Book review: Top Tips for Life

The author of this cute little book is listed as Kate Reardon, although the main body of the text is actually made up of hundreds of advice quotes compiled from the www.toptips.com website which she set up in March 2007.

On the whole this site gives you the benefit of what’s known as ‘the wisdom of crowds’, so if you’re after anything factual then more often or not it’s pretty accurate. However, the greatest strength is as follows:  most of the site users turn out to be impressively sage and savvy when it comes to the areas of life that need more complex answers, and I found that the opinions expressed in the Friendship, Relationships, Parenting, Family, Seniors and Work chapters were easily the best part of the book. These people aren’t afraid to lay it on the line!

The website grants its users anonymity, meaning that many of the questions posed in the book have been asked by people who would otherwise be too afraid or embarrassed to ask. That’s probably why the answers in the sections mentioned above are so useful – these are questions many of us would otherwise keep to ourselves for fear of upsetting our nearest and dearest, or making ourselves vulnerable and looking foolish.

In a couple of the chapters, especially beauty and health, while the majority of the entries were good, I did notice that some ‘conventional wisdom’ had crept in. There were a few places where the reader would have been better advised to see their GP or a dermatologist if they wanted the only proven/effective remedy. Also, some of the home remedies would have wreaked havoc on anyone with sensitive skin – and a lot of us have sensitive skin. Fortunately these only make up a very small part of the book.

The cover art is pretty, retro-styled and deliberately feminine, so girly-girls would probably appreciate this the most as a gift. The paper’s better quality than you’d expect to find in many books of this genre, and the tiny silky bookmark is a nice touch. I was slightly surprised to see a prominent quote from The Daily Mail on the front cover though – this may put some potential buyers off as it is not a universally loved publication. That would be unfortunate as the book is not something I would describe as politically charged.

It’s especially nice to see that every contributor has been namechecked, with page numbers, at the back of the book. I would have really liked the book to contain a subject index as well, as this would save time when going back to the book to look for specific useful quotes – perhaps the publishers could add that to the next edition.

To sum up: A pretty, girly book full of useful tips and ideas. Most of these could save you a fair bit of time, money or heartache.

COMPETITION: Win a copy of Top Tips For Life! This is especially for my lovely friends on Facebook. If you’d like to become one, simply send Penny Golightly a friend request on www.facebook.com today or tomorrow, and the prize draw competition will be announced in the morning on Wednesday 10th of March.

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