4 out of 4 stars
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The Secrets of Living a Fantastic Life by Dr Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka comes at the right time during this COVID-19 pandemic to give hope and a better perspective on life. The two authors share the 13 golden pearls that they have discovered through adversity and other life experiences. This metaphor is in itself intriguing as it encapsulates a lot of meaning. The 13 principles are not in themselves surprising, they are principles taught in most religions and cultures and reiterated in most self-improvement literature. Love is the number one golden pearl. Other golden pearls include inspiration, forgiveness, tenacity, and a not so obvious one, vulnerability. What makes Dr Lycka’s and Harriet’s book unique are their stories as individuals and the stories of others that they include.
A neurologist diagnosed Dr Lycka with Lou Gehrig’s disease and said that he had 6 months to live. The doctor told him to put his life in order. Dr Lycka is now sharing his story with us years later as this was a major turning point in his life. Harriet’s experience is even scarier. A friend turns into a stalker, stabs her, and leaves her for dead. She is alive and shares her story with us today of her experience and how meeting a little girl completely changed her life.
What I liked most about this book is that the authors did not try to tell the reader what to do. Instead, they shared their experiences with the golden pearls in their lives. The authors told stories about their encounters with people in different situations that they learnt from or helped. The conversation style of writing also helped to make the book easy to read. One of the features that I enjoyed the most was the presence of numerous quotes strewn throughout the book. There were quotes at the beginning of chapters, in the stories and within the conversations. These drove the lessons home and called for deeper thoughts. The author also injected humour into their conversations and described concepts in captivating words. I liked one of Harriet’s statements, “Tenacity is persistence with an attitude.”
The few things that I did not like about the book were minor and did not take away from the lessons learnt. There was a lot of repetition especially at the start of the book. The foreword gives reference to Dr Lycka’s and Harriet’s stories, which are again mentioned in the introduction before they are given in full by the authors. These stories are part of the conversation throughout the book, but these other mentions show how the authors’ adversity helped them to realize a particular lesson. Harriet makes mention of her death races in almost every conversation. Faith is not the basis of the book, but there is mention of such religions as Buddhism and Christianity as well as some secular beliefs. Some of the stories shared draw from mythology and these did not sit quite well with me, but then again, they are just stories.
Overall, the book is well written and seems to have been professionally edited as I only found one rather subjective error. The lessons within are really good and vital for every person to learn. I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Harriet details her attack and this may be too graphic for some readers to take in. The language is generally clean; I only encountered one word that may qualify as borderline profanity. I recommend the book to readers looking for hope and reinforcement as they try to change or improve the quality of their lives.
The Secrets of Living A Fantastic Life
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