Penguin Life/ 17 September 2020/ 256 pages/ e-book/ Review copy/ 3*
And Now For the Good News … To the Future With Love by Ruby Wax is a positive look at some recent developments in community, business, education, technology, and food that promise to make the world a better place.
She began writing this in 2018 before the outbreak of Covid-19, but ends the book with some ‘Post Covid-19 Good News.’ Whilst researching for her book she found what she calls ‘green shoots of hope peeping through the soil of civilisation’ that ‘may just bloom into a brighter future.’ It’s easy reading, written clearly in a breezy conversational style, covering a large amount of information. She emphasises the importance of compassion and kindness, of community and on working for the good of all. Maybe, above all she focuses on the benefits of mindfulness and on positive experiences.
She begins with writing about herself and sections about her own story are interspersed between the ‘Bad News’ and the ‘Good News’ throughout the book. In each section she gives a brief history of the topic, along with the story of her own experiences and then looks at examples of how things are improving. Not all of it was new to me, but I did learn a lot, as the book is simply crammed with information.
I’ll just mention two examples that interested me particularly. In the section on Education I was amazed to read about the discipline and regimentation in Chinese schools contrasting with the relaxed and caring approach in Finnish schools. And in the UK she visited a school in Hertfordshire, where children, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, learn about emotions as well as academic topics.
In the Business section she writes about new models of businesses that are ‘going green’ in companies such as the outdoor clothing company Patagonia, based in California. They believe they owe the earth for the industrial impact of business and consequently give away 10% of all profits and are very conscientious about what products they use because the textile industry is one of the most chemically intensive industries on earth, second only to agriculture.
The final section of the book is called ‘To the Future with Love’ in which she summarises the good news for each of the topics covered in her book. Her hope is that we will remember the’ feelings of interconnnectedness and caring for each other and … keep them going’ when the pandemic is over.
Overall, this is an interesting book with some inspiring stories but in places it felt as though I was reading newspaper articles or company brochures, which is why I’ve given it 3 stars rather than 4.
My thanks to the publishers for my copy via NetGalley.