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June 27, 2010

life is complex, not complicated.


Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.  -Confucius

There are three kinds of problems: simple (baking a cake), complicated (a moon launch), and complex (raising a child or finding meaning in your life).

Most of us mistake what is complex with what is merely complicated. We create more strategic plans and worksheets and believe we must invest in expensive solutions to the complicated issues of our day.

What if life is complex, not complicated? What if the counterintuitive response of simplifying is exactly the right one?

After a wee bit of a rant on Twitter about this confusion of the complicated and the complex, I started creating what I called "four-word self-help" books... and people started writing to see if they could print them out for their management team and their church for Advent.

Soon a book was born, coming out this September. Here's the publisher's description of it.

Pithy, provocative, poignant advice on a variety of
self-help topics—in four well-chosen words

Is life really all that complicated? What if we could solve all our problems with just four simple words?

Four-Word Self-Help is a pithy nod to the fact that life is simpler than we try to make it. It shows how the truisms for most of our woes can be boiled down to four well-chosen words. Author Patti Digh (Life is a Verb) takes the issues of our busy, burdened days and proves that rather than “solving” a complexity with another complexity, the answer may well lie in simple actions. 

Following an introduction reflecting on the power of words in self-improvement and self-discovery, Patti introduces twelve hot-button “issues”—each addressed by wise and witty four-word missives, 101 in total. Each concise nugget of advice has been interpreted in original art submitted by artists from around the world, making this book a visual feast for those who could, simply, use just a little bit of help and inspiration.

be a surge protector

eat less, move more

use your own voice

give up toxic people



Beautifully illustrated by readers of my blog from around the world, this feels like another artistic "barn-raising."

I hope you will love it in its simplicity. If you pre-order it online from Barnes and Noble, it encourages them to sell it in their brick and mortar stores and, perhaps, to invite me to those stores to do readings perched on a tiny high stool. The same is true for calling up your local independent bookshop to ask them to pre-order it for you. And we love independent bookshops, we surely do.


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Absolutely amazing, Patti! Congratulations on such an amazing project. I can't wait to read the book :). Thank you for all you do to spread inspiration to others.

I am SO excited ! I can not wait !!
well I know what my girls are getting for x/mas this year !
thank you Patti.
will you be coming to Atlanta ?

I think I commented and forgot to hit post? What I said is I have appointed myself your southeastern PA representative. I have a big list of independent bookstores nearby thanks to your link!!! Plan on hitting PA.

I love the way how life is described here - something very inspirational! Life complexities spice up our lives!
Dr Greg Cynaumon

I've read it. It's a joy and a treaure!

Make that "treasure".

I had great fun!
Open up let go.
be your own teacher.
Show others the way.
let yourself be free
Wear a silly hat!
Laugh loudly every day.

Well it's no longer a pre-order, but our nearest B & N does have a copy they're reserving for me - can't wait to go pick it up! And it's good to know that they're carrying copies in "real" stores, too.

I loved the "four word self help" exercise..

Love who you are.
Always do your best.
Respect yourself Respect others.
Love conquers all evil.
Keep learning keep growing.
Worry is wasted time.
Cheer your inner beauty.
Ge gentle with yourself.
Give yourself a hug.
Give without any expectation.

Thank you Patti for writing this book!!


i am waiting very hormonally for the books to come in market best of luck.

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