It has been few years since I discovered and started enjoying the writings of P. G. Wodehouse and ever since they have never failed to amaze me in their simplicity of story and wonderful English writing. There have been long stretches of times when I have read Wodehouse books before falling asleep and the stories have always helped me to go to sleep.
You might think that these books must be really boring that I go to sleep reading them but that is not the case. These stories relax your mind completely. These are the stories where there are no bad people. The biggest problems in life are related to style of clothing one needs to wear to dinner or in some cases a lover’s tiff. There are times when a pet pig does not eat enough or there is an unwanted guest in the house. These are the simple problems in the world of Woosters and Jeeves or Blandings Castle.
It is such a difference reading Wodehouse books as compared to other stories that consist of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, murders that it hits you in the face. Even if the book is not about secret spy missions or investigation, authors tend to create a mystery around their characters. Of course you enjoy reading these stories but the story keep you on the edge of the seat and are really not great reading if you are trying to go to sleep peacefully.
On the other hand, reading about Wooster fussing over his dress or Earl fussing over his pig Empress brings such a peaceful state in your mind that your eyes start drooping just like Wooster or Earl after a great lunch and enjoying the sun on a hammock. I wonder if there are other such great writers who can claim to bring sleep to you but are not boring or complicated.
Only one thing you need to be cautious about while reading Wodehouse in night is that you may end up laughing out loud suddenly and that can be a problem if your partner or spouse is sleeping next to you. Otherwise you will mostly end up sleeping with a soft and goofy smile on your face.
I recently came across that somebody has tried to recreate the Jeeves and Wooster magic again and a new book has come out. Not sure if somebody can recreate it but it will be interesting to read it.
I read this book few years ago and I had written about it during my earlier days of blogging. But I wanted to go back and read “Eat, pray, love” once again. Somehow I felt that this book had helped me in making some decisions about my life back then and I was again at crossroads and reading this book helped me once again. I have found a definite connection between myself and author Elizabeth Gilbert and that is a source of great inspiration for me. The way she handled her life and came out as winner after all the trials is amazing as well as motivating.
I also found incidents that I had not noticed during my first reading or not written about them during my earlier blog post. She manages to be funny even while writing most difficult phases of her life. The idea of writing a letter to God and getting it signed by all her well wishers in imagination is great. The way she is able to make friends everywhere in the world while travelling gives me something to think about. I have never been able to do anything like that. She celebrates thanksgiving dinner with her friends in Italy and it gets emotional for everybody present even though many of them are strangers.
I can go on writing about each chapter and how it made me think. It requires guts for somebody to give up everything and go on such a journey and then make millions of dollars and fans by writing about it. I wonder whether I will be able to take up this kind of journey in my life. You really need to be passionate about things and willing to give up pleasures of life and seek pleasure in simple and different things. I have to also make those butter fried potatoes some day that she made one night to satisfy her physical hunger but in the end she had to think about her Brazilian friend in the bed to satisfy herself.
Another of self-help books by Richard Carlson. I got hooked to his more famous book “Don’t sweat the small stuff…” and I have recommended that to many of my friends. “Shortcut through therapy” is little different. He talks about 10 principles of growth-oriented contended living. Main idea in the book is about people who seek therapy do not understand that the way psychological therapy is practiced by most of the professionals can do more harm than providing any relief.
Most of the time when people seek out a shrink to deal with their mental health problems, they are made to go over their issues and the root cause behind those issues again and again. This actually causes them to get into a downward spiral. They are now reliving their horrors again and again without getting any idea from shrink about how they can leave the past behind and move forward in life. This book provides those ideas that people can use to move forward. You cannot change the past but the future is in your hands and it is shaped by what you are thinking today.
Most of the suggested principles are similar to what he had suggested in “Don’t sweat the small stuff…” and are actually similar to what is suggested by most of the self-help books but still reading this book was fun for me. “Make yourself happy”, “Count your blessings”, “Now is the time to live”, “It’s okay not to be perfect”, “Look for the silver lining”, are such universal common sense themes that you find in all self-help books. At the same time, it is so difficult for people to practice these and we find ourselves doing things that are exactly opposite to these words of wisdom.
In a way it is good to keep reading same things in different books. Some of it will always rub on you and will help in long run.
Another gem of a book by author Dan Ariely. I had read his earlier book “Predictably Irrational” sometime back and now he has come up with “The upside of irrationality; The unexpected benefits of defying logic at work and at home”. In this book, once again he explores various irrational forces that are defining our decisions but here he talks about how this irrationality is beneficial for all of us at work and at home. If we were completely rational human beings, working on old economic theory of cost versus benefit, nobody in this world would want to work or help others. But he goes on to prove through short simple experiments that we human beings (as well as animals) want to earn our living. We take pride in what we do. We value our work more than other’s work and we empathise with people when we see them needing our help.
The book also explores the idea of adaptability in mating game played by humans. He shows how people adapt to their own physical limitations and adapt very quickly in selection of their mates that is most likely to give them results. He has gone a bit tangential talking about online dating and how that does not work as an industry and what all needs to be done for that.
His idea that we are able to empathise with single person but fail to understand the misery of millions is thoughtful. This is something that I have also seen in recent past. When “prince” fell down in well, the whole of country was praying for him. But when thousands of people die of malnutrition we fail to rise up to the occasion.
The book is very thought-provoking. Individual examples in the book may or may not apply to all of us but you end up thinking about lot of decisions that we take in our daily life. It is not necessary for all our decisions to be rational but it is important for us to question them and understand the hidden forces that shape our decisions.
I picked up this book due to its curious title. “Predictably Irrational”, sounded very interesting, even though I had not known about the book or the author Dan Ariely. It turned out to be an amazing book. In a very simple non-preaching style, the author goes on to show us how our behavior and decision-making is irrational and it also can be predicted easily. The book deals with the science of behavioral economics that I had not heard of before but it seems like marketing and advertising companies use it extensively to lure customers to buy their products at unreasonable prices.
The book takes up many different types of factors that affect our decisions as well as our response to situations. I will not be writing about all of them but some of them really stand out. The relativity factor is very visible in all our decision-making once we start to recognize it. We compare everything before making a decision on purchase and more importantly we compare only the easily comparable things and this is used in all the ads that are shown to us. We always get influenced by “Free” and “Sale” symbols without realizing the cost of getting things free.
Whether we believe it or not, our emotions play a great role in decisions that we make. Even though we may hate deadlines but it is a fact that deadlines are crucial to get the work done otherwise the basic human nature is to procrastinate. Of course, there is placebo effect when we are buying something. We judge the value of health care by the price we pay for it.
There are so many examples and experiments that are mentioned in the book to prove the point and that makes it so easy to relate to. This book has opened up a whole new subject for me that is very interesting and key to study of human behavior.