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This is a great little book, which is not to be taken too seriously! It is one of those types of books which you can just pick up and put down at random intervals and just read little bits of it.
Guy Browning, the author, has put together a collection of 'handy' tips to get through the things in life which he feels cause people the most trouble, the little things. As the subtitle puts it 'How to Survive Life's Smaller Challenges'! Things such as 'What is the best way of establishing a queue when you are the first person in it?' and 'How to have a bad day'! He covers everything from cooking to sleeping, from religion to cocktails and does so in a hilarious manner. It gets you thinking about those little things in our life which actually we don't get told how to do and we do have to put a lot of thought into without realising it.
So, if you need tips such as 'whatever your friends tell you, there is no cocktail called 'A Hard Smack in the Chops', so don't be in a hurry to ask for one', then get this book!
Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade: How to Survive Life's Smaller Challenges is written by Guy Browning, who became mildly famous for his 'How to' column in the weekend Guardian. He has also written Never Push When It Says Pull: Small Rules for Little Problems, which is a book that is in much the same vein as this one. In addition he has had several books on work life and office politics published, so if you enjoy his writing you have plenty of opportunities to read more by him.
This book is a cute little black hardback with a blue and orange dust jacket, which has childish pictures of a jellyfish and other oceanic life on the front. It is quite a thick book with around 300 pages which consist of nice thick paper, so it is a high quality purchase. Its RRP is £9.99 but you can buy it from Amazon.co.uk for £6.54 at the moment.
The book is basically a witty look at all of life's little issues. It has twelve sections which include topics such as Sport and Exercise, Sleeping and Waking, Idling and Pottering and Mixing and Mingling. Within each topic there are lots of little chapters which range from one and a bit pages to around three pages. They have titles such as 'How to use a Changing Room', 'How to be glum', 'How to keep your dentist happy' and other similarly bizarre things.
I think the book is really well written, it is very easy to read and often quite funny. Some of the advice is genuinely useful but most of it is a little ironic, exaggerated or tongue in cheek and will generally raise a smile or even occasionally a laugh. You can dip in and out of it so it's a great book to keep by the bedside or in the bathroom. You can read just one chapter or settle down with a cup of tea and read a whole section.
This would be a great gift for anyone with a gentle sense of humour or anyone who is difficult to buy for. It would be a useful Secret Santa style present too. It probably is not suitable for children or younger teens as it is mostly directed towards adults and some of the humour can be a little rude at times, though nothing that will offend most adults. Students may appreciate it too. It is also worth saying that the humour is very English and covers a lot of English traditions such as queuing.
I can recommend this book as it is something that can be read more than once and I think most people will enjoy it. It is quite expensive but it is a nice addition to your home.
I decided life was getting too serious. I needed more humour. Id forgotten how to laugh and enjoy myself.
Whilst trawling Amazon for my next literary purchase, Guy Brownings Never hit a Jellyfish with a Spade How to Survive Lifes Smaller Challenges jumped out at me. The reviews were good, and it sounded just up my street.
The book is a hardback with a cute cartoon dustcover on it depicting, amongst other things, someone standing on a jellyfish, spade held aloft. Inside the dust cover is a rather dull, plain black cover and silver writing down the spine. I guess this is handy if you want to look manly or make it less obvious what you are reading.
The book is actually a compilation of Guy Brownings weekly How to columns featured in The Guardian and which have also been used on his Radio 4 programme Small Talk. They are all 2 3 pages in length and have been broken up into different chapter themes. These are:
¤ Sport and Exercise
¤ Sickness and Health
¤ Cooking and Eating
¤ Fashion and Grooming
¤ Sleeping and Walking
¤ Idling and Pottering
¤ Hedges and Neighbours
¤ Religion and Politics
¤ Teenagers and Students
¤ Mixing and Mingling
¤ Men and Women
¤ Love and Marriage
I am not the only one to find these short helpful hints for life laugh-out-loud funny. I have shown the book to my friends and family who can all find at least one hilarious observation Mr Browning has made.
The length of each observation is such that you can pick up and drop this book as you wish. You can read it back to front, from the middle out, or if youre that way inclined, upside down. When you need some light relief during a heavy day, just pick up this book, read, have a chuckle and go back to whatever was annoying you with a smile on your face.
I cant tell you if youll like this book as much as I do, but if you can see the funny side in lifes everyday issues, you should like this book. If you want to know for sure, check out some of Guys columns in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/ and search for his name)
¤ Hardcover 192 pages (September 23, 2004)
¤ Publisher: Atlantic Books
¤ Language: English
¤ ISBN: 184354265X
¤ Weight: 316g
¤ Dimensions: 168x125x30mm
¤ RRP: £9.99, Amazon price: £6.99
~~~ About the Author ~~~
Guy Browning is a comic genius.
He is described as the David Attenborough of the business jungle and the funniest and sharpest observer of life's little challenges. He writes the How To and 'Office Politics' columns in The Guardian, John Weak's Diary in Management Today and had a spot on Radio 4 called Small Talk. He is also an after dinner speaker, business speaker and has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
~~~ Quote from the Author ~~~
Being nice in the office is like being nice on the roads - everyone likes you but you don't actually get anywhere."