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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

The Joy of Options

The Joy of Options, with subtitle “The secrets to being happy and successful” (ISBN 978-974-13-9383-1 and distributed by the Se-Ed group) has been written (and illustrated) by a retired psychologist Keith Wilson, now living in Thailand.
The book has been designed to show people that they do have ‘options’ in life, or ‘choices’. Right at the start of the book he decries the “I had no choice” style of reaction to life. And in a tongue in cheek ending on the back cover, he states, “I had to write this book - I had no choice!”
The book opens with two options: 1 Read this book or 2 Don’t read this book. If you choose Option 2, author Wilson writes, “Sure, nobody can make you do anything, that’s your choice (option). Have a good life.”
Having chosen Option 1 myself, you are then met with 41 more short chapters covering such subjects as the art of being selfish, feeling guilty, expectations and barriers, examining your own personality, handling hate, fear and loneliness, happiness, depression, goal setting and the ‘right’ to make mistakes, plus many others.
I liked his very common sense (that attribute which is unfortunately very uncommon) approach to the human problems, and whimsical asides such as in the item on guilt where he writes, “Too much guilt can eat you up from the inside, that’s why they invented the confession box in the churches so that people can shed off all their guilt, to clear their souls and their minds.”
He has pondering points in many of the chapters, highlighted in blue, such as “If you change the way you view the world, you can change the world.” This is in the chapter Your Reality Vs My Reality, where he makes the very salient point that we all see the same items/concepts differently. What may be against the law in some countries is considered perfectly normal behavior in others. So which one is right? And which one is wrong? Is ‘reality’ really real?
All of the chapters are designed to assist the individual enjoy their own life more fully. So many of the barriers met in life are barriers of one’s own making. Author Wilson shows how the barriers can be taken down. Easily.
Faith healing and psychosomatic medicine are examined in the chapter on Mental Health Vs Physical Health and the mind-body interface explained in sensible English concepts. Laughter really is the best medicine, and Keith Wilson’s little illustrations do bring out a chuckle.
At B. 395, this is an exceptionally practical self-help manual, without the sugar you get in the American self-help books. I did find many typos, but when speaking with Keith Wilson, he also acknowledged that there were many, but eventually he just gave up trying to get the printers to stop altering words to what they thought was correct. The differences between “their”, “there” and “they’re” apparently beyond the ken of the man with the Heidelberg printing shop! One of the perils of self-publishing! However, do not let that small degree of negativity put you off buying this very positive, and worthwhile, book.