I’m not a fan of catchy for the sake of catchy, which probably explains why “celebrity” is not a word that appeals to me. I am a fan of titles, invitations, or openings that are succinct, intriguing, and mnemonic.
One example comes in the first paragraph of Unhappy Meals, Michael Pollan’s January 2007 essay in The New York Times Magazine:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Definitely succinct. To me, intriguing–well, of course you should eat food. (Pollan advocates avoiding processed and manufactured food. He points out that produce doesn’t usually come with a label shouting “healthy!”) As for mnemonic (in the sense of assisting memory), his three phrases epitomize the three main arguments in his essay.
I’ve written about weight management (here and here and here) and tried to explain effective, evidence-based approaches as a form of performance management. Perhaps that’s made me all the more receptive to an item in Obesity Panacea. Part of the PLoS (Public Library of Science) blog network, OP examines “the science (or lack thereof) behind popular weight loss products,” as well as discussing other items related to weight.
The item? Can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23.5 hours a day?
Peter Janiszewski, who writes the blog along with Travis Saunders, highlights a video by Dr. Mike Evans of the Health Design Lab at the University of Toronto. Evans effectively poses his question in a succinct, intriguing way, and then offering a summary of evidence to support the treatment he recommends.
I find myself wondering how much practical information I could share like this, together with evidence, in less than 10 minutes. (Personally, I’d leave out the sketching-on-a-whiteboard–the images are engaging, but for me the sped-up drawing lost its charm quickly. That’s nitpicking, though.) In terms of mnemonic effect, the title and the recommendation definitely stay with me.