On occasion you will come across a book that has the potential to change your life. I have a shelf full of self-help books, but there are the odd one or two that I recommend to everyone I know. Why? Because these books changed me at my core and made me think about how I live and what I can do to improve my environment/life/career.
Today I am joined by Peter Jones, author of How To Do Everything And Be Happy - one of the outstanding books that changed my life.
What is 'How To Do Everything And Be Happy' about?
It’s a step-by-step, straight-talking guide to creating more happiness in your life. Basically it’s a how-to book: How to put processes in place that will cause you to smile more often than not. Maybe I should have made that the title? Mind you, I'm not sure it rolls off the tongue quite so well as 'how to do everything and be happy'
Will applying the principles of your book make someone happy?
I certainly hope so! I mean, obviously, not all the ideas in the book will work for everyone - but most will. And a week rarely goes by when I don't get an email from a reader somewhere who's delighted with the results they're seeing. And that's enormously gratifying- and quite humbling.
What’s your background?
Credit Card Banking.
I was a freelance fix-it man. A specialist in processes and systems - both computerised and manual. Banks would get me in, ask me how to do something - like; increase everyone's interest rates, charge them more fees, encourage them to spend more – and I would make it happen. Which means that I was partly responsible for the economic global slump of the last ten or so years. That wasn't my idea - I hasten to add – but I was there, pulling the levers and pressing the buttons that made it happen.
I liked the people I worked with and the puzzles I had to solve – but I was, when all said and done, spending my days making the man on the street very unhappy. And after a while that didn't sit right with me. I'm now atoning for those crimes one book at a time.
There are so many self-help books on the market. Why should we choose your book?
How To Do Everything And Be Happy is a book for everyday people. It's a book for those of us who have been ambling through life, doing what we need to do, but kinda wondering why we're not - well - happier!
But it's also a very practical book. Because that's who i am. A fix it man. I find solutions that work. The easier they are, the more I like them. There's nothing complicated in those pages.
It's also a very English book. These days the Personal Development section of your local bookshop is dominated by American Self Help Gurus, this little book is reclaiming the genre - bringing it back to Britain where it first started.
How did you become interested in this subject?
I wasn't very happy, and I wanted to be.
What inspired you to write this book?
My wife died.
Kate and I had been together just three years and three months. And I'd spent much of that time being a grumpy old sod. She was only thirty nine when our marriage, and her life, came to an end.
Who is your book directed toward and what would you like them to get out of it?
You. And your readers. And happiness. I’d like them to find happiness.
What has writing this book done for you?
Well now, that's an interesting question.
Quite by accident How To Do Everything And Be Happy turned out to be the catalyst that finally released me from a life making rich men richer, and poor people poorer, and set me off on this journey of being a full time author. A life I'd only dreamed about.
I've never been as poor as I am now - financially - but boy howdy am I happier.
Are YOU happy?
Happier than I've ever been.
Have you used any of the exercises from the book in your own life
All of them! One day I might write another book called 5,000 ideas not to waste your time on, but for now, these are the ones that worked.
And actually if I do write another ‘happiness’ book it’ll be more happiness ideas that I’ve road tested and implemented into my life because I’ve discovered that ‘finding ways to be happy’ isn’t a one-time thing, it’s become a way of life.
In the meantime there are two and half follow up books to HTDEABH that deal specifically with the two most popular goals that people set themselves when they come on my happiness workshops; weight loss & romance.
You can find details of all my how-to books at howtodoeverythingandbehappy.com (or peterjones.guru if that’s easier to remember)