Michael Pollan – Food Rules


Michael Pollan is an American journalist and author who explores the intersection between nature and culture. He has written widely on the food we eat.

Several of his books have been turned into TV shows, including the Netflix documentary Cooked.


“Eating in our time has become complicated – needlessly so, in my opinion.

…But, for all the scientific and pseudo-scientific food baggage we’ve taken on in recent years, we still don’t know what we should be eating.

…A few years ago, feeling as confused as everyone else, I set out to get to the bottom of a simple question: what should I eat? I’m not a nutrition expert or a scientist, just a curious journalist hoping to answer a straightforward question for myself and my family.

…The selection of food rules below are less about the theory, history and science of eating than about our daily lives and practice. They are personal policies, designed to help you eat real food in moderation and, by doing so, substantially to get off the western diet. I deliberately avoid the vocabulary of nutrition or biochemistry, though in most cases there is scientific research to back them up.”

Michael Pollan - Food Rules Manifesto

Two Principles

“There are basically two important things you need to know about the links between diet and health, two facts that are not in dispute. All the contending parties in the nutrition wars agree on them. And these facts are sturdy enough that we can build a sensible diet upon them.

The first is that populations that eat a so-called western diet – generally defined as a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits and wholegrains – invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes. Eighty per cent of the cardiovascular diseases and more than a third of all cancers can be linked to this diet.

Secondly, there is no single ideal human diet; the human omnivore is exquisitely adapted to a wide range of different foods. And there is a third, very hopeful fact that flows from these two: people who get off the western diet see dramatic improvements in their health.”


Eat only foods that will eventually rot.

Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.

Get out of the supermarket whenever you can.

Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans. (not corporations)

Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.

Treat meat as a flavouring or special occasion food.

“Eating what stands on one leg [mushrooms and plant foods] is better than eating what stands on two legs [fowl], which is better than eating that which stands on four legs [cows, pigs, and other mammals].” (Chinese Proverb)

Eat your colours.

Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.

Sweeten and salt your food yourself.

“The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.”

Have a glass of wine with dinner.

Stop eating before you’re full.

Do all your eating at a table.

Break the rules once in a while.




This is a beautiful example of a rules based manifesto with the two most important parts on clear display.

First, the context: what should I eat? (I probably would have called this the ‘What should I eat?’ manifesto)

Second, the rules: 15 personal policies that Pollan offers.

What I particularly like here are the word choices in the rules. They are casual and informal which make this manifesto accessible and they support the view that he is not trying to present science, theory or history – instead something practical. They are also a healthy mix of clarity and intrigue.

Some rules are very clear:

  • Get out of the supermarket whenever you can.
  • Stop eating before you’re full.
  • Break the rules once in a while.

Others force you to stop, think and ask: what does he mean by that? For instance:

  • Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
  • Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.
  • Eat your colours.

While the goal in this second group is to prompt engagement, the true test here is: once they are explained, do they add value? Are they easily understood and applied?

For example, ‘eat your colours’. As soon as you know that Pollan is talking about eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables that come in a wide range of colours, this becomes a clear, obvious and easy rule to use in your daily life.


Nutiva – Real Food Manifesto

Gary Nabhan – A Terrorists Manifesto for Eating in Place

Andrew Castronovo – Superfood Manifesto

Opted Out Life Manifesto


Elena Mutonono and Veronika Palovsak are co-authors of Opted Out of the ‘Real Job’.


Elena and Veronika opted out of their ‘real jobs’ and built small online businesses to have more freedom and flexibility to pursue their dreams.

Their book and manifesto is intended to encourage and assist “restless cubicle professionals” to do the same.


We are the mavericks and the heretics in the online teaching world. We have opted out of the stifling ‘real job’ environment, the ‘safety’ nets, the endless money chase, the hopelessness and apathy, to create value and meaning through our small and smart online businesses.

We believe that ideas change minds, lives and destinies. We want to bring our fresh creativity to the world.

We want to teach because it empowers people to improve lives, think differently, create original art and do the work that matters.

We do the impossible. We step into the unknown. We challenge limitations. We conquer our fears. We work from our core. We opt out of whining. We don’t complain.

We take the first step and we don’t turn back. We opt into courage. We strive to make a change. We fail and we stand strong. Then we do it again.

Among huge corporations that stamp cheap commodities, we make art that impacts people for good. Every day, we opt out of this world’s imposed scarcity and choose to grow abundance through the talents we’ve been given. We don’t wait until we’re smarter or more experienced or wealthier. We don’t save our art of a rainy day. We share it now because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

We live an opted out life.



This is a classic word based set of rules for life.

