Perfect Rules for Imperfect LivingBook - 2015
The Wall Street Journal 's popular columnist Jason Gay delivers a hilarious and heartfelt guide to modern living.
" The book you hold in your hand is a rule book. There have been rule books before--stacks upon stacks of them--but this book is unlike any other rule book you have ever read. It will not make you rich in twenty-four hours, or even seventy-two hours. It will not cause you to lose eighty pounds in a week. This book has no abdominal exercises. I have been doing abdominal exercises for most of my adult life, and my abdomen looks like it's always looked. It looks like flan. Syrupy flan. So we can just limit those expectations. This book does not offer a crash diet or a plan for maximizing your best self. I don't know a thing about your best self. It may be embarrassing. Your best self might be sprinkling peanut M&M's onto rest-stop pizza as we speak. I cannot promise that this book is a road map to success. And we should probably set aside the goal of total happiness. There's no such thing.
I would, however, like for it to make you laugh. Maybe think. I believe it is possible to find, at any age, a new appreciation for what you have--and what you don't have--as well as for the people closest to you. There's a way to experience life that does not involve a phone, a tablet, a television screen. There's also a way to experience life that does not involve eating seafood at the airport, because you should really never eat seafood at the airport.
Like the title says, I want us all to achieve little victories. I believe that happiness is derived less from a significant single accomplishment than it is from a series of successful daily maneuvers. Maybe it's the way you feel when you walk out the door after drinking six cups of coffee, or surviving a family vacation, or playing the rowdy family Thanksgiving touch football game, or just learning to embrace that music at the gym. Accomplishments do not have to be large to be meaningful. I think little victories are the most important ones in life."
-- From the Introduction
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This is the book I’ve been waiting for most of my adult life. This is not a book extolling the secret habits of successful people whose power is now. This is not a book that tells me I have to eat kale, I have to love Caddyshack, or that it’s not cool to go to bed before 10 on a Friday night. This is a book that tells me I can eat that kale – if I want - covered in pesto so I can’t taste kale. That’s the kind of perfect little victory author Jason Gay embraces; getting your antioxidents without having to taste them.
Contrary to what you might think, this perfect little book comes from a moment of new-age-y mindfulness in Gay’s life. He admits he doesn’t always take everything in, or that he takes it in much later than in the moment, but he’s ok with that. In fact, his meandering words of wisdom are both hilarious and deceptively poignant, such as “If you are witnessing sports history, it should not be while picking at a salad.” Which may be interpreted as while it is good to take care of one’s nutritional health, it’s also perfectly acceptable to scarf down pizza on occasion.
His musings continue on the subjects of sports (he’s a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal, after all), marriage, kids, vacations, parents, work, etiquette, technology and various combinations of all of the above. He has a right to muse – he’s travelled the globe, beat cancer, climbed back up the ladder after unemployment – and while he is never preachy about these struggles there is definitely something to learn from his words, which are at times so funny and touching you won’t know from which well your tears have sprung.
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