Top positive review
53 people found this helpful
Sometimes it isn't sugar the medicine needs, but some bite
on November 13, 2002
I am glad that all three of Ben Stein's "How to Ruin Your Life" books are now together under one cover. Each was short and combined they still make for easy and delightful reading. The idea is that each book (you life, your love life, your financial life) provides a sardonic set of rules to ensure failure in misery in your life. For example, the very first rule in ruining your life is, "Don't Learn Any Useful Skills". This does seem an effective way to ensure misery doesn't it? The author then provides some commentary on the most effective ways to implement such a rule and the salutary effects it will have in helping ensure a ruined life.
The first rule in "How to Ruin Your Love Life" has been proven out in countless failed marriages and can be attested to by reading almost any divorce transcript you can find. The rule is, "Know That You Wishes Are the Only Ones That Matter In Any Situation." I am sure you have seen it applied in the lives of unhappy people you know and can attest that this rule can ensure the inability to form any long-term relationships that are actually long term.
And the first rule for ruining your financial life is "Forget About Tomorrow". You can see how this applies, I am sure. You should not only spend all you have today, you should borrow against tomorrow to have fun today. Yep, that will work.
So, each of these sections provides dozens of rules that can help the thoughtful think through their present actions and course of life and compare their behavior to these rules and see why things might be working out well or not. Sometimes the biting contrarian way of saying things helps us see more clearly than the sometimes too sweet way of saying things positively. Mr. Stein not only provides good advice in this inverse way, he make it funny as well.
Highly recommended and can make a great gift to the right son or daughter. Of course, it is the ones who need it less who will actually read it. As soon as I got it, my two youngest children, both teenagers, grabbed it from me and started going through it. I smiled.