The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life, A Book Review

The Lazy Guru’s Guide to LifeA Mindful Approach to Achieving More by Doing LessBy Laurence ShorterIllustrated by Magali CharrierHachette Books, 2016

by Tony Kendrew

Here’s another engaging little book of drawings and useful words – a great gift for someone you think needs to step off the treadmill! I had a blast reading it. It’s an uplifting, light, fun read. The book is an inch-thick primrose-yellow hardback with unnumbered pages. The cartoon line drawings are simple and effective and support, and often enhance, the author’s wonderfully progressive argument – summarized in the book’s subtitle. The pages are refreshingly free of clutter – sometimes there’s just a single word on a two-page spread.

There are six chapters. Chapter 5 is Practices of a Lazy Guru, which includes Be Kind and, fast becoming a strong favorite of mine, Beditate. Other section titles have equally playful titles (Clear out the Crud), as a book written by a Scottish comedian should, but this is a thoroughly practical guide to stopping the habits of activity and mind and tuning in to what is going on in our bodies and all around us.

Laurence Shorter had some success with his first book, The Optimist, the result of a decade-long search to seek out and interview people whose optimistic attitude was one of their best-loved traits. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bill Clinton were among them. The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life springs from that experience and goes a step further, to the understanding that things work best when we get out of the way.

The size and solidity of the book are great to hold in the hands, but I would have liked a better quality paper – you can see the shadow of the drawing on the opposite side. But that’s a small gripe. The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life is a timely reminder for nearly all of us to stop, tune in, let go – and breathe! As The Lazy Guru says at the very end: Go forth and do less.


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