Happy New Year.
It’s the time of year for resolutions. And what could be better than taking a few steps toward a happier, healthier, bountiful, and more compassionate life?
Four years ago, I read Erik Tyler’s book, The Best Advice so Far, and reviewed it here. Well, he has a second book out, and I was curious to see what new (or age-old) wisdom this author, mentor, and public-speaker has to offer. As expected, I gobbled it down in a matter of days.
My review is below, but I thought it would be fun to explore this author’s relationship with his advice. I gave him one question, and he was kind enough to reply.
In my experience, Erik, sometimes in the process of writing, we aren’t only imparting information, but learning from it. I may be off the mark here, but I’m guessing that you have a favorite expression from your book, one that felt particularly personal or moving or insightful. Care to share what it is and how it’s changed you?
Wow, that’s a tough one.
They all resonate with me personally for different reasons. But a stand-out for me would have to be “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” It’s never been so easy to not only criticize others but to do it publically. And this culture of negativity and ridicule weighs heavily on me.
I mean, we’re living in a strange time where even leaders at the highest level are having “Tweet storms” of petty hate and meanness on a daily basis. Empathy, compassion and respect take a real hit when we give in to this.
In the book, I talk about a tendency I had when I was younger to “people-watch” with friends in public places and to make critical comments about strangers. I included the strategies that helped break that habit. This was about “past me.” Yet as I continued to write this particular chapter, I noticed areas where I’d again allowed myself to pick up new stones in different areas.
It’s one of the great things about writing what I write: it keeps me honest. Being so aware of stones and my own glass house allowed me to once again reevaluate myself and make new choices for change. And that always opens my eyes and heart.
In fact, even in the nitty-gritty process of getting the e-book files for this book prepared, there was a stretch where I needed to interact with customer service people. It was stressful and tedious. And the easiest thing was to reach for those proverbial stones.
But having all of this fresh in my mind, I had this voice saying, “OK, are you going to take the easy route right now and be a hypocrite? Or are you going to put that stone down and treat people with kindness and respect, the way you write about, the way you’d want to be treated?”
So I’m definitely not just writing this stuff. I’m facing it daily, making choices about it myself, just as I hope any other person reading the book will be doing.
I enjoyed Tyler’s book The Best Advice So Far and looked forward to this new one, curious to see what wisdom this author, mentor, and public-speaker would produce. Tried and (Still) True is a reflection on proverbs of the past (one dating back to Socrates) that have stood the test of time: know thyself, haste makes waste, and a stitch in time saves nine, to name a few.
Most of us have heard these sayings before and know what they mean. But Tyler takes that meaning a step farther and gleans from each expression valuable lessons applicable to life in today’s world. The reader is presented with a deeper perspective, and most importantly, a way to practice that wisdom and become a kinder, happier, and more self-aware person. Who doesn’t need that in the divisive world we find ourselves?
Each chapter includes the history of the particular saying, most of them centuries old. In addition, each chapter ends with three questions for contemplation and a challenge that encourages readers to try something new—or try something old in a new way. The challenges are practice runs at changing our perceptions, getting unstuck, making satisfying choices, being empathetic, or grateful.
This isn’t a particularly short book, and yet I read it in days. Tyler’s writing is well-organized and well-edited, in addition to being peppered with personal anecdotes – most practical, some touching, and some laugh-out-loud hilarious. I found plenty of sensible advice conveyed in a way that I can apply it to my life. Highly recommended to readers of self-help books, and readers who want to learn to live a happier, healthier, bountiful, and more compassionate life.
Amazon Global Link: Tried and (Still) True is only $.99 through January 7th,
Erik’s Blog: The Best Advice So Far