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Despite being in my mid-thirties with a professional career and three children, I sometimes feel like I have somehow missed out on some secret rulebook on how to behave and manage everyday life. For that reason, the idea of a paperback providing simple 'rules of life' appealed to me and I was intrigued enough to pick up a second hand copy. I do like the idea that if I follow a set series of rules, somehow I'll be happier, more successful and an all round better person, even if I am pretty sceptical that that would ever be the case.
I didn't really expect to find the answers to life and the universe within the pages of this book but did hope to uncover some little nuggets of useful advice and maybe some tips on things like time management or relationships. The scope of the book initially seemed pretty encouraging as the chapters include areas such as family and friends, partnerships, social and 'world' rules as well as the rather ambiguous 'rules for you.'
What I did find in this book is a fairly easy to read series of soundbites, with each rule given a catchy little heading or cliched saying, followed by a couple of pages explaining a little more about the thinking behind this rule. Each 'rule' is actually little more than a guiding principle, mainly around being a generally all round nice (if a little dull) person. The rules are really the kind of things that most parents aim to instill in their own children - I do at any rate- so there are things like 'maintain good manners' (Rule 38) and 'be nice' (Rule 53.) Much of the other rules are essentially these same basic principles, just reworded with a different sound bite and a slightly different anecdote to accompany the advice.
The book itself is very easy to read and refer back to (if needed), given the structure and the way in which the rules only run to around two or three pages each time. Although the rules are laid out in chapters, they can easily be read in any order and I find it more entertaining to flick through this book at random and see what rules I happen upon. Richard Templar's style of writing is fairly engaging and accessible although I don't feel that he is anywhere near as funny and witty as he seems to think he is. (Of course, if I was following the Rules I wouldn't mention that as Rule 50 is that good old-fashioned cliche 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'.)
There are also some rules that I do wholeheartedly agree with and others where I can see the logic but am not sure that it is always applicable to everyday life or at least not to my lifestyle. (Rule 22: Dress like today is important - I do feel more confident and happy in myself when I feel smartly dressed but the reality is that I'm not going to be doing the school run or nursing a sick baby in my finest clothes.) I also feel that some rules like that contradict others such as being comfortable in your own skin (Rule 4: Accept yourself) so I'm happy to accept myself as a scruffbag sometimes and expect my loved ones to as well.
Some rules are worth bearing in mind. (Rule 42: Shop for quality, not price.) I feel happier paying more for something that is going to stand the test of time and offer value for money overall than getting something for a supposedly rock bottom price, only to find that it breaks after a couple of uses. Primark, for instance, is not a place that I frequent. I also agree with the guiding principle behind this rule that if you can't afford it, don't buy it - a concept that goes out of the window for many families in the run up to Christmas.
Whilst containing some truisms and useful guiding principles to interactions with others, I don't think that this is the kind of self-help book that is likely to have any major impact on anybody's lifestyle or state of mind. Despite the sound of the title, the rules are actually pretty vague and open to interpretation and not as prescriptive as you might have expected.
This is easy enough to read and dip in and out of but I don't think I have acquired any really useful information or advice from Richard Templar. The paperback can currently be purchased from Amazon for £8.96 but, at that price, I really can't recommend parting with your cash. I'm actually going to follow Rule 39 (Prune your stuff frequently) and donate this book to a local charity shop. If you find it there, it might be worth rehoming but it is not one to search for or pay over the odds.
Richard Templar's Rules of Life gives us a list of 100 rules or guidelines in life based from the author's observations with other people lives or with himself. Some of these rules are easy to follow, in a way that we have already following/adhering or practising these(consciously/ unconsciously) through the years. Some of them might be difficult because it is new to us, or we just ignored them since we dont care to follow them - something that touch our egos.
The discussions are divided into 5 sections - covering the rules about ourselves, our partner (companion in life-wife or husband),our family (children), our social circle (colleagues and friends) and about the world (earth) we live. The first section (50 rules) focuses on a personal level - something about our personal standards and for our bechmark for personal progress. The second section (16 rules) deals with our partner (or lover) in life to bring sustaining, productive and enjoyable companionship/relationship with people we loved most and to be with them for the rest of our lives! The third section (13 rules) touches our relationship with our family members and relatives, and our responsibilities towards our parents, our children, and even our brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins. The fourth section (13 rules) is about our social circle - association/interaction with people in our jobs, clubs, or even people we just recently met or completely a stranger! And the last section (8 rules) talks about our roles in the society we belong and the world we live - something that has a global perspective.
It is a well written piece of work having discussions for each rule that everyone can fully understand. Mr Templar was also able to write inspiring quotations such as follows (as quoted from the book). In Rule#2: "Wisdom isn't about not making mistakes but about learning to escape afterwards with our dignity and sanity intact"... In Rule#44: "Staying young is trying our new tastes, new places to go, new styles"... In Rule#73: "You can't change a bad child but you can change bad behaviour"...Rule#86: "If you have a special talent or skill, pass it on"... and Rule#87: "Getting involved means rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty but having a real experience along the way"...
There were some rules that I personally disagreed but nevertheless, having this book, I was inspired to write my own personal rules of simple living. Or maybe for some people, after reading this book, you will find out that Templar's rules are incomplete and obsolete!
As I said earlier, as inspired by the book I was able to have my own 40 rules of living (top 10 rules listed below). This is not something to prescribe and preach to my readers but rather sharing my thoughts on how i survive and making (still on-going) my life better, happier and more fulfilling and rewarding. For some readers, these rules might be irrelevant as well, however, I just want to share, how the book was able to inspire me and reflect on those rules mentioned in the book. Consequently, these rules somehow help transform myself into a better and contented person, and do and view things differently! Rule 1: Thank God for everything; Rule 2: Home is the beginning of everything; Rule 3: Embrace life with open heart and mind; Rule 4: Read, (w)rite, and recite (3Rs); Rule 5: Use your potentials; Rule 6: Love your parents and grandparents; Rule 7: Explore and be adventurous; Rule 8: Sing a song, have a beat to dance and cook a meal; Rule 9: Observe, learn and remember; Rule 10: Friendship saves lives.
In conclusion, everyone has its own way on how to enjoy life to the fullest. Everyone has its own way to appreciate life and to be contented of what life can offer. Templar's book is only a guide for us to reflect of what we have done in the past or what we can do for making our life more meaningful. Life is not always offers a road to success, but we have to accept that it has challenges and risks along the way.
Hope that you will be able to grab a copy of the book. Eventually, come up with your own rules of meaningful living...good luck!
The Rules of Life - A definitive code for living a better, happier, more successful kind of life. - Richard Templar. Some people seem to be just good at life. They glide effortlessly onwards and upwards, always seeming to know the right things to say and do, in every situation. Everybody likes them - they are great to work with and to live with. They are happy (for the most part) and they know how to roll with life's punches. They have time for everybody and always seem to know what's important (and how to deal with what's not). Is there something they know and do that we don't? Is it something we could all learn? The answer is a most definite yes. They know the Rules of Life. The Rules of Life are the guiding principles that will help you achieve more, shrug off adversity more easily, get more out of life and generally be a happier, calmer, more fulfilled person. You'll feel the benefits - and so will everyone around you. It's your life. How good could it be?