Sunday, January 27, 2019

How to Live In Beauty

Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary HappinessJoyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

January brings thoughts of fresh new beginnings and makeovers of body, mind, spirit—and surroundings. If you want to refresh your life this year, “Joyful” can help you on all levels. Readers may recall Alexandra Stoddard, who wrote “Living A Beautiful Life” in the 1980s—Lee’s new take on an older idea is updated with the latest scientific research revealing the neurological underpinnings of humans’ persistent belief (and experience) that surrounding yourself with beauty can make you happy. Here’s how to reach for happiness and beyond without having to hoard things or break your budget.

Lee breaks out elements of joy into 10 different qualities, tells us how to recognize their essence in sensory details like colors, shapes, and textures, and sets us free to explore the possibilities. Without “woo-woo,” but using anecdotes, interviews, studies, some necessary drawings, and exposition, Lee walks you through her journey into the human made material world, then to the environmental qualities that inspire makers and back again to a potential synthesis of joy and beauty. There might be too much theory of aesthetics in the book for some, but this is not only a how-to book, it’s a how-come book.

I still found myself wanting some photos; the lack made me the most excited I’ve ever been to discover charts and worksheets in the back of a book. We are left to our own devices as to how we want to apply the strategies in the book, but the tools Lee gives us are great: “Whether you want to give your life a full joy makeover, tackle a specific project (like redesigning a room or throwing a party), or simply sprinkle a bit more joy here and there, these exercises will help you bring more joy into your world.”

Theory and practice, inspiration and good tools for renewing your life. Recommended!

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