Simplify Your LifeI had incredibly high hopes for Simplify your Life by Sam Davidson. It feels like I work from when I wake up to when I go to bed. My house is full of clutter. My inbox is swamped. I absolutely needed help simplifying my life, and I looked forward to reading this book and getting advice.
First I had to wade through pages and pages of intro and thanks material before I got into the actual book. The book, while seeming fairly thick, seems to average only 9 words per line (using a quite large font) so the amount of content is minimal. There was quite a lot of history about the author and his biography before we get into how I can actually benefit from his knowledge.
But wait! Apparently he's written a book before. Did you know that? If you didn't, you'll be reminded of that fact - it seems - every ten pages or so. He'll be talking about a topic you actually want to know about, but he then tells you to go buy his other book to learn more. The first time or two it was sort of cute. By the tenth time I was getting fairly aggravated. I'm sitting here reading THIS book. I want the help NOW, not when I go drive out to my local bookstore and pay him again.
My main frustration here is that the key message of this book is NOT about simplifying your life. It's - if anything - about making it more complicated by reviewing everything you're doing, building lists of strengths and weaknesses, and revamping your life in a new direction. I want to make clear that this philosophy is one I believe in wholeheartedly. It's what BellaOnline, my company, is founded on, and it's what I preach daily. However I already *do* do what I love. I already adore my tasks. I already own countless books on the topic of setting goals and so on. That's not what I got this book for! I got this book to simplify my life! I already know my strengths. I know my weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is simplifying my life. I got this book to help with that - and it failed. Miserably. This book needs to be retitled "how to reset your life to follow your goals" - because that's what it is mainly about.
So yes, do what you love. Make lists of your dreams and likes. Make lists of your strengths and weaknesses. All of these are great things, and they're about goal setting - they aren't about simplifying a life that already has those things in place.
Now, add on top of this list of annoyances that the author seems to actively skewer his readers! At one point he laughs that "meditation is boring." What? I love meditating because it is a proven way to help the mind learn how to focus. What did he gain by insulting me? In another place he snidely comments that "minimalism is uninteresting." OK nice, he's promoting a book to people who want a simple life and then telling them that if they want a life of simplicity they are boring. This goes with another comment where he laughs at people who collect toys. It just makes no sense coming from someone who says "follow your dreams." What if your dream is to open a meditation center?
The layout of the book is less than optimal. I've read many self help books and they break the steps down in an easy to follow manner. Here the various steps are simply dropped one after another in a long chapter that is hard to navigate. He's talking about a plan and then just launches into questions. People may scoff at the "Dummies" book but they do their job well - they make it easy to move through the stages and maek your plan.
He talks about Moore's Law - that computers double in ability every 18 months - which has long since been broken. He talks about dumping friends who don't provide you with consistent benefits. And then he reminds you that he has a previous book that holds the information you need to know.
Again, I feel so disappointed after finishing this. At the very end he finally does have some useful information. He finally gets into the "de-clutter" that is promoted on the front cover. He finally gives a page or two about the "de-stress" that is promised. But for me it's too little, too late. Maybe this means I need to go back and read his first book :) Because this current book just isn't what I was hoping for.
FTC Note - I was offered a review copy of this book by the publisher, and I accepted that review copy.
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