Ian Dewar: Anyway: the Paradoxical Commandments

Author Kent Keith

This book was first recommended by my wife a few years ago.  It is not so much a ‘self-help’ book as an ‘Oh yeah’ book.  It consists of 10 pithy and profound observations that are designed to help you find personal meaning in life – no easy thing!

The book starts with a refreshingly honest statement: ‘It is best to begin by just admitting that the world is crazy.  The world really doesn’t make sense.’

Keith then goes on to describe his 10 paradoxical commandments that we can apply to help us navigate our way through this crazy world.

Let’s take an example.  ‘The good you do today, will be forgotten tomorrow, do good anyway.

It is this word ‘Anyway’ that is the most powerful. We live in a world where our identity is bound up by self-image and what others think of us.  As a consequence we can know lots of people and yet still feel insecure and lonely.  ‘Anyway’ begins to free us from this. The power to do ‘good’ for its own sake begins to free us from the need to be recognised and applauded.  As such it begins to give us inner meaning which in turn helps us to gain some inner strength.

I don’t know if I think that all the examples that Keith gives with his commandments are helpful, but this is an easy, quick read that I have returned to many times over the years and still find helpful and a pleasure to read.

On my office noticeboard, at present, is a quote from the book that I use whilst working on the health festival.

‘The cost of giving your best can be high.  The only thing that costs more is not giving your best.  If you aren’t giving your best, you aren’t who you are supposed to be.’

Recommend it?  I’ve bought few copies for people over the years.  Short, light read, profound.  Treat yourself.