Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: How To Develop Emotional Health by Oliver James

This book is a part of The School of Life series and irrespective of that, it gives some good insight on ‘Emotional Health’ which make this book a good starting point, as the title suggests. James Oliver starts his book by defining emotional health as

Emotional Health is the sense that what is happening, is happening now.

Sometimes the clear and simple words hit you hard and that’s what I realise after reading the first lines of text in this book. I liked Oliver’s style of opening the text with what matters. There’s no abstraction in that. Most books of this kind are pretty and heavy in text but they lack where it matters most: straightforwardness. Often they are not plain-spoken, the words must strike the reader at the right place in his mind.

Happiness is a part of abstraction which consume our daily lives. It is the most arbitrary expression that has different set of meanings to different people. Satisfaction, joy are subsets of it. And this what James Oliver suggests in his book. Rather than to seek an abstraction, we should cultivate our own emotional health.

It is experiencing the world as first-hand, immediate, rather than only knowing what was experienced when you reflect upon it later.

In other terms, self-awareness.

After introducing his readers to the term emotional health, Oliver takes matter further by answering the question that might appear in the back of the head, sometime, who possess emotional health?

Possessing emotional health has nothing to do with how intelligent or attractive or ambitious or rich you are.

James Oliver revolves his book around five key elements of emotional health and provide some examples, scenarios and studies to support. Those five key elements are enlisted:

  • Insightfulness
  • Living in the present
  • Fluid relationships
  • Authenticity
  • Playfulness

He offers strategies for optimizing each characteristic to live more fulfilling lives, and overcoming the condemnatory baggage we think are carrying on our shoulders every day.

This book is different from other books I have read in The School of Life production and is worth giving a look into. It’s short and can help you re-define the outlook of abstraction around you.


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