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Peaks and Valleys, written by Spencer Johnson, M. D., is all about managing your good and bad times. Nothing more, nothing less, told in a very easy-to-read, parable-like style.

In fact, it really could be said to be a book of great common sense.

I wouldn’t blame you if you asked me why you should buy a book about common sense. After all, common sense certainly doesn’t sound as exciting as “5 quick steps to amazing happiness”, or “the 1- month program to incredible success.”

You should read it because common sense isn’t all too common.

Oftentimes we make our problems in life much more complicated than they need to be. This book shows you how to stay positive and get out of bad times (the valleys) quicker, and how to hold on to your good times (the peaks), longer.

When I picked this book up at the bookstore, two things went through my mind. The first was whether or not I should pay about $20 for a 101 page book, and the second was remembering another book Spencer Johnson had written (Who Moved My Cheese?), sitting on my Dad’s bookshelf for years while I was growing up, thinking it looked like homework rather than anything I would possibly ever want to read, let alone enjoy.

I should have read that book, and then this one, back when I was a kid.

If I had, I would have had a jump-start on being able to see the good in what appears to be a horrible situation. I would have gained the ability to stay humble and grateful when things were going great. I would have been able to see how 90% of the issues and problems in my life are caused by me and how I react to them.

The $20 was a little steep for a book I finished in about 2 hours, but the value of this book is not in its initial read-through… it’s in what it teaches you and how you use those lesson in your own life. Plus it came with this nifty wallet-card thingy that I’ve actually had stuck in my wallet ever since I bought the book. 

Its short length is beneficial in another way: it’s quite easy to simply pick it up and read it again, as a reminder of the good lessons inside. In fact, as I sat down to write this review, I started thumbing through it, and before I knew it I had started back at the beginning and read it all the way through.

It’s one of those little gems full of age-old wisdom that anyone of any age can read and get quite a bit out of.

Jake Evans

Jake Evans