The Best Advice So Far – Book Review

unnamedThis is a book that I reviewed in 2015 and have been thinking about lately as so many people across the world struggle with feelings of disenfranchisement. Lots of us feel buffeted by events beyond our control and choices made by others. The beauty of this book lies in the affirmation that “You always have a choice.”

Erik Tyler is a frequent visitor to my blog, a friendly soul willing to engage with me and other bloggers who kindly comment on my posts. He sent me a copy of his book, The Best Advice So Far, which I loved, and therefore am pleased to share again.

In my 20’s and 30’s, I read personal growth books. Many of the lessons stuck, but many required too much work: hours of self-analysis, a spiritual conversion, expensive travel, learning a new practice, joining a cult, and wearing beads, headbands, and robes. I just didn’t have the time between working and raising a family. Being a happy person shouldn’t be that hard.

As unique individuals, we all define happiness differently. In the middle third of my life, I discovered that happiness, for me, is a wonderful side effect of integrity, authenticity, and kindness, an outward spreading of “the love.” Sometimes that takes the form of service, but more often it’s a way of being in relationship with others without all the filters, free of the junk I used to drag around, manacled to my ankle.

So, what does this have to do with Erik’s book…

What I loved about The Best Advice So Far is its simplicity. It’s a well-organized and beautifully written guide to cultivating the integrity, authenticity, and genuine kindness toward self and others that lead to satisfying relationships, and ultimately, to happiness. I’m a believer in the power of perspective and that attitude and approach have incredible power over our lives. This is where the power of choice comes into play. I may not be able to change my circumstances, but I have a choice about how I will perceive, process, and respond.

The book is not a religious, theological, or spiritual treatise, but rests on sound psychological principles and practice. In each chapter, Tyler introduces a topic based on his own experiences, foibles, and insights. The anecdotes are entertaining tales in and of themselves, and on many occasions, I found myself laughing or reduced to tears. I can’t remember the last time a “self-help” book touched me so deeply.

At the end of each chapter, Tyler offers Questions for Reflection and Discussion. They provide fodder for further growth, for journaling, for individual, couple, and group exploration. I plan to use some of them as topics for discussion with my adventurous women’s group.

CJIWfXjWEAAdJW3In my few interactions with Erik, it’s clear to me that his principles are in practice. I recommend this book to anyone who seeks a life of greater connection, meaning, and happiness. Enjoy.

Erik is an author, speaker, blogger, youth mentor, family advocate, singer, songwriter, musician, poet, people lover, creative force, conversationalist, problem solver, chance-taker, noticer, and lover of life. He lives in the Boston area of Massachusetts.

Follow his blog at: The Best Advice So Far

And browse his book on Amazon: The Best Advice So Far

166 thoughts on “The Best Advice So Far – Book Review

  1. You certainly made this book sound appealing. It will certainly be put on my books to read list. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you so much for sharing such an insightful post. Do you recommend any other books similar to this one?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I definitely recommend this one. It’s an enjoyable read full of insights. Another book that had a huge impact on me was Judith Viorst’s Necessary Losses. There are passages in that one that I’ve never forgotten. Thanks so much for stopping by 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great review! Seems interesting. I’ll check it out for sure. THANKS:)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m curious about it:)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lovely review and commentary, Diana. Nice to meet Erik. Hugs all around.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know — and getting to meet — Erik Tyler, and he is a kind, wise, compassionate man. His book and his blog are comprised of personal anecdotes (not all of them flattering) and the practical wisdom he’s extracted from those experiences. Far from the stereotypical self-help manual that’s full of platitudinal mantras, The Best Advice So Far (both the book and the blog) frames everything we wrestle with as a matter of personal choice, and offers practical techniques one can apply right now; I practice many of them myself! I second Diana’s appraisal: Given the daunting complexities of the modern world, the measured wisdom and boundless compassion of people like Erik are needed now more than ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Heartafire says:

    Wonderfully entertaining review Diane. This looks like a book I would enjoy. Thanks so much, 🙂 Holly

    Liked by 2 people

  8. dgkaye says:

    Indeed a timely post for a book such as Eric’s. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. reocochran says:

    Ironically, in my sentence about being older (thank goodness I didn’t say I was wiser!) I forget an “and” in the middle between advice and practices. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. reocochran says:

    Thank you, Diana for showing concern for our current states of minds.
    I am like you were as you read this book. I admire and like the way this book is filled with solid principles, personal anecdotes and great questions to ask which support each chapter’s content.
    I also was never a self-help kind of mother, wife or friend in my younger years.
    That being said, as I get older, I have appreciated sound advice good, healthy mind-body practices. 🙂
    Erik, I hope many will seek out your advice and read your experiences which include helpful lessons.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      Robin, I agree that Diana’s care for people genuinely infuses everything she says, including this review.

