“If I could tell you just one thing…” by Richard Reed

This book should be made compulsory in schools.

“If I could tell you just one thing…” by Richard Reed is:

President Bill Clinton, Clare Balding, Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench, James Corden, Margaret Atwood, Sir David Attenborough, Annie Lennox, Andy Murray, Joanna Lumley, Anthony Bourdain, Marina Abramovic, Sir Richard Branson, Sandi Toksvig, Jude Law, Nicola Sturgeon, Harry Belafonte, Olivia Colman, Simon Cowell, Martha Lane-Fox, Mario Testino, Esther Perel, Bear Grylls, Diana Athill, Mike Bloomberg, Ruby Wax, Alain de Botton, Jo Malone, Heston Blumenthal, Ruthie Rogers, Nitin Sawhney, Katie Piper, Richard Curtis, Shami Chakrabarti, and Michael McIntyre are just some of the many inspiring people who appear in Richard Reed’s fascinating book.

In each case Richard asked them to share with him some of their hard-earned wisdom and insights into life and how to make the most of it.

If I Could Tell You Just One Thing… is not only packed with great advice but is also an enormously entertaining, brilliantly written and stunningly designed book. Each of the encounters is complemented by a pen and ink portrait by the award-winning British artist, Samuel Kerr. The resulting book is a treasure trove for readers of all ages and interests and a perfect gift book for just about anyone.

It’s the kind of a book that you want to read fast because it’s so fascinating but you’re slowing yourself down because you want to savour every word. I’ve bookmarked lots of great pieces of advice, and in my darkest days I will reach out for this book to shed some light.

My personal most favourite advice is by Alain de Botton (page 295):

Find the thing the drives you. It’s not easy. Most of us are not obvious to ourselves. But we occasionally pick up indistinct signals, some kind of vogue longing, from something that feels like a ghost-self, deep within us, something that refuses to die but is not quite alive either. That ghost is our true self, trying to come out. Listen out for it. We have to turn our ghost-self into a real person. We need to bring the ghost to life.

This is the best self-help book that doesn’t claim to be self-helpful.

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