Bookstrapping: Wellness by Nathan Hill

In Wellness by author Nathan Hill, ‘Wellness’ is the name of an organisation; a watchdog, that tests claims made by companies that their products actually work, as against a probable placebo effect.

By  Reeta Ramamurthy GuptaDec 23, 2023 8:10 AM
Bookstrapping: Wellness by Nathan Hill
Relatability is the thing about this book. For instance, here’s a line that applies to all office and family dynamics, “All social groups- no matter how egalitarian they seem on the surface-had one person who was at any given moment, on some deep and perhaps unconscious level, in charge.” (Image source: Amazon)

Do companies pay consultants to create ‘bullshit’ that their customers won’t identify as ‘bullshit’? So they can get away with the crap they actually do? Do we feel right when we take care of our own wellness at the cost of others' wellness?

Welcome to a work of fiction encompassing neurobiology and psychology - and prepare to be charmed by the ways the human mind can delude itself. Because Nathan Hill reminds us that there is beauty in prose. And he knows a thing or two about exceptional prose.

Here are our five Bookstrapping insights:

1. The author has crafted three protagonists, a couple Elizabeth and Jack and time itself. He says in an interview that ‘the fun thing about writing their relationship was that they’ve settled into patterns that make them antagonistic to each other. The very things that attracted them to each other are the things that they’re antagonistic about now.’ Can’t we all relate to this!

2. Relatability is the thing about this book. For instance, here’s a line that applies to all office and family dynamics, “All social groups- no matter how egalitarian they seem on the surface-had one person who was at any given moment, on some deep and perhaps unconscious level, in charge.”

3. One more that everyone in their 30s has experienced. “And then one day, they began losing friends. What had been in their early twenties, a thriving accumulation of new people and new experiences and more or less constant amusement became, in their late twenties, a contraction, as friends took jobs out of town or left the city to join significant others elsewhere.”

4. In the book, ‘Wellness’ is the name of an organisation; a watchdog, that tests claims made by companies that their products actually work, as against a probable placebo effect. And just like placebos, if there’s one thing this book asks you to do over and over, it is to never settle on anything with too much certainty!

5. One of the protagonists, Jack is a victim of misinformation. He is torn between his job as a professor and his social influence. The question he has to answer is which matters more?

This book has already won many accolades including featuring in Oprah’s Book Club in 2023. The reader has to ask themselves how technology is changing love and intimacy forever. And in the rush to conform to the norm, do couples lose themselves?

What’s your take as we are about to turn the page to a new year?

Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta is a columnist and bestselling biographer. She is credited with the internationally acclaimed Red Dot Experiment, a decadal six-nation study on how ‘culture impacts communication.’ On Instagram @OfficialReetaGupta

First Published on Dec 23, 2023 8:10 AM

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