I'm coming in so late in this thread so as to be nothing but an echo, but here's my opinion:
Ms. Kolata is a very clever marketer (or the publishers who might have directed her book are). She has produced a book that gives virtual absolution to a large demographic of people who struggle with weight. I'm not sure how the book is selling, but I bet it's doing pretty well.
Sure weightloss/maintenance is very difficult. Sure biology, genetics and culture can conspire against you. As Glory87 just said: Some are willing to take extraordinary measures with diet and exercise, most are not. To me, it's a far lesser evil to have to tamp down the "primal hunger" than to deal with the health issues and near handicap of my (potential) obesity. Like many here in Maintainers, I choose to fight and win!
In fairness, I did not take time to complete the book. However the portion I did read was so appallingly defeatist, discouraging and in my opinion wrong, I didn't feel the need to continue. I'm glad I don't have any more of it's hopeless message occupying my mind.
I believe the things we are exposed to (media of all kinds) influence us more than we would like to believe. I'm not saying to live in denial, but maybe we need to be better gatekeepers of what passes in front of our senses. It's easy to think you are immune to marketing or other poisonous ideas. The amount of money that continues to be spent on advertising and other manipulations of public opinion shows that we are not.
I worry about the impact of a book like this on folks beginning a weight loss journey. It has enough "credibility" behind it to be taken seriously by lots of people.