      My intention was that this book differ from others in the wider genre in that it’s filled with stories which I trust stand in their own right, apart from the central advice drawn from them. In that way, I see them less as personal anecdotes for the sake of making a point, and more as memoirs that from which lessons are then derived. Somehow, those are different in my mind.

      Thanks for the good wishes. My true hope, as I included in the Preface, is not so much that people will say, “Great advice, Erik!” as that they will find true life change within the pages and share it with someone else … even if they can’t remember quite where they heard it first.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful comment, Robin. The book is full of little lessons about life and the choices we make and how we have the power to make new ones. I enjoyed the anecdotes that illustrate the points. I like good advice too – those aha moments that shift my thinking 🙂 Have a great week!

      Like

  11. I do love simplicity and reflection. This looks wonderful. On my TBR list. Thanks for sharing! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      Hi, Sarah. I do think you’d enjoy the book. AND … I hopped over to your site and saw your post about how to approach reviews. I left some thoughts for you there. (BTW, Diana’s review here was neither paid nor requested; I offered her a copy of the book because I really thought she’d enjoy it — and she did — just as I’m enjoying her work and have posted positive reviews of it, because it’s just great storytelling.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think I’ll enjoy this very much. 🙂 And thanks for popping over to Lemon Shark. I don’t know about reviews… I suppose it’s “promotion” as an umbrella (interviews, guest posts, being listed somewhere or given a shout-out by someone). I think it’s just my introverted nature. Yes, Diana’s writing is wonderful.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Erik says:

          Sarah, our brief conversation here brought back to mind a post I wrote more than five years ago — but which I think you’ll find highly applicable to where you are right now. It poses a challenge, and so I’m posing that challenge to YOU. Here’s the LINK. No pressure to read or to take the challenge. But if you do decide to, I’d love to know how it goes for you.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for checking out the review, Sarah. Worth checking out and not a heavy read at all. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jools says:

    What a lovely and generous review – and it has really made me want to check out the book. And your definition of happiness as ‘a wonderful side effect of integrity, authenticity, and kindness, an outward spreading of “the love”’ echoes precisely my own. I couldn’t have put it better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      You’ve got Diana down, Jools: “lovely and generous.” She made even me want to read the book again.

      And I’m continually encouraged to know that there are people all over the world who understand that “integrity, authenticity … kindness … [and] love” are what it’s all about.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so mch for visiting, Julie. This is a wonderful book and was right in line with my (our) approach to life. Have a lovely week and keep spreading the love. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You made me smile as you described your early attempts of reading and following advice in ‘self-help’ books. I’ve never been interested in them, truth be told. Like you, I believe we all have the capacity and desire for happiness, and the best place to find happiness is within ourselves by being true to ourselves, and kind to others. That said, I’m gonna go run to the bookstore and buy The Best Advice So Far. For a friend, who’s suddenly a widow and despite a deep reservoir of happiness inside her, falling into a bit of a pit. This book will be my gift to her. Because if you recommend a book so highly, I know it must be good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think she’ll be disappointed, Pam, and what a thoughtful gift. I think in that situation, this book would help me greatly. Finding happiness through honoring self is a big part. The book is gentle on the soul and it’s set up so that she can read in bits and skip around. You are such a kind friend ❤ My best to her and to you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My friend and I go waaaay back, to when she was a newly single mom with 3, 5, and 7 year daughters (and my kids were 3 and 5)! My guy and I helped vet the men she dated, and then she found the ‘right’ man, and what a great marriage they had, until Alzheimer’s just claimed him. My friend is such a strong woman, but she’s just lost the love of her life. She will really ‘get’ Eric’s book, I have no doubt. Thank you! (and Erik, who’s been sweetly visiting my blog now). 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      Pam, first let me say that I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s loss, and “suddenly” at that. I’m so glad she has you to walk alongside her. Words rarely make it better, but having the right person present, even if no words are spoken, does make a difference.

