“Cheat Sheets for Life” by Ayesha Ratnayake

This is the ultimate self-help book, covering all the topics anyone would ever want. Of course, at under 200 pages (plus 50 pages of references!). It doesn’t cover anything too deeply, but it’s all there: wealth, happiness, love, parenting, work, leadership, you name it. There’s even a “Green Living” section.

The book consists of snippets of advice — generally good advice — like we often see quoted in social media: clearly stated, well laid out, neat and accessible.

I found myself reading more deeply and enjoying more in the areas I felt most connected with, like parenting, learning, and leadership. I don’t always agree, but that’s not the point. The book gave me ideas to consider. Because of the layout, it was easy to skim the parts that didn’t grab me without thinking I missed anything.

As far as how to use the book, I can’t do better than quote the author:

“Read mindfully – Pause and reflect on how you can apply useful points, look up anything unfamiliar, act on anything immediately actionable, make and revisit notes, remember the key jargon, discuss the material with a friend, and consider reading the source material.”

This is fun stuff to read and dream about following the advice. I’m not sure that any of it will change my life, but it was great to think about.

The most important elements of the book lead us to meta-thinking – considering how we think. And if we don’t actually follow the advice, this book motivates us to take a good look at how we think and where we get the information we use to make decisions.

One thing this author doesn’t do that I think would make the book better is to have a few overarching ideas to refer back to, like a theme in a novel. We are left to infer our own basic ideas, which is fine, but it doesn’t give us a framework upon which to hang our arguments.

A great reference book for life. Buy a paperback copy and keep it in the bathroom or on the bedside table.


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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