chapter called “The Blogosphere Tries It.”
Here are some especially interesting posts (most recent first).
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- 2006 (May 10) Pollard, D. The Shangri-La diet. How to Save the World. A wide-ranging look at the diet in a blog about the environment and business. I especially liked this: “I’m intrigued by the idea of using yourself as the only ‘test subject’ that matters . . . taking responsibility for your health into your own hands. [Yes!] The learned helplessness that has us to believe we’re incapable of knowing how to treat our bodies properly without the advice of some ‘professional’ or ‘expert’ who’s being pumped with gifts, biased ‘research’ and free samples by Big Pharma, sickens me.”
- 2006 (May 1) Sierra, K. The strangest, easiest way to lose weight. Creating Passionate Users.”The brain never got the memo about how you probably aren’t going to starve this winter.” Well put. Could “outrageous,” “absurd,” and “impossible to believe” be terms of praise? Well, yes. This was not what readers expected from the co-author of Head First Java.
- 2006 (April 28). Anniejs. A tubby hurrah! Spewage. A subtle and detailed comment.
- 2006 (April 27) Swartz, A. A future without fat. Aaron Swartz: The Weblog. I love this.
- 2006 (April 20). Dubner, S. The Shangri-La diet, between hard covers. Freakonomics.com Authors’ Blog. A little masterpiece of show don’t tell.
- 2006 (April 20). Cohen, J. The diet to end all diets. HuntGrunt. Joyce was given The Shangri-La Diet book proposal by a Starbucks employee. My agent had left it there by mistake. Brilliant viral marketing!
- 2006 (April 20). Reynolds, G. The Shangri-La diet – lose weight without hunger while eating whatever you want. VideoGameWorkout. An example of combining the Shangri-La diet with other weight-loss methods.
- 2006 (April 25) Marsh, S. 50 pounds lost so far. Stephen M (Ethesis). Says a little about “the emotion submerged under food.”
- 2005 (Sept 21, plus 4 updates). Schrimsher, M. Seth Roberts’ Shangri-La Diet in detail. CalorieLab Calorie Counter News. The diet enters the brightly-lit world of weight loss. Check out the fake book cover! Almost 200 comments, including many success stories. Very encouraging.
- 2005-6 (started Sept 20). Hendricks, A. Annie’s Shangri-La Diet Blog. A community rather than a weblog — see the hundreds of comments. I found them very encouraging and useful while writing the book. Thanks again, Ann.
- 2005 (Sept 12-18). Roberts, S. 2005 (Sept 12-18) Roberts, S. Guest-blogs: Pleased to Meet You , Dietary Non-Advice, Freakonomics and Me, Acne, The Elephant Speaks, Thank You. Freakonomics.com Authors’ Blog. My posts generated many comments about how well the diet was working — the first feedback from people I had no contact with. One was: “Ridiculously easy. And cheap. And effective. What hath God wrought?” I had a few ideas for my publisher about using this: (a) on the back cover, (b) on the endpapers, (c) as an epigraph, and (d) in the publicity packet. None came to pass. I put it in the introduction and the podcast.
- 2005 (August 3) Levitt, S. With Atkins diet company bankrupt, what’s the next weight loss fad? We have an idea, but you will have to wait. Freakonomics.com Authors’ Blog. “Let me just tell you that [Dubner and I] are both trying out a top secret diet that is very Freakonomics-y. Neither of us even needs to lose weight; it is just such a fascinating theory of weight loss that we wanted to try it out for fun,” wrote Levitt. Comment #2: “The Seth Roberts Diet!”
- 2005 (April 5). Tabarrok, A. Seth Roberts is utterly mad (but in a good way). Marginal Revolution. Quite a pleasant surprise. Thanks again, Alex.
- 2005 (March 16). Gelman, A. Learning from self-experimentation. Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science. Post Zero. Andrew and I taught a seminar on left-handedness together. Thanks again, Andrew.
The forums (no longer active) contain a wealth of useful information about the diet. I hope you will post your questions, comments, experiences, and ideas.