The more time passes, the more I am convinced that people, when it comes to (upcoming) books from category "Populogy" (as I like to call "Popular psychology"... maybe I should make it a ™?) have unrealistic expectations. These books are are constantly getting negative reviews and marks, followed by comments like "nothing new" or "I already know all of this"... Well, if you "know" all of this, why don't you change your life, I ask them. But, they fail to give me any proper answer.
Some books are simply there to remind us about things that we already know, or maybe writer had a desire to share his personal thoughts or experiences with readers, and if someone recognizes themselves in those written words, great. And that's it... at least, that is how I interpret some books. 🙂
John Strelecky's "The Why Cafe" (further in the text: TWC) is not "The Alchemist for 21st century", as some people overexaggerated. I think this book is not even trying to be that nor it can be. "The Alchemist" is the book that... well...it does make some kind of specific impact on reader (I hope that those that had read and understood the book will understand what I mean by this 🙂). "TWC" is more like a pocket reminder (and size is about the same 🙂) for some of the things that we already know. But, that doesn't mean this book is bad, au contraire!
Our hero (John) is the typical citizen of the world, always in rush and hurry. Rushing to find the better job, so that he could make more money to find more things to buy, so that he could find a little bit of temporary satisfaction...
In one moment, he gets (like most of the people) sick of everything. (F**k everything!) He takes vacation, hops into his car, with intention to drive away somewhere and takes break from everything and everybody. Like in real life, he gets even more sick from traffic (F**k everything!) and he decides to drive through unknown side-roads... and (of course) gets lost somewhere in never-land. No GPS, no mobile range, not a single gas station in the view, a almost no gas in the tank. Really a moment to (F*ck everything again!) freak out, and to start kicking your car and cursing all the saints you can remember, right?
And...straight at that moment, in the middle of bloody f...er, nowhere, John finds a cafe.
Right now, this is starting to sound more like a horror movie, and probably no one sane would just barge straight into the unknown cafe God knows where. But, John is very hungry and tired, and decides to test his luck by walking in the cafe.
Well, look at that! A cute cafe, pleasant atmosphere, a few guests, kind and charming waitress, and from the kitchen sounds of yummy food been prepared. John takes the menu to order some food (like eggs, omelets, sandwiches, apple pie etc). But, aside from list of food, John finds on the menu and three questions:
"Why are you here?"
"Are you afraid of death?"
"Are you fulfilled?"
Not the type of question you need with the salad, right? 🙂 And so, right in this cafe, John gets into conversations with waitress Casey, chef-owner Michael and Ann (one of the guests) about these three questions, with the purpose to discover answers to them. John soon realizes some unusual things that actually motivate him not to ignore those three questions:
- The cafe definitely has some unusual atmosphere
- For some reason, the waitress, chef-owner and guest can read his thoughts
- The waitress, chef-owner and guest (without a doubt) lead more fulfilling life than him
- The food is brutally good 🙂
And through talks about the three questions from the menu, John is discovering (better to say, starts remembering) that not everything about happiness is a complex nuclear science.
I noticed that impressions about "TWC" are divided (as you probably noticed from the start of this review), with comments like:
- Book can be read in one breath
- There are no concrete tips and hints
- Everything written here was already mentioned somewhere else
Let me tell you something honestly and from the bottom of my heart. Statements 2. and 3. can be found in 95% of these types of books... and I think that is totally fine, since THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL FORMULA FOR HAPPINESS THAT 100% WORKS! But, what is interesting, is that most of us make mistakes with statement 1. And do you know why?
Let me tell you about something interesting that has happened to me and is related to this book. It's true, the book is small and short and can be read in two hours. But...
Due to circumstances (obligations), I read this book for three days. And it was unusual that I had to stop with reading literally the moment I would complete one of three key questions from this book. And then that question (and answers of the mysterious people from the cafe) would be somewhere hidden in my mind during the entire day, occasionally popping up to remind it is still there.
And that is when I (maybe) figured out one of the meanings behind this book. And besides that, there are lots of interesting thoughts worth thinking about.
Writer's style is simple and there is nothing complex about it. Nothing like deep philosophy, metaphysics etc. Some dialogues, stories behind happiness of Casey, Michael and Ann, some John's thoughts and that's it. Simple, right?
And simplicity is sometimes great necessity, right?
To sum it all up, "TWC" is cute and charming book. Maybe it will not reveal us something revolutionary, but it will remind us on some simple (but important) things that we (un)consciously overlook. I especially enjoyed dialogues about fulfillment, and the view on material things.
And you, my dear readers, did you have some unusual experience like John? 🙂
Link to buy book online (Serbian version) - Kafić na kraju sveta – Džon Strelecki