While the context of helping teachers (or instructional designers) step out of their workplace cubicle and into a freelance or self-employed role is a deep niche, their manifesto reads as a general situation that could fit for many other groups.

This could be good and bad. It could be good because it speaks to a wide audience. It could be bad because it is too general and doesn’t speak closely enough to the needs, wants and desires of your intended audience and therefore may fail to engage them.

The simple key to getting this right is to test your manifesto. Once you’ve written it, share it with the your chosen market. Listen to their comments and feedback and adjust accordingly.

There is no right answer here, simply whether the manifesto you have written plays its part in helping you fulfil your desired result.


Flying Solo Micro Small Business Manifesto

Academic Slow Food Manifesto

Remote Year Values

Nutiva Real Food Manifesto


Nutiva is a US based good supplier founded by John Roulac in 1999.


Food is no longer just a personal issue about what you put in your mouth. It is now a choice that can have a profound impact on the planet.

Nutiva Real Food Manifesto


The Visual

Real food manifesto for all eaters, growers, producers and marketers

  1. Eat real food not unhealthy processed food
  2. Power to the people through collective will, purchasing power and social media
  3. GMOs begone – label our food because we have a right to know
  4. Hail to the locavore – say yes to local and organic
  5. Less corn and soy – Half of US diets come from corn and soy. There are 10,000 other crops – try a few.
  6. End industrial food subsidies to give organic farms a chance
  7. Carbon farmers unite to heal our climate
  8. Less toxins and cheap industrial foods. More organics!
  9. Stop corruption by Wall Street and Big Ag in regulations and courts
  10. Together, let’s revolutionize the way the world eats

The Mini-festo

In a world where the industrialized food system has led us down a tangled path, where food choices have been reduced to the lesser-of-evils, and where distrust reigns, we are the champions of the greater good.

Tireless seekers of pure and delicious foods that will nourish our bodies and our planet, we have devoted ourselves to a dream, a vision, a mission. We will revolutionize the way the world eats! And in so doing we will bring nourishment and balance, health and well being, sustainability and community to people and planet.

We know change is hard but we want to make it easy. We went out looking for the kind of foods that packed a powerful amount of nutrition into every bite, so that you could make small changes to big effect.

We found superfoods – nutrient-dense powerhouses that can also be grown and processed in a sustainable way. These are foods that are truly good for you and for the planet. They’re foods like hemp and coconut, chia and red palm. They’re organic, full of vital nutrition, easy to use and delicious additions to your diet.

We say food doesn’t have to be a choice between the lesser of evils. We say let food lead us to a better world. We say super people deserve superfoods. We say, come join us in our mission.

Together, we can change the world.



This is a great example of sharing your message and your manifesto in multiple ways.

First, a brief, easy-to-read visual based on ten bullet points – a rule based manifesto.

Second, a short 230 statement that promotes a similar message with a different set of words – a worldview manifesto.

Which one do you prefer?

The great benefit of a brief visual is that it can be readily shared and easily consumed. The downside is that it can over simply your issue.

The great benefit of a short statement is that you can be more precise in what you’re standing for and provide more depth. The downside is that fewer people will engage with a mass of words.

Ideally, you would want to have both to present different angles and viewpoints for your issue.


Academic Slow Food Manifesto

Andrew Castronovo – Superfood Manifesto

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Remote Year Values


Remote Work was created by Greg Caplan and Sam Pessin.


In August 2014, Remote Year was started by two friends asking a simple question, “Who wants to travel together for a year while working remotely?” Out of that inquiry grew an incredible community with a set of shared values and a mission for impacting the world.

“Our mission is to create a more peaceful and productive world by fostering genuine human connections across diverse cultures and people.”

Remote Year - Travel the World while Working Remotely


Work-Life Flexiblity

Championing location independent productivity.

We don’t just advocate for it, we live it. Remote Year is a fully-distributed company, meaning each of our employees works remotely, either from their home or on the road. We give our team the opportunity to do great work – on their teams.

Global Perspective

Appreciating the world’s diversity and interconnectedness.

No two people are the same – and that is what makes the world so inspiring. We believe in seeking out similarities and celebrating differences. No matter where we are, we seek to understand those around us and aim to build bridges where before there were walls.


Expanding our capacity to care for others.

We have a penchant for pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. This lifestyle connects you with people that you may have never met otherwise, local residents in the cities that you travel to or fellow Remotes. We live for the moment that an internal light bulb clicks on, illuminating the way toward making decisions that take all perspectives into account.


Coming together with a purpose.

