Wednesday, January 10, 2001

The Three Boxes of Life

by Richard N. Bolles

This a book my wife purchased to assist my daughters when they struggle with the question of what to do with their lives. My daughters are aged 8 and 4, so you can see that my wife likes to plan ahead. My wife also recommended that I peruse the book the next time I struggle with that same issue. (She thinks I haven't figured it out yet. Actually, I do know what I want to do with my life. I want to fall in love and get married. Having accomplished this life goal, I now have to figure out how to kill time until I die.) Anyway, The Three Boxes of Life is basically a book of, as Mr. Bolles puts it, LIFE/work planning. It is chock full of tools and tips to analyze yourself and use what you discover to find suitable schools, jobs and/or retirement activities. As I read the book, I was reminded how much I hated analyzing myself and trying to find a job. But I finished the book anyway. It was interesting, I have to admit. Mr. Bolles is an engaging writer and the book was full of all sorts of interesting illustrations. (You see, the book was printed in 1978 and business types used a lot of fun designs in the '70s. Of course, when I graduated in the '80s, business was back to boring. But I digress...) Overall, as I neared the end, my one real complaint with the book was that it seemed rather self centered. That is, the focus was on the reader's desires and interests, with little comment on an individual's duties and responsibilities to family or community. I mentioned this weakness to my wife, who counseled me to withhold judgment until I finished my reading. Her advice became clear as I reached the epilogue and the author dropped all airs of professionalism and gave a very clear and moving essay on his beliefs about death and the life one lives before it. The epilogue alone is worth checking out, but if you also might be struggling with education, job or purpose in life type issues, this book might help you get your thoughts together.

LibraryThing link


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