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Book review: Relax and Grow Rich: How To Live a Successful, Satisfying and Sustaining Life

is a compendium of delightful ideas about how to live well.

Relax and Grow Rich: How To Live a Successful, Satisfying and Sustaining Life

Relax and Grow Rich: How To Live a Successful, Satisfying and Sustaining Life

By Mike Hutcheson and Clare Wadey (HarperCollins, 2010) $35 Buy@Fishpond

Ah, sweet vindication. Having embraced old t-shirts, swear words and smiling for the entirety of my professional life, I’m gleefully looking forward to Mike Hutcheson and Clare Wadey convincing my attitudinal opposites I was right all along.

Relax and Grow Rich is a compendium of delightful ideas about how to live well, woven around the rather good news that success does not in fact stem from a tense vocational sphincter.

Despite its title, this is a book that’s more about creativity and happiness than wealth. But it’s not some schmucky earful about eschewing wealth or ambition. “It isn’t how rich we want to be,” the authors posit, “but how we want to be rich.” By following our passions and doing what we love, our minds are more likely to loosen up, have better ideas, and make us more successful.

Hutch was a founder of Colenso, the ad agency I work at today, so it’s little wonder that so many of the ideas here reflect Colenso’s relaxed, creative, happy spirit. While reading chapter 15 I couldn’t help but think of the new leader of one of Hutch’s other former agencies, who recently ordered her staff to ditch their relaxed attire. Sounds sensible. But “the world is dominated and run by Sensible people,” the authors write. “It will be interesting to see what the world’s response will be now that the supposedly Sensible bankers and traders on Wall Street have fallen from grace … fewer MBAs on corporate boards might help avert a future financial crisis.”

Or at least a crisis of calmness.