Generally when I sit down to write a book review I have the review mapped out in my head, and the review itself is a straight brain dump onto my keyboard. Not so in the case of Living Life. Actually this book could have been equally well titled ‘The Book Of Everything’. It is part philosophical look at the state of human kind, part self help book, and part glorious rant.

While hardly a quick read at a 500 pages I did find most of it immensely entertaining, but likely not for the reasons that Dr. Wysong was aiming at. I always enjoy a good rant about pretty much anything, One of my favorite pastimes when I was in school (too many years ago to even think about) was to engage teachers in debates, the subject did not matter, and I cared little about which side of the issue I took, I guess you could call me adaptable. There are always three versions of every story, there is mine, there is yours, and there is the truth, which lays somewhere in the middle.

Dr. Wysong has created a wonderful canvas for debate, much of what he writes about I am in agreement with, although he does have a somewhat unusual and provocative method of introducing his concepts.

On the subject of health, Dr. Wysong essentially paints a bleak picture, The entire industry has become a self fulfilling prophecy. Needless tests, needless ‘procedures’, and needless expense. Only go to the doctor if you are mortally ill, is the message we get. This is a sentiment that I share, I had a bout with the health care system in 2007, and hated every moment. I was subjected to CT scans, MRI’s, X-rays, heart monitors, mercilessly poked and prodded, all in the quest to prove that the $30 blood pressure machine had been correct, and I did in fact have high blood pressure. I am sure that the total bill was several thousands of dollars, luckily the only out of pocket expense I had to occur was the purchase of a bottle of baby aspirins ($1 at the dollar store).

The health system is badly broken, that is for sure.

Dr. Wysong correctly suggests that many of todays ailments are self inflicted, the food we eat, the environment we live in, pollution, life style, and other elements all act as catalysts to health problems.

One analogy brought up certainly got me thinking, most of the scientific community agree that the Earth is about 3.5 billion years old, if we were to convert that into a more meaningful number, lets say a highway that is 550 miles long. The distance traveled since the industrial revolution would equate to approximately one inch of this wonderful highway. That is a very sobering thought. In that one single inch we have managed to scar our planet and ourselves.

The Self Help aspect of Living Life, I found curious though not engaging. We live in a world of acronyms,there is a short cut for almost everything, I base that on over 30 years experience in the computer industry, when computer guys talk it is no longer English. Dr. Wysong would like us all to adopt just one more. SOLVER, this includes:

Take Self Responsibility
Open Our Minds
Thing Long-Term effects
Give Virtue Priority
Consider All The Evidence
Let Reason Lead

Sorry, but this is not the easy to remember and catchy phrase that it could be, and is very unlikely to win the acronym of the year award.

On the plus side, he does bring out many salient points, we all do possess the ability to change not just ourselves but the world we live in. If you think that there is nothing you can do to modify the world, you are wrong. There is much that an individual can do, as Dr. Wysong says “one step at a time”.

My favorite aspect though of the book are the rants, Health Care, Eating Habits, Business, Government Subsidies and Socialism, to name but a few. They all are exceptionally well executed. One of my favorites involves the Space Shuttle, more importantly the external fuel tanks used that are manufactured by the Thyokol company. Their diameter Dr. Wysong patiently explains has its roots in a horses ass.

I will end this review with my starting comments, I liked the book, but probably not for the reasons that the author intended. Living Life is a fun read. The book is also peppered with amusing cartoons, quotes, and less than reliable excerpts from Internet E-mails of urban myths purporting to tell important truths.

You can get your copy from Amazon,

Simon Barrett

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