WH Allen, £16.99. Order at the discounted price of £13.99 inc. p&p from the Independent Bookshop

Thrive by Arianna Huffington, book review: Money, power and how to live a happier life

 

There were no psych-fix or self-improvement books on my shelves. Now there is one: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life. Don't laugh. Never ridicule or underestimate this author, journalist, editor-in-chief, (ex) politician, America's biggest and busiest networker, entrepreneur, multimillionaire, spiritual, mental and health guru who looks just great and never has a bad hair day.

I present to you Arianna Huffington, (previously known as Arianna Stassinopoulou) a woman who has been gifted amazing powers of self-regeneration (and reinvention) by the Fates. Born in Greece in 1950, she migrated with her mum to Britain, got a scholarship to Cambridge and became, say some, "the most upwardly mobile Greek since Icarus". But unlike the recklessly ambitious Icarus she never burns out or melts down.

In the 70s, she hooked up with the cerebral Bernard Levin, wrote an anti-feminism book (The Female Woman) and won many, helpful male admirers. In the 80s she moved to the US, quickly made friends in high places, turned frightfully right wing, married Michael Huffington, a rich Republican who eventually confessed he was bisexual.

They parted but the surname stayed, opened doors. In 2003 she stood against Arnold Schwarzenegger for the governorship of California and lost. Two years later she founded the eponymous online Huffington Post (liberal, centre left) which was sold to AOL for $305m. It is now a global brand, read and taken seriously by readers, writers and unpaid bloggers.

This Greek goddess never fades, never regrets, always astounds and awes. The Greek word "arete" means excellence, effectiveness, living to one's full potential. Arianna is its embodiment.

In April 2007, she fainted and fell in her home office: "I was on the cover of magazines and had been chosen by Time as one of the 100 most influential people. After my fall, I had to ask myself, was this what success looked like?" No, dear Arianna, it's what middle-age feels like. But Ms Huffington didn't get to where she is by accepting inevitable life changes. She wrote this book.

So what is the "third metric"? There's this stool of life, you see. Two legs stand for the pursuit of money and power. The third is what humans apparently need to be fulfilled and stable. (And not fall over.) We must slow down, reflect, relish each moment, unplug devices and give: "[Gazelles] are my role models. They run and flee when there is a danger – a leopard or a lion approaching – but as soon as the danger passes they stop and go back to grazing without a care in the world."

We know vast ambitions can lead to mental disharmonies, stress and perpetual dissatisfaction. The world would be a better place if bosses and nations were not so greedy, were kinder to themselves and others.

However, Huffington's heroes reach this nirvana after they get rich and powerful. They don't leave or lose the rat race. Steve Jobs meditated and wanted a book by an old Indian yogi handed out at his memorial. And John F Kennedy took soothing naps. Huffington too goes on long, invigorating hikes, is keen on sleep and spirituality, values personal relationships. Ameliorated capitalism and soft power play is self-gratifying. It does not make the world more just or equal.

That said, the book offers persuasive arguments, is full of fascinating research, much fire and passion. Huffington draws people to her, commoners as well as captains of industry, the media, arts and cultural establishments. What gall an outsider, scorned for her outsiderness, shows them again and again. I wish she would choose me to be her new best friend.

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks