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Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life: A Guide for Anxious Humans Hardcover – October 13, 2015
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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"I really, really enjoyed it... beyond finding it a charming and funny read, I also found it a helpful one. It is a brave book and a noble one because, really, what better thing can a person do with their own suffering than to use it to try and help others. It's on my read-this-again shelf." - Nathan Filer, Author of 'The Shock of the Fall'
- Item Weight : 1.16 pounds
- Hardcover : 252 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0993166839
- Product dimensions : 6 x 0.69 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Enthusiastic Whim (October 13, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,117,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I was so very wrong. This is a substantial, surprisingly comprehensive, multifaceted, and utterly down-to-earth guide to how to work with your own brain to short-circuit bad habits, habitual worries, feedback loops, and crusty old beliefs to free yourself from the quicksand/custard of your own head. It offers practical tools and tips to help you work with your own beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors to help relieve anxiety by increasing your ability to let go of things that aren't important and giving you overall coping mechanisms to deal with everything else.
Before I get into the things I loved, a few things that might be helpful: this book mentions suicidal thoughts pretty early on, so anyone who would be affected by that, beware. Also, it does not touch on medication or seeking professional help for anxiety or other mental illnesses. In fact, that's a downside, I think. The tips in here will likely be helpful to everyone, but some acknowledgement that altered brain chemistries can sometimes be made 1000X easier to deal with when medicated would have been nice.
On to: Reasons I Love This Book:
- It is practical. The book is filled with actual exercises that you can do to put into practice what you're reading about. These are all excellent and usually focus not on "do X and you will feel Y", but at training your brain to look at things differently. This is something I like best about this book: it's not going to beat you up for not being able to meditate for 30 min every day. It will instead give you a plethora of tools and let you decide what will work best for you.
- It has a fresh voice and an innovative, down-home take on the topic. This book is about putting mindfulness and thought processes to work for you. But it does not get too deeply into the whys and wherefores of either religion or science. It's advice that doesn't take itself too seriously, like the author is friend you asked to help you out. It's a conversation, not a lecture. The author doesn't set himself up as an expert, and neither is he selling anything, and that combination is actually very refreshing in this genre.
- It is comprehensive. This is a substantial book, and I found myself several times going "I hope he talks about X!" and lo and behold, he did two chapters later. It's organized differently than other self-help books I've read, but he rounded out his thoughts, covered all the major bases, and overall left you feeling like he'd adequately covered every issue he brought up.
- It isn't afraid to wade into the deep water topics and how they actually impact your life. Instead of lumping all existential questions into a chapter on "dealing with death", there's a wider discussion. There's even a section at the end that talks about how to live with the knowledge that eventually the universe will collapse into its own heat death, or with lack of meaning in general. And the advice here is solid, giving you fresh perspectives on those thoughts and possible ways to look at the issues differently.
This book is at least 5X better than I was expecting. Maybe 10x better. I bought it for myself and actually now want to give physical copies to everyone I know who could use a little mindfulness in their life but who would be scared off by any whiff of New Age or Buddhism. This is a book on mindfulness you could give to your white-bread grandmother (and I might do just that.)
Hughes is not a doctor, and that's really good for this book. He's a person who understands what anxiety is like, and is willing to share his experiences. His narrative is open, honest and fresh. He's not afraid to share his vulnerabilities, which is key to making him someone I want to listen to. I don't need another book telling me to visualize the future, I needed Hughes telling me he gets what it's like to be frozen by worry and what-ifs and self-doubt, and how he manages it, one step at a time. Sometimes you just need to know other people feel what you feel.
The chapters are short, easy reads, each one with at least one true nugget of wisdom, perspective, or just empathy. It's not a list of "how-to," or an instruction manual, but contains lots of little things that I find popping into my head all the time. Monkeys, bananas and poo-flinging can be surprisingly comforting.
This book isn't a magical cure-all for anxiety, but it was a little bit magic for me. I've read it twice already, and suspect it's something I'll keep close by for years. I found perspective in this book that I've never gotten before.
The book’s approach is its main asset. Mr. Hughes is not a psychologist studiously reporting his findings based on his hundreds of cured patients. Instead, he lets the reader know from the outset that he’s a sufferer and survivor of anxiety. He has firsthand knowledge of how anxiety feels and how to deal with it.
Personally, I identified with Mr. Hughes discussion about negative internal self-talk. It was extremely helpful, and reassuring, to read in print someone else’s internal dialogue that so resembles my own. Other books' vague admonishments that we shouldn’t talk poorly to ourselves are not nearly as useful.
Implausible though it may seem, Mr. Hughes also makes a compelling argument for his interpretation of the meaning of life.
If you’d like help with your anxiety in a relatable and at times laugh-out-loud funny yarn, get a copy of this book.
Top reviews from other countries
Whether you suffer from anxiety or you're just a bit of a worrier, you'll realise by reading this book that you are not the only one who feels the way you do. You'll also learn how to manage your anxiety in a fun and effective way. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is at all anxious.
Ironically, self help books can be a bit of a downer sometimes because they spend the whole time talking about being sad. The master stroke of this book is that it's so funny (the author is a part time stand up) which allows you to contemplate issues as big as mortality and a the meaning of life whilst still being happy...quite a feat.
I often find self help books to be a little preachy - "if you follow all of my advice, one day you could be as awesome as me!" By talking so frankly about his own personal experience, Neil Hughes has written a book which lets you know that it's not been easy, and he doesn't have all the answers - and all the while you really enjoy listening to his advice! The advice in this book ranges from practical exercises (often along the lines of mindfulness), to surreal funny parables, to pretty deep thinking about the root of these common problems.
The self help aspect of this book comes as a bonus and is definitely worth giving a go! It was great for exploring and I think this book is brilliant, especially if you suffer from anxiety!
I would like to recommend that you would give this a read and don't miss the footnotes because they're a great addition to the main body of the book!