Sunday, September 26, 2010
Book Review: "Four Word Self Help" by Patti Digh
The people I consider my heroes are those who effect change. Sometimes this change comes on a grand scale, such as Lance Armstrong's crusade for cancer prevention, while in other instances, it is helping people, one at a time, change their lives for the better, bit by bit.
One of my heroes that falls into the latter category is Patti Digh, the extraordinary creator of the award-winning blog, 37days. While she has so many tremendously admirable qualities, what impresses me the most is her ability to help people change their lives by leading them to the changes that will work for them, not by pushing them along kicking and screaming toward changes that don't fit.
Digh's latest book, Four Word Self Help, has a simple yet powerful premise: Is life really all that complicated? Do we need seminars, self-help books, more therapy? What if we could solve all our problems with just four simple words?
Addressing 12 areas with which many of us struggleCommunity, Love, Stress, Travel, Soul, Wellness, Success, Green, Activism, Children, Generosity and EndingsDigh provides meaningful and inspirational suggestions, each in only four words, accompanied by some of the most beautiful illustrations I've ever seen. (All of the artwork was contributed by readers of her 37days blog.)
This book doesn't provide 12 easy steps to help you de-stress, de-clutter your life, lose weight or handle your daily aggravations. What it does is provide a road map for you to help yourself. You don't have to memorize mantras or formulas; all you need to do is pick one or two suggestions that work for you, try to implement them, and repeat. For me, suggestions like "Let someone help you" or "Know what matters now" resonate more than directions or commands.
Many of us (myself included) need help with one issue or another in our lives. But not all of us need to look outside for help; we can find that help inside us. Four Word Self Help helps you find that help. Read it, live it and share it with someone you love or even someone you're just getting to know. And if you want further help with living a meaningful life, check out Digh's previous book, Life Is a Verb.
And then you'll see why Patti Digh is one of my heroes. Maybe she'll become one of yours.