The Question Book by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler

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The Question Book by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler

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Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: A book of 616 questions from all areas of life that can be used in many serious, less serious and completely facetious (the answers provided by you) which will delight the list-makers, the questionnaire-fillers and the graph-makers among us. Possibly one of the best and simplest tools of auto-analysis, this is a must for any committed navel-gazer.
Buy? Yes Borrow? No
Pages: 176 Date: January 2012
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 978-1846685385

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Most of us have probably made at least one of those end-of-the-year lists of the best books, albums and parties we have been to in the previous twelve months. But can you, with some effort, locate the one you made in 1987? Have you ever constructed a graph of your ups and downs in a given period, and then decided to expand it by separating emotional, intellectual, sexual and financial aspects and colour coding them? Have you made a list of all your lovers, bosses or friends and then rated them from 1 to 10 on several dimensions each? Do you have one of the books that list 100 things to do before you die or 500 books to read in your life (and ticked off the ones you have done)? Did you ever spend a whole evening and half of a night filling in dubious 'personality' questionnaires on the Internet? Have you ever doodled something, decided that it beautifully expresses the deepest essence of your personality and then proceeded to draw such icons for all your friends?

If you answered 'yes' to any of those questions, you might like the The Question Book. If you answered 'yes' to more than one, you are clearly in the target market for it and you should buy one now.

The Question Book is exactly that - 170+ pages of questions, ranging from work to sex life to beliefs to family to travel and presented in a smallish, hard-back volume of pages.

Krogerus and Tschäppeler are the authors of the popular Decision Book, which presented Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking and was an European best-seller, mostly aimed at (though useful not only for) the business audience. The Question Book has a potentially unlimited audience, being a personal tool.

Described as a handbook for life, it certainly has some potential to be used seriously as a platform for a periodic review and auto-analysis for somebody who is trying to figure out what to do with their life, how to improve, change or even just get a better handle on it. On the other hand, it could also be a source of interesting questions for a truth-or-dare type parlour game. Or even something you might consider using when assessing a potential mate.

Its greatest potential, is, however, in providing hours and hours of delicious navel-gazing, allowing one to indulge in filling pre-set lists, graphs and tables.

The questions are for the most not particularly original, but it's not a bad thing - important questions are often simple. Although there is some quirkiness (what will change when you die? what will die when you change?), most are sensible, often obvious ones. There are even two pages for your own questions if you needed some more. The beauty of The Question Book is in having so many of them, all gathered together, formatted, printed and put in suitable diagrams, tables and speech bubbles, on thick paper and even with a few cute drawings. You could probably think of most of them yourself (and you probably have if you are the kind of person this type of book appeals to). However you are bound to find some questions that you didn't think of. Answering those might be the most challenging, but also the most illuminating task.

One reservation I had was the little space devoted to each open-ended question: I feel I would need much more room than Krogerus and Tschäppeler provide to account for things I don't like in my partner's family or to describe my unfulfilled (or fulfilled, for that matter) sexual fantasy or what I describe as a true love. But most questions can be actually answered fairly briefly while still being more than trivial.

One can argue the proportion of space devoted to various areas: there are three pages devoted to thinking green but only one to spiritual belief (or lack thereof), with a page of questions each for believers only and non-believers only. I found the latter one particularly stimulating in examining my own approach to the subject.

I feel that the intended audience of The Question Book is young, professional and quite possibly male. Almost twenty pages of the book's 160 are devoted to work, an most of the work sections directly refer to office-based, professional work, being hardly applicable to anybody that either doesn't work, or works in a non-professional or non-office capacity. On the other hand, only three pages cover being a parent - as many as in fact as the subject of thinking of having children - while all the Family questions relate to the family of origin, not the one reader might actually have at the moment. Most questions are not gendered, and some provide options for men and women, but I had a general feeling that they were set with a sort of generic male user in mind. Particularly the issues to do with juggling work and family are noticeably absent.

These are fairly minor quibbles though. Such a book has to have a limit, and will be naturally selective. There are 616 questions in The Question Book and although the list-maker in me would have liked a nice round number, I am still quite happy with what's there.

It's not a life-changing tool, although might help somebody get a flash of insight into something or other. I would not spend eight pounds on it in the hope it will. However, as a toy with potential serious uses for people who like This Sort of Thing, it will be irresistible.

I planned to give it to my Significant Other but I have decided I will get him one when it becomes available in shops, keeping this review copy for myself.

In fact, I think am going to start playing with it now.

Highly recommended.

If this book appeals then you might like to try The Secrets of Happiness by Richard Schoch.

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