erasing clouds

Book Review: This Book Will Change Your Life by Benrik

by erin hucke

Part self-help book, part graphic design book, part social experiment... you don't just read the Book, you live it. This Book Will Change Your Life gives you a year's worth of instructions for living. Each day, the Book assigns you an oddball task (Day 16: Discretely Give The Finger To People All Day Today) or something new to think about (Day 2: Today, Gaze At Everyone Wondering whether They Might Be The One True Love Of Your Life), all done for the purpose to shake up your brain and/or the world around you.

A lot of the tasks force you connect with people and situations you would never encounter otherwise. A good portion of them are slightly (or, in a couple of cases, very) illegal acts orchestrated to defy the system. And granted, some tasks are improbable (Day 21: Bail A Stranger Out Of Jail) or impossible (Day 68: Choose One Hair On Your Body That You Will Let Grow 1 Yard Long) for the sake of humor. But most of them are minor changes or additions to your daily routine, only changing the way you live your life a little bit at a time. In the end, you determine how much or how little your life will change depending on how religiously you follow the book over the course of the year.

The design of the Book is beautiful; each page stands alone as a separate work of art. And for each task, there's a tiny box for you to keep notes about that day. [Rumor has it that the UK version is actually a diary, with specific dates printed in it. The US version simply lists chronological days (Day 1, Day 2, etc.)]

So far in following the Book, I have established that I'm probably never going to travel to Africa, threw away something I liked and wrote and mailed a letter to the Unabomber. I'm being totally serious when I say my life changed as soon as I started following the Book. How many opportunities do you get to make a statement like that? Buy the Book. (And start on January 1, 2004, for synchronization with the rest of the followers.) It's a prescriptive bible for the independent thinker.


Issue 18, December 2003

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