One day, after yet another failed attempt at self-control, Greg Kamphuis got frustrated. Why was it so difficult to do things he wanted to do and so easy to do things he didn't want to do? To find out, he decides to do a drastic experiment on himself. Refined sugar, processed fats, alcohol, TV (including video games), caffeine, tobacco, pornography and social media all get the chop in his ruthless effort to hunt down the source of motivation and meaning.
The 40 Day Dopamine Fast is a candid accounting of Greg's journey to find joy without the aid of modern super stimulants. Part One is an introduction to himself and an explanation of why he would torture himself in this way. He draws a parallel between Nikolass Tinbergen's experiments on super stimuli and our modern world, and then explains how this relates to the neurotransmitter dopamine. He also tries a philosophical justification for a 'dopamine detox', arguing that happiness should be possible in the absence of pleasure. In both his scientific and philosophical reasoning, he demonstrates the same idea. It is very possible that we are numbing ourselves to real life with all the easy and excessive stimulants offered in the 21st century.
Part Two consists of 40 unscripted, unedited journal entries from a man who has scraped the surface level pleasure from his life and is willing to go however deep it takes to find the answers to his questions. The separate entries are humorous, deep, and sometimes sad, while the larger narrative, although random, charts a slow course of change.
Finally, in Part Three, Greg goes back and reads the journal, pulling ideas together and weaving a picture of what a real life should look like.