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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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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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