How Not to Die is a book created by a renowned professional public speaker, author, and physician Dr. Michael Greger. It’s a book penned to contain scientifically proven facts to prevent and reverse disease. So far, the book reached the New York Times Best Seller list at least three times. Let’s see if How Not to Die is the right book for you with this review.

How Not to Die: Summary and Highlights

How Not to Die’s preface all started with a heartwarming story about the author’s grandmother. It gives us a glimpse of Greger’s childhood, where his grandmother was diagnosed with end-stage heart disease. His grandmother started in a wheelchair but managed to stand back up on her own feet. She received a death sentence at 65-years old but managed to outlive this expectancy with another 31-years of her life. The real-life testimony for the opening was enough to get the readers riled up.

Overall, the book’s message revolves around the saying, ‘you are what you eat.’ It’s a book that cites research on how a plant-based diet can save someone’s life. With Greger’s insights on the why’s and how’s, the book’s final output ended with a whooping 576 pages print length. The first part of the book tackles the “why’s” of each disease. It includes the following: 

Heart Disease

Lung Disease

Brain Disease

Digestive Cancers

Infections

Diabetes

High Blood Pressure

Liver Disease

Blood Cancers 

Kidney Disease

Breast Cancer 

Suicidal Depression 

Prostate Cancer

Parkinson’s Disease

Iatrogenic Causes

The second part of the book mostly consists of plant-based nutrition, going over what to include in your diet. It answers “how’s” as the author goes over each topic. The following is a part of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen: 

Beans

Berries

Other Fruits

Cruciferous Vegetables

Greens

Other Vegetables

Flax Seeds

Nuts and Seeds 

Herbs and Spices

Whole Grains

Beverages

Exercise 

Each section includes a recommendation on the serving sizes and the number of servings per day. Also, the last section contains the types of exercises and the recommended amount per day. The book’s entirety leans on the wonders and effects of a healthier diet. 

In the book, the author writes that ‘most deaths in the U.S. are preventable, it relates to what we eat.’ This sentence is a part of the introductory chapter that holds a powerful message that makes people rethink their diet. 

How Not to Die: Two Sides of a Coin

The “Great” Part

Overall, the book’s contents are backed up with scientific facts and real-life experiences. On Amazon, the book received a total of 14k+ global ratings earning a 4.7-star customer review. Most of the comments consist of positive reviews by people that have an affliction relating to the content. 

One user with stage-4 prostate cancer commented, “thank you, you saved my life.” Giving the context to the comment, the user further explained that the meds prescribed have stopped working. To make matters worse, the user was experiencing a steadily increasing cancer marker. By following the book’s recommended diet for 12 weeks, the cancer markers returned to normal. The user further explained, “by eating stuff we aren’t supposed to, we are giving ourselves to the disease.”

In Good Reads, more than 24k+ users rated the book, earning a 4.48-star review. Most of the reviews here contain 5-star to 4-star, along with testimonials on how it helped them. One user commented and shared his experience after a heart attack. The user’s cardiologist recommended that he could reverse his atherosclerosis with diet and exercise. At first, he was skeptical about changing his diet to plant-based without concrete clinical evidence. 

To sum it up, the user eventually stumbled upon the book “How Not to Die,” which addresses his health concern. Ultimately, the user adopted a plant-based diet following the information presented in the book. Although, he does allow himself nuts and other oils. He further commented that “you may make different choices based upon an understanding of the risks and benefits involved.” 

It’s no wonder why the book was listed three times in the New York Times Best Sellers. The overall message of the book truly deserved its moment. Besides, it helped change the lives of thousands of readers. 

The “Critical” Part

Although there is a lot of positive feedback, some people, especially those in the medical field, have a different opinion. A critical review by Healthline says that Dr. Greger tends to “cherry-pick” evidence to support the book’s framework. It brings light to how the author chooses or suppresses evidence that helps keep a plant-based diet. 

Also, a user in Amazon shares the same opinion with the author who published a critical review in Healthline. As a scientist and medical doctor, she comments that some evidence that contradicts the book’s overall message is pulled out. This review is currently featured as the top critical with 1,600+ users citing it as helpful. Another “critical” review from a Good Reads user comments that the book’s contents contain the author’s preferred answer.

The critical reviews’ overall sentiments mostly include the author’s “biased” tone for a plant-based diet. Furthermore, although saying that he does not advocate for a vegan or vegetarian diet, the context leans toward this idea. Also, the author lists all the non-plant food such as meat, dairy products, etc., in the red-light zone. 

In Conclusion

In the end, people should read this book with a grain of salt. Although it has some critical reviews, most of the customer testimonials include how reading the book changed their lives. However, as some users expressed, we must be aware that the book is biased with its plant-based ideology. 

Also, we must put in mind that each person functions differently. Keep in mind that although most users share their life-changing moments, there are cases where it won’t work for some. You must still be vigilant and cross-examine your planned diet with an expert near you.  

The bottom line? Indeed, it brings results to those who follow the book’s recommendation. It makes people aware of what they eat and guides them to a healthier path. The book certainly is an eye-opener, and it makes people question their food choices.