Ruby Wax, you’ve gone, dang done it again.


We have read dozens of ‘self help’ books in the style of a manual, did we enjoy them? Sure. Did they help? A little. Did we rush home after work and tell the next three people we saw about the book… no, no we did not. Ruby made us do that. That is a sign of a good book.


Not only is the book rich with helpful tips and tricks that Ruby herself has sometimes learnt the hard way, its bloody interesting. We found ourselves not only reading on because of what it claimed to be, but because Wax was firing out delightful facts with immense speed. We’ll never look at a Yoghurt the same way again.


The beauty of the book is that anyone can enjoy it due to its wacky and sometimes wonderfully dark humour, but if you do happen to suffer with depression or anxiety, it really does give some insightful knowledge. Remember, she has a master’s degree in cognitive therapy, Mrs Wax knows what she’s talking about.  Taking a new look at what millions suffer and facing it with humour,  life experiences, and crazy comparisons. The thought-provoking facts got us to sit up straight, think strangely positively and crave a strong alcoholic beverage of some kind.



This puts everything into perspective. Ruby tells us that we’re not expected to be able to deal with the immense pressure and migraine-causing scenarios that many of us have to go through in day-to-day life. 5000 years ago all a girl had to worry about was how the cows were feeling, getting pregnant at 14 and not dying of some awful disease before they hit 30, which many of them did. Imagine having to deal with income tax, the raising price of ferrero rochers and the Wi-Fi connection always jamming out just when you’re in the middle of a very important episode of Arrested Development on a smartphone that cost more than your car.  


Ruby promotes ‘Mindfulness’, which in layman's terms is treating yourself like a new born baby. Nourishing your thoughts, getting to know yourself and how you think. Wax explains that she cannot stop her bouts of depression but she can now predict them and control them far better than she could in the past, and this was all through ‘Mindfulness’. You are in charge of your own thoughts, not the other way around. Rather than doing the whole - 'oh, think positive', 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade'. Ruby doesn’t do that. She looks at the facts and figures, cutting out the bull and adding in a helpful dose of science. When the book explains why the brain does certain things or why your body will react in a specific way, it’s actually a lot more reassuring- knowing there’s some meaning behind the madness.


There’s a beautiful chapter toward the end that grounds Ruby and gave us a newfound respect for her. She gets personal. Talking about her family’s heart-breaking struggle in the war, many of them being sent to concentration camps. That is what brought us back to earth. And we’re so happy she included that.


We see Ruby as that aunty that we look forward to seeing at the family gathering. She’s wild, wacky and deadly funny. But when you listen to her talk you know she’s been through a hell of a lot. She’s lived, she’s learnt and you always listen to your favourite aunty, because you know she’s usually right.  


We thank you, Ruby.


You can get yourself a copy of How To Be Human: The Manual, here! 




Thank you to Penguin for providing the review copy in exchange for a honest review.