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Best Life Hacks from “The Little Black Book of Secrets”

Best Life Hacks from “The Little Black Book of Secrets”

    The little black book, quite literally, fits into the palm of my hand. And despite its small size, it packs quite a whallop. Plainly titled “Book of Secrets”, this micro-book is a treasure trove of life hacks, trivia, quotes, and “secret information”. Compiled by a team of authors (Lloyd Bradley, Thomas Eaton, Emma Hooley, Patrick Humphries, and Charlotte Williamson), this 152 page book is so engrossing, you’ll read it in a single session.

    Eaton, co-author and lead editor for the book, studied history at Oxford and Cambridge. He worked on the television program “The Weakest Link”, and has also written trivia quizzes for other TV programs and newspapers in the UK.

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    Beyond the facts about government conspiracies, underground movie theatres, and lost historical tidbits, there are also plenty of practical secrets and hacks, ranging from food preparation tips to business tips to sneaky tips to manipulate people.

    The Look of the Book

    I wasn’t kidding before when I was talking about the size: the dimensions of the 2008 edition of the book are 3.375″ x 3.75″. The book is super tiny! And the size is arguably the coolest thing about the book (well, besides the content of course!). It’s tiny enough to fit in the smallest purse, a pocket, or a backpack, meaning you can take it with you to read on the go.

    The cover is completely black, emblazoned only with the title “Book of Secrets”. It’s definitely got an air of mystery. The interior includes illustrations, but they are all in black and white. Each section spans between 1/2 and 4 pages, and covers subject material ranging from funeral parlor secrets to “secret lotions and potions” to weight loss tips and secrets.

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    Apparently, the 2005 edition is slightly larger in size, and is bound in leather. My experience with the book, however, is based entirely on the 2008 edition, which has the dimensions listed above and is bound in a thick, shellacked paper not unlike oaktag.

    My Top Picks for Clever Tricks and Advice

    The book covers a wide array of topics, and it’s hard to pick among the various tips and sections to determine what parts of the book were the most interesting. That being said, there are a handful of hacks and tricks that were especially interesting to me. Here are six of my favorite hacks, sections, and tricks from the little black book of secrets.

    1. Quieting a Crying Baby: Feed the baby a teaspoon of onion water. To make onion water, simply place a coarsely chopped onion in a jar of hot water, and allow it to cool. This infusion can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.

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    2. A Collection of Tips for Flirting with Women: Among the 10 tips in this section of the book, some of the most important pieces of advice relate to how to dress, how to make her laugh, and the importance of being sincere (but not too sincere).

    3. How to Get the Best Deals on Vacation Packages: The experts say that you need to shop around, plan ahead, and consider your destination’s current political and economic climate carefully.

    4. Dietary Tricks to Avoid Migraines: If you are prone to headaches or migraines, you should avoid herbal supplements like ginko and ginseng. This is because these herbs stimulate blood flow, which can, for some people, lead to headaches. As a migraine sufferer, this was very important and helpful information for me to have.

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    5. Drink Green Tea for Perfect Teeth: Green tea not only combats bad breath, but the flavonoids in this type of tea also work in tandem with the active ingredients in toothpaste and mouthwash to provide your teeth with an extra boost of protective power.

    6. The Top 20 Secrets of Winning Friends and Influencing People: This section includes tips about the importance of listening, the value of teamwork, and cultivating a personality that people will respond well to.

    Conclusion

    I could go on about the useful sections that will be of interest to life hackers. The advice on how to master public speaking is excellent, and the four-page section on the secrets of eggs/egg trivia was surprisingly interesting. And if you are a fan of fried chicken, the faux-Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe is definitely worth checking out. The bottom line is that if you are looking to learn some new tricks to help you succeed in life or business, this book will help you achieve that goal, while also providing you with entertaining trivia and historical info.

    If you’d like to learn more about this book, you can preview selected pages from “Book of Secrets” at the website of the publisher, Andrews McMeel. Just click the Google Preview button underneath the image of the book cover.

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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