      I just hopped on over to your site and enjoyed yesterday’s post immensely. As it turns out, your own post kind of ties in here. I’m with you on never having been interested in self-help books! Recently, I tried reading one because someone I care about was reading it and asked if I’d follow along so that they could have someone to discuss it with. Here’s just a tidbit from that book:

      “The philosopher and mathematician René Descartes concluded that our experience is the only thing about which we may be completely sure and that everything else we think we know is merely an inference from that. And yet, we have seen that when we say with moderate precision what we mean by words such as happiness, we still can’t be sure that two people who claim to be happy are having the same experience, or that we are having an experience of happiness at all.”

      Um … what? I mean, I “get it.” But is happiness really that deep and complicated? Gee wiz!

      The Best Advice So Far is far more like your own blog post about how you and SuzyQ changed each others’ lives. It’s a collection of real stories like your own, each of which illustrates how simple choices one way or the other either produce happiness or unhappiness, both of which are continual choices we make.

      I actually cringe when people refer to my writing as self-help, inspirational or motivational. I suppose in a certain way, those things may be found within the pages; it’s the connotations I don’t so much enjoy.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. balroop2013 says:

    I am amazed at this review Diana…I could never think that self-help books also could evoke such lovely words of appreciation! Thanks for providing a blaze of hope!! I am checking this book just now. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. tpolen says:

    Great review, Diana – sounds like a wonderful read with some excellent advice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      I had forgotten that I’d put up a .PDF document with the opening chapters and one middle chapter that gets lots of strong reactions. You’re welcome to check it out HERE and test the waters.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by, Terri. I enjoyed the book and still get great info for reflection from following Erik’s blog. I have a “thing” about how our attitudes, perception, and choices create our reality, and this book fits right in. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Ali Isaac says:

    Positivity is definitely a choice, and when you choose to practice it, it really does change your life and make you feel happy! I learned this through practicing Reiki. My problem is being consistent, not just in this, but in all aspects of my life. I guess, as with anything else, the more you practice, the better you get, and it becomes a habit. 😊 But I seem to be so easily distracted! 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      I’m with you on the consistency issue, Ali. That was, in fact, part of what prompted me to write the book the way I did. Each chapter has a very short piece of advice that packages a big concept into few words; and then it’s all wrapped in story. I didn’t sit and think up these piece of advice in order to write a book. I had already been using them — speaking them often to myself — for a lifetime, and finding that they got me back on track faster:

      “Misery is a choice.”

      “You have to start from where you are, not where you wish you were.”

      “The sooner you accept that life isn’t fair, the happier you’ll be.”

      As a mentor, I shared my own internal monologue pieces with hundreds of people over the years, and they expressed often that having those simple ideas in their head really helped them not to spiral into bad places, to take positive action sooner, just as they had been doing in my own life.

      So it only seemed natural to write them down and share them with other people I’ll never get to meet and pass them to personally.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Another reiki practioner! I should have known, Ali. I think we all have challenges with consistency…we’re human after all. We just keep getting back on track, chugging forward, and learning. I think it get’s easier over time with practice, like anything we do. Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderful, balanced, peaceful weekend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, thank you for this considered and thoughtful review of Erik’s book. I’ve often wondered why mankind seems to have more problems living life in the modern era – or was it always so? Was there just too little time before for inner reflection, consideration of one happiness? Whatever the reason the fact remains that almost everyone struggles with happiness, trying to fit in, find their place at some stage and this book sounds a perfect place to start to recover balance and understanding of ones life. I do like the fact that Erik includes examples from his own life to help the reader indentify with his words. Finally I especially like your sentence of ‘being in relationship with others without all the filters’ – how true and that can take a long while to learn!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Erik says:

