What are the reasons for your decision to buy a book?
For me, I first look at covers (and yes, that is how covers/ packages are ridiculously important sometimes and sure, you are welcomed to disagree). Among all those book covers placing on shelf after shelf, usually, there are some stopping my eyes from moving. Secondly, I pick up those books. I look at the names a bit more closely, letting any triggered, excited, confused feelings rising up, and I look at the back with reviews, before I open to read first few pages inside. That is generally my process. Of course, it also varies sometimes. I might already got recommended to particular books, or I already knew I would buy that certain book for number of reasons I established before stepping into bookstores. Other people have different approaches, and there will be few among them saying my approach seem to focus much on the outside. Well, I do agree.
I was advised while ago to try reading first 10 pages of any book, and if you feel like you still want to read more, then buy it. It was a great advice that I managed to apply with good results. Though now and then, I tend to be ignorant of many things and little stubborn to try not to follow advices, just because they would make me appear smarter. So I do judge on the outside looks.
The point is, I do not think I would ever naturally pick this book “Seven ways to Lighten Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket”. As you can see, the book title indicates it is not even for me. I would be honest to you, that I only read this book because amazingly, I happened to start working with one of the authors—George Simons. As part of ‘the job’, I read the book even though George did not ask me to.
I finished it one hour ago, and refused to go to sleep now without finishing this review first, as tomorrow word flows might disappear. And I did not finish it out of obligation, or effort trying to impress George. In fact, I got sucked into the life stories of George and Walt, and their idea of writing this book originally:
“So what did we do when we got stuck on the bucket list? When stuck, play with the words!”
And they did. I know you might think the book will TELL you how to live your life to the fullest before you cannot anymore, and here are seven ways to do that, etc., cliché. Well, you are partly right, except George & Walt do not TELL you instructions about those 7 ways to live fullest and happy life. Those seven ways are collection of their stories, throughout their lives. Each of them has their own website: Walt Hopkins and George Simons. Through there, one can see layers of experiences they have obtained, and one should not be surprised of quantity of stories they can share.
What surprised me though was how many notes I made for myself while reading it. Because they wrote this book, aiming for old guys; but did say “we are reasonably certain that people who aren’t guys and who aren’t older will still want to read at least some of this just to keep an eye on us—to find out what the geezers are up to now”. On the contrary, many things in the book that I learned, I am sure other young generators can pick up too. They can be short phrases from sentences or sentences from paragraphs, but I recalled myself smiling or holding breath, or quickly searching for pens underlining while stumbling onto words that touched to my soul. This is the reason for my love of books: I always manage to find something related to my life. Book is a kaleidoscope, once you allows it to be, and you can see all different shapes it can become.
Here are some illustrated examples:
- From George: “Memories are an important part of life and identity”.
“Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t mean you have to do it too.”
- From Walt: “…That is very difficult, because thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future distract me from the present. It can be as simple as paying attention. Perhaps by looking up from my keyboard to look out the window of this speeding train in which I am writing today—and see a delightfully multi-colors spinning ball out in the middle of a field among other scarecrows.”
Have you had many moments when you sit there listening to endless stories told by your grandparents, and feeling like watching movies of a whole different world? I have never had that with mine, but reading this book feels like it (weird, isn’t it?). I could envision myself as those children I saw on televisions, sitting and concentrating to listen to their grandparents telling how their lives once were different. I did not only learn, but I also got reminded of things I forgot, and because the personal touch is unique enough, I even felt being advised what to do sometimes. I am sure, out of many stories they shared, there would be one or two stories you catch, and think, “Hey! I am only … but I experience this too!”. I never thought much about age (at least I think so) because people are often surprised knowing my age. This book reinforces my belief. It should never be about ages. I don’t have to be that certain age to understand what they might have been through, or they don’t have to be my age to experience what I do. One does not have to be 60s or 70s, to think: “Even at times when you do not need to be highly attentive to friends, to family, to the people you live with, you still need to be sensitive to yourself”.
On the other hand, the book also demonstrates how it is clearly written for old guys through their sense of humour, their way of using playful words or references (that unfortunately, I or some other young generators might not understand). George and Walt’s idea is to move beyond the “bucket list”, and create seven other lists:
- Chucket—dump the stuff you don’t need or want.
- Shucket—Keep what’s important but distill it.
- Ducket—Dodge demands that others throw at you.
- Fucket—Trash what no longer works for you.
- Plucket—Grasp the sweets that life still offers.
- Trucket—Walk your talk and follow your dreams.
- Tucket—Tell yourself what’s working in your life.
In each chapter about each list, there is also a reflection part; in which readers are invited to join in the book’s thinking flow. So I would recommend two tips to any readers:
- Take notes about the meaning of above 7 terms. They are certainly mentioned again throughout the book but for me, there were moments my reading flow went too smooth, I forgot what each term meant whenever I saw them again. I figured, it would be better if I have a note next to me, so when that happens, I can check quickly.
- Read it slow. And do reflect when reflection part comes. Or at least stop for few seconds for the questions planted in your head. What I did was, sometimes, I marked them down, and told myself to come back one day to reflect. Maybe when I got to their age, because for sure, this book will stay with me until then.
I wrote this, more than just a book review. I caught part of the sentence Walt wrote: “…that part of being alive is noticing life around me, turning it into a story, and sharing the story with others”. I personally always believe in the art of story telling. I put a lot of exclamation marks behind this sentence. So, by reading this book, I noticed lives of two remarkable people through their stories and let myself be inspired. I felt it to be a little responsibility of mine to share their words to even more people, despite my humble blog network.
If you find this to be interested enough, they have a Facebook page which goes beyond these …ucket lists for you to check out!