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Book review: A Little Book of Thank Yous
by Addie Johnson

A Little Book of Thank Yous: Letters, Notes and Quotes, by Addie Johnson A Little Book of Thank Yous:
Letters, Notes and Quotes

by Addie Johnson

Conari Press, 2010
128 pages

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This is a sweet little book, beautifully produced and with more depth than you might expect from the cute floral cover and the 'Little Book of...' title.
I have to say that I usually shy away from anything prefixed with 'A little book of...' as it tends to mean a mishmash of half thought out truisms put together purely with sales in mind. In this case, however, Addie Johnson has produced something different and worthwhile: a "collage of quotes, notes, and thoughts about gratitude...", and "ideas and ways to put (gratitude) into action through words and deeds." The result is a great book to dip into, and each time you do you're likely to find yourself smiling with recognition, thinking 'oh, that's a good idea!', and reading way more than you expected to.

Johnson starts by explaining that the word 'gratitude' comes from the Latin gratus, meaning both 'thankful' and 'pleasing'. In other words, to be thankful and show gratitude results in pleasure both for those we thank and for ourselves! She urges us to "rediscover the joy of gratitude" and makes a strong case for adopting gratitude and saying thank you as a way of life.

The connections between gratitude and abundance are a big theme, and it's certainly attractive to think of our gratitude creating an ever-renewing cycle of abundance. Johnson hopes to inspire us to 'make a life by giving', even or perhaps especially when we don't feel we have anything much to spare. "Giving what you have is the best you can do, and it can make all the difference."

This is a feel-good book, and Johnson's enthusiasm is infectious. She advocates gratitude as a daily practice, suggests we create a 'giving list', and offers myriad ideas for how and when to say thank you. There are lots of tips (including a great one for encouraging your child to say please and thank you!), plenty of good advice, and some charming anecdotes. There are inspirational quotes of all kinds, including this wonderfully brief note from Marilyn Monroe to an admirer: "Thank you for the champagne. It arrived, I drank it and I was gayer."

While this book covers much more than just writing thank you notes, I was happy to see the assertion that there is still a little bit of magic about the handwritten letter something that makes you heart "jump a little bit" when you open the mailbox. Very true!

Johnson offers lots of mini meditations on thanks, urging us to consider all kinds of 'gifts', not only material, but also those of patience, compassion, inspiration and many more. Unusually for this kind of book, there are thoughts on mustering thankfulness and gratitude in painful and difficult circumstances a positive and helpful spin on dealing with some of the darker times in life.

This is a book to turn to for a touch of inspiration and a gentle push towards gratitude, rather than a volume to read from cover to cover. It would make a lovely gift book, of course, but it's worth keeping a copy for yourself too. So get hold of A Little Book of Thank Yous you'll be thankful you did!

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