Teach Yourself To Live

Book review by Deane Barker tags: philosophy

This is kind of an odd little book. It was first published in 1955, and it’s a guidebook to life, basically.

It covers things like personal development, relationships, goal-setting, etc. Lots of basic, obvious stuff, which has been covered in countless books since then, but I wonder how novel this was back in the mid-50s?

I was directed to the book from the phenomenal Four Thousand Weeks, and I thought maybe it was something along the same lines, but it’s not really. It feels very dated – it’s written in older British English, and it requires a weird amount of work to understand (e.g. – the author uses says perforce a lot).

In the introduction, the author sets up the idea of the book:

Some of course will say that Life itself teaches us how to live. This is quite true. But through what processes of trial and error, what pain and suffering, and how often too late for our peace and good! From much of this a helping hand and a warning notice might have saved us, for Experience, though the best of teachers, is often and expensive and cruel one.

Chapters includes:

  • Personality: or, What Your Are
  • Property: or, What Your Have
  • Livelihood and Leisure
  • Streamlining Your Days and Ways

Did I learn anything from it? No. But it was an interesting look at a self-help title from three-quarters of a century ago.

Handsome little book too. Small size, hard cover, fits easily in the hand, and the cover is not a dust jacket; it’s printed directly.

Book Info

C. G. L Du Cann

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