Change One Thing by Sue Hadfield

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Change One Thing by Sue Hadfield

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Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A rollercoaster of a book: sometimes it annoys, then it inspires and there's some serious mauling of statistics. Parson's egg, I'm afraid.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 184 Date: January 2014
Publisher: Capstone
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0857084606

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On the face of it the principle is simple: just change one thing for a better life. Of course it's not that simple. Working on the basis that the longest journey starts with a single step Sue Hadfield looks at the disillusionment which is a by-product of our work-driven life and guides us towards the steps we'll need to take to pull ourselves out of what's not so much a rut as a pit of despair on occasions. Changing one thing is just the beginning, but as she points out, it can be what's needed to kick-start the whole process - to a better way of our current life or a whole new life.

I've seldom been on quite such a roller-coaster with a book: it began by annoying me, then I hit a patch which I found absolutely inspirational and next threw the book at the wall when I found some serious mauling of statistics. The annoyance came when I spotted full pages given over to a single quote, speech bubbles quoting something which is in the text next to the bubble and full page pictures. Padding, I thought - and this is a slim book to start with. Still, even very slim books can have something to say.

Hadfield works hard to show that age is no barrier to achieving what you want to achieve - and it shows. I now know that I'm past the age at which I can expect to enjoy good health and only slightly reassured by the lists of people who have succeeded late in life. There are quite a few who have achieved great things in their seventies and beyond but Raymond Chandler was 51 when he wrote his first novel... or Marina Lewycka who did the same thing at 58? They're sprightly young things - but Hadfield has subtly told me that I'm old. And I wasn't pleased about it.

Still, I'm a reviewer (running a business which I started at the end of my sixth decade) and it was my job to read on and I'm glad that I did because Hadfield has much to say that is genuinely inspirational about making small changes which can have a big impact on your life. She has the ability to reduce to a few words those situations which poison our lives and to see ways to make changes and improvements. She encourages you to take account of the needs of the people around you, to plan effectively and be objective about what you're achieving. The problems will be different for everyone, but I suspect that there will be few people who come away from the book without a sense that they could make their lives better.

I didn't 'come away from the book' - I parted company with it rather violently. Yes - it's the bit where the statistics get mauled. I'll quote the full paragraph: (page 111)

According to a survey of 5,000 people by Scottish Widows, one in three in the UK has not saved a penny and a further third said they had less than £1000 in savings. But a survey by Halifax bank, of people who saved, showed that women saved 41% of their annual salary (despite earning less), while men saved 23%: an average of £7,699 for man and £8,211 for women.

Please - think about it. We have an average woman who earns just over £20,000 a year. Out of that she'll be paying tax and National Insurance but she still manages to save more than £8,000 of what remains. And this isn't just one miracle worker - but an average woman. I know that it's not an academic text but some source notes would have been helpful as it would have saved me from having to go on a voyage of discovery to find the press release which gave details of the survey. We're told that [f]emale savers with Halifax have an average balance equivalent to 41% of their average annual gross earnings which is, of course, rather different. You might think that I'm nitpicking but I then stopped taking what was said as being correct and that's not a good basis on which to read a non-fiction book.

It is a pity as I think Hadfield genuinely has something important to say. I'd just like it to be said with more care. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For another look at life changing steps, have a look at Latte or Cappuccino: 125 Decisions That Will Change Your Life by Hilly Janes.

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Buy Change One Thing by Sue Hadfield at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Change One Thing by Sue Hadfield at


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