Nevertheless, there are still things he wants to change. For one, he wants to learn to cook, both to ease the pressure on his rather deliciously cynical wife Kate, and to fill what feels to him a significant capability gap. He also wants to lose a little more weight, bump his fitness up a bit more, reconnect with his family, and of course re-ignite his sense of purpose and passion in what he does – something that is difficult to do when mired in a busy work life or tilting at the corporate ladder.
There’s nothing pompous in this book. Instead Marsh just shares his experiences and what he’s learned on his journey in a very down-to-earth, accessible way, as one might do in a conversation with a friend. We share his frustrations in losing weight, his attempts to connect with his father who has Parkinson's and dementia, his sports, the funny experiences he has with his family. The one overriding quality of this and all of Marsh’s books is how familiar it all is. I suspect that anyone from age 30 onwards will recognise aspects of themselves in Marsh's journey. While the book will certainly resonate with women, it is perhaps the case that women are less likely to get themselves so thoroughly stuck in the workforce, partly because of maternity leave and the physical changes that having children creates. Still, the parenting stories of soccer games and birthday parties will all hit home and leave any reader at this stage of their lives with multiple children laughing knowingly.
For men though, Marsh’s tale is not only salutary, it’s perfectly pitched, couching some serious life lessons and pointers in witty story. I’m just hoping that if I leave it somewhere obvious (like the bedside nightstand) some of the 12 lessons that the book contains might actually have an impact. That so many men (and some women) live lives of servitude and never stop to think about who they are or what they might want to really achieve in the short space that we have is a modern tragedy. Marsh gently and humorously makes this obvious, and in the changes he’s created in his own life, sets a trend that others can easily follow.