Why you should read the book?
Catherine Khoo is the author of ‘Love! Live Dangerously! And have Fun!’ Her life has been rather eventful, with many ups and downs. Her story is very inspirational and what is particularly impressive is how she managed to overcome her setbacks and still have the zest for life in her 50s. Catherine is married and has 3 lovely daughters. She even had the chance to meet the Dalai Lama at age 48. Now, she runs her own business ‘The Unique Classroom’ and the Young Author Scheme. The motivation behind those businesses was largely to bring local literature to children and cultivate the habit of reading and writing in them.
To her, life is meant to be lived to the fullest. It also means not living based on others’ expectations. It is heartening to note that she possesses a keen sense for life and the desire to seek adventure (like the hot-air balloon ride). The book gives an honest account of some of her memorable life experiences and the valuable lessons that can be drawn from them. For instance, the major theme of the book is to be grateful and contented with what you have and not forgetting to seek adventure and learn whenever possible. Having strong and healthy relationships are also her key to being so enthusiastic about life.
Who is this book meant for?
According to Catherine, this book is meant for anyone. Singles or married couples, young or old, students or working adults can all learn invaluable lessons from the book. Some of the experiences are also relatable and might happen to any ordinary person on the street. Couples with kids might find the part on how she took care of her 3 daughters useful. Those experiencing relationship trouble can also learn from how she dealt with her sister-in-laws and husband.
What is the book like?
The book is structured into 18 short chapters, each comprising of an average of 7 pages in length. The book is 136 pages long, excluding the 4 short love stories at the end. At ordinary reading pace, it should take no more than 3 hours to complete the book. Each chapter is a learning lesson on its own and contains anecdotes/stories to illustrate her point. The content is easily understood and digestible and the writing is executed in a concise manner.
What can I learn from the book?
There are many key lessons that can be learnt from the book. Her life events are meaningful and Catherine always practiced self-reflection to learn from them. For instance, readers will learn about her parenting style, how she dealt with sisters-in-law and husband, her adventures overseas, her encounter with the Dalai Lama etc. Also, readers will be able to appreciate her motivation for setting up her company. Towards the end of the book, she highlights the importance of being true to yourself, setting goals and living life the way you think it should be led.
What I found particularly inspiring was how she managed to live by her principles and stay positive in the face of adversity. She tries her best not to be living someone else’s life so as to please them and make her daughters happy etc. In a hectic city like Singapore’s, it is rare to see someone trying to live more simply so as to appreciate the simpler pleasures in life.
Listed below is a summary of the key insights of the book. The words in (brackets) are my interpretation of each chapter.
Be grateful and appreciative for what you have (do not lose that sense of childhood curiosity); If you don’t try, you will never know (don’t be afraid to approach an attractive person); It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see that matters (try and think about the motivation behind an act); If you want to be happy, no one can stop you (you decide how positive you want to be); Look within yourself (ask yourself whether you are living by your values); Life is a daring adventure…Live it to the fullest (live your dream); Set your own expectations of yourself (self-awareness and be yourself); It is always darkest before the day dawns (always look forward to something better); Give your children roots, give them wings too! (Let them explore); Take it one step at a time (Good things take time); Live a Life that Transcends your own (Give warmth and affection); Listen to the dreams of the young (Do not be afraid of new opportunities); Always find time for yourself (Practice self-reflection); If it is up to be, it is up to me! (You have the power to change things); Those who know enough is enough, will always have enough (Learn to be contented); Happy ever after? It’s no fairy tale (Life is full of ups and downs); 5 things before I turn 55 (Goal setting); Telling your story. My way (Everyone is unique in their own way)