Reviewed by Jilles
Life’s Operating Manual is a great read by a very unexpected author, Hollywood director Tom Shadyac, who is the man behind most of the successful Jim Carey movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Liar Liar, and Bruce Almighty.
And yes, this book is very entertaining, but also very serious about its subject. Contrary to what the title suggests, this is not a self-help book in the regular sense of the word that tells you how to become happy. This book talks about our society as a product of our collective consciousness and how we are slowly destroying ourselves and the earth. He doesn’t point any fingers at systems or companies, but at values underneath these systems and companies, which makes so much more sense because that brings the responsibility back to us again, to who we are as human beings and what our values are in our life.
The book reads like a spiritual book, but one from the outside in instead of from the inside out which is what you normally get with these titles. Very entertaining and insightful are the dialogues between his ‘love side’ and his ‘fear side’ that end every chapter. These two forces that are part of him are trying to battle out who is right and who is wrong, but in the end that is not the purpose of these dialogues. It is to show a different perspective on ourselves and the world we live in, and to see that we have the power to make different choices.
What makes this book also very personal is that Shadyac shares his own story of having had a brush with death, something that transformed the way he looked at society and the world. It inspired him to make radical changes in his own life. One of the things he did was giving up his mansion and private jet, bought a bicycle and started living in a double trailer. His company started distributing income to what people needed, not what the Hollywood system normally uses. There is more to Tom Shadyac than him just being a funny guy. He is paving the way to a new way of looking at ourselves and our life’s.
An ebook version of Life’s Operating Manual can be found here.