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The Rules of Life - Richard Templar
Member Name: jo1976
The Rules of Life - Richard Templar
Date: 16/12/12, updated on 28/11/13 (25 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to read and to dip in and out of
Disadvantages: No real substance to the rules, very vague, not likely to have any major impact on lifestyle
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.
Summary: Follow Rule 12 'Be Your Own Adviser!'