Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days by James Wallman
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|Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days by James Wallman|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The title might suggest that you're going to get a set of rigid rules and a list of things you ought to do before you die. What you actually get is a way of thinking about how you're acting and whether or not it's in your - and everyone's - best interests. Thought provoking and interesting.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384/10h30m||Date: April 2019|
|Publisher: W H Allen|
|External links: Author's website|
Most things you can replace, but one of the things which you simply can't replace is time. Even though we know this, we fail to use what we have wisely. We have more leisure time, but that's not how it feels: a high value is put on how we spend our working hours, but there's a low value on leisure. Unfortunately we now know how to work and not how to live: we need to learn how to spend our leisure time wisely and James Wallman has taken on the onerous task of teaching us how to do this.
Historically people have looked to acquire material possessions as they progress through life. I can understand this : they're tangible and if bought carefully will stand the test of time whereas experiences leave you with (as my father would have said) 'nowt to show for it'. It seems almost counter intuitive to say that rather than looking to accumulate material possessions we should looking to acquire experiences if we want to have a successful life. Wallman explores the relationship between experience, resilience and success as well as experience, happiness and success. Societies are now more interested in well being than wealth so the pursuit of experiences makes sense.
But will just any experience do? No - they have to be selected carefully and Wallman gives us an acronym, a seven-point checklist, to use when we select our experiences. It's STORIES. Experiences need to create a story, be transformative, outside and offline, create relationships, have intensity, be extraordinary (and ordinary) and give status and significance. Wallman examines each one in detail, with insights from psychology, economics and culture. Don't worry if that sounds rather worthy - there was nothing which I failed to understand on a first reading and Wallman delivers his knowledge with a light touch and a dry sense of humour.
It took me eight hours and six minutes to read the book and it was time well spent. I've learned to classify holidays as fly and flop, find and seek or go and become - and realised that I was perhaps having more of one sort than was sensible. My feelings that outside and offline was the best way to go are supported and I was surprised to learn that loneliness could be worse for your health than taking up smoking.
I'm sure that there will be people who think that this is fine if you have the money to go on fancy holidays, but what about people who can't afford to do that? I took up walking! All you need is some decent footwear and clothing which is appropriate for the weather conditions you'll encounter. This morning I set off for nothing more adventurous than a quick circuit of the village. I discovered a path I'd never tried before, met two people and had useful chats with them, passed on some spare strawberry plants and arranged for some work to be done on the house at a reasonable price. I was outside for about an hour in the spring sunshine, felt better for the exercise, never even thought about being online, made connections with people and came home with a smile on my face. It cost nothing. It felt good. Without reading the book I would still have gone out for a walk, but it would have been a different route and the yield would have been smaller.
It's a book to keep and reread, to think about. I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag. Shelve next to Atomic Habits by James Clear. If life is not going well, you might appreciate When You're Falling, Dive by Mark Matousek.
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