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This toothsome classic takes on the combined challenges of discovering the meaning of the universe and eliminating fat at the same time. Its topic sentence contains a promise that should sell millions: "In this book, I tell how to take weight off and keep it off." He doesn't stop there, but continues, "The book also embodies a philosophy of life. The weight program is the content of the book, the philosophy of life is its form." If Descartes had sat down to write a treatise on losing weight as a metaphor for maintaining discipline amidst life's vicissitudes, it would have read much like this. Clearly, Mr. Watson has not written a low-fat, new-age, easy-fix solution for the weight challenged. After all, losing weight is hard work. But for our money, it is the most erudite, fascinating, and eccentric book ever written on the subject of weight control, a combination of common sense (driven by human experience), Cartesian philosophy, and the presumption that understanding the mysteries of weight loss and the universe are somehow compatible, even sympathetic, ambitions. The author is (of course) a professional philosopher, and this extraordinary exegesis is at once a moral manifesto, a philosophical discourse, and a practical manual (although the chapter on "How to Live" and "How to Die" take it a few steps beyond the ordinary). We love this book for its humor, its iconoclasm, and its weird and wacky mixture of high seriousness and low humor. Read it. Even if you're not overweight, it's a book to treasure.

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