Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Review of "A Short Guide to a Happy Life," by Anna Quindlen

 Review of

A Short Guide to a Happy Life, by Anna Quindlen ISBN 9780375504617

Four out of five stars

Simple advice that never ages

 Quindlen divides her life into two parts, before and after, where the dividing line is the death of her mother when Quindlen was 19. She states that before that fateful time, she saw the world in black and white, and after it appeared in Technicolor. She states that knowledge of our own mortality is the greatest fact in our existence. For it means that we are all on a one-way street to the end.

 Using this as a fundamental premise, Quindlen puts forward what is standard advice, expressed in the simple adage, “get a life.” By this she means that a hard driving focus is often good, but taken too far, can be detrimental in the long run. A recapitulation of the old adage of stopping to smell the roses.

 Quindlen is not radical in her position, her milder version can be expressed as, “at least notice the roses as you pass through life.” She also discusses how life and the joys found in life should not be taken for granted.

 While there is nothing new in this short book, the advice contained within it is timeless and all humans should re-experience it on a regular basis.

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