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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
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.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent