Book Review: The Invention of Everything – Insights on Life, Food, and One Good Thermos by Everett De Morier

The thing about today’s world is that it is lost in a haze of mindless competitions and artificial nourishments. What if we actually do something to rectify this situation? With this, too, there is a problem. We have the right intent to do something that will make our lives easier, but most importantly, as the author says in this book, the lives of those around us easier. Because isn’t that what a good life is all about? Keep your comforts but make sure they don’t cause any discomfort to those around you.

Everett De Morier is an accomplished author in the USA. He has written award-winning novels and non-fiction that you’ll identify with, even if you’re not American. His latest work, The Invention of Everything: Insights on Life, Food, and One Good Thermos is one such book. It is a variety of enjoyable non-fiction that appeals to me, more on the lines of how Bill Bryson writes his travelogues. And that’s something, coming from someone who actively avoids non-fiction (unless it’s Bill Bryson) because she fears it’ll be boring or preachy.

Everett De Morier, in this collection that he originally collected for his website, 543 Magazine, talks about a list of skills that he thinks (and rightly so) should be inculcated for an easier, stress-free life. Not to say that he preaches this to us obnoxiously. He knows how to put his point across in a way that will neither bore nor offend anyone. His strong point is humor. He has a unique brand that will make you laugh. And you laugh even more when you realize that you weren’t expecting it.

Take for example: After I finished reading the book and before I wrote this review, I happened to watch the book’s video trailer. And just like his book, the trailer is so understatedly funny, with the author comfortably taking jibes at himself. Click here to watch.

The best part about The Invention of Everything is that it puts out the little things in life that we tend to take for granted. The skills that we think we could do without. The reason why regrets can be debilitating yet so formative. The funny moments that we turn our noses up as they happen but recollect with fond laughter in the future. Information from the past that we cannot quite call historical, but is still relevant to the text. Simple recipes that could quite possibly save your day someday. Everything mixes and settles so well in this quite amazing non-fiction book that I’m rather thankful to have read.

Had The Invention of Everything been written in any other manner, I would most probably have said, “Why are you giving me this information?” Because many, not all, of the tips and tricks won’t work here in India. But thanks to our knowledge of the American system via Hollywood and all the books that are set in that country, we tend to understand the goings-on in this book much better. And the way he wraps things up in every chapter is so strong that by the end of the book, I was inexplicably emotional.

As a woman who has been married for close to a year and a half, the chapter that I identified with and loved the most was the one called The Broken Gauge. Everett De Morier, on behalf of everyone who has been pushed to reach certain milestones before a certain age, talks about how that is detrimental for the human psyche. Pressure is not the right way to go ahead and I’m not going to attach a ‘because’ to it. Think about it: when a person’s required to work too hard at office, people at home condemn that pressure. But when they keep asking for the person to change jobs, get married, have a kid, have one more kid, isn’t that pressure? Where should a person go to get some peace of mind?

This is exactly what this book does – identifies itself with you on so many levels in every chapter in there. It doesn’t matter if he is talking about the economic system in America. Somewhere in there lies a universal solution that you can apply no matter where in the world you live. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Antarctica (that would be so cool!), he’ll give you life lessons that you could apply on yourself and on your companion penguins, perhaps. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the last island on the planet. He gives you reasons why you shouldn’t take any nonsense from anyone in the world. It doesn’t matter if… Ah, but you get the drift!

Thing is, he doesn’t do this just with reasons. He gives you examples from his life. And going by the list that almost seems entertainingly never-ending, what a life it has been! Yes, it hasn’t exactly been completely comfortable, but as he says, life has two kinds of bad decisions: mistakes and regrets. And what’s life without a little bit of both? Moreover, what’s life without lots of laughter, a little bit of satire, and learning to live even if it’s a little late? Who’s counting anyway?

The research that has gone into this book is pretty amazing. With all the history nuggets he doles out from time to time, it’s pretty clear he knows what he’s talking about and is a pro at life. And the way he imbibes and segregates the information is explained so wonderfully well that you just want to write it all down for future use. Then you remember that you have the book so you can refer to it anytime. 😛

While the book gives us a number of useful tips and tricks, there are a couple of places where I happen to have a difference of opinion with the author. For example, the author says that we should be generous and should say grace when asked to while at someone’s home before dinner. But my opinion is that you shouldn’t force someone to pray just like you shouldn’t stop someone from praying. It’s as simple as that.

On the whole, The Invention of Everything: Insights on Life, Food, and One Good Thermos is a spectacular satirical non-fiction that channels love, altruism (read it and you’ll know), pain (through anecdotes), life hacks, and quotes that will leave you with a rather warm feeling in the end.

And at the end of my review, here’s a quote that I absolutely loved:

There are two kinds of bad decisions: mistakes and regrets. A life filled with mistakes is not a bad life at all. It’s one of excitement and energy and fire. But one filled with regrets will weigh you down because regrets don’t have shelf lives and their backup batteries never run dry.

Try telling me this isn’t an amazing book after this quote too. Go on. I’ll wait.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Amazon.com

If you’d like to buy this book after reading my review, please do so by clicking my Amazon Affiliate link given below. The price remains the same for you but I get a small commission off of every purchase you make.

Here’s the link: The Invention of Everything – Insights on Life, Food, and One Good Thermos

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