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“Life Is Short And So Is This Book” by Peter Atkins

Jan 10, 2015, 14:13

This is a nice little book expressing the age-old truths in a concise and accessible way. Some reviewers on Amazon say that the book is shallow and the author just regurgitates on plain truths. But aren't people simple creatures? The behavior that brings happiness won't change, no matter how many times it's repeated.

Here's the freely available table of contents, which is also the list of things you should (or shouldn't) do to fulfill your potential:

  1. Create space.
  2. Try not to worry.
  3. Don't do really dumb things.
  4. Build character and make friends.
  5. Care for yourself and others.
  6. Laugh.
  7. Do what you love.
  8. Embrace change.
  9. Learn from experience.
  10. Have dreams and work towards them.

To put it even more tersely, it's “be calm, be kind and be curious about the future.” Seems a lot like what Buddhism is all about, isn't it?

There's another similar book, also by a CEO, the founder of Panasonic Konosuke Matsushita, which is called “Principles of Success.” It's an even shorter book and even more terse, compressing everything into three groups: management, work and life. All or most of what Peter Atkins offers is in Matsushita's book, and vice versa. They may be plain truths, yet simple principles are easier to remember and easier to act on, than a bunch of convoluted tactics which won't fit everyone.

Throughout the book, Atkins shares some brilliantly formulated principles, that I have been thinking about myself but haven't been able to articulate.

Overall, it's a treat to read and I'll be sure to come back to this book.

Life is Short And So Is This Book” on Amazon.

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