      Hi, Annika. The book does have plenty of examples. But I think what might set this book apart from other self-help or motivational books is that I filled it with stories — real stories, written with craft, that stand on their own, even if there were no “point” to them. So in that way, the book has appealed to lovers of short stories and memoirs (with the bonus of having a point). 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • The book is insightful and an enjoyable journey, Annika. I liked your reference about some of this taking a long while to learn. I think that’s one of the joys of getting older – we have a few lessons already tucked in our belts. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Hi Diana, thank you so much for the excellent review. I wonder if this will help me achieve happiness with a 17-year-old teenage girl drama queen in the house? We are at odds with each other these days, and are both equally unhappy about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      Hi there. 🙂 I’m sorry to hear your in the middle of “those years.” I’ve been a mentor to teens and young adults for more than 25 years now, which includes helping families learn to communicate in new ways, especially as the struggle for independence sets in. So I can tell you that there is most definitely lots of solid material in the book that you’ll find practical and helpful (as will your daughter, if you can convince her to read it, though your own choices aren’t dictated by hers).

      Let me also assure you that, as squeaky-clean and put-together as you probably feel “other people’s families” are … they really aren’t. There is no perfect family. I can’t count the number of times that Parent A has sat in tears with me, thinking they’re doing something wrong with their kids, and wishing they could be more like Parent B’s family … when I just came from Parent B’s house, who was in tears and wished they could be more like Parent A.

      Liked by 3 people

    • The book was really a wonderful read. Go for it. You may not be able to impact her choices, but you can alter yours…and who knows…we’re all connected and bouncing off each other, right? I remember the teenage-daughter days and walking on eggshells. I feel for you, Kathryn, I do! Hang in there and enjoy your weekend ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Antonia says:

    Thanks for sharing Diana! I enjoyed your review and can’t wait to learn more about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I love that title–Best Advice So Far. Isn’t that how it always is? Erik’s ideas sound like they would resonate with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik says:

      Jacqui, let me be clear (as I am right from the Preface in the book) that, while the title is catchy and makes for a good brand, I’m in no way claiming to have invented the “best advice” the world has ever seen. Rather, it’s the best advice I myself have received and collected thus far, and which I’m now passing along via story and practical application points, because I’ve just seen it make too big a difference in too many lives to keep it all to myself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a cool title that honors ongoing growth. Erik’sa humble guy willing to share his mistakes and how he learned from them… and continues to learn. That’s my impression, anyway. Thanks for visiting! Happy Reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Kev says:

    Great review, Diana. I like the idea of using psychological principles and practice through the art and disiplines of self-analyses and deep, sincere reflection. The acts of showing kindness and living with integrity are always rewarding qualities to possess. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading, Kevin. The book ideas in the book are completely accessible and backed up with Erik’s personal stories. It’s a lovely read. Have a great weekend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Erik says:

      Hi, Kev. Nice to see you again! Really, you’ve made it sound more “clinical” than it is. My degrees are in Psychology; however, I tend to think too much of the field gets “booky” and distanced, lost in jargon and paradigms. This book is more about story, plain language and simple, practical application. So it’s more conversation and less counseling , though the principles behind it all are certainly sound (as they were before the field of Psychology ever emerged).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kev says:

        Then we are akin of sorts, Eric. I agree about the jargon paradigms. It’s no different to any other field of study in this case. You’re absolutely right though; we should strive to make it more practical. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  22. Phil Ryan says:

    Nice review, D but Eric’s going to have to wait his turn. I’m currently reading an exceptional story which I’m thoroughly enjoying, The Sorceror’s Garden can’t be recommended strongly enough 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Morgan says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this great review 🙂 Delightful writing and I love his ideas! Off to research more about him 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by, Cynthia. I got “self-helped” out in my 20’s and 30’s, but this book was charming as well as evocative. Worth the read 🙂 Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Erik says:

        Oh my gosh, I know what you mean, Diana. In fact, that’s why I got into mentoring, and why wrote the book in the first place. I was over hype and motivational mumbo-jumbo and “five-step plans” and the newest terminology or research on “what actually makes up happiness on a neurological level.” I didn’t feel “helped.” I didn’t know anyone else who was either, by expensive seminars where everyone cried and got an adrenaline rush and held hands and sang “Kumbaya” … and then left, and by the next day, couldn’t remember why they’d felt so emotional or what they were supposed to do today in the middle of real life.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Erik says:

      Hi, Morgan. If you can’t find out what you want to know through your “research” (that sounds so weird applied to myself), it’s my goal to always be accessible to people. So feel free to drop a line through the site, say hi, and ask whatever you like.

