Sunday 27 April 2014

Book Review: "...and then you're dead" by Jim Rai

Back in February an email popped into my inbox publicising a new book, “…and then you’re dead”. This was the description.

“   If there is one certainty in life, it is that one day we will all reach the end of our journey. But before we get there, it’s worth taking time to reflect on and question the journey so far. Has it been pretty good, just ok or regrettably woeful? Before it’s too late, take time to stop, reassess and choose the path to lead the life you want to live.

 …and then you’re dead! is a profound, charming yet practical ‘personal friend’, which encourages you to achieve everything you have been meaning to do in life, but never quite found the time or courage to do so. Written by Jim Rai, a former prominent lawyer, the book is a life companion which is unique, inspirational and captivating. Rai’s thought-provoking words challenge the reader to contemplate the life they are leading and to change whatever they are unhappy about.

…and then you’re dead! delivers a fresh new perspective on life. The book comes with a complementary writing journal entitled …and then you’re alive!, which acts as a blank canvas for the reader to record their personal thoughts and feelings, as they create their personal journey ahead.”

These few paragraphs intrigued me. I was curious to know how a lawyer might feel compelled to write a lifestyle enhancing book. It didn’t seem to fit the profiles of lawyers I knew during my eight years working in two large multi-faceted law firms.

I purposefully didn’t look at Rai’s biography before reading the book. I was intrigued by the layout; striking, single black pages with individual sentence or thought which introduced the chapters of black text on a white background.

Each chapter was short, between one to three pages; easy to dip into with simple ideas, illustrational stories complete with suggestions for follow up. Some of the stories I’d heard before but some were new and you can never have too many stories. Some were ancient but some were taken from Rai’s own life to illustrate the point he was trying to make.

Some of the suggestions about diet, exercise and seeking medical advice surprised me. Most non-medical authors don’t presume to offer specific advice, however positive, unless they are followed by numerous disclaimers.

This willingness to make lifestyle suggestions made more sense when I finally read Rai’s biography and discovered he had left the legal profession to become a lifestyle coach. His new calling seemed much more in keeping with his sensible, solution focused approach to life and living well.

I enjoyed, “…and then you’re dead!” very much. It contains lots of common sense advice and suggestions which I’m sure will be of great help to those who are unfamiliar with a solution focused approach and who are working to make simple, positive changes in both their life and their relationships with others. The book is a helpful companion to anyone who wants to make the most of what they have before time runs out.
The complementary notebook which arrives with the book is a lovely idea. It is a gentle push to anyone reading to start making changes and produce a record to show how their life is moving forwards in a positive direction. 

…and then you’re dead! is published by Compass Publishing and is available for £18.94 (hardback), £12.94 (Softback) and £2.99 (Kindle).

There is a multitude of self–help books available today. Jim Rai has made a very genuinely helpful addition to the literature with “…and then you’re dead!” and I wish him well with his future endeavours.