I just finished reading the No. 1 national best-selling advice book in America: Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, by Kevin Trudeau. I think I can safely say it is not a "good book," though I admit my standards may be a little high. I am defining a "good book" as one that is not actively trying to kill you.
Trudeau argues that most doctors are idiots, puppets of the evil pharmaceuticals industry. Together they are engaged in a shocking conspiracy with the FDA and FTC to keep you ignorant about simple, inexpensive natural cures that exist for virtually all diseases and that could keep you alive well past 100. It's all a fraud, says Trudeau, whose expertise appears to be that he, himself, has been convicted of fraud. (Don't look to the book for details about this last item. It involved a credit-card scam.)
Still, Trudeau is currently a megamillionaire, thanks in significant part to this book, which advises, among other things, that you should never eat any food that is produced by a "publicly traded company"; that you should immediately have all the metal fillings in your teeth replaced; and that -- unless you are basically lying on a gurney and dying from a gunshot wound -- you should never have any surgery or take any drugs prescribed by a doctor. (So, even though I myself was cured of a potentially fatal form of liver disease by a cocktail of pharmaceuticals prescribed by my doctor, Louis Y. Korman, Dr. Korman is evidently a dangerous quack. According to this book, he should have put me on a strict regimen of hydrogen peroxide and "crocodile protein peptide.")
According to Trudeau, if you are clinically depressed you should not take antidepressants; you should take long walks during which you "look far away." Cancer is completely preventable, a malady caused by nutritional deficiencies, "electromagnetic chaos," toxins in the body and stress. For perfect health, take 15 enemas in 30 days. Jump on a trampoline 10 minutes a day. Stay away from electric tumble dryers. Put magnets on your fingers and toes. Whenever possible, wear white clothes (though the author seems to be posing on the cover in black). Don't read the newspaper or watch TV news (these things cause stress, which is bad). Don't use fluorescent lighting. Throw out your microwave oven. Don't get your clothes dry-cleaned. Don't use deodorants. Follow these simple steps, and remain disease-free for the rest of your life.
Mostly, the book is a relentless tirade against the medical industry, which he says is motivated only by greed, greed, greed. "It's all about the money," Trudeau warns repeatedly. At one point, he discloses that he himself has discovered an easy, painless way to quit smoking for good, and then directs people to his Web site to learn what it is. Once you are there, you find you can obtain this information for 10 bucks, or you can sign up for an economical $499 lifetime membership.
My favorite part of the book is where Trudeau claims that because other mammals ingest no drugs or processed foods they live to "well in excess of what would be the equivalent of 120 human years." Now, if the ordinary, skeptical person thinks about this statement a little, and applies some basic, seventh-grade logic to it, he might well wet his pants. But it is not the ordinary, skeptical person to whom this book is addressed. It is addressed to the ordinary, gullible half-wit. And there appear to be at least 2 million of you out there, judging from sales figures. Many of you, presumably, are huddled in your homes away from TV, radio, newspapers or any source of disquieting information, subsisting on backyard squirrel meat, bouncing, stinking and dying.
Now, I have to say that after I read this book, I felt outrage. I was outraged that I had not thought of it first. Two million sales, based entirely on the premise that if you tell Americans something they want to hear, they'll make you rich!
I'm already planning my next two books. The first will be for women, the second for men.
How to Be Loved Forever and Ever by Someone You Love
By Gene Weingarten
How to Become Invisible Whenever You Enter
a Women's Locker Room
By Gene Weingarten
Oh, one more thing. Kevin Trudeau's book also says it's really healthy to laugh a lot. So by making fun of your idiot book here, Kevin, I'm merely doing my altruistic part for the nation's health, just like you.
Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon at www.washingtonpost.com.