Saturday, November 25, 2017

I'm a Sucker for Self-Help Books!

                I picked up Neil Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation at the library because a book I thought I had on hold wasn’t there after all. Mr. Pasricha has nine basic suggestions for happiness, of which I’d agree with maybe eight. The one I’d take issue with is: Never retire. I was heavily influenced by Paul Terhorst’s Cashing in on the American Dream, Joe Dominguez’ and Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life, and the 1938 film version of Philip Barry’s Holiday. I first retired in my mid-forties because I had a disagreement with my employer, Company L, over work-life balance. I thought there should be one.
                Mr. Pasricha presents many reasons for not retiring including structure and having a social network. I love being able to determine my own structure, and I wonder if Mr. Pasricha, who is Canadian, has set foot in corporate America recently. (He did say he’d visited Wal-Mart’s headquarters and was quite taken with the friendliness of the people he met there; perhaps the friendliness was real and perhaps not—sometimes these things can be faked, especially for a visitor.) With few exceptions—very few—I would not want the backstabbing brownnosers I worked with at Company L in my life, let alone in my social network.
                In Mr. Pasricha’s favor, his last suggestion is not to follow suggestions. And that’s a good suggestion.
                I found Cheryl Richardson’s Take Time for Your Life at an estate sale. I almost didn’t buy the book because the cover features a woman who appears to be having an orgasm, but having had my own experiences with publishers slapping inappropriate covers on a book (The Simple Life, a book primarily about frugality, which I edited, featured… a blade of grass), I took a closer look, and I’m glad I plunked down my 50¢ for this book. Ms. Richardson presents a seven-step program to help take control of our lives. I was most taken by her criteria for her clients’ choosing a job, which include:
                Work must never cause them to compromise their integrity
                The required hours must allow them to have a life outside work
                Their contribution must be acknowledged and appreciated
                Their work must be challenging and fulfilling
                They must have an opportunity to use their best talents and gifts fully
                They must be able to provide their input for important decisions
                They must be paid fairly for the work they perform.
                I guess if I could find a job that would do all these things (especially the last one), I might be willing to follow Mr. Pasricha’s advice and never retire. Perhaps there are unicorns out there after all.
                The final book, Real Cause, Real Cure, by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, and Bill Gottlieb, CHC is another estate sale find I almost didn’t buy. I mean buying health books at an estate sale? These people died, after all. What good did the book do its previous owner? Anyway, I plunked down a whole dollar for this one and was pleasantly surprised. The authors give nine “real causes” of health problems. The chapter on prescription medications is worth the price I paid for the book. If the authors are right, many patients being treated for Alzheimer’s are suffering only from being overmedicated. The “real cures” part of the book deals with specific conditions.
                I definitely recommend this book. Most books I buy find their way to Half Price Books; this one’s staying on my bookshelf.

© 2017 Larry Roth

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