      Liked by 2 people

  24. Enjoyed your review of Erik’s book. He does write well with solid suggestions and ideas

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Allie P. says:

    That sounds right up my alley (although I will miss the Kool-aid from cult meetings). Thanks for sharing it!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Ocean Bream says:

    Thank you Diana, for sharing this wonderful review. I have tried to read so many personal growth books, and while some may have been really good, they just seem to be so complicated. And you are advocating this one for its simplicity! I will definitely give it a try 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Erik says:

    Looks like you first posted this on my birthday in 2015, Diana. What a kind gift! Thanks for the additional gift of posting it again today. You’re right: the current climate of uncertainty makes it a perfect time to remember that we are not powerless, that we “always have a choice.” And when things seem most confusing is the best time to remind ourselves of the simple basics of how to choose peace and happiness.

    You’re the best! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Great book review. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Thanks, Diana, for this great review. Eric seems to be an accomplished man, his book no doubt interesting for that reason, and well worth reading.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He does seem multi-talented. The book focuses more on his own growth as a person and his experiences as a youth mentor. It’s full of heart. Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne. I always look forward to your visit 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Erik says:

      Thank you, Suzanne. I don’t know if it’s so much that I’m “accomplished” as that I’m out living life fully, engaging with a colorful array of people, taking positive risks, and stumbling headlong into unfamiliar situations armed pretty much solely with a positive attitude and a smile. It has a way of broadening one’s scope on self and others, for sure. (And it certainly makes for an “un-boring” life.)

      Liked by 2 people

  30. what a genuine review. I have added Erik’s book to my list.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Nurse Kelly says:

    You wrote a wonderful review, and I think you are so inspirational in sharing your perspective in your life right now. You seem to be at peace. The book sounds great and I am following the blog now as well! Thanks, Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. yvettecarol says:

    Nice job on the book review D.Wallace! I’m a firm believer in having an attitude of gratitude. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Heartafire says:

    wonderful article, congrats to Erik and thank you for bringing his work to us.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Great review, Diana. My “To Read” pile is also growing. Sounds like a great book, Erik. Cheers to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Kev says:

    Nice overview Diane. I’m a newbie to Erik’s blog and so far I like what I’ve read. It’s nice to get to know a little bit more about him. Missed the part about you being a songwriter, Erik. I write songs too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Erik says:

    Usually, I am bursting with clear thoughts and words to express them. After reading this review of my book, I actually had to walk away for a bit. Yet even in returning to it here, I started the first sentence four times before getting anything to stick – very unlike me!

    What a thoughtful and beautifully-written review, Diana. Makes even me want to sit and read it again right now. And all of this just so happened to fall on my birthday. What a stand-out gift!

    Filled with gratitude and appreciation right now. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Sounds like my kind of book. Following the blog. Thanks for the tip!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Good to know! Erik and I have had a few interactions on Word Press, and it is clear that his online presence is positive and affirming. (Hi, Erik!)

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Carrie Rubin says:

    Sounds like a wonderful read. I’ll keep it in mind. I wish there were a magical way I could get to all the books I want to read. My to-read and wishlists grow far more quickly than my ability to read them does! Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. “Being a happy person shouldn’t be that hard.” Perfectly said. Sometimes it seems people are just making things far more difficult than they need to be these days – too much worrying, and re-examining over and over with far too many words and “what if’s”
    Simple is good. Laughter is good.(the two may be related)
    Nice review – will check out book. Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    • Life can get pretty complex, and for me, undoing some of the unhealthy patterns took a bit of focus (and age). All worth it though. I think you’re right, simple authenticity, acceptance, and kindness goes hand in hand with plenty of laughter. 😀

      Like

    • Erik says:

      I’ve often wondered if the complexity of “finding happiness” in the modern world of writing is due to treating it like a business or platform. “I have to write something new if I’m going to become famous and gain a corner of the market!” In an environment where buzz words abound – where “meeting” is now “interfacing” and asking is now “leveraging” – a simple thing like happiness becomes … well, something else. But as soon as it gets complicated, it’s no longer happiness; it’s just additional work and stress!

      Liked by 2 people

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