Books, television shows and websites are forever ordering us around – 100 things to do before you’re 30; 50 albums you must own; this year’s must-have handbag; change your life in two weeks. Why – is this an increasingly desperate search for happiness?
Perhaps you can in fact attain happiness not by going anywhere or doing anything but instead by actually reducing your ambitions. This is the philosophy behind ‘101 Things Not To Do Before You Die’. Each chapter begins with a diatribe, followed by a detailed look at the alternative side of the 101 most frequently cited must do’s, revealing ugly details not mentioned in existing guidebooks and giving off-putting facts and statistics to quote at holier-than-thou thrillseekers.
Here, at last, is the timely antidote to the plethora of ‘101 things’ books so beloved by vaunting adventurers. After all, why must we swim with dolphins? Or read Kafka in Prague? Or go paintballing? Wish-fulfillment lists take heed…
Richard Wilson is head of comedy for Hat Trick Productions and executive producer of Have I Got News For You. He has also previously worked on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Room 101. His first book for Portico, Can't Be Arsed: 101 Things Not To Do Before You Die (9781906032371) was published in 2008.