Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review: Four Word Self Help by Patti Digh

I've never been someone who needed self-help books. That's probably because I've always written through my problems in journals. I've kept nearly every single journal, too, to prove that.

And yet recently I've found comfort in self help books by Patti Digh. Her first book, Life is a Verb, is the result of our choice in my creative soul's book club, a group I formed this past spring. We all loved that book. It was so beautiful and full of wonderful stories.

I had actually forgotten that I signed up to receive a review copy of her next book, Four Word Self Help: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives.

It arrived on a very low day for me, a day when I felt my world collapsing all around me. My values and honor system had been greatly compromised. And, to make matters worse, I had few people to talk to about any of it.

I opened the box, and then book to find the sweetest, most lovely book I've ever laid my eyes on. It's full of wonderful quotes and original art, just like Life is a Verb, and yet it's so full of simple, short pieces of advice that I was able to read it in just one day. I finished it at bedtime, with a smile on my face. I've read it twice since.

I have plans to buy it for a young woman I am mentoring and for a few people for Christmas. It's that lovely.

My favorite pieces of advice in it (there are many):

Eat less, Move more (always a needed reminder for me)
Give up Toxic people
Mean what you say
Embrace Solitude, not loneliness
Stop trying so hard
Let other people drive
Do Less, Be More

The stories are full of deep, big-picture thoughts all in Patti style. I admit, Patti is truly one of my modern day heroes both for her strong, authentic writing voice and style as well as her fierce advocacy on social justice issues.

I highly recommend both of her books, but especially Self Help as it's a neat little book that you can pull out of your purse or bookbag or briefcase in a moment's notice and just sink into and feel happy -- like when you're world is collapsing, or you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

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