It’s not about what you can do on your own, it’s about what we can do as a whole. Our team lives by this ethos as members of the Remote Nation, creating meaningful connections and building lasting bonds as we pursue a life of productivity and positive impact.

Being Present

Embracing awareness and gratitude for the moment.

Every day presents opportunities for reflection – only if you’re prepared to notice them. We strive to appreciate every moment of awe, inhale every bit of inspiration and take a break whenever life feels like it’s moving too quickly.


Creating the optimistic future you envision.

We’re leading the way in remote work and ushering in a new era of location-independence. At Remote Year we believe in breaking away from the status quo and changing the possibilities — that means changing what’s possible for both the future work as well as the possibilities for each and every one of our participants on our programs.




Having a set of values to live by is one way to declare what you intend for the future.

By definition, your values are what you deem to be important – to be valuable. They are like a compass rather than a map because they set a direction without being prescriptive about what needs to be done.

In the context of the manifesto, I’m not a great fan of simply having values. I don’t think they go far enough. I think they become generic.

In particular, I think the Remote Work mission fails because it is like most mission statements – it’s generic in that hundreds of similar organisations could state a similar objective. It lacks audacity.

For me, a manifesto has a stronger intent. It’s not just a point of view; it’s a strong belief. The US Declaration of Independence says it best: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

What is your truth?

I think this is an opportunity that Remote Work could take much further by describing the world they want to see. (This is particularly relevant to me because I’m considering going on one of their adventures.) And their values don’t speak the full power of the opportunity they are offering.

For me, remote work is the catalyst for three major opportunities:

  • Inspire the careers of future global leaders – consider how your career would be transformed by working abroad for the next 12 months. What would you see? Who would you meet? And most importantly, who would you become?
  • The future of work – The future of work is here today. For the first time in human history, a large group of people on the planet has the tools of production in their backpacks – their laptop and smartphone. That changes everything about work – in particular what we can do and where we can do it. Work is no longer about a job, it’s about a life worth celebrating. Build your life’s work.
  • Build a new nation – Our planet is artificially divided based on natural land features and historical tribes that no longer match the global way we live and interact in a digital economy. Remote Work is not just a rambling feel good community, it’s a nation of people committed to peace, prosperity and cooperation. Take Remote Nation to another level! Take it to the literal level you have described in these words – a new nation. (This is the one I like – it’s bold, edgy and courageous – the three personal qualities you would need to embody to want to take on a year of Remote Work.)

Hopefully, you can see my point. There is an opportunity to elevate Remote Work into a much bigger movement and the key is to create that possibility through a more potent manifesto.

PS: I’d also add a visual to share the message more freely and widely. If you want us to become a ‘card-carrying’ member of your tribe then we need a card we can carry. We need an easy way to say ‘I’m proudly part of this.’


Manifesto for Smarter Working (remote work in organisations)

Haydn Shaughnessy – The New Work Manifesto (addressing the lack of engagement in the workplace)

Timothy Ferriss – The Four Hour Work Week – a radical look at how we could live and work

The Slow Clothing Manifesto


Jane Milburn is a sustainability consultant and Slow Clothing pioneer. She established Textile Beat as a purpose-driven business in Brisbane in 2013.


“Every day, we eat and we dress. We have become conscious of our food, it is time to become more conscious of our clothing. We believe in slow clothing: dressing for health and wellbeing rather than status and looks. We believe in ethical, sustainable choices that don’t harm people or the planet. We want to know the story about where clothing comes from and we believe in care and repair, refashion and restyle of existing clothing using simple sewing skills.” (Textile Beat)

The Slow Clothing Manifesto - TextileBeat.com


Think: make thoughtful, ethical, informed choices

Natural: treasure fibres from nature and limit synthetics

Quality: buy well once, quality remains after price is forgotten

Local: support local makers, those with good stories and fair trade

Care: mend, patch, sort, sponge, wash less, use cold water, line dry

Few: live with less, capsule wardrobe, have one best style, unfollow

Make: embrace home sewing as a life skill, value DIY and handmade

Adapt: refashion, eco-dye, create new from old to suit yourself

Revive: enjoy vintage, exchange, op shop and swap

Salvage: donate, pass on, rag, weave, recycle or compost




This is another manifesto for the slow movement.

It highlights the versatility of a good idea: slow. There is slow food, slow travel, slow parenting and now slow clothing.

Slow is not just a way of being in the world. It also fits into the world of sustainability, nature and making the most of our resources.

It triggers a diverse response that is beautifully captured in this manifesto including: natural products, purchasing decisions, recycling, repair, sharing and expressing yourself.


