Charlie Sykes' 50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School is based on his list of 14 rules that took on a bizarre Internet life as an e-mail attributed to Bill Gates. The original 14 were thought-provoking, clever and mercifully brief. But the book ... well, what's really the difference between Rule No. 1: "Life is not fair. Get used to it," and No. 22: "You are not a victim. So stop whining." Each rule is followed by a curmudgeonly lecture, and the effect is simply exhausting. When it appears Sykes had a secret that made it worth slogging through 150 pages -- Rule No. 46: "Check the guinea pig in the basement" -- it is just a reminder to call your grandmother. The book has some worthwhile insights, but feels so repetitive and tedious, numbingly self-centered and indulgent, that you want to remind Sykes of Rule No. 8:" Your navel is not that interesting. Don't spend your life gazing at it."More on 50 Rules here.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Sykes forgets rule No. 8
Milwaukee Magazine, of which Charlie Sykes is an editor emeritus, offers a quickie review of "50 Rules" in its November 2007 issue, by Lisa Holewa: