Penn Jillette: It’s Not Me, It’s You

Success Stories
August 30, 2019

For our latest original article by Penn Jillette, we asked him about the many people who have credited him with changing their lives for the better.

Penn Jillette lost over 100 pounds, has kept it off, and he got his crazy high blood pressure in check. He used Withings devices way before we knew he was using Withings devices. Flash forward a few years and we’ve noticed a lot of people have improved their health and happiness after being inspired by Penn and also using our devices. We asked him to tell us more, trying to get him to take a bow and do a victory dance for the lives he’s transformed. Read on to find out exactly how many people he’s heard from, and to see if he does, in fact, give himself enough credit. Spoiler alert: he does not. But it’s still very very cool.

Withings and I Have Saved a Lot of Lives

By Penn Jillette
Every night, meeting people in the lobby after The Penn & Teller Show at the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, a few people come up to me and thank me for helping them lose weight. Some go so far as to thank me for saving their lives. Some think to thank Withings, too. They’ve read my book, Presto, and/or heard me on my podcast, Penn’s Sunday School, and/or saw me on TV and/or read an article and got started on the road to weight loss. They bought their Withings scale and they were off and losing.
The amount of weight they report having lost is astounding. It’s always at least thirty pounds, and most nights, someone reports losing over a hundred pounds (like I did). About once a month, someone reports shedding around two bucks. That is not chump change. I know the people who talk to me after the show are a self-selected sample. The joy and health one feels from losing weight really takes over one’s mind. Anyone who credited me with that kind of life-changing experience is going to come see my show and wait around after to thank me if they’re in Vegas.
But it’s not just after our magic show—it’s also when I’m speaking at some libertarian or atheist nut rally. I get the usual questions: “What about roads?” and “Is god the greatest magician? Huh? Gotcha!” And then a few people always come up and thank me for saving their lives. Even in civilian clothes, out with my family to see a movie, strangers come up to thank me. These people are always smiling and looking healthy, happy, and proud. A friend of mine keeps an email address,, where people write in to report how much weight they’ve lost because of me and Withings (you might want to add your numbers in). So far, 769 people have lost 36,448 pounds! That’s all self-reported and not scientific, but…goddamn!

I feel pretty proud, even though I know it really has nothing to do with me. An individual decides to change their life for the better and the work is done right then. That moment of real resolve is when it happens. The health advice that I received from Ray Cronise really helped me to lose weight and get healthy. I know that using the Withings gizmos to keep yourself honest and on track is very helpful, whatever method you choose. But the decision to read the book and buy the scale is as important as reading the book and buying the scale.
It’s all inside ourselves. The answer we’re looking for is contained in where we choose to ask for advice. A while ago, the New York Times called me to ask me if some scientific thing they were reporting on was bogus. They wanted to know if it was pseudoscience. I answered instantly and with confidence that it was total jive. The reporter said, “Oh, you’ve heard of it?”
I said, “No, but the fact that you called Penn Jillette tells me all I need to know. You’ve researched it and you know it’s bogus. I did a show that specifically debunked pseudoscience called Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, and you called me for a quotation. You never called me check NASA’s data on Voyager. You knew the answer when you decided who you were going to call.”
Withings and I don’t really deserve as much credit as we get. When you decide now is the time to save your own life and get healthier, a Withings device and my example may make it a little easier and more efficient for you—but you’ll deserve all the credit yourself.
All that being said: feel free to keep thanking us!