Christopher Richards: The Slow Movement

Lebbeus Woods – Slow Manifesto (architecture)

Academic Slow Food Manifesto

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The Eight Virtues of Bushido


Bushido is a Japanese term that means ‘the way of the warrior’. It outlines the code or moral principles by which a Samurai were required to live.


Originally, the eight virtues were an informal code that evolved over many centuries. Between 1600 and 1868, various parts of Bushido were formalized into Japanese feudal law and the rules became the code that needed to be mastered before one could become a Samurai.

If a Samurai failed to uphold his honor according to these rules, he could only regain it by committing suicide.

The Eight Virtues of Bushido


1 Righteousness

Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true warrior, all points of view are deeply considered regarding honesty, justice and integrity. Warriors make a full commitment to their decisions.

2 Heroic Courage

Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A true warrior must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is living life completely, fully and wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.

3 Benevolence, Compassion

Through intense training and hard work the true warrior becomes quick and strong. They are not as most people. They develop a power that must be used for good. They have compassion. They help their fellow men at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, they go out of their way to find one.

4 Respect

True warriors have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. Warriors are not only respected for their strength in battle, but also by their dealings with others. The true strength of a warrior becomes apparent during difficult times.

5 Honesty

When warriors say that they will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop them from completing what they say they will do. They do not have to ‘give their word’. They do not have to ‘promise’. Speaking and doing are the same action.

6 Honour

Warriors have only one judge of honor and character, and this is themselves. Decisions they make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of who they truly are. You cannot hide from yourself.

7 Duty and Loyalty

Warriors are responsible for everything that they have done and everything that they have said and all of the consequences that follow. They are immensely loyal to all of those in their care. To everyone that they are responsible for, they remain fiercely true.

8 Self-Control

The first seven virtues show what is required to become a Samurai. This final one is the pathway to pursuing and ultimately exemplifying the way of the Samurai. (Goalcast)







While the Bushido manifesto is presented as simple set of rules, it represents a deep philosophy and way of living collected and curated over many centuries from various sources, including Neo-Confucianism, Shinto and Zen Buddhism.

Also, I think it’s worth highlighting that while the Samurai are renowned for their fighting capability and Bushido is the ‘way of the warrior’, the descriptions here point to a much broader lifestyle that includes compassion and respect.


Miyamoto Musahi – 21 Rules to Live Your Life

The Bible: Ten Commandments

The Tough Mudder Pledge


Will Dean and Guy Livingstone, co-founders of Tough Mudder


Tough Mudder is a physical adventure challenge along the lines of a military commando course.

The pledge is intended to provide guideline rules for how to approach the challenge.

“The pledge demonstrated our belief that there was a craving among people, particularly young people, not only for challenging experiences but for an authentic set of values they might sing up to and, over the course of the afternoon and beyond, believe in.” (Page 5)


  • I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
  • I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
  • I do not whine – kids whine.
  • I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.
  • I overcome all fears.
Will Dean - It Takes a Tribe - Building the Tough Mudder Movement


Will Dean, It Takes a Tribe: Building the Tough Mudder Movement, Portfolio Penguin, 2017, Page 5.

Tough Mudder Website


There are a number of things that I love about the Tough Mudder pledge.

  1. Prior to reading this, I hadn’t thought to include a ‘pledge’ under the manifesto umbrella. But, it does fit neatly and powerfully.
  2. A manifesto is a declaration of your intent. A pledge takes this further and raises the commitment level by converting it into a promise. This implies you are forming an agreement to another person or group – it’s no longer just ‘me’, it’s also ‘we’. It’s a perfect strategy for building a tribe, which is exactly what Tough Mudder want to achieve – and have been so successful at doing.
  3. From the nine Manifesto Manifesto principles this one has cleverly adopted the ‘inspire being’ element. The first line sets the context ‘not a race but a challenge’. From this it shares four attitudes for people to adopt to face that challenge – teamwork, no whining, help others and overcome fears.
  4. The Tough Mudder manifesto is also double-sided – it’s a set of rules that works for both the Tough Mudder internal team plus all of the external customers – the course participants.
  5. Plus, it’s simple and concise – only five rules to follow. This makes it short enough to remember which makes it more likely that people will adhere to it.

Todd Henry – Die Empty


Todd Henry - Die EmptyTodd Henry, Author of multiple books including:

  • The Accidental Creative
  • Louder than Words
  • Herding Tigers, and
  • Die Empty


The clue is in the sub-title of the book: Unleash your best work every day

Manifesto – Die Empty

  1. Value your contribution
  2. Avoid mediocrity
  3. Define your battles
  4. Be fiercely curious
  5. Step out of your comfort zone
  6. Know yourself
  7. Be confidently adaptable
  8. Find your voice
  9. Stay connected
  10. Live EMPTY!


Todd Henry, Die Empty


What a great book title! Die Empty is a powerful call to arms in only two words.

It’s a powerful declaration of your intent to live life in a particular way. I love this manifesto and it’s direct call to action.

I’ve written the chapter headings of Todd Henry’s book Die Empty as a 10-point list manifesto.


Book Review of Todd Henry’s Die Empty

And Todd Henry and Three Types of Work


Die Empty is a Rules for Life manifesto. Here are some other manifesto’s that share rules for life:

Jordan B Peterson – 12 Rules for Life

Lori Deschene – Five Rules for Life

Brian Johnson – Five Rules for Life

Got Funny – The 36 Rules of Life

Dr Jordan B Peterson – 12 Rules for Life


Dr Jordan B Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.


The 12 Rules for Life are derived from his best selling book of the same name.


  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
  2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
  3. Make friends with people who want the best for you
  4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
  5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
  6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
  7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
  8. Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie
  9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t
  10. Be precise in your speech
  11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
  12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street


Peterson’s Wikipedia page


For me, there is a wonderful mismatch here. These are the 12 rules from a world-wide best selling book. And yet, they don’t seem that special. I expected they’d be miracle insights and instead they almost seem home-grown, down-to-earth and even folksy. This might be their charm and the reason they have cut through all of the noise out there.


The Most Valuable Things Everyone Should Know – a posting of 42 Life Rules on Quora by Peterson that preceded this book.


Lori Deschene – Five Rules for Life

Brian Johnson – Five Rules for Life

Got Funny – The 36 Rules of Life

Charlie Sheen’s Manifesto for Life

Miyamoto Musahi – 21 Rules to Live Your Life – the great Samurai Warrior


The most valuable things everyone should know


Dr Jordan B Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He is also the best-selling author of 12 Rules for Life, which is based on a dozen of these rules.

Peterson’s Wikipedia page


Published on Quora in response to the question: What are the most valuable things everyone should know?

Note: This is often spoken of as ‘42 Rules’ even though there are only 40 rules.


  1. Tell the truth.
  2. Do not do things that you hate.
  3. Act so that you can tell the truth about how you act.
  4. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
  5. If you have to choose, be the one who does things, instead of the one who is seen to do things.
  6. Pay attention.
  7. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you need to know. Listen to them hard enough so that they will share it with you.
  8. Plan and work diligently to maintain the romance in your relationships.
  9. Be careful who you share good news with.
  10. Be careful who you share bad news with.
  11. Make at least one thing better every single place you go.
  12. Imagine who you could be, and then aim single-mindedly at that.
  13. Do not allow yourself to become arrogant or resentful.
  14. Try to make one room in your house as beautiful as possible.
  15. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
  16. Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens.
  17. If old memories still make you cry, write them down carefully and completely.
  18. Maintain your connections with people.
  19. Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or artistic achievement.
  20. Treat yourself as if you were someone that you are responsible for helping.
  21. Ask someone to do you a small favour, so that he or she can ask you to do one in the future.
  22. Make friends with people who want the best for you.
  23. Do not try to rescue someone who does not want to be rescued, and be very careful about rescuing someone who does.
  24. Nothing well done is insignificant.
  25. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
  26. Dress like the person you want to be.
  27. Be precise in your speech.
  28. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
  29. Don’t avoid something frightening if it stands in your way — and don’t do unnecessarily dangerous things.
  30. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
  31. Do not transform your wife into a maid.
  32. Do not hide unwanted things in the fog.
  33. Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated.
  34. Read something written by someone great.
  35. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
  36. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
  37. Don’t let bullies get away with it.
  38. Write a letter to the government if you see something that needs fixing — and propose a solution.
  39. Remember that what you do not yet know is more important than what you already know.
  40. Be grateful in spite of your suffering.


Quora article: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-most-valuable-things-everyone-should-know

Reddit background comment: https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/75akn0/dr_jordan_petersons_42_rules_for_life_the_origins/


That’s a relatively long list. My opinion is that if you write too many on a list then you water down your focus. I think there is power in fewer.

Neuroscience tells us that we can only remember a handful of things in our short-term memory – it used to be 7 plus or minus 2 things. Now, it’s believed to be 5 plus or minus 2 things. That may or may not be a good basis for a powerful list.

Also, the secret to writing a short list is to first write a long one – then prune it back until you are left with the ones that strike a chord, fire your joy and make you dance.


12 Rules for Life